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Meet Lois Greisen, Executive Coach and President/Owner of Eagle Associates. Lois is a Certified Business Coach with over 25 years of management experience.

Posts Tagged ‘assessing’

05 Nov
4 Reasons to Develop a Strategic Plan
Posted by lois on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 | permalink | trackback
Strategy Can Help Business and the Team Stay Focused

Strategy Can Help Business and the Team Stay Focused

Business Strategy – Heart of the Business

A good strategic plan can propel a business to be even more successful. Over 90% of success stories in business are attributable to a good strategy. There are a number of reasons that make the strategy the heart of the business.  Let’s look at four of them

1.  Helps in crisis prediction and prevention.  Many businesses end up losing equity or ultimately collapsing in the face of a crisis. A good business strategy is key in ensuring that crises are predicted before hand and prevented before occurring. For example, a good strategy defines the cause of action in case of raw material shortage. This ensures that the business does not go into crisis mode when the shortage occurs.  Strategy is a key to combating a host of organizational challenges.  Take time to develop your strategic plan.

2.  Acts as a reference point – A good business strategy also acts in the interest of the business whereby it acts as a point of reference. A good strategy gives the management and the workforce as a whole a sense of direction toward the accomplishment of set goals. This is crucial in building teamwork as well as ensuring that the whole organization’s labor force works towards achievement of common objectives.  Look at where you are today and strategize where you want to be in the future.  Strategic planning can help you get you there.

3.  Efficient resource utilization – One of the main causes of organization failure is the misappropriation of resources including time, money and supplies. Resources may be directed in a multitude of projects. A good strategy enables the right resources to the right projects by clearly outlining which projects will move the company in the right direction.  This reduces inefficient resource utilization.  It is too costly not to have a strategy in place.

4.  Customer attraction and retention – Businesses exist as a result of their customers. Customers are a very important element of the business and they need to be constantly attracted and retained. A good business strategy has in place customer attraction techniques as well as guides on how the organization can retain these customers. Without a good strategy, the business is likely to under perform and is at the risk of losing it customers to its competitors.

In conclusion, it is important that your business has a well-laid strategy in order to ensure that the business survives and thrives its challenges into the future.  A good business strategy is responsible for profits and loss prevention.  Schedule your strategy session.  Contact me today.

13 Jan
Are You Doing These 7 Keys to Success? Key Number 6
Posted by lois on Monday, January 13th, 2014 | permalink | trackback

Fail Forward – If Plan A fails, learn from it and move on to plan B

Focus on your plan.  If you fail, learn from it and adjust your plan and keep going.

Focus on your plan. If you fail, learn from it and adjust your plan and keep going.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, key number one in the seven keys to success, was to know where you are going.  Key number two was to develop a plan to get there.  Key number three was to implement the plan, key number four was to monitor the plan and key number 5 was to stay focused.  Today we will discuss key number 6, which is to fail forward.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all your plans were successful?  Well they won’t be.  When you fail you can do one of three things or variations of them:

1. You can quit. Give up.  Throw in the towel and have a pity party.   That won’t get you to your goal.

2.  Keep on doing what you’re doing and expect different results.  That is       the meaning of insanity.  If you keep on doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep on getting what you have been getting.

3. Evaluate what you have been doing.  Figure out what it is not working and change it or develop a better plan.

Item number three makes the most sense.   The key is to change what isn’t working and continue to do what is working and don’t give up. You only fail when you quit.

You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged since July.  I could do any one of the three items listed.  I could do the first one…quit and shut down my website.  That is not an option for me.  I could do the second item on the list and just continue in my path of not blogging.  That is not an option for me either since people go to my site for tips and information.  I like to give value to people whether or not they work with me so option number three is my choice.  I looked at my schedule and I am time blocking my time.  Today my main focus is scheduling a newsletter and blogs for both of my websites (my other website is www.CoachLoisG.com ).  So I evaluated what I was doing and came up with what I hope is a better plan.  If this plan doesn’t work, I will reevaluate and come up with another.

It is so important to have a strategy for your business and this is a great time to implement the steps I have discussed in earlier blogs.  This is step 6 in my 7 keys to success.  Go back and review the first 5 steps and make the New Year your best year yet.  Are you as successful as you want to be?  Please contact me if you want to learn more or would like some help.

21 Jun
Heartland Trail Strategy: Create a Strategic Plan – Achieve Your Vision
Posted by lois on Friday, June 21st, 2013 | permalink | trackback
Heartland Trail - Future Route

Heartland Trail – Future Route

The Heartland State Trail, which was legislatively authorized in 1974, is one of the oldest rail-trails in Minnesota.  In 2006 the Heartland State Trail Extension was legislatively authorized.  For years I remember the trail running through Park Rapids and I knew it followed an old train track.  Many of my friends would take their bikes and ride the trails.  I didn’t ride with them since I had very small children.  Now, all these years later, I am excited that the trail will eventually go very near to my area.  There are parts of the Heartland Trail that are completed, parts that are being worked on, and parts yet to be started.

The exciting thing is that it all started with an idea.  A group of people spent much time developing a vision and strategy for the Heartland State Trail Extension – Park Rapids to Moorhead Master Plan.  You can read the 115-page pdf document on line at: http://archive.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2011/mandated/110592.pdf.

 

This visionary team knew that this would be a very comprehensive and long project.  They also knew that if they didn’t start it then nothing would happen.  The crazy thing is that time keeps going on whether or not a project is completed.  When I went back to school to get my Masters degree I knew it might take me 10 years.  I also knew 10 years would happen whether or not I got my degree.  

 

It is fun to see some of the future heartland trail system coming together. Last year I did quite a bit of rollerblading in front of the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, MN.  I was blading on the Heartland Trail.  To the east of Detroit Lakes we have had road construction for the last 2 to 3 weeks.  They are creating a box tunnel that goes under the highway in which bikes and snowmobiles can go through as they are riding the Heartland Trail.  That portion of the trail will extend from Detroit Lakes to Frazee.  Little by little the Heartland Trail is being pieced together.  Eventually, it will run from Cass Lake all the way to Moorhead, Minnesota.  

 

Now, let me ask you what your plans are for your future?  What would you like to accomplish?  What do you want to achieve?  Where would you like to travel?  Create your vision and then start developing your strategic plan by breaking the overwhelming task into manageable pieces. Decide what needs to happen this year and next year and so on. Eventually you can achieve anything you want by staying focused on your plan and doing something, even if it is very small, daily.  If you need help, please let me know.  Time keeps marching on; don’t wait any longer to create the future you want.  Get in touch with me now.  Also post your comments below and if you liked this post, please share it with a friend.

 

19 Jun
Customer Service – My Miserable Customer Service Experience
Posted by lois on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 | permalink | trackback
Lois Greisen Certified Business Coach

Lois Greisen
Certified Business Coach

Today I was shopping at M_____d’s for two items.  I was looking for shop rags and floor dry for my husband’sworkshop.  I walked into the store and went over to the department where tools, nails those sorts of things are sold and asked if they could help me.  They told me that shop rags were in automotive and a very nice lady walked me over to the automotive department where we found one type of shop rag (there were two sizes listed in the sale flyer).  I ask her if the floor dry might be there also.  We could not find the floor dry.  Another fellow came by and he said the floor drive was in by check out lane number three.  There were two types of shop rags and I was looking for the other type so I asked somebody where they might be.  “Shouldn’t they be together?”  He said “No, the other ones are back in the paint supply area”.  Well the painting supplies are on the other end of the store.  I was in the front left corner and paint supplies are in the back right corner.  Well, off I went to find the other shop rags.  I got to painting supplies and they told me they the shop rags were in plumbing.  Plumbing is at the front of the store and paint supplies are at the back.  Next, I headed up to plumbing and I couldn’t find anyone to help me.  I looked and looked and looked and no assistants were there.  I was getting a bit frustrated by this time.  I went to the desk and tried using their phone to call the operator.  No luck, I got a busy signal so obviously that wasn’t working.  Next I found a business card sitting on the desk so I called the general number to the store.  That did not work so I tried dialing nine to get an outside line, but it still didn’t work.  I tried calling just out loud and still no one came.  I thought: “I bet if I tried to rob the store somebody would come”, but I wasn’t willing to resort to that.  Finally, after about 10 minutes I saw somebody stocking shelves at the back of the store.  So I headed over to ask him where the shop rags were.  He said they were by check out aisle number eight.  This time he said he would take me.  By this time, I had gone from the middle of the store to the front left corner where I was directed back to the back right corner and then back up to the front right corner.  It’s a big store. We finally found the shop rags that I was looking for. Shop rags in the cart so I thought I would head over to check out number three and find the floor dry.  No floor dry.  The young man at checkout number four was very helpful.  He came to help me look as well.  He couldn’t find the item either so he went to ask a gal at the front desk.  She said “It’s in automotive.”  I said “No, I looked over there in fact a couple of us looked over there and couldn’t find it.”  She said “Well it must be over there.  Just keep looking.”  When you think about it, that’s hysterical.  But I wasn’t laughing.  It’s kind of like a Bazooka comic I remember from when I was a kid.  It went something like this:  “I lost a nickel so I’m looking for it.”  “Where did you lose it?”  “I lost it over there by that tree.”    “Why are you for it over here?”  “I’m looking over here because the light is better.”  That’s what that gals comment made me think of.  If you can’t find the floor dry in automotive, just go keep looking over there.  (Did she a magic Genie was going to wave a wand and make it appear?)  She didn’t offer to send somebody over to help me.  But, the obedient person that I am, off I went back to automotive and started going up and down the aisles looking.  Shortly I saw another man from another department.   He was helpful and started helping me try to find my floor dry and of course he couldn’t find it either.  He went over and asked another young man where it might be.  This time this young man took me over to where it was in front of checkout aisle 3 near the front wall beyond the checkouts.  

I don’t know if you can gather I was a little frustrated with the whole situation.  (The best part was that I had something to blog about.)  Customer service is so important for any business.  In my run-around, I did meet almost half of the employees that were very helpful.  Unfortunately, I ran into several that were not helpful at all.  And of course the one gal who told me to go continue looking in an area where I couldn’t find what I was looking for is the one that was the most remarkable and stands out the most in my mind. It’s unfortunate that so many employers have substandard people when it comes to customer service. There were a couple of other things I could have bought in that store, but I went to another store and finish up my shopping. 

Does your team do a good job with your customers?  If you think they do, are you sure?  Your team is the face of your business and there is so much competition that if your employees are not treating your customers beyond their expectations, they may just take their business elsewhere.  

I talk about having a strategy for your business and good customer service from the top down should be part of that strategy.  Please contact me if you want to learn more or would like some help.

13 Jun
Strategic Plan – Top Reasons to Develop a Strategic Plan
Posted by lois on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 | permalink | trackback

Many companies don’t have a written strategic plan or theyOrganizational Alignment have an outdated plan.  They just have a general idea of where they want to go.  They are headed in the right direction and probably make progress every year.  So why have a plan if things are going in a positive direction?  I have shared a couple of reasons and here is a fourth.

A fourth reason to develop a strategic plan is that the highest-ranking businesses have a strategic plan and the ones that fail often do not have a strategy.  Is that true across the board?  No, but it is typically true and wouldn’t you want the odds on your side?  I know I would. 

 

In order for your business to be successful, it needs a roadmap to take it where it wants to go.  You need to know where you are now and what results you want for your business in the future (vision).  If I wanted to go to San Antonio, California, I would need to map my plan from Frazee, Minnesota (since that is where I live)…not from New York City. 

 

As you develop your strategic plan you will assess your current strengths and weaknesses internally and look for opportunities and threats externally.  In other words, your SWOT analysis.  That is your starting point.

 

Now you can determine the things you want to achieve in the next year or so that will start to take you to your vision.  Then you can develop the strategy on how to get there.  Now you have a roadmap to success.  You need to be sure your people know about your plan and that they are working toward it and you need to be sure your operations or processes are moving in the same direction as well.  Developing a strategic plan is one thing, implementing and executing the plan must happen or your planning is fruitless.

 

 

 

Make strategic planning a priority in your business.  If you need help, please let me know.  Your return on investment could be the success of your business.

 

 

 

Please post your experiences with strategic planning that you and your company have seen so that others may benefit.  Also, if you liked this post, please share it with a friend and if you have not signed up for my newsletter, please do so.  Take action now.

 

11 Jun
Strategic Plan – Top Reasons to Develop a Strategic Plan
Posted by lois on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 | permalink | trackback

Many companies don’t have a written strategic plan or they Execution Value Gaphave an outdated plan.  They just have a general idea of where they want to go.  They are headed in the right direction and probably make progress every year.  So why have a plan if things are going in a positive direction?  I have shared a couple of reasons and here is a third.

A third reason to develop a strategic plan is that it can help the organization benchmark its results.  Not only can the company benchmark results against itself, but it can also compare itself to other businesses in similar or like industries.  This can be beneficial if a sale of the business is planned.  Prospective buyers can utilize the information when making a decision whether to buy or not.  The seller can utilize the information when valuing the business for sale.  Benchmarking is also helpful when reporting to investors. 

In addition, knowing that progress is being made on the goals being worked on is very rewarding and motivational.  Employees see that they are making a difference and are more motivated to do better and committed and loyal to the company.  Teamwork improves and a positive work culture is generated.  Most people enjoy a challenge and goals set by both the team and the individual are motivational.  As staffs work toward the initiatives of the plan, work is more exciting and enjoyable.  A positive work culture will help the organization attract the best people and pay a competitive wage rather than a premium.    Employees will know where they are headed.

 

A strategic plan is beneficial both financially and emotionally.  It can help improve the profits of the organization and motivate and challenge the employees resulting in a win-win position.

 

 

 

Make strategic planning a priority in your business.  If you need help, please let me know.  Your return on investment will be worth it. Please post other reasons to develop a strategic plan that you and your company have seen so that others may benefit from your experience.  Also, if you liked this post, please share it with a friend.  Take action now.

 

 

05 Jun
Strategic Planning – Top Reasons to Develop a Strategic Plan
Posted by lois on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 | permalink | trackback

Strategic planning can save the organization resources.  The second reason to

"When you say 'I will' with conviction, magic begins to happen." Wally Amos

“When you say ‘I will’ with conviction, magic begins to happen.” Wally Amos

develop a strategic plan is to save the organization resources including time, labor and money (time and labor translate into money).  Saving resources directly impacts the bottom line and isn’t that why companies are in business?  Even non-profits can do more good if they have more money to work with.  When an organization knows where it is going, resources such as time, labor and money etc. will not be directed at projects that are not taking the organization where it needs to go.  It will eliminate the “that didn’t work, let’s try this” mentality where one idea after another is tried until maybe something works or until all the capital is used up and the organization folds.  Even in the organization that something eventually works, a lot of the resources are wasted in the process.  Throwing money into a project and hoping something works is never a good idea.  Strategic planning only makes sense (cents).

If you need help with your strategic plan, please contact me.  Also, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend and “Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eagleassociates?ref=hl.  Take action now. 

 

25 Sep
Are You Doing These 7 Keys to Success? Key Number 2
Posted by lois on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 | permalink | trackback

Develop a plan. Once you know where you are going, you must develop a plan on how to get there.  Your plan is your roadmap.  It will take you from point A to point B.  If you were driving from New York City to San Francisco you would use some sort of a map to get you from one place to the other.  Whether you bought a road map or atlas or you mapped your route on your computer or you use your GPS on your phone or some other device you would have a map or guide to follow.  Without a map you might be zig zagging across the country ending way off course and wasting time and money spent in extra gas, hotel rooms and food.  You might end up going through rush-hour traffic in Chicago or you might go to an event you’d like to see and find that it is closed on a Sunday, the day you arrive.  Having a roadmap makes you much more efficient and saves expense.

That’s why we develop a plan…so that we can save resources…resources such as time, people or man-hours and materials.  Let’s talk about time first.  Have you ever done something without a plan such as remodeling of room where you ended up putting the carpeting down and realized later that you hadn’t painted the ceiling yet?  Now you have to waste time covering the new carpeting so you don’t get paint all over it.  Your thought probably was “What a waste of time!”  And you were right.  A plan would have saved you the lost time.

Next let’s talk about people.  You’ve seen or may have worked in a company where a project was initiated and yet not fully planned.  A team of people or even one individual may have worked on the project only to have the project dropped before completion to start another project.  Think of the man-hours lost…another lost resource.

We could use the same scenario when it comes to materials, but let’s look at another one too.  Have you ever been working on a project where you didn’t quite know what you were doing… you hadn’t planned it out first.  We did something like that when we were replacing our soffits on our house.  We bought the material and we cut the pieces of fraction of an inch too short.  The pieces went in and we thought everything was fine because they looked great.  On the first windstorm they blew out.  All that material was wasted.  Companies can waste hundreds of thousands of dollars in materials for poorly planned projects.

You know that the failure rate for new companies is very high.  I’ve seen figures around 85% failures in the first year.  One reason is they don’t invest in developing a strategic plan because it is an added expense.  They zig one way and they zag another way using all three resources; time, people and materials until they’re all out of money and they close their doors.

So the second key to success is to develop a plan.  Watch for key number 3 and contact me if you need help now.

22 May
Three Rules of Strategic Planning – Rule Number 3
Posted by lois on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 | permalink | trackback

Rule number 3 – Know your environment and your competition.  If you were the coach of a football team you might send scouts out to observe other teams to get an idea of how you could optimize your team in future games.  The same thing applies in your strategic planning process.  In your external assessment you are looking for opportunities and threats.  When looking externally at opportunities, you might learn of a new product need for future development.  Maybe there is a regulation change that makes your product even more called for or with minor changes, one of your current products will fulfill the requirements of the new regulation.  Another example might be that you have a local business providing a product or service for an aging population and you learn that a huge private gated community for the 60 plus age group is being built in your area.

When looking at external threats, you might learn of a new competitor moving in next door.  Other external areas to analyze include your client’s environment (is your product or service a current trend starting to disappear?), the political environment (will future leaders impact new regulations that might affect your business?), technological environment (will your current technology mesh with your stakeholder’s environment?), and your customer segments (maybe your best customers are retiring and moving away).

Remember rule number 3 – “Know your environment and your competition” in your strategic planning process.

15 May
Three Rules of Strategic Planning – Rule Number 2
Posted by lois on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 | permalink | trackback

Rule number 2 – Know where you are now.  If you are planning a trip to Dallas, Texas and you are currently in Fargo, North Dakota, you would not start planning from Seattle, Washington.  When developing your strategic plan, you need assess your company to determine what your strengths are so that you can capitalize on them in the future.  What are you really good at?  Are you utilizing your strengths to their maximum potential or is there more you can do?  Also keep in mind that what you are good at might be coming to the end of its life cycle.  Be aware of that and be ready to transition at the right time if that is the case.  An example is Kodak transitioning from film to the digital age.  They were slow in incorporating the new technology and filed for bankruptcy in January 2012.  They were not the first company to falter due to changing technology.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Plan your continued success.

Knowing where you are now also means knowing what your weaknesses are so that you can minimize them.  Do you have untrained staffs?  How is the internal culture?  Does your management team need development?  Are you structured properly?  Is your technology getting outdated?  Are you outgrowing your space?  Are you marketing to your best advantage?  These are just some of the questions you should be asking.  In this part of the planning process you want to uncover anything that might jump out at you in the future as you are implementing your plan that might block your way.  You won’t be able to eliminate all obstacles, but you can plan through many.  Remember rule number two – Know where you are now.