Welcome to 2016. I trust you finished the year strong, and had a great Christmas and New Year's celebration. HTG finished an amazing 2015, and as we held our last "all hands" meeting of the year last Tuesday, we went around the team and had each share a highlight or two from the year past. My first observation was that 14 of the 20 of us in the meeting were remote, which in itself is quite a technological feat. We don't live isolated any longer. HTG has become a much dispersed team of amazingly talented folks, and I'm proud of the people that choose to serve on this team every day.
It's a lot of hard work, with hundreds of weeks of travel collectively across the team, and hundreds of meetings executed and thousands of people touched, but as we shared our highlights it was obvious that the result of all that hard never ending work is worth it. The stories were about impact on people's lives, not EBITDA created or numbers achieved. That happened too, but
what matters to the HTG team, and ultimately to each of you, is the life changing impact of our team, your peers and the vendors we work with. That is the heart of HTG, and there is a lot more where that came from for 2016.
Investments in Planning
One of our biggest investments this past year has been to go all in with the
located in Colorado. They have a couple products we've had six of our team trained in thus far, with more scheduled this year.
(for business) and
(for individuals) are tools that exceed the potential of any tools I've ever seen. My training has been in the LifePlan area, and while my experience is not measured in hundreds of people, I know facilitators who have that resume and they validate what I've seen with the handful I've had the opportunity to be part of thus far.
These tools work. They truly are a collection of well-designed and intentionally tied tools that lead people to find the answers to their own strategic future simply by following the process.
That's the beauty from my perspective.
I've done dozens of SWOTS, GE Workouts, Microsoft Accelerates, and a host of other planning methodologies over my thirty plus years. In every other instance, a successful outcome boils down to the ability of the facilitator to read between the lines and lead the planning group to the right outcomes. A facilitator that can read the perceptive and understand the discussion could usually provide a strong result. One that wasn't as tuned in or misread the interaction could quickly put together a plan that led a company into the ditch.
The Paterson process does not depend on the facilitator for that magic, but
leverages them as a guide who leads a disciplined walk through the process that causes the individual or group to discover their own answers in a way that is obvious and clear. There is less of a role of a consultant tasked with defining the result, and more that of a coach helping people dig deep and discover truth.
Four Plans Become a Planning System
We were privileged to have David Mitchell, president of the Paterson Center, on the farm just before Christmas for a couple days. The HTG leadership team brainstormed with David about ways to incorporate some of the power of these tools into the HTG framework. I talked at
HTGALL in Orlando
about our move from four plans to a common planning system. StratOp and LifePlan are the initial part of that transition.
You'll begin to see elements of these tools come into your peer group rooms throughout 2016. We'll be training facilitators to leverage them as we shift from the traditional QBR to a more dashboard-focused approach where we identify the key KPIs or objectives and have a tool that keeps those things front and center not only in our meeting, but when we return to our offices and homes. Planning and operationalizing your plans will move from the periphery of our focus (where it has been for some of you the entire HTG experience) to the center. Peer accountability will help us be sure we drive results from the planning.
If we plan the work, and work the plan, the plan will work. That is what we'll be doing throughout 2016 and 2017.
We are aware that there are many effective planning systems available and in use today by HTG companies. The intent is not to force a change, but rather to provide a better planning experience for those who have not made any investment. We will also encourage everyone utilizing Gazelles, EOS, Rhythm, or any other, to leverage their current system to its potential. We have chosen the Paterson Center because they share our heart and vision for making a difference for people and because we believe that the incorporation of perspective into their processes adds a component that no other system does as effectively.
Transitioning to Disciplined Simplicity
Part of our ability to be successful with this transition will be the discipline to get rid of some things we have been doing for many years in order to focus on the things we should be doing for the next few years. In order to continue to mature as individuals, companies, and groups, we have to change. It is a simple fact of life.
"When you're finished changing,
- Benjamin Franklin
We can't just add more to our plate. We have to identify the things that should remain, and clear our time of those things that are no longer as important to achieve our desired growth. We have to manage our capacity and resources. It's what growing up looks like, and we're all on that journey as leaders. We'll replace some of the past with the things of the future and adjust our meetings and facilitation to drive new value along the path to maturity.
The focus of our Leadership Academy in 2016 will be on simplifying our lives and organizations.
We have to declutter and get rid of 'good' things to make room for 'better' things. Ultimately we're on the path to provide the 'best' of what you need to become mature and successful as you define it. But we've got a ways to go, and we're making the changes internally to put us in position to serve you well as we move toward that end result.
Excitement for 2016
I realize that those of you in Europe and ANZ feel a bit disconnected from the things we have started here. It's coming across the pond this year, so please be patient. Things never go as quickly or as broadly as most of us would like, so I ask for your grace as we make these major adjustments in our framework and move toward a program based on deep and powerful systems that will change your legacy, life, leadership and business. And as we take you there, over a period of years, the goal will be to not only instill and install these for you, but for all those in your patch that you lead and serve.
That's the vision. It's the course we started a few years ago and sped up in 2015. The team is mostly in place on the HTG side. Our partnerships are close to being ready. We have the best vendors and MSP/Solution Providers on the planet. We are poised to make the biggest splash in the history of the channel. It has the potential to be a tsunami of people that make maturity, growth and planning their focus so we can execute and take the marketplace by storm together. This is about using powerful systems to change lives and drive businesses to new heights. I hope you're ready for the journey. There will be bumps. There will be frustration that things are not moving as fast as you'd like. There is a lot of piloting and testing to be done, but we're moving as fast as we can and I've never been more excited about the impact I believe we'll have collectively on our patches as we bring this to reality!
Happy New Year! May it be a blessed and prosperous year as we grow and succeed together. That said, the last month has seen a host of significant disaster events that are worthy of mention here. While we are unaware of any direct impact on HTG member companies, there certainly has been major destruction and damage in a number of markets served by the HTG family. Hands That Give is all about being prepared to help when these disasters - floods, fire, tornados, snow storms, ice, and on the list can go - impact one of our members.
If you aren't a Hands That Give member, I can't encourage you enough to make getting involved the first step of 2016.
We all fall prey to the lie that 'it will never happen to me'. But every year, there are tens of thousands of examples of people that believed that and found out it just wasn't true. HTG responded to a half dozen events in 2015, down a bit from prior years, but still a very important support net for those who needed assistance.
Don't miss the opportunity to be a Go Giver as part of Hands That Give. It isn't just about receiving help. An even bigger thing relates to helping provide that support when someone raises their hand. Don't wait, do it today!
Make it a great start to the New Year. I am excited to see you in Phoenix and hear how your 2015 ended! Be blessed!