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Link Up to Professional Management


Welcome to Aileron’s Learning Links – a comprehensive list of offerings, services, events, tools, and other resources designed to help owners achieve their business goals and realize their dreams. As you flip through these pages you’ll see a wide range of topics. However, each item shares a common goal: to give you a deeper understanding of professional management. The building blocks of a successful business – Direction, Operation, and Control – serve as the focal points for building and sustaining a healthy enterprise. From setting the appropriate direction of the business to diagnosing problems within the organization, professional management drills down to focus on key fundamentals: leadership, strategy, culture, people development, structure, and controls. By focusing on what’s important – not just urgent – business owners can manage the system, as opposed to managing the details. The end result is an organization that remains under control as it defines, pursues, and achieves its longterm goals. What you won’t find in this collection are resources that deal with academic topics or dry theory. While these have their place in the world, our focus is solely on providing you with practical, real-world knowledge that you can put to use immediately.

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Link up to… PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT...........................................2 BUSINESS CONTROLS.........................................................7 CULTURE............................................................................. 10 LEADERSHIP....................................................................... 13 OUTSIDE ADVISORS.......................................................... 21 PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT..................................................... 30 STRATEGY........................................................................... 37 TRANSITION....................................................................... 51 OTHER................................................................................. 57


PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT A system of professional management provides the foundation for Aileron’s offerings and services. These concepts can bring control, clarity, and discipline to your business as you work to ensure its long-term effectiveness and prosperity. Focusing on crucial areas such as leadership, strategy, and people development can help you gain control of your business, adapt to the changing marketplace, achieve managed growth, and put your organization on the path the lasting success.

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FACILITATED SERVICES Learn about forward-thinking business ideas that can improve your business performance and bring clarity to your organization. After an informative presentation by Dave Sullivan, you’ll have an opportunity to continue the discussion during an informal talk with your fellow business owners.

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1ST AND 10: THE BUSINESS OWNERS’ PLAYBOOK EVENT

Course for Presidents Program looking to improve the effectiveness and productivity of their organization. The offering centers around a systematic management approach – a proven methodology that can help business leaders achieve their desired outcomes, prosper over the long term, and elevate their organizations to the next level.

This program is designed to expose senior management, who report directly to the CEO, to the same principles of professional management that their CEO experienced in the Course for Presidents program. They’ll learn what they can do, working with their CEO as a cohesive leadership team, to improve the effectiveness and productivity of their organization.

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COURSE FOR SENIOR EXECUTIVES PROGRAM

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Aileron’s flagship course! This comprehensive program is geared toward owners and presidents who are

INSTANT REPLAY 1ST AND 10: THE BUSINESS OWNERS’ PLAYBOOK WEBCAST about forward-thinking business concepts that can improve your performance and bring clarity to your organization. After this informative presentation, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in a live Q&A

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In this webcast – a replay of November’s exclusive event held at Paul Brown Stadium – you’ll learn

session with Dave Sullivan, Aileron’s Executive in Residence.

DAVE SULLIVAN OFFICE HOURS As Aileron’s Executive in Residence, Dave Sullivan facilitates programs, leads workshops, provides

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1:1 Services consulting, and offers his unique perspective at speaking events. Now, with office hours at the Aileron

CUSTOMIZED ASSESSMENT AND ACTION PLAN After you learn the ins-and-outs of professional management in the Course for Presidents, you’ll

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campus, you can sit down one-on-one with him and talk about your business.

be ready to start creating an action plan to address important gaps. This follow-on activity focuses on the six key areas of Aileron’s management system - leadership, strategy, culture, people yes/no questions to gauge your current capabilities and performance in each area. Then, with the advisor’s input and suggestions, you’ll create an action plan to start making immediate improvements to your business.

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development, structure, and controls. With the help of a business advisor, you’ll use straightforward

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ACTIVITIES CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE

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Are you interested in contributing to Aileron’s mission? This profile is designed to help us learn more about you and your background. After summarizing what we’re looking for, the form requests information about your expertise, industry experience, and areas where you’d be willing to contribute. A completed profile will provide us with a better understanding of your skills and expertise and how you might fit with our current and future services. A board matching section is also included, for those who are interested in serving on a board for an Aileron client.

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DON’T STEP IN THE ENTREMANURE ACTIVITY This activity guide, based on the book Don’t Step in the Entremanure! by Aileron Consultant Bill Matthews, takes readers through several key areas of running a successful business. The focus is recognizing and avoiding common pitfalls - or “entremanure” - on the road to long-term prosperity. After brief introductory comments in each section, readers are presented with questions to help

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them think deeper about steering clear of these obstacles. The content also covers best practices, touching on areas such as building an outside board, hiring the right people, and designing a longterm plan for the business.

Don’t Step in the Entremanure Reflections Activity Each card in this set is designed to help you focus on your business, preferably in a quiet and

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relaxed setting. A key element of running a successful business is highlighted on each card, as defined by Aileron consultant Bill Matthews in his book, Don’t Step in the Entremanure! The questions on the back of each activity card will help you think deeper about avoiding common pitfalls on the road to long-term prosperity.

PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT With the right assessment tools, you can bridge the gap between your organization’s current performance and its utmost potential. The Professional Management Assessment will provide you with the right questions to guide you in determining where you need to focus your efforts to improve your organization.


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BOOKS Bill Matthews, an experienced business consultant who’s been involved with Aileron since its inception, is the author of Don’t Step in the Entremanure. Filled with practical advice and real-world insights based on the successes and failures of other business owners, this concise and easy-to-read

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DON’T STEP IN THE ENTREMANURE BOOK

guide can help you avoid common mistakes on the path to entrepreneurial success.

This book, authored by Aileron founder Clay Mathile, tells the story of his challenges, successes, and personal growth as the owner of The Iams Company. While Clay’s journey is truly inspiring, his company’s success didn’t happen overnight; the basic principles he details in Dream No Little Dreams

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DREAM NO LITTLE DREAMS BOOK

offer a blueprint for success and a shining example for anyone who runs his or her own business. LEADERSHIP

Documents Do you need outside help or advice for dealing with a tricky question or a major issue? What should you be looking for, and what questions should you be asking potential advisors? These “howto” guides can help you find the right person (or people) for the job. In these documents, we’ve

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covered facilitators, financial advisors/planners, sales consultants, HR professionals, and attorneys.

VIDEO/AUDIO Aileron recently hosted a lively event for business owners who have attended our flagship program, the Course for Presidents. In this video, you’ll hear from some of the attendees about their professional management journey. Find out how they used these concepts to navigate challenges,

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CELEBRATING THE UNSUNG HERO VIDEO

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You’ll also find links to helpful resources to track down the right advisors for your business.

improve their results, and achieve managed growth. Clay Mathile, Aileron’s Founder, also offers his create jobs for others.

CONVERSATION WITH JONI FEDDERS VIDEO If you’re just getting acquainted with Aileron, you might be wondering what we do, and how we do it.

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inspiring thoughts about the immeasurable value of entrepreneurs who risk their own capital to

In this video, Aileron President Joni Fedders shines some light on these basics. You’ll also get a look at the Aileron campus, a unique learning environment that’s been custom-built with one goal in mind: dreams. How can we help you succeed?

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DAVID GANZSARTO’S JOURNEY TO PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT AUDIO What happens when a leader decides to focus on the strategy and direction of their business? In this insightful interview, you’ll learn how professional management has impacted the business – and life

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– of David Ganzsarto, CEO of Alternate Solutions HomeCare. David explains what led him to adopt a system of professional management, and discusses its impact on his organization – especially the company’s work environment, which is now one of its greatest strengths.

DID YOU KNOW? VIDEO Professional management helps business leaders adapt to the shifting external environment – and as CULTURE

you’ll see in this video of bite-sized facts, technological development is triggering light-speed changes in the way we live, work, and consume. It’s a timely reminder that whatever happens on the economic front, technology will keep moving forward.

DOC MODEL OVERVIEW FOR FACILITATORS AUDIO LEADERSHIP

How do you explain Aileron’s DOC model? If you are a new Aileron facilitator or guest facilitator unsure about how to provide an overview of the DOC model to participants, take a listen to this audio clip by Dave Sullivan, Executive in Residence.

DON’T STEP IN THE ENTREMANURE VIDEO Bill Matthews is the author of Don’t Step in the Entremanure, a concise and easy-to-read guide that

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can help you avoid common mistakes on your journey to success and prosperity. So what prompted Bill to write this book? How did it build on his background as a business leader and consultant? How can its lessons help business owners of all stripes? Let’s hear the answers from Bill, himself, in this witty and informative video!

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What’s the role of the CEO? Who better to ask than Peter Drucker, the late and great “father of modern management.” Drucker points out that being a CEO is not about wielding power – it’s about assuming the responsibility for getting results. Aileron’s system of professional management takes the same approach; it’s up to the business leader to implement effective management throughout the organization. Drucker’s thoughts can help you get a grip on your own roles and responsibilities as a CEO, owner, or president.

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FEEDBACK FROM THE FIELD – AILERON CLIENT JIM LEE ON COURSE FOR PRESIDENTS video For the business owner, Aileron is a sounding board, a coach, and a mentor. It gives guidance and advice along with the resources to implement new strategies. Aileron will be there to gently push and ensure you are ready for that next milestone, the next meeting, and the next decision your organization faces. Jim Lee explains how Aileron’s Course for Presidents led to success for his company, Simple QuE.

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WELCOME TO AILERON VIDEO In 1996, Clay Mathile, former owner of The Iams Company, created Aileron to help fuel private business and free enterprise, providing business owners with the tools and support they need to mature and succeed. He shares a core belief that the success of our communities and country rests on the shoulders of the private business owner, who act upon a higher calling to risk their personal capital to employ others. Clay’s journey to build Iams was full of sacrifice, determination, and continuous

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learning and he recognized that many people helped him along his path to success. Therefore, he is passionate about providing resources to others on the same journey. And it is through Aileron that Clay works to help other business owners on their journey to success.


BUSINESS CONTROLS The business control is what you’ll use to make sure that you stay focused and on track. You’ll use the control to measure the important matters rather than the immediate or urgent issues that arise. With a proper business control in place, you should be able to predict and achieve your desired outcomes. After you’ve developed your plan and put it into action, you can’t just sit back and watch it unfold. You need to be proactive and continue to monitor your business each step of the way to ensure that you stay on track and achieve success.

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FACILITATED SERVICES

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DEFINING YOUR LEAN STRATEGY WORKSHOP This half-day workshop is aimed at business owners who are ready to implement – or have already started to implement – lean thinking. While it’s easy to get started with lean tools and techniques, it’s not always clear how to use them the right way, so they directly support your long-term goals. You’ll leave the session with an action plan to implement a lean strategy that creates momentum and moves your business forward.

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Getting a Grip – Cash Flow and Financing Panel Discussion Participants will have the chance to join a panel of financial service experts for a timely discussion around managing cash flow and finding alternative forms of financing. Business owners will gain fresh perspectives and tried-and-true insights that can help them reduce financial ambiguity,

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maintain or increase lines of credit, and adapt to the latest changes in the lending industry.

Getting a Grip – Cash Flow and Financing Think Tank Express This fast-paced discussion will provide practical, real-world insights into how business owners can manage their cash flow and access lines of credit in this difficult economic environment. The informal, straight-to-the-point session will give business owners an opportunity to share and learn

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from their fellow business owners.

Never Be Surprised By Your Results Leader to Leader How can business controls help your organization? What should you keep an eye on, and how should you interpret your results? These types of questions will drive this open, idea-sharing discussion. The answers can give you insights into building a system that reduces surprises,

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simplifies your job, and lets you know if your business is on track.

Power of Thinking Lean Panel Discussion This panel discussion, featuring three lean-thinking experts, will give you useful ideas and new perspectives into making your company’s processes more efficient. The talk will be geared toward owners of both manufacturing and service-based organizations.

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STARTING YOUR LEAN JOURNEY EXPERT PERSPECTIVE How can you start building a lean organization? At this Expert Perspective, you’ll hear from a former business leader who used lean thinking to dramatically improve his organizations’ results. His experiences can help you think deeper about applying these changes to your own business.

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Strategic Monitoring Spotlight This two-hour session is designed to provide an introduction to business controls and monitoring techniques. By measuring the most important indicators - rather than just historical measurements of success - business leaders can proactively address new issues and opportunities, keeping the organization’s strategic direction on track.


In this article, USA Today columnist and business lawyer Steve Strauss provides his insight on a few inexpensive legal strategies business owners can use. While he mentions the importance of having your own legal counselor, he touches on a few things to be aware of - for use or to leverage as

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ASK AN EXPERT - HERE’S HOW TO PREVENT A LOT OF LEGAL HASSLES ARTICLE

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discussion starters with your advisor. Steve provides tips to get creditors out of your hair, website links to learn more about protecting your intellectual property, and sources to help you create resources can help limit hassles - or at least make you more knowledgeable about your options.

THE RISK MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION ANNUAL STATEMENT STUDIES BOOK: FINANCIAL RATIO BENCHMARKS (2009-2010) know more about what the numbers mean, and what they can tell you about your business? This guide describes key benchmarks, such as the Debt/Worth ratio. It also shows how these numbers are calculated, and explains how to interpret the data.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property Audio Intellectual property - demystified. In this interview you’ll hear from a legal expert about “IP”

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VIDEO/AUDIO

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Do you find yourself glazing over when you’re looking at financial statements? Would you like to

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BOOKS

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“do it yourself” legal documents. Above all, it is vital to get important details in writing, but these

and its relevance to small business owners. What are the possible threats, and how can they be mitigated? How does protecting your intellectual property relate to your strategic plan? What issues

WHAT REALLY DRIVES MY RESULTS WITH JOE CASTELLANO SR. AUDIO In this interview you’ll hear from Joe Castellano Sr., an accounting professor who previously served

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can emerge as you grow your business? Listen and learn!

as a director of public, private, and non-profit organizations, about business controls. How can be watching, and how often should you take measurements? How can you sync up your key metrics with your strategy?

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controls help you reduce surprises and keep your business on track? What information should you

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CULTURE The culture you create for your organization may play an even greater role in your success than you think. The energy and behavior embraced by your organization allows for the accomplishment of your vision and mission. That said, you’ll quickly realize that culture is a managed process not something that you can change or create overnight. It should define your organization’s values, beliefs, rewards, discipline, and standard by which you define success. In simple terms, your culture becomes the “way we do things around here.”

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FACILITATED SERVICES Think Tank is a hard-hitting discussion forum that provides you with practical insights, candid feedback, and new ideas from your experienced peers - fellow business leaders who are dealing

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Connecting Your Culture Think Tank

with similar challenges. This session will focus on the topic of culture. How do you approach it? How can you get your people to embrace and understand it?

This leader to leader discussion will give you fresh ideas and insights for “recession-proofing” your culture. The group will focus on ways that you can continue to take care of your people as your

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Culture in TOUGH Times Leader to Leader

organization adapts and reacts to the weakening economy. Join us to brainstorm new ideas, tap into fresh insights and share best practices.

Give your entrepreneurial brain an eye-opening jolt at this President’s Perspective, where you’ll hear from the leader of a successful manufacturing company. He’ll share his experiences building and

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LEADING THE CULTURE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE

maintaining a productive work environment, and explain why he always values attitude over skill during the hiring process. OUTSIDE Advisors

ARTICLES E-tailer Zappos engages in a unique HR practice: each of its new hires, after only one week on the job, is offered a $2,000 bonus to quit. This article details the offer and points out how it supports and reinforces the company’s successful culture. Even though doling out $2,000 to the new guy might seem like a bad idea to many business leaders, all of us can learn some valuable lessons from Zappos.

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VIDEO/AUDIO

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Why Zappos Offers New Hires $2,000 to Quit Article

Anywhere, Anytime Office Video In two short generations, the face of the corporate work force has been transformed, partly by the arrival of Generation Y and workers’ changing attitudes. In this video, Aileron President Joni Fedders discusses a all generations can flourish. Joni was able to share professional management techniques that may help business owners who are faced with a changing environment due to a new generation coming on board.

Cintas Culture – Cintas Workers – Employee Interviews Part 1 Video

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New York Times article, The Anywhere, Anytime Office, that deals with building a flexible workplace where

Part I of this employee interview video features two Cintas employees. Their stories show how a company’s culture and values (in this case, integrity and honesty) start at the top and trickle down crucial competitive advantage. These real-life examples could be helpful to anyone looking to create an effective culture at their own organization.

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Cintas Culture – Cintas Workers – Employee Interviews Part 2 Video In part two of these interviews with Cintas employees, find out how the company’s culture infuses and guides every aspect of the business. Aileron believes that this is one of the hallmarks of an

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effective culture; people embrace it, believe in it, and use it to guide their decision making.

Cintas in the News – A Family Business Video What does a great culture look like? What are the benefits of having an effective culture? Ohiobased Cintas, a corporate uniform manufacturer, has topped several “best places to work” lists in both the U.S. and Canada. This video segment gives some insight into the culture and value system

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that’s contributed to the company’s long-term success. Whether it’s empowering employees to do their jobs, forging a great reputation within the community, or getting everyone on the same page in pursuit of the company’s goals, Cintas provides an excellent real-life example of a culture that gets results.

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Donny Deutsch – Every Business Should be a Culture Video If you’re looking for some clarification around culture, take a minute to listen to Donny Deutsch. Although culture is a crucial part of any business, it’s also a bit nebulous; you can’t touch it or take a picture of it. But as Donny points out in this video clip, you can sense it. He believes that a good corporate culture has a unique personality that defines the organization and supports its mission. Here at Aileron, we wholeheartedly agree! In fact, culture is one of the core components of the DOC

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Model, our system of professional management.

Tony Hsieh on Zappos Customer Service and Work Environment Video Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com, a profitable online retailer. In this segment, he sheds light on the company’s approach to customer service. By creating and leveraging this competitive advantage, Zappos has created a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. The company’s success

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shows how good things can happen when an organization’s work environment directly supports its mission and vision.

Zappos on Nightline Video Meet Zappos, an online retailer that’s turned customer and employee satisfaction into a major strategic advantage. By instilling a culture that supports the company’s central values, Zappos has

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thrived in a highly competitive industry. Aileron believes that while your own approach might differ, the lesson is clear: a solid culture is a core component of any successful organization.


LEADERSHIP Why does leadership play such a key role in professional management? It not only sets the appropriate direction for your business, but also creates the environment and motivates your organization and its members to reach the ideal state based on your long-term vision. Appropriate leadership also establishes the controls and puts accountability in place that will assist you in achieving your defined outcome.

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FACILITATED SERVICES

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Art of Balancing Work and Life – Expert Perspective Long hours. A weakening economy. Endless demands. Leading a business can wear on the body and mind. At this Expert Perspective, Aileron clients will gain insights into coping with these demands and striking the ideal balance between work and life to be more productive leaders in their organizations.

Call of the Entrepreneur Film Event CULTURE

The Call of the Entrepreneur is a documentary film created by the Acton Institute featuring stories about three entrepreneurs and how they overcame adversity and risk to create successful businesses. A merchant banker. A failing dairy farmer. A refugee from communist China. One risked his savings. One risked his farm. One risked his life. Why do their stories matter? Because how we view entrepreneurs - as greedy or altruistic, as virtuous or vicious - shapes the destinies of individuals and nations. This film and subsequent panel discussion will give Aileron clients varying

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thoughts and theories on how entrepreneurs address, attack and avoid risk.

COMMUNICATE, COMMAND, AND CONNECT WITH TIM KOEGEL WORKSHOP AND SPEAKING EVENT Would you like to be a more effective communicator? At this interactive workshop you’ll learn how to practice and apply time-tested techniques so you can structure a clear, concise message that truly connects with your audience. Can’t make it to the workshop? Guest Facilitator Tim Koegel will

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discuss the same concepts at a speaking event and Q&A session.

CONTRIBUTOR APPRECIATION DINNER Aileron can make a difference because of its contributors. Not only are our contributors appreciated, but they are making Aileron into something bigger. By staying connected and

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continuing to make Aileron better, contributors have the opportunity to continue to impact businesses, the community, and fuel free enterprise.

GAME ON! FUELING YOUR BODY TO POWER YOUR BUSINESS EXPERT PERSPECTIVE Running a business is demanding - both mentally and physically. At this session you’ll hear from Dawn Weatherwax, a nutrition and stress management expert, about practical ways you can use better nutrition to stay at the top of your game. Her tips and advice can help you incorporate

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healthier living into your everyday routine. The ultimate takeaway? When you’re operating at peak performance, you’ll be a more effective leader.

LEADERSHIP COMPASS FACILITATED ACTIVITY In this facilitated activity, participants use a “directional compass” approach to think deeper about

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four different types of work styles. The simple exercise, which follows a question-and-answer format, creates a more thorough understanding of the various work styles. It also demonstrates the value of having multiple approaches within the organization, and imparts a deeper sense of unity and teamwork.

Leadership Leader to Leader This group discussion addresses issues around effective leadership and achieving operational OTHER

clarity. The participants’ leadership issues will drive the discussion. Topics can include: modeling the appropriate behavior for your organization; setting realistic, enforceable standards; sending consistent messages to your employees; leading your team with a set of rules that’s flexible enough to deal with the dynamic marketplace; and eliminating obstacles that prevent employees from doing their jobs.

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This exclusive speaking event will introduce you to tried-and-true concepts for managing an effective

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Moving Forward in a Recovering Economy Client Event and efficient enterprise. Dave Sullivan - a business owner who’s helped hundreds of privately held of these concepts, and show you how they can help you move forward in any economic environment.

Owning It – The Culture of Personal Accountability Leader to Leader

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companies - will provide an overview of professional management. He’ll highlight the incredible benefits

Personal accountability starts at the top. At this leader to leader session, we’ll discuss ways that you, as a leader, can make sure that your people take ownership of their issues, support your CULTURE

company’s vision and mission, and are part of the solution.

Peak Performance Facilitation Skills Training Program This training guides business leaders through the fundamentals of effective facilitation. Using a stepby-step approach, it shows participants how to make the transition from practitioner to facilitator. successful offering.

President’s Circle Monthly Meeting The President’s Circle is a group of business owners who get together on a regular basis to listen, learn

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The session discusses and outlines the processes, tools, and resources that go into the delivery of a

and share with each other. Some groups like to focus more on long-term strategy, while others tend meeting is flexible enough to give each participant a chance to voice their own issues and concerns.

President’s Circle Trial Session

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to deal with operational issues or day-to-day operational details. But regardless of their focus, each

The President’s Circle is an enlightening and structured discussion forum where you can learn from the experiences of your fellow business owners and gain new insights around your company’s most

Pub Talks The upcoming Pub Talks will be a great way to focus and think deeper about dealing with the downturn. These informal discussions take place in a casual, relaxed setting where business owners

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pressing issues. Join us at this trial session to see a typical meeting in action.

can step away from the daily details of running their business.

As board chairman of LaRosa’s Inc., T.D. Hughes guides a thriving restaurant business. His key to success? A people-oriented approach to leadership. At this President’s Perspective he’ll be sharing his experiences,

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Servant Leader President’s Perspective

advice, and insights. The session will also include a group-driven discussion around the topic of leadership.

Is your organization hampered by frustrating and unproductive meetings? At this interactive discussion, you’ll tap into effective tools and techniques that can help you ensure each of your meetings is efficient, engaging, and focused on moving your company forward.

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QUICK SOLUTIONS FOR BETTER MEETINGS SPOTLIGHT

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ACTIVITIES

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Five Questions for Success Activity Are you paying attention to the right areas of your business? These five questions, formulated by management thinker Peter Drucker, can help you focus on the things that truly matter for your organization. CREATING A PERSONAL VISION ACTIVITY This activity is all about ensuring that your personal goals drive your business - and not the other

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way around. Using a worksheet to answer straightforward questions about your goals, ambitions, and organization, you’ll focus on creating your own personal vision - a powerful statement that can guide the vision for your company. We’ve designed the activity to include the input of both you and your loved ones. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have created a succinct vision that captures your dreams and goals for the future.

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ARTICLES A Head with a Heart Article

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Here’s a great example of an organization that’s thinking outside the box, adapting to change, and finding an alternative to layoffs. This hospital has asked its people to forego some of their benefits and pay in order to keep lower-level employees on board. The staff has overwhelmingly agreed to make the sacrifice. This could be good news for the hospital’s work environment; the decision has given morale a sharp boost. And when the downturn ends, the organization will be in a stronger position, thanks to its uncut

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workforce.

Building Bold Goals for Your Business Article This article points out that vision setting is one area where business leaders need to think big. Pulling from a variety of industries - and even President Kennedy’s ambitious plan to land on the moon - the author cites examples where a bold vision inspired people to produce amazing results. The lesson is clear: when setting the long-term direction, leaders shouldn’t be afraid to set big, even audacious goals.

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BUILDING YOUR COMPANY’S VISION ARTICLE This article excerpt focuses on the importance of vision in guiding a business to enduring success. As the author points out, organizations with a clearly-defined vision tend to do better than those without one. But vision isn’t merely a buzzword; it must create real action throughout the business.

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The excerpt highlights the basic building blocks of a useful vision, and sheds light on the importance of having core values and a rock-solid ideology that holds the organization together.

Choosing to Change Article In this short article, leadership expert Marshall Goldsmith touches on some of the biggest factors behind success in the business world: enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a willingness to change. Although students of professional management know how important it is to embrace change, this is sometimes

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easier said than done, especially in hard times. Goldsmith points out a psychological reason for resisting change, and offers some advice for turning this aspect of human nature into an advantage.


Management pioneer Peter Drucker championed eight straightforward rules for being an effective

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CHURCHILL AND DRUCKER – PERFECT TOGETHER ARTICLE leader. In this article, you’ll see how one of history’s great leaders - Winston Churchill - embodied apply it to everyday situations, you’ll be better positioned to handle the challenges (big and small) that come with running a business.

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these principles and used them to overcome obstacles. Once you understand Drucker’s advice and

Committed to Growth Article As CEO of the nation’s largest conglomerate, GE’s Jeff Immelt knows a thing or two about effective Professional management requires leaders to hold themselves accountable and embrace personal change. According to Immelt, this is equally important in a challenging environment. He also outlines reasons why

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leadership. In this article, he offers some excellent advice for navigating tough economic times.

it’s crucial to maintain a focus on growth, investing in the future, and resisting the urge to adopt a bunker mentality.

Organizational change is an essential part of running a successful business. But how can you ensure that those changes - part of your strategic direction - are embraced throughout the company? This in-depth, highly detailed article focuses on six common obstacles that can slow organizational transformation,

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DON’T LOSE YOUR NERVE ARTICLE

including overly cautious management and a lack of buy-in among employees. While its focus leans

Family That Works Together Should Pay Together Article This brief article highlights potential problems that can emerge when a family business is forced to slash

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toward the corporate world, the article’s advice can be equally applied to small business owners.

benefits and perks to family members. But as the author points out, effective communication and equal treatment of all family members can make these cuts much easier to swallow.

Here at Aileron you hear a lot about your role as the leader of a professionally managed business. But as Marshall Goldsmith points out, it’s easy to exaggerate your role as a coach. Winning organizations depend not only on someone at the top calling the right shots, but also on effective people who can execute the

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

It’s Not About the Coach Article

game plan.

Citing examples from the auto industry, this article emphasizes the importance of adapting to change. When business leaders ignore changes in the external environment, technology, customer

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Leaders in Denial Article

buying habits, or even within their own organization, trouble soon follows. As the article points out, this is especially important for established, successful companies. When things are going well there’s need to adapt and evolve. This is why strategic planning is an ongoing and constant process, rather than a one-time event.

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a strong desire to maintain the status quo. To avoid the fate of countless failed businesses, leaders

Make Your Own Optimism Article Here’s some timely advice for owners struggling with a seemingly-endless stream of bad news. way toward boosting the morale and enthusiasm of your workforce.

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While a positive attitude won’t change the facts of a difficult economic environment, it can go a long

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Vision Thing – Without it You’ll Never Be a World-Class Organization Article You might already know that setting a vision is a big part of professional management. But why exactly is a vision so important? How can you go about designing one for your organization? And

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how can you, as a leader, see that it’s implemented and making a real difference - not only in your company’s strategic direction, but its everyday operations? This detailed and in-depth article will help you find the answers.

What Great Managers Do Article This insightful piece from the Harvard Business School highlights an important fact: leading and CULTURE

managing aren’t the same thing. Owners, presidents, and CEOs have to wear both hats, depending on the situation. In the leadership role, they uncover universal characteristics that unite their people in pursuit of the company’s goals and mission. As managers, they turn the talents of individual employees into better performance. Understanding the difference can help anyone who’s looking to become a more effective leader.

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You Got the Big Break – Now What? Article This Wall Street Journal article called You Got the Big Break; Now What?, by Gwendolyn Bounds, gives some great insight into the challenges that a small business faced when an order from a major retail chain was at their fingertips.

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BOOKS ACTIVE LISTENING – IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO LISTEN AND LEAD BOOK When it comes to being an effective leader, active listening can be one of your most important

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

and useful tools. But what exactly does it involve, and how can you embrace it in your everyday activities as a business owner? This easy-to-read, clearly-explained guide will provide you with the information you need to be an active listener. Walking you through examples (both good and bad), and spelling out the building blocks and benefits of active listening, the guide also explains how to overcome common obstacles and challenges. You’ll come away with a better understanding of what it takes to be a good listener - and in turn, do a better job of leading your people.

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DEATH BY MEETING BOOK Does your organization struggle with unproductive meetings? This book offers practical advice for this problem, which can plague even the best organizations. Using a fable/parable to illustrate his points, author Patrick Lencioni guides readers through common obstacles, and provides a framework for meetings that are efficient, productive, and directly supportive of the company’s strategy and goals.

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THE EXCEPTIONAL PRESENTER BOOK Would you like to become a more effective communicator? In this book, author Tim Koegel covers practical, highly effective techniques that can help you structure a clear, concise, and engaging message that truly connects with your audience.


Good to Great attempts to answer a simple question: how can good, mediocre, or underperforming

PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT

GOOD TO GREAT BOOK companies achieve lasting success? Thoroughly researched and clearly explained, the book’s

THE ONE MINUTE ENTREPRENEUR BOOK The book tells the story of an entrepreneur’s journey to profitably, offering real-life examples of

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findings can help you think deeper about improving your management and leadership strategies.

common challenges and best practices for reaching your goals. Focusing on four fundamental practices, the book provides practical insights and helpful advice for anyone who’s running an summary of the learning points called “One Minute Insights” that are easy to remember, yet tough for many business owners to follow.

CALL OF THE ENTREPRENEUR VIDEO – PRIVATE SCREENING EVENT Have you seen The Call of the Entrepreneur? This 60-minute film, which tells the stories of three

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CAMPUS SERVICES

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organization and learning about professional management. At the end of each section you’ll find a

entrepreneurs as they overcame odds to thrive in the true entrepreneurial spirit, is now available for viewing at the Aileron campus. Bring your managers and fellow business owners to see – and

DREAM MANAGER VIDEO – PRIVATE SCREENING EVENT How do your personal dreams impact your company’s success? How can you use strategic planning

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discuss – this inspiring film in a private setting.

to improve your life? In this videotaped Aileron event – now available for private screening at the you address both of these questions.

ONLINE INTERACTIVE What is a personal vision, and why is it so crucial to your lasting happiness and success? In this video, you’ll find out how a personal vision can ensure that your business supports your life’s dreams and goals - not the other way around. Then you’ll hear from two Aileron clients about their

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CREATING A PERSONAL VISION PACKAGE

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

Aileron Campus - world-renowned author Matthew Kelly offers insights and thoughts that can help

own inspiring experiences using a personal vision to improve their lives. Crafting your own personal take your life, you can start to figure out where you want to take your business! With that in mind, the final part of the video will show you how to get started creating your own personal vision, using a hands-on worksheet activity.

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vision is an important prelude to the strategic planning process; once you know where you want to

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VIDEO/AUDIO

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3As – Accountability Video Rich Harwood, founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, has some sage advice for business leaders. It’s Rich’s viewpoint (and Aileron’s) that effective leaders don’t just hold their people accountable - they also hold themselves accountable. In this video clip, Rich spells it out and explains why personal accountability is so important.

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Bill McAdory on the Workforce Evolution Audio We recently sat down with Bill McAdory - a turnaround expert and participant in a recent Aileron panel discussion - to talk about the economic downturn. In this interview Bill offers his insights on several timely issues: identifying the best way to cut costs, the importance of staying cash-positive, restructuring your workforce without cutting too much muscle, and keeping your team motivated in a climate of cutbacks.

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Business Tips – Alexander Pepper Says that Leaders Can Be Made Video It’s Aileron’s perspective that effective leaders are made, not born. In this video clip, an experienced business leader gives his insights on what good leadership is all about. It’s his perspective that while each situation demands a different approach, solid communication skills and a keen strategic mind are two traits that you’ll find in any effective leader.

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Entrepreneurs Can Change the World Video It’s no exaggeration to say that the spirit of giving is the beating heart of free enterprise; entrepreneurs can create jobs, improve their communities, and ultimately create a better world. As you ponder this altruistic power, here’s a brief and inspirational video to stoke your philanthropic impulses.

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Happiness is Contagious with Mary Connors Audio Studies have found that happiness is contagious. In this interview, Aileron guest facilitator Mary Connors offers her insights on how owners can foster a positive social energy and make happiness “go viral” within their organization. She explains the role of the leader in creating and managing values, behaviors, and standards of accountability that foster a positive work environment. The main takeaways? Happy employees are more productive, committed to their company’s direction, and more likely to encourage other employees to adopt the same healthy state of mind.

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John Kotter on a Sense of Urgency Video Hear from author John Kotter on how a sense of urgency can benefit an organization. Aileron agrees that effective leaders have an energy, direction, and purpose that gives their business forward motion. Without this sense of urgency, organizations can get mired in activities - regular meetings, for example - that seem

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productive, but don’t actually contribute to the organization’s long-term direction and goals.

Man Behind Under Armour Video Kevin Plank is the CEO of Under Armour, a highly successful athletic apparel company that continued to grow through the latest economic downturn. In this interview, he discusses the value of having a vision, the power of believing in your dreams, and how having the right attitude can help your business develop a competitive advantage.

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OUTSIDE ADVISORS Properly implemented, an outside board is the gift that keeps on giving. An effective board will reap long-term benefits and value for you and your company. A board is there for you whenever you need it, providing a sounding board for ideas and issues, access to talent you otherwise might not be able to afford, and the ability to tap resources that might be out of your reach.

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FACILITATED SERVICES Becoming an Effective Board Member Program

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This program is for business leaders who are thinking about lending their knowledge and talents to another organization’s outside board. You’ll learn about the roles and responsibilities of effective board members and gain insights to help you gauge if you are ready to serve.

Getting on Board Leader to Leader If you don’t have a board yet, what’s stopping you? At this session, you’ll have a chance to address your board-related concerns, clear up common board myths and misconceptions, and learn more

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about the tremendous benefits of these invaluable resources.

High Performance Boards Program The High Performance Boards program focuses on helping organizations strengthen the effectiveness of their boards. This course is designed to enhance understanding of the critical

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components of excellent board performance, the key roles and responsibilities of a high performance board, and its value in helping your organization prosper.

Mock Board Exercise We had a simple goal in mind when we designed the Mock Board - to give you firsthand experience with a board meeting. If you’re thinking about implementing or serving on an outside board, but

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aren’t sure what goes on in a typical meeting, this experience will provide an insider’s view.

Outside Boards Panel Discussion This panel discussion exposes clients to the first-hand experiences of other business owners who are building – or have already built – an outside board. Sharing their insights and advice in a questionand-answer format, the panelists will help participants gain a deeper understanding of the topic.

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Possible talking points include common pitfalls when establishing a board, ways to go about finding board members, and how to assess a board member’s performance. A guest facilitator will moderate the discussion and, where appropriate, chime in with Aileron’s point of view.

Outside Boards Program During this session we’ll focus on ways in which an outside board could benefit you and your

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organization. Participants will also receive Aileron’s full support in setting up trial sessions and implementing a real board. This may be one of the most eye-opening programs you’ll attend this year!

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5 CS REFLECTIONS ACTIVITY Do you currently serve on an outside board? Do you have a board of your own? With this enlightening activity, you can take a walk around the Aileron campus and think deeper about the keys to an effective outside board. Succinctly explaining the five C’s - competency, commitment, communication, collaboration, and chemistry - this Reflections activity includes thought-provoking questions to help you apply these powerful concepts in the boardroom.

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Benefits of a Board Activity If you don’t have an outside board, take some time and think about what you need. In what ways could an outside board help you and your business? Use this activity to identify areas where a board could benefit you and your organization.

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This activity is designed to help organizations assess their board’s operations and identify priorities for future board discussions. The focus is on the board operational activities that will result in the

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BOARD OPERATIONAL ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

greatest benefit for the organization. The feedback of board members is used to zero in on areas

BOARD OPERATIONAL ASSESSMENT REFLECTIONS ACTIVITY This Reflections activity is designed to help business owners / presidents assess their board’s

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where the board needs the most work - which in turn, helps to boost the board’s performance.

operations and identify priorities for future board discussions. The focus is on the board operational activities that will result in the greatest benefit for the organization. The feedback of board boost the board’s performance.

COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION CASE STUDY

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members is used to zero in on areas where the board needs the most work - which in turn, helps to

Any successful outside board is built on a foundation of effective communication. This case The emphasis is on communication and collaboration. At the end, you’ll find thought-provoking questions on how the various board members could be more effective.

COMPETENCY CASE STUDY

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study takes you through a board meeting scenario in which ineffective behaviors are displayed.

The case study takes you through a board meeting scenario in which ineffective behaviors are displayed. The emphasis is on competency and effectiveness. The story is followed by a brief can help the board “self-regulate,” encouraging other members to be more effective.

Evaluating Your Board Activity

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activity that helps you think deeper about each board member’s behavior, and ways in which they

Is your board a high-performing board? This activity is for those that have a board in place; by areas that may need improvement.

Focus and Setting Direction Board Assessment Activity A board’s job is to focus on the long-term success of the organization. This assessment will help

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answering some fundamental questions, you’ll be able to gauge your board’s effectiveness and find

the board gauge its effectiveness in doing that job, as well as highlight areas that may need improvement. The emphasis is on activities that support the organization’s long-term goals

FOCUS AND SETTING DIRECTION BOARD ASSESSMENT REFLECTIONS ACTIVITY A board’s job is to focus on the long-term success of the organization. This Reflections activity

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including its mission, vision, and strategy.

will help the board gauge its effectiveness in doing that job, as well as highlight areas that may including its mission, vision, and strategy.

Your Outside Board Activity The input and advice of an effective outside board can be a tremendous help during the transition

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need improvement. The emphasis is on activities that support the organization’s long-term goals

process. If you don’t have a board, the first part of this activity will help you identify some specific benefits that these invaluable resources can bring to you and your business. Part two is for those who effectiveness and find areas that may need improvement.

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already have a board; by answering some fundamental questions, you’ll be able to gauge your board’s

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ARTICLES Business Owner’s Perspective on Outside Boards by Clay Mathile Article

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In this article, Aileron Founder Clay Mathile describes his journey toward building and using an outside board. Clay relates his initial mistakes in implementing a board, talks about best practices, and discusses the benefits that this resource brought his organization. His experience can help you think deeper about building an effective board at your own business.

CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR A STARTUP ADVISORY BOARD ARTICLE A properly built advisory board can be a huge strategic advantage to any company. On the other hand, CULTURE

an advisory board put together haphazardly can be the biggest mistake for a company in the early stages of business. What makes a GREAT advisory board experience for both the company and the advisors is a high level of engagement. How do you avoid the advisory board death spiral? You start by building an effective, strategic board. This article provides top five tips to building an advisory board with a high level of engagement.

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Forming a Board of Directors is Crucial for HVACR Business Article This article offers a thorough, compelling argument for why every business owner needs an outside board. Written by Greg McAfee, a successful entrepreneur with a board of his own, it touches on several important aspects of these valuable resources, including what they’re all about, why they’re useful, the truth behind common myths and misconceptions, and helpful pointers for setting up and running a

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board. This piece is a must-read for any business leader thinking about implementing a board.

NON-STRATEGIC VALUE OF DIRECTORS ARTICLE You might already know that board members can provide invaluable advice and expertise as you address your most important issues. But as this article points out, their support isn’t limited to

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strategic items. Board members can encourage you to prepare more effectively for meetings, and educate themselves to serve more effectively. They can also mentor you, and help to develop your leadership skills. And when it comes to the board’s culture, they can work to create a cohesive and effective group. While the article is geared toward family businesses, these insights can be applied to any organization that has a board.

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BOOKS CREATING EFFECTIVE BOARDS FOR PRIVATE ENTERPRISES - BOOK The most complete handbook on boards for small to mid-size private and family businesses, this book shows how to build a dynamic board of directors that can enhance the owner’s ability to run the

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business. John L. Ward shows why private organizations, facing increasing competitive challenges, need the in-depth expertise and objective feedback that a well-chosen board can provide, and demonstrates how owners and directors can work together to ensure a long and profitable life for the organization.

WHO: THE A METHOD FOR HIRING BOOK Is your hiring system effective? Do your new hires tend to succeed most of the time, or is there lots of room for improvement? This book - co-authored by the authors of TopGrading, another popular hiring

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guide - lays out four distinct steps to strengthening your hiring system. This advice can help you ensure that new hires are a good fit with your company and culture. “Fit” isn’t always an obvious trait, but these four steps - including the development of scorecards to rate each candidate - are aimed at taking the guesswork and confusion out of the process. Although the book is aimed more toward executive hiring, its core concepts can be translated to all levels of an organization.

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CAmpus Services BOARDROOM CAMPUS SERVICE relaxed, focused, and inspiring setting for your next meeting, a half-day or full-day session could be right down your alley. The boardroom - which is fully equipped with the latest presentation technologies - can help you and your board drill down and focus on your agenda, free from the day-

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Did you know the Aileron Campus has its own customized boardroom? If you’re looking for a

to-day distractions of running your business. CULTURE

DOCUMENTS BOARD ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES DOCUMENT who is thinking about serving on a board, do you fully understand what you’re getting into? This document outlines the roles and responsibilities of a board member, and it also discusses the responsibilities the owner has to the board.

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If you’re a business owner considering an outside board, a current board member, or someone

BOARD STRUCTURE GUIDELINES How should your outside board be structured? As you ponder that crucial question, this document board type (advisors vs. directors), size, term limits, meeting guidelines, and frequency of meetings - you’ll also learn more about board authority, and the important differences between governance and management.

What goes into building an effective board? How can you dial in the right mix of advisors? For best results, what should you strive for as you put board into action? These questions are covered in this brief (but handy) tip sheet - a good reference as you build and operate your outside board.

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FOR BUSINESS OWNERS – BUILDING YOUR BOARD TIPS

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will help you make the right choices for you and your organization. Along with outlining the basics -

JUST THE FAQS - COMMON LEGAL QUESTIONS ABOUT OUTSIDE BOARDS DOCUMENT building an outside board. This document provides thoughts for you to consider as you sort through these questions - which in turn, can help you determine your best course of action as you’re deciding whether to build and implement an outside board.

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Certain basic legal questions tend to be raised whenever business owners are thinking about

High Performance Boards Resource Guide effectiveness of their boards and organizations. This resource guide is designed to enhance understanding of the critical components of excellent board performance, the key roles and responsibilities of a high performance board, and its value in helping your organization prosper. The guide includes activities and assessments to help ascertain where a company’s board performance

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The High Performance Boards Resource Guide focuses on helping organizations strengthen the

can improve. OTHER

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Outside Boards and Your Role as a Board Member What is Aileron’s perspective on outside boards and the role of individual board members? This document provides the answers in a straightforward, common-sense tone. Compensation and term

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limits, liability issues, and the makeup of an outside board are covered as well. These insights can help you think deeper about your own role in becoming a more effective board member.

OUTSIDE BOARDS RESOURCE GUIDE This is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide designed to help you build and use an outside board. The initial sections provide a clear understanding of a board’s value, and also bust several myths

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that discourage owners from embracing this invaluable resource. The guide then delves into the specifics of choosing board members, the roles and responsibilities of the board and the owner, best practices, and other key elements of an effective outside board. Should you choose to build a board of your own, you can also take advantage of the next steps outlined at the end of the guide to help you get started.

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EXAMPLES/TEMPLATES ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER AGREEMENT EXAMPLE It’s essential for you and a new board member to have a solid, common-sense mutual

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understanding about their role and term of service. On the other hand, it’s also important to have everything drafted out in specific legal details. This sample agreement, which covers areas such as compensation, confidentiality, expectations, and length of term, can provide a good starting point as you draft your own board member agreement.

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

ADVISORY BOARD CHARTER EXAMPLE How will your outside board operate? How many board members will it have, and how will those board members be compensated? This board charter template will help you solidify those details, without ambiguity, in a straightforward document. A charter is useful both before and after your board is up and running; when you’re recruiting your board members, the charter can help them get a better sense for what it might be like to serve on your board. And after it’s operating, the document can help to guide the board and ensure that certain key details (for example, the number

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of meetings per year) remain unchanged.

ADVISORY BOARD CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT TEMPLATE One of the cornerstones of an effective board is an open, confidential, and candid environment, where you can discuss your company’s most important issues. So how can you ensure that

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happens? This sample board confidentiality agreement is typical of what business owners use to protect trade secrets and other confidential information. While this is not specific legal advice (for that, you should consult an attorney), it will provide you with a good idea of what you can present to your board members during the recruitment phase.

BUSINESS OWNER’S GUIDE TO A MORE EFFECTIVE BOARD MEETING This guide walks you through board meetings in its entirety, offering best practices, guidelines, and OTHER 26

examples taken from highly successful boards on steps you can take - before, during, and after your meeting - to ensure your board is working hard for your organization. The goal is to give you insight from other high-performing boards.


As you recruit potential outside advisors, a company profile is a great way to convey important

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COMPANY PROFILE FOR RECRUITING OUTSIDE ADVISORS EXAMPLE AND GUIDELINES information about your business and your needs and wants. But what details should be included? relevant, and informative.

FORM LETTER FOR INDEMNIFICATION OF ADVISOR/DIRECTOR

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This sample profile - along with basic guidelines - can help you create a profile that’s focused,

If you’re a prospective board member thinking about serving an organization, you can expect to sign an indemnification letter as part of your recruitment process. This is an example of a typical this type of letter to spell out confidentiality terms with your board members, and protect them from legal liability as a result of their decisions. This sharply reduces the odds that their advice, support

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letter, written specifically for a board advisor. As a business owner who has a board, you can use

and feedback will be influenced by personal legal concerns.

When it comes to recruiting new members for your board, the right questions can help you make the most of your interviews, giving you a solid sense for whether or not they’d be a great fit. These sample interview questions can help you steer the conversation in the right direction. Covering key areas such as availability, experience and expertise, and personal interests, they touch on make-

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SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR POTENTIAL BOARD MEMBERS

or-break elements for effective board members. You can also use the questions as an inspiration or

ONLINE INTERACTIVE If you want to learn more about serving on a board, why not take a little time to hear from people who have already done it? This interactive session features Dayton-area business leaders who have already served on boards or are going through the process to find the right board to serve on.

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ARE YOU READY TO SERVE? ONLINE

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starting point for other areas you’d like to cover during the recruiting process.

They’ll talk about their experiences and let you know how they used personal assessments to find a board that fit their interests, talents, and goals. Aileron’s Executive in Residence, Dave Sullivan, will

BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE BOARD MEMBER ONLINE PACKAGE What’s involved in being an effective board member? This online program explores the “Five

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also lend his thoughts on what makes each of these business leaders a great board member.

C’s” that can help you maximize your service to an organization. These include competency, pace, and tap into useful, common-sense insights that can boost your performance and value as a board member.

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commitment, communication, collaboration, and chemistry. Work through the program at your own

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VIDEO/AUDIO

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Buzz About Boards – Owner Testimonials Video In this informative clip, three successful business leaders talk about their experiences with outside boards and offer insights on what makes them so valuable to the owner. You’ll hear from Dick Macaulay of Buckeye Fabricating, Scott Knowles of The Wolf Creek Company, and Aileron founder Clay Mathile. Their comments will help you see why Aileron refers to outside boards as “an owner’s best friend.”

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Feedback from the Field – Aileron Client Dick Macaulay on Outside Boards Video Here at Aileron we like to say that an outside board is a business owner’s best friend. In this clip you’ll hear from Dick Macaulay - an owner, president, and CEO - about his own experience with a board. The benefits and advantages he gained from his board are impressive, but they’re also

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typical of any organization that implements and uses these invaluable resources.

Feedback from the Field – Aileron Client Scott Knowles on Outside Boards Video What can an outside board do for you? We asked Scott Knowles, president of the Wolf Creek Company, how an outside board has improved his business. His enthusiastic answer is revealing, but

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certainly not unusual; the vast majority of business leaders who use an outside board see similar results! This, in a nutshell, is why we recommend that owners, presidents and CEOs wholeheartedly embrace outside boards as part of their system of professional management.

If I Had a Popcorn Stand Video PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

In this short but very candid snapshot of Clay Mathile, founder of Aileron, Clay gives his perspective on how important a board can be to an organization.

What’s the Becoming an Effective Board Member PROGRAM all About? Video If you’re thinking about serving on an outside board, wondering how you can make your current service more valuable, or just looking to improve your board skills, this course has plenty to offer. Listen to Dave Sullivan one of our experts who has served on numerous boards as he describes the

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program and its goals.

What’s the High Performance Boards Program all About? Video Do you have a board that’s under performing? Do you want your board to start pushing your business to the next level? If so, our High Performance Board program is for you. Dave Sullivan, one of Aileron’s experts on boards, tells you what’s in store when you attend this program.

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What’s the Outside Boards Program all About? Video Dave Sullivan, one of Aileron’s experts on boards describes the goals of this informative, interactive one-day course. We’ve designed it to help anyone who’s looking for more information about boards. Owners who are still wondering if a board is right for them will also want to take a look.

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Aileron believes that an outside board can be a business owner’s best friend. But what exactly is the

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What is the Key Role of the Board? Video role of an outside board? Find out in this snappy, to-the-point video clip.

The number-one role of any board member is to provide support and advice to the owner. Someone forgot to tell that to the respondents in this tongue-in-cheek video clip. It might be funny to watch,

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What is Your Role as a Board Member? Video

but there’s a kernel of truth here; some board members are in it for all the wrong reasons, or have no idea what their roles should be. CULTURE

VISUALS 5 Cs CAMPUS WALL DISPLAY wall display illustrates the keys to an effective outside board. Highlighting each of the five C’s competency, commitment, communication, collaboration, and chemistry - this wall display brings together the elements to help you visualize these concepts in the boardroom.

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Do you currently serve on an outside board? Do you have a board of your own? This enlightening

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PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT Just as you put a large amount of time and energy into creating a direction for your company, you should place an equal amount of importance on making sure you have the right people to get you to where you want to be. Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining competent people will enable you to create the culture that you want for your company. But more than that, you’ll need to create an environment that encourages and embraces change, providing your employees with the freedom, responsibility, and authority they need in order to create an atmosphere of trust. In addition, you will need to develop a succession plan to ensure that you will always have qualified people in key positions.

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FACILITATED SERVICES This interactive discussion will provide you with practical ideas for building a strong team, even when time and money are at a premium. Join other business owners and a team-development expert to discuss the traits of high-performance teams and your role in creating a positive,

Business Controls

Building Effective Teams Leader to Leader

productive environment where your people can flourish.

How can different legal structures impact your business? What’s the advantage of using equity based incentives for your key management? These two questions will drive an enlightening Expert

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Compensating Your Key People With Equity-Based Incentives Leader to Leader

Perspective, facilitated by tax attorney Sam Warwar.

How can you keep your organization’s morale and values intact as you navigate the changing marketplace? This Leader to Leader discussion will give you fresh ideas and insights for developing your people and maintaining an effective work environment.

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DEVELOPING PEOPLE AND BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT LEADER TO LEADER

Holding People Accountable Spotlight within their organization and determine an action plan to begin addressing the issues immediately. Different tools are introduced to help participants implement accountability systems.

LEADING AN ACCOUNTABLE TEAM LEADER TO LEADER

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Holding People Accountable offers an opportunity for participants to identify accountability issues

This Best Practices session will help you think deeper about holding your team accountable. Share their team with a culture of accountability.

MANAGING YOUR WORKFORCE IN TODAY’S ECONOMY BEST PRACTICES EXCHANGE This Think Tank will focus on reenergizing your people in the aftermath of an economic storm. Join

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your own thoughts and insights on the topic, and hear how other business owners are empowering

fellow owners to dive into a related topic, test your approach and assumptions, and gain valuable of the coming recovery.

PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE ON ACCOUNTABILITY

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insights that can get your workforce motivated, reinvigorated, and ready to seize the opportunities

How can you create a winning accountability system? For insights into this crucial question, join Larry Connor – managing partner of a $1 billion real estate investment firm – as he shares his experiences the right standards, has improved his employees’ individual productivity by 60-100%.

Raising the Bar Employee Performance Systems Presidents Perspective David Ganzsarto is a business leader who has struggled with employee motivation and recognition. His

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building and using an accountability system. This approach, which focuses on setting and measuring

solution? A system of performance-based guidelines and goals. At this President’s Perspective, business owners will hear about David’s experiences implementing these changes, and the benefits an organization OTHER

can achieve when it adds employee performance to the professional management equation.

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Right People, Right Skills, Right Place Panel Discussion Do you have the talent you need to move forward and grow your company in an uncertain economic environment? At this panel discussion, you’ll tap into the experiences, advice, and best practices of

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seasoned business leaders, gaining insights that can help you think deeper about strengthening your workforce and positioning your team for future growth.

Workforce Evolution Panel Discussion Workforce restructuring presents a unique set of challenges. At this panel discussion you’ll hear from experienced business leaders and human resource experts about ways you can confront these

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issues, while keeping your team and organization moving in the right direction.

Workforce Evolution Think Tank Express This fast-paced discussion will provide you with practical, real-world insights into managing the unique challenges of a changing workforce - a crucial issue in this difficult economic environment.

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The informal, straight-to-the-point session will give business owners an opportunity to share and learn from their fellow business owners.

1:1 SERVICES

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MARY CONNORS OFFICE HOURS Mary Connors is a work environment expert with over 25 years of hands-on experience helping business owners address cultural and people development issues. These one-on-one office hours give Aileron clients an opportunity to tap into her expertise, insights, and advice. Getting help is as easy as scheduling a personalized 90-minute meeting!

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ACTIVITIES 1-2-3 DELEGATION MODEL TOOL Are you giving your people the ability to hold themselves accountable? This activity can help you answer that question. Focusing on basic job responsibilities - for example, implementing sales strategies - you

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can clearly define the level of authority (on a scale of 1 to 3) that should be delegated for each job.

Accountability Action Plan Activity If you and your management team are ready to get a handle on accountability issues at your organization, use this action plan to help you get started. It will help you organize your short and

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long term actions and formalize who does what by when.

FAMILY FIRST? CASE STUDY This case study puts the question up for discussion, “Do you put your family first?” When accountability issues with family members become an issue, how do you handle it?

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This case study revolves around implementing a system of accountability in an organization that has never needed one before in order to prosper. Some of the questions that should be discussed are: How do I start? How will the employees know that I’m serious? What happens if they don’t perform?


This case study is an example of what happens when people ignore issues because they aren’t

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IT’S NOT A PROBLEM YET CASE STUDY problems yet. The discussion should focus on how to get people to recognize potential problems accountable for bringing those issues to light.

IT’S NOT MY JOB CASE STUDY

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before they become problems so that they can be avoided. Also, discuss how to hold people

This case study describes a situation in which employees have the “it’s not my job” mentality. The discussion should focus on how to get people to feel that any issue is theirs to resolve because they CULTURE

take pride and ownership in what they are doing – or for short, accountability.

PERFORMANCE CONTRACT TOOL This tool can help you set crystal-clear performance goals for each position within your organization. An example is included for added clarity. Unambiguous standards can help you measure

SMART OBJECTIVES TOOL Get SMART! This tool helps you ensure that each of your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. Examples of SMART objectives are provided as well. Clear,

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performance, and gain buy-in from employees as they strive to accomplish their goals.

unambiguous goals can help with long-term planning, holding people accountable, and other areas OUTSIDE Advisors

of professional management.

TEAM TOOLS ACTIVITIES Team Tools is a collection of highly effective team-building activities. They are easy to use, don’t them all; just pick one that fits your current needs, and jump on in! These tools are designed to help with team building, getting to know one another better, and problem solving.

ALONE AND TOGETHER ACTIVITY

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require any special planning, and can be conducted just about anywhere. There’s no need to do

What are the pros and cons of working individually? How about in a group? This activity Participants are divided into an even number of teams. During the first round, some teams jointly solve a Sudoku-like puzzle while members of the other teams solve it individually. In the second round, teams solve another puzzle, reversing the approaches.

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provides insights into both approaches, and heightens awareness of differing work styles.

BUILDING A GREAT BUSINESS ACTIVITY and shareholders satisfied. These three important groups are interlinked to each other when it comes to building a great business. Typically, any action that satisfies one group will have positive impact on the other two groups. Sometimes, however, an action that delights one group may clash with the needs of another group. During the activity, groups of participants

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This activity helps participants focus on the complexity of keeping customers, employees,

will generate ideas to satisfy the different stakeholders and avoid potential conflicts. OTHER

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FISHBOWL ACTIVITY Looking for a unique way to get your team talking, brainstorming, and generating new ideas? In this activity, participants create two circles – one inside the other. The inside circle starts by

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answering the facilitator’s questions. When all participants within that circle have had a chance to speak, the participants of each circle switch places. Then, the new inside circle responds to what the previous participants said about the topics posed by the facilitator, as well as adding their own comments. This “circle” discussion format can also be useful when you and your team are developing solutions to issues and challenges that your organization is facing.

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GUESS WHO ACTIVITY Each member of the group completes the short Guess Who questionnaire. Once all participants are finished, a volunteer reads the answers provided on a randomly selected questionnaire, and the group guesses who they think the person is based on those answers. The payoff? Your group gets to know each other better, and learns something about each person that they didn’t know before.

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LEADERSHIP COMPASS ACTIVITY In this activity, participants use a “directional compass” approach to think deeper about four different types of work styles. The simple exercise, which follows a question-and-answer format, creates a more thorough understanding of the various work styles. It also demonstrates the value of having multiple approaches within the organization, and imparts a deeper sense of unity and

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teamwork.

MIND SPIN ACTIVITY This fast-paced activity is designed to help the group rapidly brainstorm ideas and solutions to key questions such as, “How can we better understand the needs of our customers?” or “How can we increase our productivity?” The essence of the Mind Spin activity is that each participant writes

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several ideas on index cards, and each idea is then used by other participants to create more ideas.

MIX AND MATCH ACTIVITY This activity splits your group into two teams for collaborative problem-solving and brainstorming, with a goal to formulate an action plan to address a specific issue. The twist? After starting out with one team, each participant joins a new team to “finish” the plan. This encourages the sharing

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of new perspectives and underscores the importance of embracing fresh ideas.

POINT THE FINGER ACTIVITY While this activity is simple and straightforward, the insights it provides can be useful for you and your team. These insights are revealed as two groups collaborate to lower a wooden dowel to the ground. Observing how people work as individuals - and as a group - can open a window into

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the way your people interact, organize, lead, and communicate as they work toward a common objective. With a deeper understanding of these dynamics (which sometimes go unnoticed in the workplace), you can generate ideas to improve team cohesion and unity as you pursue your strategic goals.

PEOPLE AND PLACES ACTIVITY This is a flexible group activity where participants think deeper about their individual learning OTHER

styles - as well as those of their teammates. Using response cards, the participants share ideas on characteristics of their preferred learning environments. The objective of the activity is to encourage teamwork and group thinking, and help participants identify common learning preferences.

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In this activity, participants learn about the perspectives of their fellow co-workers or

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QUESTION BOX ACTIVITY group members. The open-ended question-and-answer format (suggested questions are enhancing the team’s communication and collaboration.

TALLEST TOWER ACTIVITY

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included) touches on both personal and professional details, with the ultimate goal of

Collaboration and communication are the driving forces behind this highly interactive teambuilding activity. Groups of participants work to build the tallest free-standing tower they unified group effort toward the achievement of a common team goal.

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can with the supplies they are given. The objective is to highlight the importance of a

VISUAL EXPLORER ACTIVITY In this activity, you and your team will use a series of images to create a framework for “how can we more effectively serve our target customers?” - each group member will select a picture from a collection of more than 200 images. The group will then relate each image to their experiences, creating connections and metaphors to bring about a clearer understanding of the topic at hand. The resulting deliberation and discussion can help your

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constructive dialogue. Starting with a topic or question you want to explore - for example,

team brainstorm, weigh differing ideas and perspectives, and come to a collective decision. OUTSIDE Advisors

UNIQUE THINGS ACTIVITY This quick activity is designed to get people acquainted with each other. The activity requires the use of a worksheet and the interaction of individuals in a casual setting. The end result is that

WHY GOOD PEOPLE STAY CASE STUDY Aileron conducted a study and asked CEOs, top managers, and middle managers, “Why do high achievers stay with their organizations when other opportunities exist?” This case study examines the

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participants learn some unexpected information about other participants’ interests.

responses that were given. STRATEGY

ARTICLES HOW TO HANDLE THE PESSIMIST ON YOUR TEAM One of the potential obstacles to an effective work environment is a pessimistic attitude; even one three practical approaches.

HOW TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS ARTICLE At their best, employee performance reviews can help you increase revenue, improve productivity,

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employee with a negative point of view can impact other team members. This article highlights

reduce turnover, boost customer satisfaction, and increase support for your company’s long-term goals. At their worst, they can waste your resources and create frustration for both you and your four important steps you can take - such as embracing open communication and giving constant feedback - to ensure that your reviews are worthwhile and productive.

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people. This article highlights three common obstacles to effective performance reviews, then offers

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Right People vs. Getting People Right Article Here’s a timely, outside-the-box take on developing your people in a tough economy. Its main advice is to focus your resources on improving your existing employees, rather than finding the right people. While this seems to fly in the face of Aileron’s perspective on hiring, it also supports the notion that you should hire

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for fit (or attitude), and train for skill. If you’re thinking about eliminating weak team members, take a step back and look at what’s holding them back; sometimes a little training is all it takes to get them moving in the right direction.

Team Building Without Time Wasting Article In this article, coaching expert Marshall Goldsmith presents a step-by-step process for building teams without wasting time or resources. The approach presented here fits nicely into a system of professional

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management; in addition to creating a fertile environment for team collaboration, it also encourages participants to focus on self-improvement and individual problem solving.

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VIDEO/AUDIO DRIVE: THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT WHAT MOTIVATES US VIDEO Citing a number of convincing studies, this video explores what motivates people at the workplace. The results will probably surprise you. It turns out that if you want to create a work environment where employees are motivated, focused, and efficient, compensation is only part of the equation. In fact, higher financial rewards translate to poorer performance when creativity and critical thinking are involved.

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Other elements, like the ability to master a task, play a much more important role. These concepts, while contrary to conventional wisdom, might give you fresh ideas for creating a more vibrant, engaged, and motivated workforce.

HOW TO FIND BRIGHT SPOTS VIDEO PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

When it comes to evaluating your employees’ performance, it’s natural to focus on areas that need improvement. But as this video points out, it might be a better idea to shift your perspective and focus on what your people are doing right. By looking for the bright spots, you’ll uncover strengths that could be improved upon – or even leveraged and duplicated across the organization. This approach can also be invaluable when you’re evaluating your own performance as a business leader.

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Grow Your Stars – Don’t Buy Them Video People Development is part of Aileron’s DOC Model. This interview with a Harvard Business School professor underscores one of the biggest benefits of investing in your employees. His research shows that developing star performers within an organization tends to yield better results than looking outside for top talent.

Letting People Go by Clay Mathile Video Transition

Clay Mathile has some great advice for carrying out one of those inevitable tasks that most owners would just as soon avoid: letting people go. Because organizations change over time, employees who used to be a great fit might not be qualified to take the company to the next level. Saying goodbye to these loyal, long-time team members is never easy, but as Clay points out, certain steps can make for a much smoother transition.

Raising the Employee Performance Bar with David Ganzsarto Audio OTHER

Do you need help keeping your employees motivated and on track? In this audio, you’ll find out how business leader David Ganzsarto used an employee performance system to solve these issues and boost his company’s bottom line. He discusses his experiences and results, and highlights the key elements of a performance-based system.

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STRATEGY You know that establishing a clear strategy for your business is crucial to your success. But how will professional management help you with your strategy? It’s simple. You will clearly define a decision-making process. Your strategy will define reality, focus your enterprise and determine the competency required to achieve your goals. Clearly identifying your strategy will also assist you in allocating time, people, and money appropriately and help you to focus on the important matters of your business not just the urgent or immediate ones.

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PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT

FACILITATED SERVICES

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Avoiding Financial Distress Expert Perspective What are the signs of financial distress? How can you tell if your company is headed for a downturn, and what should you be watching out for in this difficult environment? This Expert Perspective will provide you with fresh viewpoints and insights into answering these timely questions.

Beyond the Bottom Line: What Drives My Financial Performance? Program CULTURE

This program will guide you through the basics and best practices of reading financial information. What do those numbers mean, and where do they came from? What should you look for? You’ll come away with the answers, equipped with the knowledge you need to find out where your business is - and where it might be headed.

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Building a Better Brand President’s Perspective Effective branding can help your company stand out in the marketplace, boost your revenue, and support your long-term goals. Come join us for an open-ended discussion and learn more about the hows and whys of building a better image.

Can I Really Fire a Customer? Leader to Leader OUTSIDE Advisors

Many organizations operate on the flawed assumption that every revenue-generating customer should be maintained and supported. As you’ll find out at this Coffee and Candor session, there’s a clear strategic difference between clients who add to your organization’s value, and those who don’t.

Customer Selection – Their Needs, Your Goals Workshop PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

As part four of the Understanding Your Customer Series of Offerings, this workshop is for business leaders and their teams who want to develop an optimized customer selection strategy. One of the best ways to maximize an organization’s potential is to target the right customers, then focus on meeting their needs and wants.

Falling Up in a Down Economy Speaking Event Economic history is repeating itself with another period of uncertainty. This speaking event will help

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you think deeper about ways that you can adapt and react, ensuring that you emerge from the slowdown in a stronger position.

Great Divide – Find Your Winning Markets workshop The Great Divide: Find Your Winning Markets Workshop is a hands-on workshop where clients will have the opportunity to drill down and determine their attractive customer groups.

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HEALTHCARE LEGISLATION - Q&A FOR BUSINESS OWNERS AUDIO CONFERENCE The government’s new healthcare program will be gradually rolling out over the next several years, adding an important new variable to the world in which your company operates. This timely panel discussion will help you gain a better understanding of the potential impact that the legislation may have on your organization.

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PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT

Keeping Your Company Sellable Expert Perspective At this session, you’ll hear from a legal expert about ways that you can maximize your company’s value in how to find help with the sale process.

NAVIGATING THE NEW ECONOMY WITH DAVE SULLIVAN EVENT

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preparation for a sale. You’ll also gain insights into determining when to sell, how you should get paid, and

The new, post-recessionary environment has created exciting new opportunities for small businesses. At this presentation and discussion, you’ll hear from Aileron’s Executive in Residence about seizing those

Reinventing Revenue Panel Discussion This panel discussion is for anyone who’s dealing with, or wants to prevent, declining sales and revenue.

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opportunities, rebuilding your confidence, and regaining forward momentum in the changing marketplace.

Our panel of experienced, successful business leaders will offer their market-proven advice and insights on adapting to the downturn and finding new opportunities in the shifting marketplace.

For many organizations, business research starts and ends with a glance at Google. That’s not a bad start - but at this Expert Perspective participants will see that a more focused approach gives owners the ability

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Researching Your Industry and Markets Expert Perspective

to dig deeper and turn their findings into immediate action. Tapping into this information can help owners learn more about their target industries, markets, customers, and threats in the marketplace.

The Strategic Management Workshop is a hands-on workshop for leaders of established businesses who are in need of strategic direction. The offering is designed to identify strategic needs, then address those

OUTSIDE Advisors

Strategic Management Workshop

issues with a practical and comprehensive planning process that can be put to work immediately.

At this President’s Perspective you’ll hear from a successful business leader about his experiences developing and implementing a winning sales system. Aligning his sales processes with his company’s strategy, he achieved sustained growth and built stronger, long-lasting customer relationships.

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Strategy and Sales – Sync it Up President’s Perspective

SWOT Analysis Workshop opportunities, and threats. It’s a powerful tool that gives you a clear picture of where your business stands. It gives you information that helps you plan for the future. But like any good tool, you have to know how to use it before you start hammering away - so we’ve created a hands-on workshop to guide

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SWOT analysis is all about getting a good grip on each of these areas - strengths, weaknesses,

you along.

As you confront the ever-changing market, how can you be sure that you’re focusing on the right areas? At this interactive presentation and discussion, you’ll learn how to use hands-on tools to conduct a “reality check” by prioritizing your most important issues and drilling down to their true cause.

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UNCOVERING YOUR CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS SPOTLIGHT

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CUSTOMER SERIES OF OFFERINGS groups that are the best fit with your company, and then find which of those customers need your business. You’ll also have access to optional office hours with Aileron’s Executive in Residence, as well as everything the Aileron campus has to offer.

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Do you truly understand your customers? In this four-part series, you’ll uncover the customer

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PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT

1:1 SERVICES

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STRATEGIC PLANNING SERVICES Do you need a trusted guide to assist you with the strategic planning process? Fear not; Aileron is here to help! We offer three strategic planning packages to choose from, depending on your unique needs. A business advisor will provide you with support and advice as you tackle key elements of planning, such as conducting a SWOT analysis to get a better grip on your external reality. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced packages are offered to any business owner, with the option to add on services at any point in

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your planning process.

ACTIVITIES

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Attractiveness Criteria – Customer Groups Worksheet How valuable is each customer group to your business? How do you know which ones to target? This activity will help you find the answers by quantifying each group’s attractiveness. When you’re done, you’ll have the knowledge you need to prioritize and focus on the right customers - the customers who bring the most value to your organization.

ATTRACTIVENESS CRITERIA EXAMPLE CASE STUDY OUTSIDE Advisors

Courtesy of The Shamrock Group, this short PowerPoint presentation walks you through an example of how a general contracting company used the attractiveness criteria to determine which customers to pursue. The decision was based on measuring six criteria that are important to the success of the company. After the company went through this exercise, senior leaders found that the original target customer group was no longer who they should pursue. The exercise helped them identify

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new groups of customers that were going to fit better with their business’ vision, mission, and goals.

Company Snapshot Activity As you work through a SWOT analysis for a specific market, use this worksheet to create a snapshot of your organization. What are your internal resources and capabilities? How do your customers perceive your company, and how do they think you stack up against your competitors? The answers

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will help you test your assumptions about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With this information, you can create a revised SWOT list that more accurately reflects what’s happening with your company, customers, and competition.

Core Competencies Activity What does your company do better than the competition? What are your company’s super Transition

strengths? This activity has some thought-starter questions to get your head around what your company is really good at, better than the rest, or what your company needs to be good at in order to beat the competition.

Cost Differentiation Scale Worksheet This activity helps you narrow down why your customer groups buy from you by taking you through seven questions and plotting your groups on a scale. If you need a starting point to determine which

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side of the scale your customer groups fall (cost or differentiation), check out this activity.


Market segmentation sounds a bit textbook, but it’s really nothing more than putting your

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Current Customers Worksheet customers into meaningful groups. As you might guess, this involves some in-depth thinking about

Customer Selection Action Plan Activity Once you’ve determined which customer groups need you, then you can determine how to start

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your business. We’ll start by looking at your customers that represent your entire customer base.

handling the customers you have. This action plan gives you the space to jot down your short and long-term plans to get the right customer groups in place.

Use this worksheet to paint a clearer picture of your external reality - the political, economic, social,

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External Reality worksheet and technological factors that may help or hurt your business. While these “PESTs” are outside your control, identifying these trends will help you plan for the future. If you happen to be working on a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Grouping Customers Worksheet Assuming you have a good handle on the pluses and minuses of your customers, you can take

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SWOT analysis, you can also use this information to create a more accurate list of your company’s

that a step further to start identifying groups of customers. For each customer, you’ll list the key the key characteristics that define your business relationship? We listed some questions to help you get started. Finally, review your list to see if you spot some logical customer groups. You’ll look for characteristics that they have in common. We’ve provided a table for some more brainstorming

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definers. When you think about the customer relationship and those pluses and minuses, what are

ideas. Once you’ve identified some customer groups, you’ll list them in a table and include the characteristics that you previously brainstormed.

This highly useful SWOT tool invites you to put yourself in your competitors’ shoes. In the first step, you’ll answer questions about yourself and your competition to get a better grip on your various SWOTs. In the second section, you’ll measure your SWOTs against the competition to find

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KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION FAST TRACK SWOT ANALYSIS TOOL

areas where you have a competitive advantage. You might also find that some of your perceived competitive comparison. In other words, get ready to challenge your assumptions! By the end of the exercise, you’ll have a more accurate picture of your company and the competitive environment in which you operate.

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strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats don’t hold up when you subject them to a

LIFE DESIGNS ARCHITECTURE SWOT CASE STUDY opportunities, and threats for an architectural company. Many of these (such as a lack of resources) are common SWOTs that appear in many industries. While the case study doesn’t narrow the list down to the top three, as Aileron recommends, it’s still a helpful way to get your gears turning on

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Looking for some help with your SWOT list? This case study shows the strengths, weaknesses,

brainstorming a SWOT list of your own.

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Planning Assumptions Activity The final step in the SWOT analysis is to determine your planning assumptions, which are informed predictions on which to base strategies and actions. Slice and dice your SWOTs, draw some conclusions,

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put them up against the external realities and determine the impact and potential response. It’s a multiple step process that will get you to the next step in planning - determining your priority issues.

STRATEGIC PLANNING REVIEW PROCESS PACKET You’ve built a strategic plan and put it into place. But how can you ensure that it’s performing as planned? This strategic plan review will guide you through a straightforward process that can help you determine

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what’s working, what’s been accomplished, and what course adjustments are needed. Space is included to record your thoughts and conclusions, helping you measure your actual results against your expected outcomes. After completing the review process, you’ll have the information you need to modify your plan and move confidently forward.

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Strategy Statement Exercise and Example Activity As you move through the planning process, strategy statements can help you organize your thoughts and findings. These documents also provide a logical place to list your conclusions so you can refer back to them at a later time. You may want to use these sample statements as rough templates for listing details about your planning assumptions, SWOTs, priority issues, action plans, and other key elements of strategic planning.

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SWOT Analysis Worksheet Aileron is a firm believer in the value of SWOT exercises during the planning process. This article (and accompanying worksheet) offers an outside take on SWOTs that supports many of Aileron’s teachings. With clearly written sections on the hows and whys of SWOT, it offers an excellent overview/summary that’s easy to digest, a good starting point for anyone who’s not familiar with SWOTs. Follow-up links at

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the end of the article provide additional resources that build on the power of SWOTs. The worksheet is a SWOT matrix where strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can be collected on one page. This mirrors Aileron’s SWOT matrix, which makes an appearance in the SWOT workshop.

SWOT Matrix Activity One of the first steps of a SWOT analysis is to fill out this matrix. There is plenty of space to write down

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your thoughts as you brainstorm the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for one of your markets. Also included are guiding questions to help you focus and think deeper about each category. After you finish, keep the matrix handy; it will help you generate planning assumptions later on.

Uncovering Your Critical Success Factors Activity Uncovering your critical success factors is an important step on the road to long-term growth. The purpose Transition

of this exercise is to reveal the true priorities and issues that business owners may be unaware of. There are four steps to identifying top issues or causes. Once you’ve completed the exercise, you’ll have a better understanding of the areas where you should be investing your time and resources.

WAL-MART SWOT ANALYSIS CASE STUDY SWOT is an effective planning exercise for any organization, from small private businesses all the way up OTHER 42

to multi-national giants. This case study, compiled using public information about Wal-Mart, features a detailed SWOT analysis of the retail giant. It’ll help you start thinking strategically about your company, industry, competitors, and marketplace, even if you’re not sitting on a market cap of $240 billion


Time to get a little self-centered and think about what’s truly important for your business. This

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What’s Important to the Success of My Business activity tool will help you determine what the critical success factors are for your business, also called the most crucial make-or-breaks you’ll prioritize and determine how to measure each one. This tool can help you decide which customers or groups of customers, also known as market segments, you might want to pursue. In addition, it can help encourage some deep thinking and healthy

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“make-or-breaks”, that will significantly influence your success. Once you’ve identified the 3 - 5

conversation as you and your team contemplate your company’s future.

Which customer groups need you? This five-step process will help you find out! Don’t worry - you won’t get lost. There are steps and thought-starters to help you along.

$300 Million Button Article Do you truly understand your customers? This online retailer thought it did - until it took the time

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ARTICLES

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Which Customer Groups Need Me Activity

to test its assumptions. After shifting its focus to the customers’ perspective, the company made Professionally managed organizations should use the same approach to shore up their revenue base during the recession.

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minor adjustments to its online ordering system. Total cost savings were a whopping $300 million.

A Better Way to Cut Costs Article are some compelling reasons to avoid this temptation and look for cost-cutting alternatives. These insights can have a positive impact on your strategy, customer selection, work environment, and the big picture of how you run your company.

Big-Box Retailer Goes Little Article

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When faced with tough times, many companies immediately move to aggressively cut costs. Here

Now more than ever, it’s essential for companies to adapt to the difficult and ever-changing phone outlet arena. But one is left wondering if the company did its homework, might it have found out if its current customers actually need and want this new service?

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marketplace. That’s what Best Buy is trying to do as it moves into the (already-crowded) mobile

FEWER CUSTOMERS, BUT THE RIGHT ONES ARTICLE It might sound counter intuitive if you’ve never challenged the idea, but not all customers are just an okay fit, while some customers might even hamper your long-term strategy. This article, profiling a decision made by the match-making service eHarmony, offers a real-life example of this principle in action. As the author points out, the decision to pursue a wider range of customers

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created equal. Some can help your business move toward its goals; they’re a great fit. Others are

didn’t necessarily fit with eHarmony’s mission and core competencies (or in plain English, the things it does best). OTHER

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How to Market in a Downturn Article When it comes to marketing your products or services, recessionary environments present unique considerations. This article offers insight into how you can market effectively in a downturn, while

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continuing to meet the needs and wants of your target customer groups. As the authors point out, losing sight of your core customers - by viewing them as one homogenous group, for example - can create long-term problems.

Hubristic GM Failed to Change with the Times Article General Motors is a textbook example of what happens when a company fails to adapt itself to an CULTURE

ever-changing marketplace. This article summarizes GM’s journey from an agile, dynamic organization to an inwardly-focused company that stubbornly refused to change. Its many mistakes, including failing to meet the shifting demands of its target customers, offers a cautionary tale for any business.

INJECTING NEW LIFE INTO OLD BUSINESS MODELS ARTICLE LEADERSHIP

This article focuses on the potential benefits of changing your business model. (A business model is defined here as what your company does, how your activities are linked, and who carries out those activities.) Real-life examples of companies that successfully changed their approach highlight the value in finding “new and novel ways to do business.” While this isn’t a quick-and-easy solution - a new business model may require fundamental changes throughout the organization - it can provide an alternative to cost-cutting, boost your performance, and create a competitive advantage.

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Innovator’s Survival Guide Article Innovators may be feeling a bit lonely in these turbulent economic times. A thoughtful response during such times can actually accelerate and expand returns on innovation initiatives. Kevin Bolen offers a brief list of actions that innovators should and should not be taking in today’s skittish climate, focusing on the two main areas most likely to provoke the wrong behavior: your

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relationship with an increasingly nervous core business and the efficient allocation of scarce funds.

Moving Forward by Dave Sullivan Article How can a recovering economy be more dangerous than a recession? What should business owners do to ensure that they can prosper in the upturn? Dave Sullivan, Aileron’s Executive in Residence, addresses these questions in this eye-opening article. His perspective and advice can help you think

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deeper about adapting to a marketplace in which the simple act of surviving is not enough.

Netflix – It Feels Like the First Time Article Good things happen when a company truly understands its customers. This piece on Netflix is a prime example. Rather than standing still, the company focused on serving the changing wants and needs of its customers. The positive results, including steady growth in the middle of a recession, speak for themselves.

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PLANNING IT JUST ISN’T ENOUGH ARTICLE Dave Sullivan is an Aileron facilitator and Executive in Residence with decades of experience navigating the constantly changing marketplace. In this article, he offers his time-tested perspective and some unconventional advice for moving forward in any economic environment. Read on to see why it isn’t enough to simply plan for the future, and find out why Dave thinks that recessions and

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boom periods are in the eye of the beholder.


In business ventures, we tend to honor the good idea and applaud the brilliant one -- but these

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Regarding Your Brilliant Idea Article times give new weight to the idea that sticks and actually makes things happen. In this article the can actually produce a solution and help a business fulfill a need.

SBA Readies Emergency Business Loans Article

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author sheds light on how to reduce the noise, organize the chaos and differentiate those ideas that

Here’s a facet of the stimulus package that might directly benefit your business. As described in this article, the legislation will allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee deferredfinancing, this new program is definitely worth a closer look.

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payment loans of up to $35,000. If you’re searching for an infusion of cash or alternative forms of

Sinnovation Article Fresh ideas, new ways of thinking, and novel strategies can help your business adapt to the manage the process. Avoiding the author’s “seven deadly sins of the innovator” can help you steer clear of common pitfalls such as overextending your resources, losing sight of opportunities, stifling long-term growth, and the stubborn pursuit of failed ideas.

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changing marketplace. But as this article points out, innovation also carries risks if you don’t

Sprint to 1000 Customers – You’re Fired Article move in response to subscribers who flooded the customer service department with endless complaints. These subscribers were directly impeding efforts to improve the company’s customer relations. Sprint’s lay-offs are in tune with Aileron’s perspective that poor-fit customers (those who hurt the bottom line or

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This article details Sprint’s 2007 decision to fire 1,000 of its customers. The telecom provider made this

prevent the business from pursuing its goals) should be eliminated. Smaller private companies can use

SWOT Analysis – Evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats by Bobette Kyle Article This is an excellent overview of the SWOT process, from an outside perspective that’s in line with

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this approach to improve efficiency, streamline resources, and boost revenue.

Aileron’s. Covering both internal and external forces, this article outlines a basic SWOT analysis. A second section focuses on an expanded SWOT, which brings in industry trends and other aspects using this powerful planning tool.

Theory of Business Article

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of the dynamic, ever-changing business environment. Overall, it’s a solid, easy-to-read primer on

This Harvard Business Review article called The Theory of Business, by Peter Drucker, gives themselves up for handling the change.

Top Guard Security Article Top Guard Security, based out of Hampton, VA, has made it a priority to focus on the right

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some great insight into the ever-changing reality of the environment and how companies can set

customers. This article details the company’s decision to fire customers who drained time, energy, and resources. It provides an excellent real-life example of a business doing better by using an those who don’t “fit” the company’s direction and goals should be let go or replaced.

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approach that’s consistent with Aileron’s point-of-view: not every customer is created equal, and

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What Drucker Would Say About Mervyns Article Looking for a textbook example of what happens when companies stop paying attention to their external reality and their customers’ needs? This summary of Mervyns’ journey into bankruptcy should fit the bill. The article details the retailer’s slow slide from department store giant to Chapter 11. The fundamental lesson is that when companies choose to remain stagnant, rather than adapt

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to the dynamic marketplace, failure is usually the end result. A system of professional management, which includes ongoing strategic planning and constant attention to the changing needs/wants of customers, can ensure that this never happens. This simple logic is the driving force behind Aileron’s strategy, SWOT analysis, and market segmentation offerings.

Why PR is the Prescription Article CULTURE

This article offers advice on how to adapt to the changing habits of both your target customers and the media that delivers them information. It gives an out-of-the-box perspective on public relations and advertising, arguing that the lines between the two are becoming increasingly blurred. As a result, your company may find new opportunities to reach customers with the creative use of PR an often cheaper (and possibly more effective) alternative to conventional ads.

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Books PRICING ON PURPOSE BOOK

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Pricing on Purpose, written by Ronald Baker, can help you think deeper about adding value to your pricing strategies. Clearly explained and filled with real-life examples, the book provides useful strategies for creating, communicating, and capturing the value of your products and services.

MEASURE WHAT MATTERS TO CUSTOMERS BOOK

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How can you measure your company’s success? In Measure What Matters to Customers, Ron Baker guides readers through a process that measures value from the customers’ point of view – not the owners’. This eye-opening perspective can help you uncover new ways to boost profits and build an enduring competitive advantage.

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BUSINESS OWNER’S HORIZON What’s happening in the world around you? What external forces and trends have the potential to impact your company? This in-depth report, issued twice a year by Aileron, provides a thorough overview and analysis of economic, political, technological, and demographic changes. These facts can help you during the planning process as you determine how to navigate your business through

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the changing marketplace.

BUSINESS OWNER’S MINDSET What’s going through the minds of business owners? How are they reacting to the latest changes in the external environment? What trends and changes are creating potential opportunities, and what’s keeping them up at night? The Business Owners’ Mindset offers answers to those questions, using both survey data and feedback from Aileron clients. Updated three times a year, it provides a

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window into what entrepreneurs are feeling and experiencing.

Customer Selection – Their Needs, Your Goals Resource Guide This handbook shows you a way to determine which customer groups need and want you. There are activities and examples included that will guide you through the process. Plus, check out the blank activities in the back of the guide to get you started on your own customer selection strategy.

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This resource guide takes you step by step through the process of segmenting your markets. It incorporates the Green Leaf Landscaping example, and it includes blank market segmentation activities in the back. The guide will be passed out as participants finish The Great Divide workshop.

This in-depth resource guide is your one-stop shop for all things SWOT. You’ll find out why SWOTs are so helpful during the planning process, and how they fit into the larger picture of professional management. Then you’ll delve into the nuts-and-bolts of conducting a SWOT analysis for your key market segments.

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SWOT Analysis Resource Guide

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Great Divide – Find Your Winning Markets Resource Guide

Activities and real-life examples will help you complete each step. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have an accurate SWOT list for one of your market segments and several useful conclusions about the future of CULTURE

your business.

Examples/Templates Green Leaf Landscaping is a fictitious company based out of a mid-size city in the Midwest. They currently serve residential markets in their community. The next step after identifying their customer groups is to determine which of their targeted customer groups need and want them. Read how the management team at Green Leaf worked through the customer selection process in this example.

Green Leaf Landscaping is a fictitious company based out of a mid-size city in the Midwest. They currently serve residential markets in their community. They are in the midst of planning trying to determine which market segments they should pursue, hold, watch, or abandon. After their team participated in The Great

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Green Leaf Landscaping Market Segmentation Example

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Green Leaf Landscaping Customer Selection Example

Divide: Find Your Winning Markets workshop and working through the tools, they identified four market and activities to arrive at their decision.

Green Leaf Landscaping SWOT Analysis Example Follow Green Leaf Landscaping as the company works through a SWOT analysis, from initial brainstormed SWOTs all the way to reality-tested planning assumptions. This detailed case study takes you through

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segments that best fit their business. See how the Green Leaf planning team worked through the process

each step of the process, providing real-life examples that make it easier to understand and use a SWOT

SWOT Analysis Corporate vs. Retail Example

ONLINE INTERACTIVE Market segmentation is one of the most powerful tools in the planner’s arsenal. It may not slice or dice, but it can give your bottom line and long-term performance a major boost by helping you

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DIVIDE AND CONQUER – TARGETING THE RIGHT CLIENTS ONLINE

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An example SWOT analysis pulled from a sample strategy statement, this document shows how two different markets (in this case, corporate and retail) can have different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This underscores why it’s so important to conduct your SWOTs on a marketby-market basis. Just like the findings on the worksheet, your conclusions will vary depending on the customer group you’re analyzing.

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analysis for your own organization.

identify and target the right markets. These right markets are those that best fit with your strategic direction. This presentation gives you an overview of market segmentation and its importance to your business as well as the key steps to getting it done. (continued on next page)

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SWOT ANALYSIS ONLINE PACKAGE Need help adapting to the changing marketplace? This online package can help! You’ll use a highly effective strategizing tool to understand the external environment confronting your company and to

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identify your most important issues. With this information in hand, you’ll be ready to start planning for a more prosperous future.

WHAT IS A SWOT ANALYSIS? BY DAVE SULLIVAN ONLINE SWOT: the systematic analysis of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It sounds impressive and is something that most businesses have done at some point. But when the topic

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comes up, the energy level crashes. The reason is that a SWOT analysis often fails to produce any useful information, just broad generalizations that reinforce what’s already known and don’t add much value to the planning process. Dave Sullivan will introduce you to a better way. When implemented properly, a SWOT analysis can be one of your most useful planning tools.

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WHAT IS PLANNING? BY DAVE SULLIVAN ONLINE The best way to predict the future is to create it. But without a steady diet of planning, you’ll have a tough time getting there. Join strategy connoisseur Dave Sullivan as he serves up what you need to know about planning: details on the four types and phases of planning, a model of the process, and the information you need to get started. We know you’re hungry for ways to improve your business, so dig in!

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VIDEO/AUDIO Avoiding Financial Distress Expert Perspective Video What are the signs of financial distress? How can you tell if your company is headed for a downturn,

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and what should you be watching out for in this difficult environment? In this video, two experts - Sonny Saeks and Mark Kebe - will provide you with fresh viewpoints and insights into answering these timely questions.

Embracing Change in High and Low Times Audio How can business leaders confront the economic downturn? Gary Heinze and Mike George, coowners of Northwoods Consulting Partners, Inc., offer their perspective in this timely interview.

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Their approach is to stay focused on the company’s long-term goals, while using careful, deliberate planning to engage the challenging external environment and find new opportunities for growth.

Falling Up in a Down Economy Video Dave Sullivan is Aileron’s Executive in Residence, and a business leader with decades of hands-on

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experience. In the midst of a challenging recession, he stopped by the Aileron campus to offer his insights and advice. How can you stabilize your business during a downturn? How can you position your business to thrive when the economy recovers? Sit back and hear from Dave as he weighs in on these crucial issues, and much more

Feedback from the Field – Aileron Client David Ganzsarto on Customer Selection Video OTHER 48

David Ganzsarto is the owner of Alternate Solutions Homecare, a provider of home-based healthcare and other medical services. He’s also an Aileron client who improved his business by using a customer selection strategy.


What does your competitive environment look like? Listen to Harvard Professor Michael E. Porter as

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Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy Video he explains his Five Competitive Forces model, a framework that can help you make sense of your it into real-life examples, and shows how you can apply it to your strategic thinking. These insights can help you throughout the strategic planning process, whether you’re running a SWOT analysis, finding which markets segments are right for your business, or figuring out which customers need

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external environment and bring clarity to your operating reality. He explains the model, incorporates

your products or services.

A strategic approach to management offers incredible benefits for any owner who embraces these market-tested concepts and techniques. In this video, Dave Sullivan - Aileron’s Executive

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IN A NUTSHELL - AILERON’S STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP VIDEO

in Residence - discusses the Strategic Management workshop. What’s involved in this hands-on session, and how can it help you start planning for a more stable and prosperous future?

In this podcast interview you’ll hear from Dave Sullivan, Aileron’s Executive in Residence, about surviving and thriving in the weak economy. Dave has seen this uncertainty before, and he has some great advice for adapting to the weakness, finding new opportunities in the marketplace, and

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Keeping Your Company Recession Proof in Economic Hard Times Audio

moving your company forward in a challenging environment.

Former Executive Vice-President of Global Merchandising of Best Buy, Ron Boire, talks about how he led Best Buy through the market segmentation process. The goal was to start at the customer and work back through the supply chain to identify highly differentiated and value added solutions to

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Market Segmentation and Targeting at Best Buy Video

strengthen their business model. Their mantra was: (1) Who’s the customer? (2) What’s the value changed their stores to serve those groups better, based on each groups’ needs and wants. This is a great example of how a company gathered objective customer feedback, divided their customers into groups, and targeted those groups to serve them better than their competition based on the customers needs and wants.

What’s strategy all about? Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School, lends his insights in this video clip. As he points out, certain strategies, such as increasing R&D investment or outsourcing production, aren’t really strategies at all; they’re actually steps that are taken in pursuit

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Michael Porter’s What Strategy Is Video

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proposition? (3) How are you going to make money? They identified four customer groups, and

of overarching goals and objectives. Much like Aileron, Michael asserts that strategy is distinct from the day-to-day issues of running the company. One of Aileron’s core beliefs is that business leaders “on” the business (focusing on strategy and the company’s long-term direction).

Road to Recovery with Dave Sullivan Audio In this interview, Dave Sullivan - Aileron’s Executive in Residence - offers his thoughts on dealing with

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need to stop working “in” the business (fine-tuning R&D projects, for example), and start working

an economic downturn. How can you innovate when times are tough? What should you be focusing on to stabilize your business and make it better? Dave addresses these issues, and offers real-life OTHER

examples of companies that are adapting to the changing marketplace.

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Sales Strategies with Doug Welsh Audio We recently talked to business consultant Doug Welsh about the unique challenges posed by a difficult sales environment. As President of Strategic Sales Planning, Doug has some timely insights

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on making the sales process more efficient, developing a deeper understanding of your customers, and adapting to a shortened sales cycle.

Strategy Before Tactics Video Three minutes of excellent advice! John Jantschis, author of Duct Tape Marketing, is a marketing and digital technology coach. Just like Aileron, he believes that effective marketing strategies are

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driven by strategy - not tactics. Listen as he outlines two key elements of a solid strategy. With his focus on finding the right customers and differentiating the organization from the competition (in the customers’ eyes), his recommendations would fit perfectly in any professionally managed business. Check out Aileron’s workshops: The Great Divide: Find Your Winning Markets and Customer Selection: Their Needs, Your Goals to find out how to expand on these insights.

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Test Your Awareness Video For business owners, the external environment is a world of constant flux. Changes in marketplace, government regulations, and technology can all impact a company’s ability to pursue its longterm goals and implement a system of professional management. This is why Aileron feels that awareness of the external world is so crucial. But as this video shows, it takes a watchful, attentive

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eye to catch all the important details.

Strategic Plan – Reality, Focus, and Competency by Dave Sullivan Video Sit in on an Aileron workshop as Dave Sullivan talks about the key components of a strategic plan: reality, focus, and competency. What are they all about? How do they fit together and move an organization toward its goals?

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Thriving During an Economic Downturn Video Aileron’s Executive in Residence, Dave Sullivan, took a few minutes to chat while visiting the Aileron campus. Dave offers advice on surviving and thriving during this economic downturn. Watch the video to gain insights into how small businesses should navigate these turbulent times.

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VISUALS Aileron’s Vision and Mission Graphic You might be wondering how to ensure that your vision and mission statements don’t turn into

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meaningless feel-good exercises. The key is to clearly communicate them to your people, get buyin at all levels of the organization, and then reinforce them with your own behavior. This graphic clearly depicts the difference between the two when compared side by side.

ROADMAP TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMERS GRAPHIC One of the keys to maximizing your company’s potential is to target the right customers, then focus on meeting their needs and wants. This graphic will help you think deeper about accomplishing these

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tasks, guiding you through three fundamental questions: “What are the right customer groups for me,” “Which customer groups need me,” and “How do I start building the right customer mix?” The answers can help you optimize your customer selection strategy - and in turn, build a more effective business.


TRANSITION Transition planning plays a crucial role in ensuring the long-term growth, prosperity, and stability of any family-run organization. Properly implemented, this can ensure that the interests of your family are served and advanced by your business. Mapping out a successful transition – a process that includes what’s commonly understood as succession planning – is one of the most important things you can do for your family and your business. A transition plan can clarify your family’s vision and long-term direction, improve communication among family members, and ensure that your hard-earned wealth stays in your family through the generations. The word “transition” reflects an ongoing change process, rather than the one-time event. And as with any ongoing improvement, deep thought and careful planning are the keys to success.

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FACILITATED SERVICES

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Family Issues Surrounding Your Business Think Tank This Think Tank discussion will focus on the challenges of owning a family business. Addressing these issues can help you improve communication between family members, reduce ambiguity about the future, and ensure that your family’s wealth is protected for future generations.

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When it comes to planning for the successful transition of your family business, the voice of experience can be invaluable. This panel discussion will provide participants with an opportunity to hear first-hand experiences and insights from other business leaders who have already dealt with transition-related challenges. Their real-life perspectives will help participants think deeper about confronting transition issues, applying methods for planning a successful transition, determining the

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company’s future leadership, and other related topics.

Transition Planning – Your Family, Your Business, and the Next Generation Program The long-term success of any family business depends on a smooth transition to the next generation. At this program, you’ll find out what’s involved in a successful transition, learn how to avoid common mistakes, and engage in thought-provoking discussions and activities to start

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shaping a brighter future for your family and your organization.

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Goals and Actions Activity What are you hoping to accomplish with your transition plan? How do you plan on reaching your goals? As you develop the answers, this activity will help you organize your thoughts and keep them fresh as your plan takes shape. Write a goal for each stop on the way to transitioning your business, and then set action plans to reach your goals. It’s a good idea to prioritize and limit your focus to

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three actions for each goal; you can hold yourself accountable to three, but more than that could be overwhelming. You might also want to refer back to this list as your transition planning progresses, so keep this handy.

Job Description Activity As you start planning for your company’s transition to the next generation, it’s crucial that you Transition

paint a clear picture of your successor’s skills and qualifications. Use this activity to spell out the most important aspects of your job as an owner: a summary of your position, your most important functions, and other duties. There’s also space allotted for listing the minimum job requirements of your successor. The ultimate goal here, as with so many other aspects of professional management, is to get rid of ambiguity and bring clarity to the planning process.

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This two-part activity can help the owner and a potential successor bring clarity to the transition

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Letter of Recommendation – Application Activity process. The owner completes the first part - a letter of recommendation - for the successor, written the successor fills out part two - an application - for the same job. Once completed, you can compare notes and answer important questions such as: In what areas will the successor need to improve? What makes him/her right for the position? The answers will help you reach the next step

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as if he or she were applying to be the president of a different company. Taking the same approach,

on your path to a successful transition.

Your company’s organizational structure is a key factor in the transition process. This two-part activity will help you visualize that structure. Part one is focused on the present; by creating a

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Organizational Structure Activity

current organizational chart of your company, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of how your team would operate under the successor’s leadership. This can also help you define roles structure for a team that will run smoothly and effectively once the next generation takes the helm.

Personal Transition Activity In this activity, the current owner is asked to list his top five non-financial goals for his personal

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and positions for your chosen successor. In part two, you’ll look at the future and create the ideal

transition out of the business, while the successor is asked to list his / her personal goals as he retires? How will his plans affect the other family members? How will the new leadership position contribute to the successor’s happiness and sense of personal fulfillment? The underlying idea is that ultimately, the company’s long-term success is only a means to an end: the family’s happiness.

Newman’s Own After Paul Article What does salad dressing have to do with a business that’s transitioning from the current

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ARTICLES

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/ she moves into the new leadership role. What does the current owner plan on doing after he

generation? This article, written shortly after the death of Paul Newman, underscores the importance of transition planning. Consistent with Aileron’s point-of-view, his company (Newman’s than treating it like a one-time event. And by phasing the celebrity/owner out of the organization’s operations and forging ahead with a new strategic plan, the company positioned itself to grow and

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Own) began planning for his succession well in advance; they made it an ongoing process, rather

succeed after his death. The article also touches on an important truth of the transition process: you can’t always assume that future generations will want to be part of the business.

If you own a family business, you may find yourself thinking about hiring your children. This brief article offers compelling reasons why an owner should think twice before doing this. As the author points out, hiring from within your family can have a negative impact on both your sons and

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Should You Hire Your Kid? Article

daughters - especially when it comes to stunting their personal growth - and your organization. Food for thought as you balance the needs of your family with those of your business. OTHER

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Books

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BEYOND SURVIVAL BOOK Beyond Survival is a clear and detailed manual for navigating common family business issues. The book covers several key areas, including succession, balancing the needs of the family and the business, and planning for the long-term growth of the company.

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DOCUMENTS Transition Planning Your Family, Your Business, and the Next Generation Resource Guide Developed in close consultation with Les Banwart, a transition planning expert with over 30 years

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of experience helping families, this resource guide is packed to the brim with useful information. Whether you’re just starting to think about the transition process (what’s often referred to as succession), or you’ve already started the planning process, you’ll find practical knowledge and advice to guide you along your way. Case studies and activities are used throughout the guide to explain each key step on the road to a successful transition. If you plan on passing your family business to the next generation, this is a must-read.

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VIDEO/AUDIO

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Feedback from the Field – Aileron Client Dave Dysinger on Family Meetings Video Want to learn more about family meetings? Let’s check in with Dave Dysinger, the owner of a small family business. He touches on the benefits of family meetings, the need for an ongoing process, and the advantages of bringing in a facilitator. Take it from Dave: the open communication of these discussions is a great way to resolve tough issues and align your family’s goals with the company’s direction.

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Feedback from the Field – Aileron Client Dave Dysinger on Transition Planning Video In this interview clip, you’ll hear from Dave Dysinger, a small business owner who embraced transition planning. The bottom line for Dave was to ensure that his company remained viable for the next generation. Dave gives his firsthand insights into why it’s essential to map out a transition, the value of bringing in an outsider to bridge the gap between generations, and the benefits that

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come with having a clearly-defined plan.

Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Communication Video The last thing you want to do is have a transition plan for your company that catches employees off guard. Les Banwart has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation. Les explains how communication is key to implementing new successes and how to

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include all stakeholders in this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective.


Conflict can happen at all levels of a family-run business. In any work place there are areas for conflict

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Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Conflict Video to grow and the best way to handle it is by facilitating a discussion. Les Banwart has helped many family getting beyond conflict in this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective.

Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Employment Policies for Children Video

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businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation. Les digs into the benefits of

Family members may have shareholder rights, but should they work in the family business based on Les Banwart has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation. Les explains how to create fair policies that ease tensions and help the child succeed in this

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relation not merit? Some children feel employment is their right. Some parents will feel the same way.

short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective.

So, what’s involved in planning a family meeting? How to prepare and run family meetings is explored in this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective by Les Banwart. Les has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation.

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Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – How are Family Meetings Set Up? Video

Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective - Letting Go Video transferred. Making sure the first generation is comfortable with its own plan is the focus of this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective by Les Banwart. Les has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation.

The owner’s management team needs to understand any successful transition plan. Les Banwart has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation. Management’s key role is examined by Les in this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective.

Transferring ownership from one generation to the next needs to include a process of educating the younger generation before the transfer. Les Banwart has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next generation. Les examines how this is handled in this short

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Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Responsibility of Ownership Video

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Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Management Team Role Video

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A major priority of any successful succession plan is ensuring that power and authority are truly

excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective.

A lot of business owners don’t want to think about the problems a family meeting can raise. An owner still needs to share how he wants his company to grow and transition to the next generation. Les Banwart has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning to the next

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Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Value of Family Meetings Video

generation. How to face and approach a well-run family meeting is Les’s focus for this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective. OTHER

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Succeeding with Succession Expert Perspective – Value of Outside Boards video Outside boards do not guarantee succession plans will succeed, but they sure increase the probabilities. Les Banwart has helped many family businesses deal with the challenges of transitioning

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to the next generation. The reason why an outside board is key to a successful plan is examined by Les in this short excerpt from Succeeding with Succession - Expert Perspective.

Succession Planning for Family Businesses Coffee and Candor Overview Video Participants at this coffee and candor will find out why it’s critical to include succession in longterm planning. The open discussion will touch on common succession issues, address key factors to

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consider in the planning process, and offer plenty of helpful insights for anyone who’s ready to get started. Your facilitator for the session is Les Banwart, a transition consultant and Vice Chairman of Aileron’s Board of Directors. With 35 years of transition planning experience under his belt, Les has practical knowledge, tools, and insights that can guide your family through the process.

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DOCUMENTS

Business Controls

LEARNING LINKS The go-to guide for all things Aileron. This catalog contains everything under the Aileron umbrella, including programs, workshops, videos, articles, books, and more. The common link? Each activity or resource can help you think deeper about implementing professional management - and in turn, help you improve your business. To help you find what you’re looking for, the guide is broken down in the following sections: business controls, culture, leadership, outside advisors, people development, strategy, structure, transition, and other resources. Happy linking!

CULTURE

VIDEO/AUDIO LEADERSHIP

How Can LinkedIn Answers Help a Business Owner Video Aileron’s goal is to create an environment for owners of private enterprise to implement professional management that will help them lead and manage their organizations. An important facet of the environment is the valuable connections that owners form with each other. In this short video we look at how LinkedIn’s feature called Answers can be used to easily tap into the collective experience.

OUTSIDE Advisors

myAileron Channel on YouTube Welcome Video Aileron extends their environment into the on-demand world of YouTube, where business leaders can find targeted resources that will help them improve their business - and their lives. Tuning in provides 24/7 access to relevant video content. This video clip summarizes how the myAileron YouTube channel can help business leaders and owners.

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

What is LinkedIn? Video This short video gives a great overview of what LinkedIn is and how it works. LinkedIn is the most used business social networking site on the web and getting started is so easy. The focus of this video is to explain how creating a LinkedIn profile can help you be more productive. The video describes an avenue to achieve Aileron’s goal of creating an environment for owners of private enterprise to implement professional management that will help them lead and manage their organizations.

STRATEGY Transition OTHER 58


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