From: Mike Keesee []
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:21 PM
Subject: News from JMK Associates LLC
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The Leadership News
Dear Mike,

I've offered you a free book for some time now (see below).  The article this month entitled "Fail-Safe Leadership", is a review of the book so you can see what it's about.  I hope you will call to get your free copy.

Then, in The Best Way to Predict Your Future is to Create It - Step 5 we conclude our discussion of the Strategic Planning process.  Step five is about determining and setting goals and defining Action Steps.
JMK Associates exists to help people and organizations be more successful by helping them plan strategically and develop the leadership skills needed to achieve their full potential. 
Not happy with where you are?  Give me a call and lets talk. 
"Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement."
Clement Stone


Mike Keesee, PMP

President & CEO

JMK Associates LLC

Fail-Safe Leadership Book Review
What is a Leader?
by Mike Keesee
JMK Photo"What makes any  person a leader is his or her ability to set goals and achieve desired results - nothing more, nothing less."  Linda L. Martin, Dr. David G. Mutchler, Fail-Safe Leadership.

We've quoted Warren Bennis before.  In his book, Managing People Is Like Herding Cats,  he says that,

"Around the globe, we currently face . . . a deepening leadership crisis in organizations.  Unlike the possibility of plague or nuclear holocaust, the leadership crises will probably not become the basis for a best-seller or a blockbuster movie, but in may ways it is the most urgent and dangerous of the threats we fact today, if only because it is insufficiently recognized and little understood."


Fred Fiedler and Martin Chemers, two other leadership gurus,  in their book, Improving Leadership Effectiveness, they state,

"The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization."


And Brian Tracy, a very well known leadership author and speaker,  in The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success, points out that,

"Leadership is the most important single factor in determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast-moving economy."
He goes on to say there has never been a greater need for leaders at all levels than there is today.


The book, Fail-Safe Leadership, quotes these authors to point out the importance of leadership in today's competitive, rapidly changing business world.  But what is a leader?  The authors of Fail-Safe Leadership make the case that "Leadership is no longer about possessing certain characteristics, but rather about the ability to set goals and achieve desired results".  They go on to define a "results-based" model that focuses on defining results first, and then developing leaders to achieve those results.

Most leadershp development processes use this model:
Grow Leadership 1
The model proposed by Martin and Mutchler looks like this:
Grow Leadership 3

The reader will be hard put to argue the logic of a results oriented model that starts with a vision of what's to be accomplished, followed by a plan for achieving that vision, then implemented by defining and achieving goals required to execute that plan. (Just what we've been developing in the multi-part article in this newsletter entitled The Best Way to Predict Your Future is to Create It!)


But maybe the most important point the book makes is that if leadership is about getting results, the skills required to get results can be learned.  Leaders are not born, they are made.   Skills can be learned. This is good news to us all.


This little book is a quick read and will cause you to think about leadership skills in a new and positive way.  Given the critical need for good leadership skills in all areas of society today, it will be well worth your while to spend an hour or so with this book.

I'll be glad to give you a copy.  Just give me a call.  Or email me at and I'll give you a call.



For more information, visit our website.

The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It - Step 5!
by Mike Keesee 

Success Cup

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?
Robert Browning
In the last edition, The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It - Step 4  examined your strengths and weaknesses in preparation for defining the goals you need to set in order to accomplish your Mission Statement on the way towards achieving your Vision.  We examined the Structure and Function of your organization, the Resources you have to work with, your Products and Services (what you have to offer to your customers), and finally, the Support you provide both your customers and your own staff.  Now, we are ready to put all this together and define the goals we need to set and achieve in order to accomplish our mission.
We said one way to do this is to compare each strength against each opportunity and threat that we identified during our Internal and External analysis.  We make a list of things that could be done to leverage the strength to either maximize the opportunity or minimize the threat.  Then we do the same thing for weaknesses.  Each weakness is compared against each opportunity and threat to make a list of things that you could to do mitigate the weakness against the opportunity or threat.  From this analysis, we will identify several areas in which we will want to improve.  We will call these Critical Goal Categories.
Critical Goal Categories
Critical Goal Categories (CGC's) are broad categories that will serve as the foundation for actualizing the mission.  They will be broken down into specific actions that are necessary and sufficient to achieve your Mission Statement.  Whatever the CGS's are, they need to be specific to the mission of your business.
For example, an manufacturer of office supplies discovered during the External Assessment that a major shift was taking place in his market.  Markets were shifting from retail stores to national speciality "superstores" and mail order houses.  So some of their CGC's included packaging changes to suit the merchandising strategy of the superstores and mail order houses.  Also, CGC's included new sales strategies for contacting these new customers.
Another example is an industrial manufacturer who discovered during their Internal Appraisal and External Assessment a need to move into a new market segment.  Two of their CGC's involved hiring marketing and sales managers who had experience in these market segments.  They also defined a CGC for increasing technical service.
As part of their Internal Assessment, a service department in a retail store discovered a limitation in management skills.  They defined a CGC to improve managerial/supervisory skills.
You get the picture.  Ideally, a company should have no more than five to eight CGC's.  There needs to be a caution against having a "trivial many" instead of a "critical few."
Is it possible that in the above examples, the companies would have discovered the needed changes without the rigor of a structured Strategic Planning process?  Possibly.  But the discoveries may have been to late.  At the very least, if discovered at all, they would have missed some business opportunities.  A structured Strategic Planning process makes the discoveries up front when you can maximize the effectiveness of taking appropriate action.
CGC's are broad categories and general in nature.  They are not the goals themselves.  Specific goals must now be defined in order for this process to be useful.  There may be one goal per CGC or there may be multiple goals per CGC.
To help define goals that will be useful in our plan to achieve our mission, we need to make the goals SMART.  They must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistically high, and Time definable (must be done by).  Specific so it's clear what must be done.  Measurable so it's clear it has been done.  Achievable - no need so set impossible goals.  Realistically high so that the goal means something.  And Time definable so it can be scheduled.  Remember, goals are to help us work smarter, not harder.
Action Steps
Defining Action Steps is the last step in the planning.  Once this is done, we can begin to execute (You thought we'd never get here, didn't you?).  Each goal must be "broken down" into a defined action that can be assigned to someone to do.  An action step includes three elements; What, Who, and When.  What - what's specifically is to be done, Who -who is assigned the task, and When - when they are required to complete the task.
These three elements when defined for all the tasks required to reach the goal become a plan - a project plan if you will.  Each goal can be thought of as a project which when completed, get us one step closer to achieving our Mission Statement.
A Business Plan
Actually, the set of plans that represent all the goals in the CGC's can be thought of as The Business Plan.  If successfully executed, and if the CGC's were accurately defined, successful achievement of the defined mission is almost a certainty - well, as certain as anything can be in business. 
JMK Associates has two structured strategic planning processes for business.  The Entrepreneurial Thinking and Strategic Planning process is designed specifically for entrepreneurial enterprises.  The Executive Strategic Planning process is designed for more mature organizations who may or may not already have a strategic plan in place but need to review or perhaps do it over. 
Free Book
All good leaders read.  I have a book I'd like to give you - free!  The title is Fail-safe Leadership.  There is a review of it on my website,  All you have to do is call me to receive your copy.  My phone numbers are 770 943 3657, or 678 773 8036.
Mike Keesee
JMK Associates LLC
770 943 3657
678 773 8036 (cell)
770 943 1450 (fax)

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