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Members At The Center! – The Journey To The Consumer

The Story…

This past week was a fantastic week for the Nason Group and one of our partners, Health Partners Plans. Just over three months ago, a group of Consumer Experience Pioneers embarked on a journey to improve member communication for their organization. After six iterations and many healthy discussions of the “how might we” statement, the group moved forward with this focus: “How might we optimize, streamline and humanize communications for care managed Medicaid members with diabetes.

Let’s take a step back and look at the process this group of pioneers navigated. We created a 12-week process that is broken-up into six two-week sprints (if you would like to learn more about the sprint process, please reach out to us).

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This was the first time our partners had run a project like this within their organization, and the results were phenomenal, as you can see below:

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These pioneers worked hard to bring the four prototypes to life. This is where the story continues. We were honored to watch the team present each of these prototypes to the CEO and other key leaders within the organization – it was awesome. It was a very “proud papa” moment for me as I witnessed all of their hard work come to life. They are all ROCK STARS and it was a monumental moment for the organization. Be on the look out for the report out on their next project.

What We Learned And What You Can Learn…

Collectively, we all experienced transformational “learning” during this process. These learnings have become a pivotal part of who we, as Nason Group, will become in the future.

Many times in the consumer experience industry you will find a “know it all” attitude around the correct approach to the consumer experience. This is something we have come face to face within this journey with our partner. We, the Nason Group, arrived on the scene with our initial analysis in hand and proceeded to inform the organization of the issues with their consumer experience process – along with confidently providing them with a list of steps to take to fix this issues. As you might expect, this approach was not entirely successful.

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Throughout this journey, we learned – willingly and sometimes unwillingly – that consumer solutions are often organic. They must be allowed to evolve and transform within each unique experience. Our partners at HPP pushed us to think differently and to adjust our process to better meet the client where they stand. We listened to our consumer and we learned! 

What We Can Do And What You Can Do…

I have explained what we did and what we learned! We took time, built an open relationship with our client and most importantly, truly partnered with our client on their journey to the consumer.

So what, Shawn? The so what is what you can do:  LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN!

Take the time to listen to your customers or consumers openly and honestly so that you garner an authentic understanding of their challenges, experiences, and needs. Do not approach any situation believing you know exactly what to do for your client, customer or consumer. This learning experience has been awesome for me and our group! Not always easy, but truly transformational!


 

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What I Thought I Knew – I Learned At “The Network!”

The Story…

This past week Steve and I traveled to Boston to attend the inaugural Innovation Leader event, The Network! There were 50 innovators and disruptors from all industries and IMG_8304walks of life. Now, let me be perfectly honest – most in the room were at one-time involved in corporate innovation and frankly got sick of all the red tape and bureaucracy.

Additionally, many of us in the room are in some type of consultant role. I wasn’t sure what to expect – but it turned out to be AWESOME! We met some incredibly cool people and made new friends that in the future, I know we will turn to for their rich knowledge and expert skills.

One of those crazy people was Toni Newman. Toni is a ROCK STAR who is passionate about the architecture and dynamics of consumer experience. I love Toni’s favorite saying, Why Not!

This story is just one of the many that we heard during the day. I look forward to getting together again. Thank you Innovation Leader!

What We Learned And What You Can Learn…

Innovation Failure 97% of Executives or CEO’s are unhappy with their innovation work in Corporate America. The discussions in the room that day were rich – so many execs present had experienced failure and felt unhappy. The interesting thing is that FAILURE is at the heart of Innovation. It’s what you do with it that makes the difference in attitude and value. Unfortunately, many of these teams are just doing innovation for innovation sake, instead of tying it to their business goals.

Just recently, I read a blog from Phil McKinney,  The CEO Innovation Dilemma. Phil states, that 97% of CEO’s say innovation is important, 73% agree it’s important in their organization, but only 35% are confident their organization can do it. So, what do we do?

Storytelling – What is your desired ending? What is your controlling idea? How Can I Build Empathy? What FullSizeRenderIs My Innovation Story?

Think about these three things

  • Act One: What is the Challenge?
  • Act Two: What is the Struggle?
  • Act Three: What Changed In The World?

Each of us in this space have a story that connects us to our consumers. Some of them good, some of them not so good. But the bottom-line is that we all have a narrative around our journey and our experiences. Learn how to share your story. People and/or consumers respond with richer engagement and loyalty when they can connect to who you are.

Landscape Scan – At the end of the day at THE NETWORK, we did an exercise to examine the Innovation Landscape, which was led by Dave Rutley and his team from Collective Next. We started with 2017 and looked back 10+ years and forward 10+ years. It was a powerful exercise witnessing the think tank in the room. Here are a couple of quick highlights the group came up with:

  • Thought Leadership – The people and influencers we currently look to are shifting, yet we still depend a great deal on the founding leaders of this movement.
  • Methodologies – These come and go, but what doesn’t change is there is always a consumer!
  • Landscape – Things are moving so fast in the world today that we as innovators are challenged to keep up more than ever before.

What We Can Do And What You Can Do…

This is pretty simple! Keep learning! Keep partnering! Keep exploring! As I stated above, the world is changing at an incredible pace – you must stay ahead of challenges and obstacles so you can continue to INNOVATE! 

Take 15 minutes this week. Get out and do something new and different. Challenge yourself to get out of the norm!


 

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If You Build It, They WON’T Come Willingly! Building A Consumer-Centered Innovation Mindset & Culture!

The Story

If you have worked in innovation or consumer experience for any length of time, you have more than likely made the same mistake so many of us have. You have a brilliant idea that you believe will shift the strategic direction of an organization. You envision being able to transform the culture or alter their mindset.  And then it happens, you FAIL!

This happens every day for so many people that choose to work in this space. Elon Musk says, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” I remember when I first became Chief Innovation Officer in an organization that was not ready to innovate or move as fast as I wanted. I constantly felt like I was fighting an uphill battle.

The Mindset Was Old And Not Ready To Move!

The Culture Was Just As Old, And No One Was Ready For Change!

The Leadership Had No Desire To Push The Boundaries! 

What I Learned

You can’t make an organization change it’s mindset or culture until you get all the leadership on the same page. Once you have leadership aligned with you and moving in the right direction, then you can begin to shift mindset and culture.

“Eliminate The Mindset of Can’t! Because You Can Do Anything!” ~ Toney Horton

Additionally, I have learned over the years that some organizations will never be ready to innovate and you just have to move on.

What I Did

Over the years, I have learned that the Power Of Yes is the best way to get people to buy-in to a consumer-centered innovation process. Just recently, I began to read a book called, Play Bigger. This has changed my mindset about innovation. No longer am I looking at competitors and what they are doing. Now, I am looking at what I can do different that makes me unique in this space.

What You Can Do

Surround yourself with people that advocate taking the risk and pushing the boundaries. Take the first steps to influence leadership, transform culture, and develop a new mindset. A colleague and I will be digging into these three fundamental principles and much more during our workshop on Monday, June 11th.

We look forward to hearing your stories on building consumer-centered innovation within your organization.

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The Power Of A Premium Consumer Experience

All of us have experienced it from time to time – the Power Of A Premium Consumer Experience!  Whether it is on the phone or in person, you leave that experience feeling special.

The Story…

Recently our team began working with one of our partners to lay the foundation
for this type of premium experience for their members. Two of the foundational UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2748tools we use is ethnographic research and empathy mapping. During this process, we did live interviews, made phone calls, and created “How Might We” statements. Two of the test phone calls were to healthcare companies, and one to a service based company.

Let me say this, two of those experiences were anything but premium, and one did not let us down at all. They provided fantastic service. Now I know, you want to know the names of those companies – but I am not going to reveal them on this blog. With that said, you can probably guess which ones were which, but I will tell you, both of our calls within the healthcare industry were not only dissatisfactory but overall, unhelpful. The one in the service industry went above and beyond to not only meet our needs but exceed them.

What We Learned…

I have stated over and over again, that there is so much to learn from organizations that are service based and built around the needs of the consumer. Recently, I read an article on the 5 publixCompanies With Envy-Worthy Customer Experience. The companies are Zappos, Publix, Southwest Airlines, USAA, and Nordstrom’s. I have had personal experience with four of them, and they each focus on the consumer first on the consumer above anything else. I want to share a bit of my experience with Publix. For those of you who do not know Publix, they are a grocery store. I no longer live where there is a Publix, and miss it every day. When we travel back to where we can find one, we make it a point to shop there. Why? Because they lived by the three principles we live by here at the Nason Group.

I want to share a bit of my experience with Publix. For those of you who do not know Publix, they are a grocery store. I no longer live where there is a Publix and miss it every day. When we travel back to where we can find one, we make it a point to shop there. Why? Because they lived by the three principles we live by here at the Nason Group. They KNEW US, SURPRISED US, AND MADE IT EASY FOR US to shop there. Whether it is knowing our name or our tastes – they consistently meet our needs and make us feel like we were #1!

What We Can Do…

The Power Of A Premium Consumer Experience has no price tag to it. As the Nason Group works with partners we cannot stress this enough. Our value proposition to organizations is that we MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AT! Invest up front to meet your consumer where they are at and it will not only bring loyalty but ultimately revenue and profits to your business. We will continue to live by this motto and encourage every one of our partners to do the same.

What You Can Do…

Take 30 minutes this week and go spend time with your consumer. Ask them 3 simple questions.

  1. What do you like about our product or service?
  2. What is one thing you would change about our product or service?
  3. How can we get to know you better?
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And So It Begins…The Journey To The Consumer!

The Story…

It’s 8:30 in the morning, the room is set, and there are two crazy facilitators at the front of the room. You look at the walls and there are “How Might We…” maps, Journey Maps, a Business Model Canvas, and tons of markers and post-its all over the tables.

Some of you will remember the first time you walked into a room set-up like that. You might have felt uneasy! Perhaps you were even a bit afraid! Some of you may have felt strong resistance and thought to yourself,  “No Way, I’m not doing this!”

Well, this scene was no different. One by one they entered the room – not really sure what was about to take place, but willing to give it a try! The facilitators joined all 10 of their key stakeholders at the table – we were all ready to go! And so it begins (dun-dun-dundun) – The Journey To The Consumer!

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This was the dynamic scene that our team was honored to facilitate this week. We are working with an empathy-driven partner as they begin to peel back the layers to build a stronger relationship with their members.

We met two of the executives from this organization in July of last year where they heard Shawn speak about Breaking The Rules! These executives were excited, intrigued, and ready to take on this amazing opportunity. And so, the journey began this week. You will hear more about their experience over the next 10 – 12 weeks: What we learned! What we failed at! But most important, how we impacted the lives of their members!

What We Learned…

Over the past several years, in many different organizations, our team has led events just like this – and each and every time, we all learn something new. What I love the most is at the end of every day we ask that question, “What Did You Learn?” Here are some of the answers we heard the last two days:

  • No better time than now… Gotta do it right!
  • Now’s the time, we are a fresh pair of eyes!
  • Energized!
  • Having this conversation is critical!
  • Grateful!

These are very powerful words for each of us to hear. We at the Nason Group learned this week, that the group we are working with have heart, have passion, and possess a sincere desire to put the member first! The challenge before this team may be big, but we absolutely believe they can do it!

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What We Will Do…

It is simple! We will stand with and support this team on their journey. We will help guide, direct, and, point them in directions that lead them straight to the consumer. The journey to the consumer is not always easy, but it is always the right way to go. We are also committed to helping this organization with the tools and knowledge to move this work forward long after we are out of there.

What You Can Do…

Very simple! Take the first steps to begin this journey in your organization or business. If you know someone that can help you with it great. Find them and ask for their help. If not, reach out to us at the Nason Group! We partner with you and help you meet the needs of your consumer! One piece of advice, don’t be afraid to start the journey! There is no better time than now!

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Innovation Is Not Work! Innovation Is A Lifestyle!

What I Was Doing…

This week, as I turned a year older I realized something. In the past year, I have grown ten years wiser! I asked myself why I felt this way. Was it because of something that took place in my personal life? Was it the result of something that happened to me professionally? Could it have just been life itself? The answer is YES – to all of the above!!

 It was exactly one year ago this week that I walked into a new job with one of the best people I have had the pleasure to know in my life. We had an enormous challenge before us – but we never doubted our ability to get the job done. We met and worked with talented, dynamic and compassionate individuals. In the course of that experience, so many lives and an incredible business were transformed.

One of the things that made this experience so exciting for me was that my leader, my friend, trusted me and allowed me to move in a direction that I had always wanted to go. We were able to focus on transforming a culture and a business model. But the coolest part was witnessing the people transform and take flight – how innovation became part of their creative DNA.

Over the past year, I have learned more about who I am and what I want to do. Most importantly, I know what I do not want to do. I have learned the type of leaders I like to be around, and the kind of teams I like to be a part of – ones with:

Passion!innovation-isnt-work

Drive!

Intensity!

The Spirit To Learn!

The Spirit To Fail!

The Spirit to Live Life Fully!

I witnessed people achieve what they did not imagine they could achieve. I saw them take flight when they did not believe they even knew how to fly. Together, we built a model of innovation that allowed us to not only do it as a job, but to live it, breath it, and have fun with it.

What I Learned…

I want to focus on my learnings on how we measure success in innovation and the impact it has on teams. Just recently I stumbled across another innovator, Adam Malofsky , who has written on the subject of innovation as a lifestyle. The cool thing is that he lives close to me. In his article, Innovation is a lifestyle, not a bunch of metrics,  Adam shared an article in Forbes about innovation metrics. The industry is caught up on ROI (Return On Investment) but not on ROI (Return On Innovation). The metrics around these two ROI’s are very different. Return on investment is all about the money. Return on Innovation is all about the people, the process, what you have learned, and sometimes about the money. 

Now do not get me wrong. I started my journey as a corporate finance person. I understand the impacts to the bottom line or the top line. However, in innovation, this cannot be the primary focus – or you put shackles and chains on the innovators within your organization.

I see innovation as a lifestyle. If you’re not doing it 100% of the time, as a part of your body and soul, it’s hard to be truly innovative.”  ~ Adam Malofsky

Yes, and Amen! When you are a leader of innovation, you have to provide space for people to breathe, for them to explore what change looks and feels like. I use to believe that everyone could be an innovator. Here is what I believe now: Everyone has the ability to learn the process of innovation, but not everyone is an innovator at heart!

What I Will Do…

Over the next year, I am going to focus on living out Innovation as a Lifestyle! I will not focus solely on the business or the situation, but rather on the why we are doing what we are doing. As a leader, I am going to unleash the power of yes in innovation by equipping my team and my client’s teams to envision and do things they may not believe possible.

In his post, Adam went on to say, “Innovation is not a program. It’s a life-long enterprise. It’s a lifestyle.” I could not agree more with him. Innovation has changed my life; it drives who I am today as a man, father, husband, and businessman.

What You Can Do…

If you are an innovator – a person that believes wholeheartedly that innovation is a lifestyle – I encourage you to take time this week to focus and declutter the obstacles in your life or work that are preventing you from living an innovation driven life. I know, it may not be easy, but get back to the things you love. Do what you do best!

Remember, Innovation is not work – Innovation is a lifestyle!

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I would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in INNOVATION in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story.

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VIDEO BLOG: “Run Forrest Run!” – Running Ahead Of Your Bullies

What I Was Doing…

We all remember the scene in the movie, Forrest Gump, where Jenny and Forrest were walking down the dirt road and three bullies began throwing rocks at Forrest. At first, Forrest did not know what to do. Then Jenny looked at him and said, “Run Forrest Run!”

When Forrest began to run, it was not pretty. As a matter of fact, it was downright pitiful. He was running down that dirt road in braces with nowhere to go. But he did not give up. He kept running as fast as he could to get away from the bullies. Before you know it, the braces started to break and fall off – much like shackles being removed from a prisoner. FORREST WAS FREE! 

He could not only run, but he could run fast – and he outran the bullies – becoming stronger in the process!

What I Learned…

The moral of that scene is much like many of our experiences in the world of innovation. We find ourselves faced with bullies – sometimes from the outside – but many times from within our walls. People are often afraid of the unknown. They fear that they might mess-up or worse, they might fail.

Recently I was asked about running ahead – and if there were anything I would do differently in my approach to innovation within the two industries – healthcare and higher education – that need INNOVATION. Here is my response:

What I Will Do

As a man, father, husband, and leader, I have made a conscious and challenging choice – to let people run!  As I was preparing for this week’s blog post, I came across a page on LifeHack.org entitled, Run, Forest, Run! 16 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump. As I read through it, I found that many of the points highlighted need to be part of our innovation toolkit. Here are the six I believe are key:

  • Don’t Be Afraid To Be Honest – If we are willing to be honest, we may be able to come to the right sooner than later.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Lose (Fail) – Fail Fast, Fail Forward! Just Do It!
  • Always Try New Things. You Might Be Great At Them – If we do not try new things, everything will always be the same. That is not Innovation!
  • Sometimes, You Just Have To Do The Right Thing – Even When Everyone Tells You Not To – Remember, we all are humans. We all are consumers. Do what is right!
  • You Never Know Who’s Lives You’ll Change – Exactly!
  • Do What You Love – Why would you do anything else?

What You Can Do…

It is all about RUNNING! It is all about taking ACTION! We as innovators know what needs to be done, but what matters the most is that we – RUN!

I encourage you to take 30 minutes this week and do something that you have been afraid to do. Go have fun! Go learn something new! Break free!

I would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in INNOVATION in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story.

Thank you to Mark McFerron for your creative mind in this video and Brownrygg Woolls for your mad video skills!

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“The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” of Innovation – Video Blog

What I Learned…

Recently, I shared my experience around what it is like to start a center for innovation. Here is a 7-minute video where I answered some of the following questions or statements:

  • State of mind when starting a center for innovation
  • How have I personally and professionally changed?
  • What encouragement would I give leaders?
  • Words of caution or wisdom

What I Learned…

The past five years have been an incredible journey and roller coaster. As I look back on them, I realized I would not change a thing. If it were not for the good, the bad, and the ugly, I would not be who I am today as a leader or as a person. I have followed my passion and my dreams – and WOW, it is empowering!

What I Will Do…

On this journey, I have learned one thing about me as a person. I have the ability to connect and build relationships and see things in leaders that they may not see in themselves. My mission now as a leader is to equip others with the courage, passion, and resilience to do this thing call INNOVATION!

What Can You Do…

So, what can you do? Take 15 minutes today and think of the one person you can encourage in life or help find their passion. Call them, text them, or write to them!

Share your experience as a word of encouragement.

Share your experience so they may not have to go through the same things you have.

Share your experience to help them get to the next step.  

I would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in INNOVATION in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story.

Thank you to Mark McFerron for your creative mind in this video and Brownrygg Woolls for your mad video skills!

 

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“No, We Can’t Do It!” – The POWER OF YES In Innovation!

What I Was Doing…

“No, we can’t do it!”  This is the most common phrase I have heard in my years as a leader in innovation. From big organizations to small ones, from the government to educationresilient-quote. It seems that it is easier for people to say, no, instead of YES!

This week I began working with a new client that comes from a very strict and regulated organization. The team is faced with more opposers than supporters at times. Their mission is powerful to help change the lives of those they serve and make them better. You would think it would be easy to innovate, but it’s not for this team.

What I appreciated during my time with them was their passion to keep moving forward, their passion to make a difference and not let the organization take them down. I would love to say in my own personal walk that I always had that attitude, but I did not. I allowed at times for the organization to overpower my passion. To distract me from the greater good of what I was called to do. NEVER AGAIN!

What I Learned…

The team this week taught me again what it means to have RESILIENCE. Resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or succeresiliencessful again after something bad happens. In my world, many times that is focused on failure or the failure of a new idea, solution, product, or service.

As I look back on my experiences, there have been times where resilience was the only thing that got me through what I was doing. I had to have a mindset that nothing would distract me from the purpose or mission in front of me. I am not going to lie; innovation is not for the faint of heart. It is for the person who is willing to take the biggest challenges, opportunities, or frontiers not yet explored and go after it.

What I Will Do…

This week as I was traveling I viewed an infographic published by The Center For Creative Leadership  entitled, 8 Steps To Become More Resilient. Here it is:

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As I read through the infographic, I realized it really did come back to simply saying, YES!

Yes, I will accept change!

Yes, I will learn!

Yes, I will take charge of my destiny!

Yes, I will find my sense of purpose!

Yes, I will be me!

Yes, I will have relationships!

Yes, I will reflect!

Yes, I will shift!

Yes, I will shift!

This is truly the essence of the POWER OF YES IN INNOVATION! You have to say, Yes to yourselves some mornings when you get up, or when you walk into that meeting where you know you are gong to face opposition. You have to have RESILIENCE!

So, over the next week, I am going to focus on these eight steps to becoming more resilient. I will encourage all those that I come into contact with to do the same. Say, YES first, then take action!

What Can You Do…

So, what can you do? I am going to ask that you take 30 minutes and identify one area where you are facing opposition or challenges – whether it is at work, at home, or anywhere you are a leading a project. Look at each of the eight steps above and identify how you can say YES in that situation! It may simply be to accept the change. Or, maybe you will need to work on building a positive relationship. After, you spend these 30 minutes, GO DO IT!  

II would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story on being resilient.

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The POWER OF YES In 2017!

What I Was Doing:  My Story…

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post titled, The Power of Yes In Innovation. I wrote these words:

Each day I try to live the POWER OF YES–the power to give people the freedom to explore, test, and win, the power to let my children be all they want to be, the power to allow innovators the freedom to create what has never been created before, and most importantly, the power to say yes to life.

At that time, I had no idea the profound impact these words would have on me as a leader, executive, friend, husband, father, or overall person. Those words became more and more important to me every day as I walked through 2016.

I’ll share a brief story about the POWER OF YES in my own life. I had the privilege to be a part of a new organization this year as the Chief Transformation Officer. When the opportunity was presented to me, I could have said no. I knew the role would be hard and a challenge for me, but I also knew I could not run from it. So, I said YES – and in doing so, learned so much about my capabilities as a person, and as important, my capabilities as a leader!

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What I Learned…

First, I learned that as a C-Suite Executive, my word and actions could empower a culture to change. I did not need to be the decision maker. I did not need to know everything. I did not have to be at every meeting. All I had to do is say the word, YES!

Yes! You Can Make That Decision!

Yes! You Can Take That Risk!

Yes! You Are Able To Do It!

Second, as a leader, I learned that I had the ability to see talents and skills within associates that they may not see or they may not have had the opportunity to share.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to tell you yes.”

Simple! But yet, so hard for so many leaders. As a leader, we have the power to say no – but being able to say yes opens the door for engaging collaboration, opportunities for growth and the realizing of untapped potential.

Now, saying yes has it risks – but you cannot empower your organization, your team, and your associates unless you are willing to take the first step. By doing so, you will equip your teams with their own courage to say, YES!

 

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Lastly, I learned that saying Yes doesn’t always mean that I am right or that it is going to go the way I want it to go.  I have to provide my team members the ability to fail or take risks that I may not take myself.  This means I must empower and support my teams to make decisions that may not necessarily be the ones I would make. As I worked with my teams over the past year, I did my best to get out of the way and provide the freedom for them to be their best. By doing so, I was able to help them to be better leaders and stronger team members.

What I Will Do With It…

For 2017, I am determined to live by the POWER OF YES! How? By following these three simple steps:

Y – Yes, I can! Yes, you can! Yes, we can! Yes, Yes, Yes! In all circumstances, opportunities or challenges, I will do my best to say Yes first!

Equip and Empower all those around me to not only reach for their dreams but for the things they may feel are unattainable.

S – Succeed! There is a measure of success within each and every opportunity. Even if I fail, I learn and I move forward.

In 2017 I will be fulfilling a dream of my own to write a book. Be on the lookout for it! Also, I will be launching a website on the POWER OF YES!

As 2016 comes to a close and we all begin to look forward to the New Year – my challenge to you is simply this: Live by the POWER OF YES in 2017!