Inspire, Innovate and Implement Your House!

26 02 2013

Give yourself the personal strategic planning meeting you deserve!

Personal Plan pic

Where is the time to think about “me”?  Here is my schedule for a typical day last week:

4:45  Wake up….walk in circles and Work on social media plan

6:15  Make sure my daughter is awake and feed the dogs (that takes time)

7:00  Get ready to leave for work

7:45  Drive my son to school

8:00  Drive to the office

8:45  Daily responsibilities to run company

5:30  Leave for home

6:00  Check in with family – spin on bike

7:15  Family dinner (whenever possible)

8:00 Debrief, chill, do work online

9:00  Eyes begin to roll to the back of my head…

10:00  Fall asleep (30 seconds after I put my head on my pillow)….

Go ahead and move the times a bit.  Substitute “this” for “that”.  Regardless of what you do with your personal schedule on a particular day, I can guarantee one thing:

Your mornings, afternoons and evenings are full!

Everyone wants more time in the day.  However, what would you do with that time if you had it?  Would you sleep?  Would you read?  Would you spend more time with your family?  Would you work out more?  Would you make more plans with friends?

How many of you said….”I would spend more time thinking about me”?

Actually, how much time to you spend in a year thinking about yourself, planning, assessing, analyzing and setting a course towards your goals?

If you are anything like me, the answer is disturbing.  I squeeze these thoughts in between the craziness of my life, my day and while I am awake.  Frankly, if I were able to have a personal strategic planning meeting with myself while I was sleeping, that would be a great time-slot to work with.  But I am not talking about science fiction here.  I am talking about reality.

I heard a speaker present about developing a personal strategic plan as the outcome of a real process.  We can execute any “process” if we buy into it.  I have not done this yet.  However, I have been told that it is profound.  Here is my proposal:

Personal Plan Pic 2

You need two nights (three days)

You need to leave your home and go to a hotel, cabin or resort

You need to be prepared to “disconnect” for 48 hours.

You need complete buy-in from your family to do this before you leave.

When you arrive, your goal is to conduct a strategic planning meeting with yourself.

Give yourself the same treatment and attention that you give your businesses.

Analyze your past, your present and your future.

Write or type your findings and thoughts on each issue so you can refer to it throughout the year and as part of future personal strategic planning sessions.

Personal Strategic Plan Suggested Agenda Items:

Life Balance

Your Mind

Your Body

Your Career

Your Relationships

Your Finances

Motivation and Growth

Spiritual Status

Community Involvement

Open items…

Cabin pic

Begin the exercise with a “blank wall or canvas”.  By the end of your meeting with yourself, you need to have a complete assessment of where you have been, where you are today as well as your plan to get you where you want to go during the year.

I just got the “green light” from my family that I will do this in the next 11 months.  What are the chances that you will do this too?


See Yourself Inspired! VISUALIZE…

19 02 2013


Have you ever visualized yourself being in an inspired state?

I have!

Do you believe that you can become innovative if you imagine yourself that way and actually “see” the moment that you find the inspirational spark to identify the next key idea of a lifetime?

I do!

Visualization is one of the greatest methods available for us to prepare for success in classic Eye-Cubed fashion.  For example, when it comes to the times that I present in front of groups, I find it awesome to see in my mind’s eye how my message will be received.  I actually see myself presenting, making my audience laugh, creating intense thought, garnering buy-in or any of the various stages desired when presenting.

It works!

visualization 1

This technique has proven to be effective in many areas of life:

  • Spiritual Growth in virtually every faith.
  • Test taking skills and academic results.
  • Acting success and prowess.
  • Speaking and Motivating others
  • Leading and Business Success
  • Mastering Sports like Golf, Olympics, Baseball and Basketball etc.
  • Any area in life that you wish to master, including Innovation.


Inspiration is never something that finds you unless you are prepared for it.  This preparation is akin to becoming a vessel ready to receive the goods.  The simple process of visualization opens up your mind to receive the spark and recognize when it is there for you to transform into personal inspiration or innovation.  Eye-Cubed Leaders use it to their advantage throughout their life.

Set yourself up:

  1. Sit in a quiet place
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Take a few breaths
  4. Allow Inspiration
  5. Repeat!

Different Teams, Different Roles

12 02 2013

One of the most compelling lessons learned in competitive sports, even at thirteen years of age,  is to understand one’s role and to flourish within it while bringing the team towards greatness.

Imagine the fortunate experience to be part of several teams during one season where different roles are expected.  I find it invaluable that children have a chance to learn so much at such a young age.  Here is an example of a seventh grader I know.  He is a very talented basketball player, loves the game and dreams of playing in college.  This year, he is participating on three teams:  (Can you relate to his role on any of the teams I describe below?  Which one best describes your current position?  What can you do to enhance your role?)

7th grade basketball

Team 1:  Town recreational basketball (Are you dominant in your career role?)

As the most dominant player, he has a role and talent to carry the team.  He typically scores 60% of the team’s points, guards the opponent’s best player and loves the responsibility of being “the man” at these games.  With each game, his confidence grows as his results reinforce his role.  He loves playing on this team because he has a chance to do things he would never do if he were playing on a team where his role was more defined and limited.  This is the best role for an independent visionary leader.

Team 2:  YMCA Travel basketball (Are you working with talented colleagues and expected to deliver your best to make the team win?)

As the starting forward on this team and a solid contributor, he is a key member of a talented team and plays his role accordingly.  He has opportunities to contribute with a strong presence both offensively as well as defensively.  He scores when he can and plays defense against quality opponents.  His team is a strong unit and works well together.  The team’s talent pool is very balanced as there is no dominant player.  This role give the team player the greatest opportunity.

Team 3:  Varsity basketball for private Middle School (Are you perceived to be overmatched?  Is it necessary for you to prove yourself and gain additional skills?)

As the starting center on this team, he is one of a few boys who was selected on Varsity in spite of the fact that he is two years younger than his veteran teammates. The dominant players on the team are guards (mostly in higher grades) and the coach has designed the vast majority of plays around these players. He is a role player on offense and must assert himself by setting picks for his teammates and playing strong defense.  He has not yet established himself as an offensive option on this team.  The leader in this scenario plays an important role but is searching for the position he desires among the team.

Regardless of the team he is on, he is valuable and plays his role well.  He works hard to deliver what is expected of him yet is acutely aware that he strives to build upon his reputation by delivering results in all areas when given the opportunity.  When he shares his concerns with me about his role on the varsity school team (he wants to do more on the team), I make it clear to him that he must give the team what they expect of him and look for opportunities to give more.  Once he consistently gives the team more results, those results will soon be expected and the opportunity will present itself to gain additional responsibility.

corporate team

Life on the basketball court often mirrors life under the florescent lights of the corporate playing field.  Today, perhaps we need to learn a lesson from a young man rather than give him a lesson.  We are fortunate to have a chance to apply it tomorrow at “the office”.  Good luck!

The Innovative Path From Point A To Point B Is Not Straight.

5 02 2013

Your innovation will drive revenue and profit to your company.  Over the course of time, your results exceed expectations.  Well done, you rock!  But was the journey smooth?  Did you grow consistently each year, month, week, day or hour?  Of course not. The results of a successful implementation are not a straight line with ruler-like precision.  Any similar theory on  growth is just that…a theory.  There will be setbacks along the way, many of them and for a myriad of reasons.  So be prepared.


Obstacles of people:

It is difficult to align the priorities of everyone affected by the initiative.  If you are using your existing team, it is likely that they will give you some time for the program to work.  But never take their cooperativeness for granted.  Understanding the motivation of your team helps to uncover any disconnect between your desires and the desires of your team.  Most employees desire consistency, stability and financial reward.   If your new endeavor will negatively affect your team in any of the aforementioned areas, do not expect them to remain interested in implementing your innovation for very long.

This issue has caused me a great deal of stress along the way.  Essentially, for my team, forging new ground with innovations has destroyed consistency, eliminated stability and lacked enough financial reward to create a truly engaged and motivated team.  The tension and confusion were not good for morale or for the pending success of my fantastic innovation.

Valley of despair:

A new process is always challenging to implement.  There is a learning curve that results in the typical frustration referred to as the “valley of despair”.  While it is nearly inevitable that folks will end up there, it is not necessary for them to remain there for a long time.  With proper preparation, planning, training, effective rewards and attention to detail, they can coast through the valley of despair faster and more smoothly than ever expected.

Obstacles of process:

When innovations are first implemented, there is often excitement surrounding its success.  People go the extra mile to make it work, even if it takes them away from their daily tasks and/or if the process is inefficient.  The success that follows is an innovator’s dream.  Everyone wants more.  Unfortunately, the rapid growth uncovers all inefficiencies in the process and magnifies them exponentially.

Then comes the tsunami of success.  When a process is built on a weak foundation and then is coupled with the pressure to produce, the flood of expectations roll over the entire organization.  Cross-departmental issues are experienced from operations, sales, HR, recruiting, training, technology and other support areas.  Each area may need a new process to support the innovation.  It is difficult work to address this obstacle and correct the processes.  However, this must be done before moving forward.

There certainly is a roller coaster of emotions throughout the implementation process of new and powerful innovations.  And there is always a gap between an innovators vision and the resulting reality.  The vast majority of projects result in a process that does not look exactly like the original plan.  And the timeline to reach one’s goal seems to be consistently longer than anticipated.  However, Eye-Cubed leaders, teams and companies understand this challenge and embrace the process of moving from theory to practice, from point A to point B.