What accomplishment are you most proud of as the first half of 2017 rapidly comes to a close? What’s your biggest challenge in the 2nd half?

One of our CEO Think Tank® groups just spent a day and a half asking themselves that very question at our Annual Retreat last week at Grace Winery in Glen Mills, PA.  There’s nothing better than getting reflective at a fabulous bucolic location with a lovely Inn, pool and hot tub as well as lawns to roam, porches to sit on and have a few cigars and a five course gourmet dinner with wine pairings – of course!

We also took some time to pull out our One Page Strategic Plans™ and Verne Harnish’s Execution Checklist and dug into what’s next for the second half of 2017.  Suffice to say that the group had a very productive – and rejuvenating – time.

What about you?  Have you taken the time away from the daily grind to do your Mid-Year Check?  Here’s 7 tips for you to make the second half a winner.

1) Give yourself the gift of “think time” – even if it’s just a long weekend or in our case a night and a day – away from phones and technology interruptions. Take a look at your plan, what you’ve accomplished, where you’re on track, where you’re not and determine what your one or two priorities are for the second half.  Give yourself some “sleep” time too as part of the process.  The frontal lobe (critical thinking part of the brain) shuts down when we sleep and after a full day of reflecting, the rest of the brain can kick in to muse on what’s been thought over – and possibly bring additional insights and ah ha’s to the forefront.

2) Schedule your Mid-Year review meeting – although it’s not part of the formal “Rockefeller Habits” meeting rhythms, I highly recommend having a Mid-Year Review with your team.  Even a half a day with your team can prove valuable.  The agenda I use includes reviewing the SWT (Strengths/ Weaknesses/ Trends) to see what might have changed since you did annual planning; having each member of the team complete a Continue/ Stop/ Start which helps your team members recognize what’s working, what’s not and make room for new ideas; and of course, a review of the Annual plan to see what might need to be tweaked AND if there’s any major successes that should be celebrated too!

3) Schedule your vacation too – When I worked for P&G, we were required to schedule at least two weeks of vacation at the beginning of the year. This practice helped with capacity planning but it also was a forcing function to ensure people got out of the office and took personal time. Very few people can go full speed ahead without a break.  Something eventually gives.  Your health, your decision making ability, your personal life.  Protect what’s important and take time off.

4) Re-examine your expectations – of yourself and others, especially as it comes to time frames for getting things done. Entrepreneurial types are notoriously optimistic in the short-term regarding what can be accomplished and I often see CEO’s who are disappointed that what they thought was going to take a few months takes six to nine OR even twelve.  At the same time, don’t let lack of accountability in your organization be a roadblock.  Key projects and initiatives should have a project plan (HINT: 90 Day plan) with weekly or biweekly goals to keep things on track.  And these plans need to be documented.  Your chances of accomplishing goals increases by 200% if they’re written down.

5) Re-examine your Three Year Plan – Remember, it’s a 3 Year plan, one quarter at a time. A colleague of mine who produced the 5:00 evening news (way back when in the days before 24 hour news stations), taught me the expression, “Structured Looseness” which they used at the broadcast but half of the time, a fire or some other news worthy item occurred ten minutes before air time, and they had to be loose about what they covered when the cameras rolled. Thus the term “structured looseness” – which I share with all of our clients so that they don’t get too wedded to their plans, and remain “loose” for what may happen or evolve – either in the market place or in their own businesses.  Just asking yourself the question, “What’s changed?” can be a very useful exercise for you and your team.

6) Take time to acknowledge and celebrate Successes – Entrepreneurs can be nothing if not hard-driving – and many of the ones I know have a hard enough time “turning it off” let alone seeing and acknowledging and recognizing what’s been accomplished. So make sure that you highlight the great stuff that’s happened – behaviors that are in alignment with your Core Values, great acts of Customer Service, Sales or Operational wins and give yourself and your team mates a pat on the back for the effort and hard work.   This is NOT about monetary awards BTW.  People need to hear that they’ve done a good job – and  a pat on the back and a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way for most of us.

7) Don’t neglect your Annual Plan – Make sure you’ve scheduled time for your annual planning process too…and if you need some assistance with any of the above, give us a call.

We’d love to help you have a productive 2nd half!

And  take advantage of the chance to learn from one of the best leaders I’ve met!

Register to hear Ari Weinzweig, the CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses who will speak on the 12 Natural Laws of Business – Solving the Energy Crisis in the American Workforce. Recently named one of the top 10 CEO “Servant Leaders” by Inc Magazine, he’ll be sharing the story behind the tremendous growth of his company. From a small, 25-seat delicatessen over 30 years ago, he and his partner, Paul Saginaw have grown to a dozen different businesses with over $60 million in revenue and employing over 700 people.

For more info or to register, here’s the link:    https://bit.ly/FixTheEnergyCrisis

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