Category Archives: Tools

How To Make Change After The Conference


We’ve all seen and been a part of this: We come back from a workshop, conference, strategic planning session or other great event, excited to make these great changes. Great new ideas, lots of energy, and a broader vision has been instilled and you’re ready to effect change.

Fast forward just a few months later; the company has not been effected by those game-changing ideas, and any semblance of the workshop or conference’s impact is gone.

The same can be said for many of the books written, mastermind session hosted, or webinars attended. All loaded with great wisdom and sure to move the needle, these mediums for change seldom move the needle in an organization.

So much money is spent on conferences, travel, bookings, leadership and strategic development sessions and outside consultants only to see it get wasted because nothing lasting ever came out of those promising sessions. While, yes, some of what is put out there is fluff with no real depth, there is much more great content and resources out there that has true potential to make a difference if the right variables were in play.

So, what happened, and how can lasting impact be made?

First let’s look at some of the reasons why change did not occur:

  • Action plans were not made – many people fail to plan for what to do after. They just board the plane home and forget what they learned as they focus on what awaits for them back at work
  • Upper management saw the conference as an attitude adjustment for the employee – a lot of times managers send staff to events as a way to train or change the employee, without wanting to change themselves
  • The workshop was just for show – some companies have been know to be part of these events just by attending but fail to show they align with these initiatives
  • The attendees has a poor attitude about attending – a lot of individuals look at these events as drudgery, or as a mini-vacation from work, without any plan to improve or learn
  • Leadership is not aligned with any changes from such events – upper management never intended to change anything they do and would just rather stay their course of action
  • The one or few people who attend aren’t allowed much influence in subsequent changes – they come back with great ideas and are marginalized or squelched by their boss when they arrive and not allowed to implement any changes
  • Leadership minimized and wrote off what any impact would be – by sticking to their narrow vision and not seeing what new ideas or trends are out there, these types of leaders truncate any major impact these conferences or sessions can make for their company and customers

So if you want to get the best return for you investment form any book, webinar, conference, or workshop, here are the best ways to effect lasting change:

  • Get as many people attending as possible – does this cost more? Yes. But getting more people on board increases alignment, builds broader collaboration and generates more buzz and follow through to make a major impact
  • Have a team action plan session – have the people who attend make an action plan on what was learned no less than a week form the end of the event. if possible, make it within 48 hours while the ideas and energy are still fresh
  • Set goals and determine that the company will benefit from these ideas – make a hard goal plan that the organization will see these changes through towards improving operations, customer service, sales, etc. A goal will ensure the company adopts these changes and doesn’t forsake them
  • Set incremental milestones to make sure actions steps are on track – refer to the conference material after 30, 60, 90 days to ensure the momentum stays on track.  Nothing derails planned change like time; keep refreshing the ideas and energy at no more than 30 day periods.
  • Take the key points and find the best application for them in our business culture and model – it’s easy to tell yourself that some, or many, ideas won’t apply to your business. The best companies find a way to make these work for them and leverage a differentiation from them
  • Go with an attitude of learning and professionalism – many people who attend these events take them as a big bash and spend far too much time at the bar and instead of finding ways to improve themselves and their company

At the end of it all, it’s up to you as a leader to adopt ideas into lasting change. Don’t waste your time and money, and that of your employees, or the speaker’s time, by just attending and doing nothing to improve your company or your customer’s experience.

(image: wikimedia commons)

7 Pen And Paper Planners To Stay Organized In 2017


With the onset and ease of technology to help manage our everyday lives, the amount of productivity tools from the old-school pen-and-paper planners is still as strong as ever. And growing.

As we approach the New Year and you look at achieving new goals and more success, now is the time to look to these planners as the next step towards attaining your goals.

There are many options out there, and no one particular will work for everybody. So below are some of the planners I recommend based on mine and other’s experience and impact on their lives.

Franklin Day Planner. One of the oldest and still one of the best, this planner was developed after the model for self-examination that Benjamin Franklin used. It helps you develop your personal values that govern your life, then translate those into goals then tasks over monthly and daily periods. By using the common ABC prioritizing method (which is used by many planners) one can gain control of the most important (not necessarily urgent) tasks in a given day. But the core of the Franklin system is establishing and aligning your values, much like Ben Franklin did with his 13 Virtues. They even have a weekly spiral format which is just as effective and smaller versus the bigger loose-leaf daily page book.

Planner Pad. I stumbled on the Planner Pad system 10 years ago and was quite happy with it’s format. While it helps you develop your annual and monthly goals, the 2-page open format allows you to write each area and tasks for the week up top, then cascade it down into daily tasks and feed it into your daily calendar at the bottom of the page. Having everything for the week opened before you in this open format allows you to stay ahead of the week’s events and manage everything from a more bird’s eye view. A good system for managing multiple projects and/or teams.

Bullet Journal. Not a day planner per se, although they have just recently started to create their own style of planner in the past year. Bullet Journal is “an analog system for the digital age”. It’s a simplified yet detailed method to use any notebook of your choosing and develop it into a powerful productivity tool. Using bullets as actions for note taking, and other simple symbols for events, tasks, and important ideas, the Bullet Journal system is flexible enough to allow creativity, including drawings and charts, into your planner. This is the system I use, incorporated with a Moleskine squared (graph-lined) notebook.

Best Self. Best Self is a great tool to allow you to grow personally in your daily living. It breaks down your goals into 13-week roadmaps and into further daily steps. The morning and evening routine reflection steps allow you to focus your day then reflect on your wins and gauge your success and lessons learned in order to grow. It also instructs you to schedule your whitespace to be more productive in your goals, therefore even down time can be used productively.

Printable CEO, Emergent Planner. David Seah, a productivity specialist, has developed a myriad of task and planner lists in a non-book format. These downloadable and printable forms are a unique tool to help you gamify your week and quantify your success. David has created a ton of forms and tools to track project, team, and personal goals and tasks. He uses scoring methods to measure how important and relevant to your goals your actions are, helping to stretch your efforts to not only get the job done, but done effectively towards your values. Worth checking out just to see all that’s available. There’s even a writing tracker to help you write so many words a day towards a monthly goal in writing a book!

Passion Planner. This was a Kickstarter project that really resonated with people. It takes those areas in life your passionate about and allows you to build a roadmap towards realizing them. Using a fairly blank form for mind-mapping your “passion roadmap”, it builds a weekly focus around those passions and asks for reflection on what really happened. Their system greatly engourages the use of colored highlighters to highlight those passions and see where you are focusing your time; also very helpful in reflection of your passion pursuits.

Productive Flourishing. This system provides a crisp way to develop goals into bite-sized monthly, weekly, and daily tasks. It even builds in supporting tasks that may get lost in the shuffle and need time for action and preparation. There are tools for delegating (hand-off forms), individual project tracking, and even staging and planning blog posts over time. But one of their key features I believe is the Daily Habit Tracker. With any system, the key to success is developing productive habits and Productive Flourishing allows you to measure those habits effectiveness and sharpen them as you go.

There are many other planner systems out there, but I definitely recommend these proven tools to help you achieve your goals. Whichever system you choose, use it daily, develop habits, and always keep your goals in front of you.

(image: pixaby)

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