Vital Elements of an Execution Plan that Optimize Success for Leaders

Execution-Plans-Todd-Nielsen-Success-ElementsMany people have a hard time with planning, or do not realize they do… It is easy to have an idea in your head and then stare at a blank piece of paper trying to figure out where to start. This is true for personal plans and also any kind of business plans, be it Annual Plans, Quarterly Plans, etc… On that same token I have seen people who think they are good at planning, and end up putting lots of notes into a document that are cryptic and hard to figure out.

Let’s talk about some needed elements that are important for creating great execution plans. There is a lot that goes into complex planning, such as business plans, annual sales plans, and annual marketing plans (to be covered in another post), but when it comes to execution planning, these are critical elements to make sure you achieve what you are aiming for.

When working on plans, you first have to know what your goals and targets are. A plan is not meant to make people busy, a plan is to move toward something. That “Something” is usually a goal. I won’t go into S.M.A.R.T., but yes goals need to follow the S.M.A.R.T format.

I’d also add that if you can make your goals sound more inspirational it will help your execution and those of your team toward that goal. For example, instead of “Add $250,000 in Sales by June 30th,” make it something like, “Improve the financial security of our company and employees by adding $250,000 in sales by June 30th.” They why behind the latter format is much more inspirational to work towards.

When you have your goals set, then it is time to create a plan. This item now, is where I have seen a lot of people fail in planning. Each goal will usually have a lot of tasks, projects, and milestones under it. These items need to be organized and prioritized into the correct order. Once you have that, you must give assignments to each task, project, and milestone. Who is going to be in charge of completing each item, needs to be determined. Additionally, it is important to add the dependencies to each item. You might have someone in charge of a project or task, but often times they are dependent on others for information. It is important to list the other dependent people that the task or project relies upon so that they can see their part of the plan from the onset.

Every item in the plan, that supports the goals, needs completion dates. A plan where every task has a completion date at the end of the period is not a plan, it’s only a hopeful list.

Before you call your plan completed, you now need to figure out if it is even possible to achieve. Especially in business when everyone has a “day job,” it’s important to weigh the plans and goals against things that could impact availability, such as:

  • People being on vacation
  • People being at conferences
  • Other projects or initiatives that are already ongoing
  • Company events
  • etc…

Great execution plans drive execution and accountability, and they produce results. Bad plans, are hard to follow, are unclear on the priorities, and cause stress, overload, and frustration. With mediocre plans, you may still accomplish a lot, but the old quotation, “Time spent in sharpening the axe may well be spared from swinging it,” is very applicable. If good plans can reduce frustration and overload, then they also help in building a positive culture that is not overworked and stressed.

Please share your questions and thoughts about planning in the comments section.

4 Planning Lies & Why Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning


It happens… there are some people who have a great idea and can whisk their way into a market and do much more than “make ends meet.” There are some people who can get promoted into a new position and think that their charm and charisma is going to take them far. There are some leadership teams who meet weekly, solve problems and expect massive growth from just solving problems.

I hate to break it to these people, but eventually things flat-line. This is true for businesses and it is true for our personal success and development. Planning is a very unsexy act that so many leaders get completely wrong. In my precious post, 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan, I talked about the huge number of advantages to planning. I won’t go into that. What I want to do is smash down the lies that I often hear about planning, and my take on why good leadership, hinges on good planning.

Lie 1: Planning Will Produce a Huge Document That Will Only Collect Dust

I have helped organizations with Business Plans, Strategic Plans, Marketing Plans, Sales Plans, IT Plans and more, and lots more people with personal success plan. Sometimes the plans end up being a page, and sometimes they end up being 100+ pages. There are many formats to choose from and the depth of the plan is dependent on many factors. To say that in an organization, a plan will only collect dust, is essentially stating that the organization has one of the following problems:

  1. They wrote a bad plan that can’t be followed
  2. The organization has severe execution and/or leadership problems

When planning, plans have to be created and vetted through scenarios and research. Then the plan has to be broken down into manageable and readable details so that it can be followed. A poorly written plan will end up being a waste of time in many respects, and yes that type of plan will collect dust. As leaders you need to dig deep, plan hard, and ask for help if planning is not one of your strong suits.

Lie 2: Planning Will Not Allow Me to Be Innovative and Agile

Hogwash… as my father used to say. You don’t become a robot when you plan properly. Good plans take many things into account and while a detailed plan is usually better, they should never constrain you. The fact is that a good plan will liberate you. It gives you direction, guidance, and confidence to be moving in the right direction. It gives you milestones to shoot for at intervals, and if done properly good planning will make you more agile, and give you the opportunity and resources to be more innovative, more productive, and more agile.

Lie 3: Planning Wastes a Lot of Time

Is planning a waste of time, or is not planning a waste of time? In my experience the latter is true. Leaders tend to have so much going on that they find any task outside of their core duties to be a waste of time. Pulling themselves from those daily tasks and dedicating their mind and activities toward planning for a few days, or even a few hours, seems daunting. Couple that with the plague of an inability to execute and it can be easy to give “planning” a bad name. After a good solid planning session with leaders, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days, I have never heard anyone tell me they felt like it was a waste of time. A plan provides structure for the chaos of leadership. With that structure, chaos can be ordered, and what was previously thought to be unachievable, can be achieved.

Lie 4: Cool People Don’t Plan

Well, I’d rather be uncool and successful, with a plan to get where I want to go; than cool, chaotic, unorganized, and no idea where I should be going. While this subtitle is written in jest, I have seen a huge negative stigma around planning. That it is hard, not fun, and a waste of time. Get over it, leaders do hard things. Planning can bring so much success, that it is worth every bit of angst, and the time spent planning, if done properly, will more than make-up for the whatever things you would have been doing during the planning session.

Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning

Between the previous post, 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan, and this post, I hope you are now convinced on the importance and value of planning. To be a great leader you have to have the ability to plan. Business and life have so much chaos, and so much uncertainty, that leaders need to take the time to plan their success. Whether in life or business – hoping for success – is never as fruitful as planning for it.

What other lies have you heard about planning, and what is holding you back from being a better planner? Let me know any questions you have on planning, or anything about planning that frustrates you in the comment section.

To Execute, and Be Productive – You Gotta Clean House…

I have been through many different training courses on productivity and read a lot of books, and while I don’t practice a particular one,  from them I have formed my own personal methods and processes. One time I was hired for a consulting engagement because as the client said, “You get an amazing amount of things done, so I want to work with you to learn how to do that.” Recently though I felt as if I was bogged down and wasn’t getting as much done as I wanted to. I had trouble making decisions, and was making dumb mistakes on things that I should not be having trouble with.

I knew what one of my main issues was, and I dreaded tackling it. It is the thing that is the Achilles heal of executives the world over… email! I have various email accounts for different purposes. Over the course of the last year as life has been stressful and frustrating, I let them dwindle into chaos. It took me over a week, to delete over 30,000 emails (yes that is correct). Most of them were just old stuff I had no reason to be saving, or were from lists I have signed up for and a ton of articles I emailed myself to review again at a later time. It took a while, but when I finally got my inboxes down to zero, it felt like a huge weight came off me and I could feel my mind clear.

In order to be productive you can’t rely on caffeine, or other stimulants to make you work longer. You need systems, tools, and processes.

My system for email is Microsoft Outlook. I have tried many email clients and still have yet to find one that performs as Outlook does. My process for dealing with mail in my system comes from many places, but is as follows:

  • I use ONE folder for mail storage. I used to be a filer and since I switched to one folder that is conveniently called, “@Archive” my email life has been so much easier. Searching capability in Outlook and other email systems is a hundred times faster than 5 years ago and it just does not make sense to need dozens of folder for storing
  • I have a folder called, “@Action” which contains email I need to act on within the next week or so.
  • I have a folder called, “@Deferred” which contains email I have sent to someone, and for which I need a response to soon. The purpose is to easily be able to follow-up with people.
  • I have a folder called, “@Someday” which contains email I want to act on, but for which there is no pressing time frame.
  • I have another folder called, “To Review” which mostly is articles I have emailed myself, but also might be some list email or something else that I want to review when I have some time.

I have a few pother folders. but they are all temporary. So when I have a big project I am working on, I might have a folder by that project name to keep all my email until the project is over. When it is over the email all goes to the Archive folder and the project folder is is deleted.

I try to keep my inbox down to zero, but it takes diligence. Usually I am on top of it, but this year it slipped. I try to review my folders on a weekly basis during my weekly planning, and process anything I can to keep it clean. That is in addition to my daily planning as well.

The point of this is that keeping your email organized, your desk organized, your computer files organized, and your life organized – will bring greater piece, confidence and success. You will be able to accomplish more, communicate better, and achieve a lot more than you ever thought possible.

How To RSVP And Embrace Your Role As A LEADER!

Leadership-invitation-rsvpWhether you want to admit it or not, you have the desire to lead.  I believe we all do.  The challenge is that some can’t even define leadership and even some of those that can, struggle to find the right tools in their toolbox to be the leaders they were created to be.

John Maxwell says that “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”  He is right, but my question is, “What kind of influence do you have?”  I have discovered that to embrace your role as a leader requires not only an understanding of what it means to be a leader, but how to take what you know and do something positive with it.  This takes a process.  Let’s explore how this “RSVP” process works.


There are several questions that need to be asked when creating and casting a vision.  Unfortunately, many of them are often overlooked in the process.  Many times vision is identified by asking, “What do we want to achieve?” but there is much more to it.  Consider asking ALL of the following questions and see if you can add some clarity to your vision:

  • What do you want?
  • Why do you want it?
  • Where would you want to have it?
  • When do you want it?
  • How would your life be different if you had it? and my favorite …
  • Who would you become if you had it?

Have you overlooked any of these in creating your vision?  As a leader, you are responsible to cast a vision.  Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy into what you do, they buy into why you do it.”  If you want others to follow you, they need to know both where they are going and why they are going there.


Sustained growth and achievement requires you to be clear on your purpose.  Your purpose, individually or corporately, is going to be fueled by your passion about what you are doing.  This passion comes from within and will provide the inspiration to succeed.  I have found that your purpose can be found at the convergence of three things:

  • What you are best at – your strengths.
  • What matters most to you – the things you love to do, and
  • What you want to do, who you want to do it with, and where you want to do it – your vision.

Identify these three things and your purpose will be found where all three are represented in the activity.


This is the area that I see the most mistakes made in executing a successful plan.  Quite often a strategy is developed that the individual or organization is not resourced to achieve.  There is a simple way to determine whether or not you have selected a strategy that will achieve your desired results.

Identify where you are currently investing your time and resources.  Picture it as if you were putting your life into these five buckets:

  • Family
  • Work
  • Community
  • Personal
  • Faith

Now look back at your strategy and see if you have the resources, possibly time or money, to execute the strategy you have identified.  Something else to consider on the road to success; is your strategy serving your purpose and vision?


I fully adhere to the idea that we need to start with the end in mind, however, without casting a clear vision, identifying your true purpose and creating the right strategy, you will struggle to attain your desired results.  Completing these first three steps will set you up for success.

Once you accomplish these, achieving your desired results will come down to identifying and executing a solid plan.  I suggest you use the SMART goal process.  In creating your plan, make it:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time Constrained

Doing these things will provide a pathway to influence those around you in a positive way.  To embrace your role as a leader will take work and remember the goal is not the goal, the goal is who you become in achieving that goal.

These principles are discussed in much greater detail in my book, Leadership By Invitation, which happens to be launching this week, but if there is one takeaway for you to gain from this post, let it be that you have within you the ability to be a leader and make a difference in the lives of those around you.  Your challenge is to embrace that role and show up!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Five Tenets of Leadership Success

five-tenets-leadership-success-todd-nielsenLeaders are an integral part of our society. In many elementary classrooms there is a boy or a girl line leader to lead the class to the restroom, lunch, and recess. There are even the leaders in the game Simon Says. In this game all who participate must repeat the action of the leader. As children get older leadership transforms into something more complex. Leaders don’t just lead by actions, they lead in their thoughts, ideas, and morals – but what will leadership in the future look like?

Will this new generation of leaders be innovators or followers?” Asked Forbes Contributor, Henry Doss. The answer is simple, it lies in education. In his recent article he shares five keys to educating the next generation of leaders.

  1. Language – to ensure that the leaders of the future do not embrace the “status quo” they must be strong communicators. Ideally leaders will be able to solve dilemmas and convey ideas with the written and spoken word. Furthermore, they are able to communicate with grace and confidence.
  2. Leadership – When Doss speaks of leadership, he is not speaking of leadership in the conventional sense. He states that the leaders of tomorrow must learn how to fail before they can learn to be successful. He also states that the education of today is success-driven. Education must give students the opportunity to take on challenges, risk it all, and fail.
  3. Authenticity – Leaders can not be authentic without being self-aware. Change is a constant and leaders must sense when change is happening or when change is needed, and they must be able to adapt to change, and change quickly. Therefore education should cause students to be more self-aware and to be aware of change around them.
  4. Breadth – Today’s college experience limits what a student can study. Colleges classify areas of study into majors, and students must choose which areas they would like to focus on. The problem with this focus is that students chose a major, and after graduation it may be difficult  to find a career in their major. However change is constant and what is available in today’s job field may not be available in the future.
  5. Resilience – As we mentioned above, not all students are able to find a career in their field of study. Likewise, after graduation. Graduates will hold many jobs often in different fields. This necessitates that leaders be resilient, and education needs to teach them to “turn on a dime.”

While these five points are written in the context of students and a younger generation, they certainly still apply to all of us. As we embrace these and many other tenets of leadership, we will be more prepared to take on any challenge, and to create a better future that we can be proud of.

4 Large Steps to Greater Self-Development and 1 Big Leap for Success

Self-Development-Success-Leadership-Todd-NielsenAaaah… self-development. Most people want to improve and become smarter, healthier, and more successful… but it’s never easy.  Often trials and struggles have beat us down and hinder our desire and ability to improve. If crippling personal issues are beating you down, you won’t be able to focus on the road ahead. Here are a few concrete steps to get your mind where it needs to be.

Start with small accomplishments—but don’t stay there.

We all have some accomplishments in our life. Look at what you have done and build on that. Take the next logical step outward. If a particular subject interests you, research it, maybe write a white paper. Once you’ve written it, consider publishing it as an e-book. If you have one e-book published, research a second.

Take what you have, no matter how small, and let that spark turn into a fire.” ~ Todd Nielsen (Click to Tweet)

Listen to criticism.

Feedback is immensely important for self-correction. It’s important to see how you’re coming across to others, “Wait,” you say, “everybody’s a critic, and they all tell me something different.” That’s true, you deal with that by picking one or two people whom you trust implicitly, then solicit their advice. These must be people who are not afraid to tell you the truth. If you ask them, you have to seriously consider what they say, even if you don’t agree with it. Find a way to implement their suggestions as a test. It may surprise you.

Take failure for what it’s worth: a great deal.

Failing at an endeavor is one of the most educational experiences life has to offer. It requires honesty and humility to assess the reasons for the failure and the corrections required. It’s a lesson you’ll never forget.

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill (Click to Tweet)

Find your passion, then find out how to make it benefit others.

Truly self-developed people never stop with themselves; they are always looking for ways to spread what they have learned. This is not only how the greatest philanthropists establish their reputations, but how the greatest entrepreneurs make their fortunes.

Being a person that is driven by accomplishment, I am always striving to improve myself. These steps are not always easy, and there are a lot more steps on the road to success. There have been many times I have wanted to give up, but we have to carry on, build on what we have, and continue to make greater and greater success.

Please share your thoughts on what you do to improve and develop yourself.

I’m a Failure, and Damn Proud of It!

I’m-a-Failure-and-Damn-Proud-of-It-Todd-NielsenWow – What an amazing and awesome month. The goal of the 2nd Annual International Blogathon was to give the world a gift of greater leadership acumen from an international stand-point. Learning leadership views from across the globe helps increase our leadership wisdom by giving us differing perspectives. It certainly has met that goal for me personally.

I hope that the blogathon writers have inspired you.

I hope that your world becomes better because of the knowledge gained this month.

I hope that you were inspired to make changes that will impact your success.

What is Success?

Success,” hmm… it’s a very interesting and elusive word. The definition is different for every person, and every organization. It is a goal that is constantly moving to new heights. For the truly successful, it is a journey that never comes to an end. It’s a constant climb that refines you, strengthens you, and fertilizes your growth.

“Success is a climb that never ends, the journey refines you, strengthens you, and fertilizes your growth”  Tweet This!

Recently an individual asked me what some of my strengths were. This person new of my expertise and qualifications, but I thought for a moment and had two things enlighten my mind that were completely opposite and opposing from each other. Could these two things really be my strength?

The first strength that I thought of was that I have had a lot of success in my life. I have associated myself with successful people. I know what works in helping organizations create success. I have seen what successful people do to create even more success, and I have read huge volumes of books in learning how to personally create success in different areas of my personal and professional life.  So I thought, sure why can’t that be a strength?

The Second Strength, That Greatly Outweighs the First

The second strength I thought of – is a polar opposite from the first – and greatly overshadows it. It’s probably the single largest factor that has impacted success in my life. The second strength is, um, well… I have failed. I have a failed a lot. Failure has taught me what does not work, what NOT to do. It has molded me, chopped down the rough edges, and refined and focused me into the person I am today. I am sure the same is true for most people, but my failures greatly outweigh my successes.  So by quantitative comparison, I AM A FAILURE, and as the title suggests, I’m damn proud of it. If it weren’t for the failures I’ve had, I could never have reached the success I now enjoy.

The Failure Masochist

No, I’m not a masochist that enjoys the pain of failure or the struggles that are associated with it. I don’t look for opportunities to fail. I really strive to NOT, set myself up for failure. I strive to learn from my struggles so that I don’t repeat them. Unfortunately, no matter what I do… failures come, and they are almost always painful. They break me down, and make me grow. Like a forest that erupts into blooms after a fire scorches it to the ground, so must we be after our failures come.

Are we on the Path of Success, or the Path of Failure?

It may feel like the path of failure, but it is the path of success. Whenever I begin to veer off the path of success, I get poked and prodded by failures that direct me toward a straighter and faster route to even greater success. Failures are the enablers that help us reach success considerably faster. Without failures, we could never have success.

“Failures are the enablers that help us reach success considerably faster. Without failures, we could never have success.”  Tweet This!

The last month has resulted in some of the greatest successes in my life, but that success has been preceded by a path of innumerable failures, like a thousand fire-ants that I could not shake off. Yet those failures drive me faster towards heaps of successes. I’m sure you and I are alike; we all fail, we’re all human.

While I never look forward to my failures, I am proud of what I have learned from them and you should be proud as well.

The climb to success is wrought with failures… so let us all climb together. Let us support each other, not judge each other, look for the positive, celebrate the small successes, focus on the important things in life, and celebrate the overcoming of the many small weaknesses and failures that set us back.

“We can all do a little better, we can all become great.” Tweet This!

A Month of Success

This blogathon is chock full of examples of successes and failures. Every single writer this month shared their expertise that they have gained, by failing a thousand times first. The wisdom that resulted from those failures and the forthcoming lessons of success are priceless, and only in a small part, documented in this blogathon.

I strive to always hang out with successful people, I have told this to many. In truth though, I guess I actually enjoy hanging out with failures, since that is the path we all have taken to our success. I am honored to call the writers of the 2nd Annual International Leadership Blogathon – friends; they are some of the best group of failures I ever associated with. I only say that in jest, because they are all successful experts that kindly shared the result of their failures and successes with the world.

Until Next Time!

Today we don’t say good bye, the blogathon will live on, connections will be made deals with be stricken, and successes will be amplified. The greatness that is achieved from a single lesson this month might never be known to any us. That’s ok though.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you! It’s been enlightening. Please leave a comment and tell me what you have learned this month. What are the failures that resulted in your success?

Patient Centered Healthcare: Conditioning Your Culture To Go the Distance

Conditioning-Your-Culture-To-Go-the-Distance-leadership-Susan-ThornWe are now knee-deep and headlong into Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act. The Main Event is set, at least for now, on January 1st, 2014. This is when purportedly all Americans will have purchased their tickets to seek admission to the insured affordable healthcare match. Healthcare organizations, doctors’ offices, and community clinics will begin to see and treat a population of folks that has historically not had access to insurance, and they come sicker than we  have seen before. Our operation, fiscal, and quality outcomes resources will be challenged like never before. If your fight card does not include a pound for pound approach to strategy and culture, get ready for a TKO! In this time of focused patient centered care delivery models and innovative transformational approaches to healthcare, there is a real barn burner about to begin.

Peter Drucker said “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. If that’s the case, where then do we put our efforts? Strategy alone will not be enough. If healthcare organizations expect to come out the winner in the next decade, they will need to condition themselves to go the distance in both culture and strategy. As we begin to see a population that has not had access to routine healthcare for many years, or ever, the strength of our strategy and culture will be put to the test.

Operationally our strategies need to include a focus on culture as it relates to leadership excellence, the empowerment of our workforce, consistency in the delivery of quality service, and creative innovation. Walt Disney did a great job of this. Walt effectively demonstrated with great heart and passion that the actions of one leader, multiplied be the actions of many, can re-shape a culture and an organization. Operationally we need to invest in our leaders, empower them, and hold them accountable to creating a healthy and conditioned workforce that has been well equipped to meet the challenging needs of the populations we’re tasked to serve. Operationally we need to invite every person in our organization that has anything to do with patient care to take part in finding innovative ways to do things better and leaner.

One often missed leadership strategy in creating great operational outcomes is by inviting your customer into the ring. Who are your customers? Remember, everyone is your customer when it comes to operations. Anyone that has anything to do in your organization is a customer. This includes your management team, billers, coders, housekeepers, those that answer the phone, and the patient! Everyone is your customer. Your entire team of customers should be given the title of Personal Performance Partners. Invest in them as a strategy and the organizational  culture will win in every round.

Everyone is your customer.” – Susan Thorn Tweet this!

What about the organizational level of fiscal fitness? The promise of more in the way of budget cuts and payment denials has the fight purse getting smaller and smaller. As the purse gets smaller, our number one strategy needs to include a fully engaged culture. Organizations that look at their bottom line without understanding the impact of culture on it will suffer. Culture is like the wind, it is invisible to the eye, but felt by all. Culture is built by the values expressed through its leadership. If you want to assure that you will be at your ideal level of fiscal fitness then your battle cry needs to be “Culture is our bottom line”.

What about outcomes? We are now being held to a new level of accountability when it comes to creating favorable healthcare outcomes for the populations we serve. If we don’t do it well, we are as good as a white-collar boxer, we don’t get paid! As a healthcare leader and consumer I have seen both sides. Quality in outcomes with the resources availed to us will take new and innovative approaches if we expect to go the distance. We are already seeing hospitals partnering with community clinics to prevent hospital remissions. Healthcare organizations are beginning to move toward a case management model approach for the high-end users of our healthcare systems. Population based case management for our most vulnerable populations’ results in a unanimous decision in adding to the way we can all deliver better and leaner quality in healthcare.

So where does your organization weigh in on culture and strategy? If your strategy and culture don’t touch knuckles before the opening round, somebody is going to get sucker-punched. Make cultural competency your organizations biggest innovative strategy to win in healthcare!

Dream or Die, That’s Just How the World Turns

Dreams-Personal-LeadershipJim Valvano said, “Be a dreamer. If you don’t know how to dream, you’re dead.” No matter how you feel after the election, and no matter what comes out of the next few weeks; you must keep YOUR dream alive. Governments, kings, rulers, and bad relationships cannot kill your dream. They may dampen your spirits, crush your hopes, and cut into your nerves; but they cannot take away YOUR dream.

Norman Cousins stated, “People are never more insecure, than when they become obsessed with their fears at the expense of their dreams.” Many people have fears about the next 4 years. I have fears about the next 4 years. If we spend too much time worrying about those fears, and worrying about what we cannot control, we will be spending less time in making our dreams a reality.

Execute on your dreams, not your worries.” Tweet This!

Michael Phelps stated, “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” How many achievements have been accomplished in the last century that far surpasses the dreams of previous generations? If you dream, dream big, no …DREAM AUDACIOUS. Dreamers are the creators,, they never limit themselves to what is possible.

You may be dealing with a hard financial situation, stuck in a crappy job, struggling through a difficult relationship, or besieged with a painful health problem. Keep your dream alive! Your dream may be THAT THING, which pushes you through the pain, struggle and heartache.  Don’t let anyone tell you what is possible and what is not.

No matter how you feel today, Dream On, all is not lost; the future is ours to create.

This Emotional Attachment Will Destroy Your Business!

Leadership Emotional AttachmentThat’s right, DESTROY! It can kill moral, stifle innovation, increase gossip, diminish customer service, and reduce profits. An emotional attachment is a desire for something or someone, and the inability to release or do without that thing or person. We tend to think about this when it comes to relationships, but have you ever thought about whether you are emotionally attached to say ….a line item on your P&L?

Perhaps it’s a daily lunch paid by the company. Perhaps it’s a hefty bill to an industry association that you can’t leave because you’ll miss your buddies. Perhaps it’s a supplier that has given you cool swag. Perhaps it’s a vendor that is a Facebook “friend” and you don’t want to offend them.

I’ve been blown away at this as I’ve consulted with companies. They don’t mind if the company closes and people lose their jobs, or if they destroy any chance of having any money for their retirement. They are so emotionally attached to certain line items on the P&L that they don’t witness the destruction that is occurring around them.

So what is to be done about this? If one is willing to accept that their organization can use its money more wisely, and they are willing emotionally detach and swallow a little pride, huge things can happen. Here are a couple guidelines:

1) Look at every line item on a budget with scrutiny.
2) Categorize your line items into the following categories:

  • Eliminate
  • Optimize-in most cases this will mean to reduce, but sometimes you may want to increase a certain area because you realize it has a great return
  • Keep.

3) Take Action on Step 2 by eliminating and optimizing the items you identified.
4) Consider outside help. When you are emotionally attached to something, it looks like a need, even though it is a want.
5) Be Creative. Don’t ever accept that you are stuck. Look for alternatives, ask certain vendors and suppliers if there are discounts, look for alternate ways of doing things that could save money and improve a key aspect of your business at the same time.

Being wasteful can cause big problems, being emotionally attached to waste, can kill a company (Tweet This). It is important to be able to step back from your business, take a reading on what is happening and make changes for a better future.

So, now that you’ve read this article, how are you going to use this information to eliminate dangerous emotional attachments?

Take a moment and share your ideas in the comments section below and please share this with your social media friends, and subscribe to receive A Slice of Leadership notices, as well as occasional leadership advice, articles, tips and freebies.