Your 2019 Strategy and Goals: Why the High Gears of Leadership Become the Crying Tears of the Company

Isn’t it exciting? Planning for the new year and how your business will fly! Ideas flow, numbers crunch, there’s a battle for selection and then…BAM! The 2019 goals and strategy emerge from the womb of the leadership team like a glistening new baby whose cry sounds like pure joy and happiness.

But then, January shows up with a huge frown and that baby’s cute cry turns out to be colic. Why? Because you realize the people responsible for execution don’t fully understand the value of your strategy and goals. Nor do they understand the value they bring to the table personally or departmentally. This is so common and is why the high gears of leadership become the crying tears of the company; there is misalignment which puts the year at risk. Some would say, “Wait Al, my folks know what to do to make this happen. They know their roles!” – Sorry, that’s not enough. People need to know more than “what to do.” The managers and employees who will do the heavy lifting need to more deeply understand the value and impact of the strategy and goals as well as the value and impact they personally provide to them. They also need to be able to communicate and connect with leaders around that value and impact. Only then can you truly align your organization horizontally and vertically.

At ValueMapping™, we live in this world everyday. This “value alignment” challenge exists in organizations across every business and non-profit landscape, regardless of size and scale. Fear not however, there is a path to shed the crying tears and shift back into high gear for 2019 quickly and efficiently.

Ask The Right Questions Right Now – The ValueEquation™
This does not have to be complicated, nor should it be. First sit down again with your leaders one on one (saves potential ego bruising) and ask them:

  • Word of Value: What one word most clearly defines the value of each of these goals/strategies?
  • Why: Why did you choose that word?
  • Impact: What will be the impact of that word to your teams, our customers and our company?

These questions force them to narrow their thoughts to more clearly focus on what matters – the relationship between value and impact. This creates a very efficient way for you to clarify their understanding of your vision or to determine if you are not in sync. Check out the video below for an example. The ValueEquation provides an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and wipes away assumptions. Its simplicity and directness works for any type of goal or strategy in any business, non profit or government sector.


Scaling Organizationally
Once you’ve had this dialogue with your leadership, have them ask the same questions of their management and staff and cascade down. This is the core of where all the hard work will be done. Look for key indicators of misalignment:

  • The why behind the Word of Value is not clear or is out of sync with the desired direction
  • The Impact is unclear, unrealistic or unknown
  • There is heavy disagreement

That’s not to say the words don’t have to be the same, that’s unrealistic. However the why and impact have to have some common ground. They inform the intent which is where the truth lies. If the people charged with executing your strategy and goals are disconnected or don’t understand the value of those goals and strategy, all your efforts are at risk. Departments and teams must understand and be able to communicate the value of their work functionally and cross-functionally otherwise risk silos, redundancy and potentially, failure.

Keeping Your Direction in High Gear
A ValueEquation looks at a single moment in time. As such, it is important to revisit the alignment of your goals and strategy. Make time to regularly check in and ask these questions. Don’t leave anything to assumption, especially if the goals and strategy changes which occurs so often. If you want to ensure your organization is walking step in step to achieve the business outcomes you’re investing in, then make time for meaningful dialogue by focusing on value expressed through impact.

3 Risks of Not Knowing Your Value and What You Can Do About It

Last week, I posted on my Thursday Thoughts ValueMapping™ Video Blog about Value at Risk. Since then I’ve had some great dialogue on the topic so I thought I would expand here while offering some solutions.

“What’s your value?” That’s a pretty heavy question isn’t it? Let me be more specific: What’s your individual value to your customer? What’s your individual value to your company? What’s your company’s value to your community? What’s your company’s value to its employees? What’s your company’s value to its customers?

If you are a leader, executive or entrepreneur and you haven’t asked these questions, why not? If you are a leader, executive or entrepreneur and you have asked any or all of these questions but not dedicated time to find your answers, why not? Because guess what; your employees and customers have and they expect and are demanding an answer! So what’s the hold up? A newly appointed CEO once told me jokingly (but she was totally and nervously serious), “How the hell can I sell value when our own people wouldn’t know it if it hit them in the face?”

If your head has just blown off your shoulders, you’re offended or slightly frustrated; I am sorry…but good! After more than 700 engagements with dozens of companies, employees, leaders and organizations, here’s 180 seconds of content which I’ve found to be “value motivators.” 

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A Lesson In Value From First Responders

2017 has been anything but quiet for natural disasters. We have had hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, floods and most recently;  the strong Santa Ana winds blowing over southern California creating the third largest disastrous wildfire on record. More than 200,000 acres of land have been burned, over 8,000 firefighters with heavy equipment and helicopters are doing whatever it takes to keep growing the percentage of fires contained in the area; and still, only 35% of the wildfires are contained.

During this time, we marvel at the courage, strength, dedication and commitment of First Responders and those who support them. Firefighters, local police and paramedics are risking their lives working around the clock and through the night to help save families and evacuate people from the raging fires that are rapidly spreading and destroying everything in their path. Their impact is evident as lives are saved, homes secured, people and animals are transported to safety. When people ask these men and women what they do and they say “I’m a fireman,” “I’m a first responder,” or “I’m a paramedic,” we are grateful and express our thanks for their bravery, efforts, contributions and heroic acts.

All of this led me to think about the everyday heroes who we work with, sit next to in our community and meet in business. What do they say when they are asked, “What do you do?” and how do we respond when they say, “I’m a lawyer,” “I’m a garbage man,” “I’m an electrician,” or “I’m a secretary?” We often do not get to see or take time to think about their impact and we likely don’t consider them heroes. Why not? 

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Your Value: Trick or Treat

It’s Halloween and that means costumes, candy and spooky things. Which got me thinking, that sounds a lot like the concept of “value.” Now, you may be asking, “what in Hellraiser’s name are you talking about Al?” Bear with me for a moment and allow me to indulge you in some treats with real impact.

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The Value Of Our Labor

Regardless of whether we work or not on Labor Day, the September holiday remains a significant cultural passing of the baton from summer to fall. As millions of Americans enjoy the day today free from the constraints of the time clock, we value the time with family, relaxation, great food, amazing sights we see. For those working on the clock, perhaps they value the increased business growth, exposure and opportunity. This drove me to consider the “value” we all share on this day as well as the 364 other days of the year.

According to the U.S.Department of Labor, the Labor Day holiday is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Labor Day is a “yearly national tribute” to the “contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”

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How to Communicate your Value to Grow your Business


Let me ask you 2 questions.
My first one: What is your value?
And my second one: What are your values?
Were you able to answer these quite quickly because you had already done the reflection or you had no words?
Well, here is some help for you.
This episode.

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Amazon: The Undisputed King of Value

$1 Billion in sales in one day! That’s what it is estimated that Amazon did during their Amazon Prime Day recently. But how is this possible for a company which just over 20 years ago was not on anyone’s radar except for avid readers intrigued by the ability to buy books online? The answer…VALUE!

Amazon understands that true Value is not just about the “what” and “how” you buy, but the “impact” of the what and how.

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One Battle VC’s and Start-ups Have to Win to Survive!

Values Versus Value

It can be an exciting and exhilarating time. Imagine how it must feel to be a confident entrepreneur armed with your ambition and a venture backed war chest. Rules be damned, it’s time to change the world.

…and this is a good thing, until of course, it’s not.

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The One Question That Could Ignite Your Company’s Future

One question can make the difference in the direction of your company. The answer to that question can be a powerful pivot point for your value story.

The one question? What is the one word that you feel best defines your value?

The answer could describe an individual’s value, a product’s value or the entire company’s value. Sometimes the answer comes easily, and other times people really struggle with it. It is a riveting process to see.

Why do we start out with this question? It’s like the science of distillation—a refining process that collects the pure essence of a substance. The challenge to come up with one word prompts people to focus their thoughts about what makes them, their product—or their organization—special.

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Challenge Your Assumptions and Gain a Deeper Understanding of Your Value

When we challenge our assumptions about our value, we can see ourselves in a whole new light. This perspective shift can be powerful.

During a recent customer engagement, I had a conversation with an employee in the company’s housekeeping department. “What one word describes your value?” I began. His answer? “Trash.” Uh Oh. I didn’t know if he thought he was trash, his company was trash or his life was trash. After our Value Mapping session, which takes people through a quick but very deep self-reflective process, his outlook changed.

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