‛Hey, Skinny! Yer Ribs Are Showing!′


An e-mail blast from one of the sites I monitor caught my attention … Master the Art of Magnetism … “Always wanted Bill Clinton-like charisma, but thought you had to be born with it? Practice these three skills, and you just might surprise yourself.”

Guess what … I went ahead and read more. The article presented a concept that people like Bill Clinton have or emit a “Reality Distortion Field (RTD)” … an “aura of charisma, confidence, and persuasion, in which people report it almost impossible to avoid surrendering to the man and following his will when interacting face-to-face.” What is this? I need strategies that work. I’m trying to help companies prepare for 2015 and beyond. What’s needed to achieve just about any goal is a plan – not a thing called a Reality Distortion Field.

I’m old enough to remember Charles Atlas and the ads where the skinny guy had sand kicked in his face by the beach bully. The rest of this sand-in-your-face story was straightforward … the skinny guy establishes a plan, works his plan, measures his plan progress and makes the changes necessary to address the beach bully. It’s not warm and fuzzy; it’s no RTD. It’s not aura or charisma. It’s having and working a plan.

What’s your Beach Bully Business Plan for 2015? Here is my recommended list of questions that you should contemplate in your business planning initiatives:

  1. What are the Top 3 Risks that we could encounter in 2015?
  2. Are we properly positioned in the market to achieve our growth projections?
  3. Do we know our costs and how they impact our economic engine?
  4. Where are we on the Business Innovation Curve?
  5. Do we have a Business Continuity strategy to address more than just data?
  6. How far behind the technology utilization curve are we?
  7. What’s our plan to strengthen our supplier base and our customer relationships?
  8. Do we have solid Web and mobile communication strategies?
  9. If Cash is King, do we have enough in reserve to survive bumps in the road?
  10. What are the Early Warning Indicators that will inform us of pending issues?

Before you launch into developing a 100 page comprehensive business plan, I recommend you take the above questions and ask your management team for their inputs. What I recommend is that you put each question on a single sheet of paper and ask your management team to provide their specific recommendations on how your business should address the question.

Once the team has completed this initial step, conduct a brainstorming work session to prioritize or rank the questions based on the impact this issue could have on your company.

Select the top three prioritized “opportunities” and make a first pass at adding the detail of who, what, when, where, how, resources needed, projected costs to implement, etc. With this step completed, assign a champion and support team for each opportunity. Set specific target dates and action steps for each team (that could be only one or two people) to complete a more thorough analysis of what will be done to achieve the expected results. Conduct focused, bi-weekly review meetings (I suggest lunch meetings where the company buys) to review the status and to identify any issues that are holding up progress. I recommend spending no more than 15 minutes per opportunity. These meetings are to keep the program on track and to identify areas where additional assistance or resources may be needed; these are not detailed problem solving work sessions. The team does that work.

The typical end result is that your team will accomplish 85 percent of what was assigned. Don’t pile on more. Take the improvements and make your company better prepared and more profitable for 2015. In the normal business world, you can always ask for and receive 10 percent additional energy from your management team over a designated time frame. After all, I just looked outside the window and fall is rapidly approaching. Soon there will no more golf, canoeing, softball, etc. to interfere.

I have developed several forms that can assist you and your team. Let me know and I’ll send them to you.


Alan Lund is a Managing Partner at CORE Business Management Solutions. Alan holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from the International University of Entreprenology.  Alan can be reached alanlund@Corebms.com


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