Planning for More Success in 2019

Posted by: Doug Bruhnke on Thursday, December 27, 2018

This recent event is for CEOs, executives and other business leaders looking to think bigger in 2019 and create more success. Watch by clicking HERE.

We spoke with 4 top leaders and coaches who help business executives define and achieve their goals. As the last "Globinar" of the year, watch the discussion at the link above. Check out more on each speaker below.

We hope that this information can help members build a more prosperous and impactful 2019. We also encourage you to contact any of the speakers to assist with your own firm's success in 2019. If you have any trouble connecting with anyone, let us know at

Our expert speakers...

  • Marco Robert - Business Investor at Manchester Capital Ventures (AZ/CA/Global)

  • Dr. Corinne Jenni - CEO of Strategati LLC (San Diego/Global)

  • Kendall Clifton-Short - Principal at Purpose:Fully (Australia/Wyoming/Global)

  • Alex Devereux - President and Founder of The Devereux Group (Phoenix/Global)

Some of the highlights of the conversation included a discussion on mapping vs. planning, finding ways to create a fresh look at opportunities and getting ready for the future to create more success.

We also had some follow-up questions that our speakers discuss below.


Post Event Questions

1) What do you recommend for an SME for their planning process?
Marco Robert on #1: You heard me say, during the Globinar, that business is a lot more heuristic than scientific. There's no set rule per se. Just do whatever you have to do to get the Results you want. As long as it's ethical, and legal you should be good. What I'm saying is that there is no set recipe. You're going to have to think about the best way for you. So, I suggest you set time aside to think. That's the most important thing. 
Now if you want a framework to guide your thinking use the SWOT analysis framework...
1. Identify your and your company's Strengths
2. List your and your company's Weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. 
3. Identify potential Opportunities. 
4. Look for potential Threats that could obstruct your plans. 
From there, structure a plan in each of all four major segments of your business...
1. Team:
  • Do you need to hire/fire people?
  • Do you need to train or retain people?
  • Do you need to make some changes to some of your team members' duties/responsibilities/authority or their incentive package. 
2. Operations:
  • How can you cut expenses? 
  • How can you lower your inventory?
  • How can you shorten Your receivables collection time?
  • How can you extend your payables payout time? 
  • How can you systemize your accounting, production, delivery, distribution, transportation, etc
3. Customer Service:
  • What can you do to satisfy your customers better?
  • How can you get them to come back more often?
  • How can you get them to become raving fans who want to share what your business sells with their friends?
4. Sales & Marketing:
  • How can you increase te number of leads or prospect you have each week/month? 
  • What can you do to convert a larger number of prospects into buying from you? 
  • How can you get them to increase their average invoice (buy more) every they buy from you?
  • How can you get them to come more often and buy from you more regularly? 
  • What can you do to make sure they never jump ship and move their patronage to one of your competitors?
Dr. Corinne Jenni on #1: There are many different tools and frameworks available that enhance the planning process, but it comes down to you doing it. It is better to keep it simple and doing it, than trying to do too much, getting overwhelmed by complexity, and then aborting any type of strategic planning. There are several research studies that have found a positive relationship between formal planning and firm performance in SMEs which should be motivation enough to engage in strategic planning. Going through the process of evaluating your current situation, assessing your resources and your business environment, and stating where your company is heading will give you clarity and focus to achieve your goals. Remember, strategic planning is a process not a one-time activity. It must evolve as your company evolves and your strategy must be re-evaluated and adjusted if needed.
Kendall Clifton-Short on #1:
  • Start with where you want to be in 10 years.
  • Then ask where you need to be in a year based on the 10 year goal.
  • Then review whether your values, expectations, unwritten ground rules, and culture support you achieving that goal. This is so often the step that is over looked and yet so often I see organisations underpinned by values that actually prevent them from achieving their goals.
  • Do your SWOT analysis. Focus on where there are opportunities and how to turn threats into opportunities.
  • Next review the systems you have in place and whether they support you in achieving those goals.  People systems, process systems, review systems, adaptability systems, tracking systems, etc etc etc. Work out where the gaps are and which systems need updating or to be replaced.
  • Next review your numbers – how many leads, % converted, average $ value of sale, average lifetime $ value of customer, how many times they cycle, to ID gaps.
  • Then ask really good questions (like Marco’s) about every category of your business.
  • Then work out the most leveragable place to focus on right now.  And build your first 90 day sprint around that.
Alex Devereaux on #1: Please see the event link above and the slides that I used. And contact me for more info.
2) Do you see differences in planning with different cultures and regions of the world?
Marco Robert on #2: No. I don't. Business is business everywhere around the world. Technocrats would want you to believe their are differences but I disagree. The essence of business is the same around the world and had been the same for ever: It's an exchange of value for value. You want to make more money - create more value! 
Dr. Corinne Jenni on #2: The planning is essentially the same, however, the environment is different. Use the PESTEL analysis to uncover environmental factors such as political, economic, social, technological, ecological/environmental and legal aspects that (may) impact your business in these different cultures and regions of the world. More importantly, when collaborating with an international team on strategy or other projects, you will have to take each member’s culture, language, behavior and perspective into account (e.g. depending on a person’s cultural background, what they may consider as moral and ethical may have a completely different meaning).
Kendall Clifton-Short on #2: Not sure I am the best person to answer this question. I think there are cultural differences that play into the process and how that process is rolled out, and communicated etc but the end of the day, planning is not the goal.  The outcome of the planning is the goal.
Alex Devereaux on #2: Yes and no. All businesses function the same no matter where you are on the planet. The differences would be in the way you promote and engage your intended audience as it relates to their ability to be receptive to your product and how they relate to it. That is the challenge. With different cultures it is more important to have the right mindset, do the right things to cultivate and provide a product that is right for the targeted audience, and present it in such a way that you can generate revenue.
3) Are there leaders that we would know that you admire in how they plan and get results, and why?
Marco Robert on #3: I think there are many style of leadership. What worked for Jack Welch st General Electric or Steve Jobs at Apple or any other...that wouldn't necessarily work for you. Youre a different type of leader! Your first goal should be to identify what kind of leader you were born to be. Then play the game of leadership YOUR way. I suggest you do the test at to help you understand what kind of business leader you are. 
Dr. Corinne Jenni on #3: I admire leaders that are driven by a strong purpose with a vision bigger than themselves and the company’s bottom line. Leaders with clarity and focus that dare to step outside the box but never forget about their moral values and integrity. Although no business celebrities, I know many small business owners/entrepreneurs that defined success beyond financial profits yet, by doing good and staying true to their purpose and values, they accomplished great financial success.
Kendall Clifton-Short on #3: Like Marco said, every situation, set of circumstances, every leader, organisation and team is different. So different things work. Taking aspects of a successful leader – modeling the bits that are causing their success can be a very effective way to increase your leadership capacity as can understanding what they are doing and doing it in a way that works for you. At the end of the day, building a style that aligns with who you are and your purpose is always going to be more effective. I used Extended DISC with lots of my clients, Marco recommends a different tool, but we are both suggesting that taking the time to reflect on how you are leading and planning will serve you.
4) How are changes in technology changing our ability to plan? For instance does the use of artificial intelligence bode well to be a better predictor of business performance in new markets, and provide other advantages?
Marco Robert on #4: Yes! AI offers lots of possibilities in streamlining and reducing operational and organizational expenses. At this point most solutions are still too expensive for most small businesses. But within a few years I predict a huge revolution coming from AI and Blockchain technologies. I think that within 5-6 years your phone will have enough power and AI to replace many professionals (architects, accountants, etc).
Kendall Clifton-Short on #4: We can either see AI and technology as an exciting opportunity or as a scary thing to fear and/or avoid. Regardless, its coming!  Or ability to embrace shifts and see opportunities to use the technology to enhance what we are doing in some way – free up time, increase efficiency, see things differently etc is a huge opportunity.
Alex Devereaux on #4: More than thirty years ago, we had a strong industrial base and strong Research and Development departments. A new product intro took as many as 10 years to develop and present to the market. Now, because of the microcomputer’s capacity and performance in the exponential evolution in the US and world wide, major Fortune 500 companies have fallen prey to their inability to adapt to replacement technologies and make “uncomfortable” decisions to change until it was too late ie., Kodak, Texas Instruments, G.E., Kmart, Toys’R Us, Sears, Printing Industry, etc. Major tech businesses like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, etc. are now dominating and dictating the flow of innovation and product distribution in diverse markets and industries. Therefore, it is important to not be blinded by the past and do what is necessary to adapt to a rapidly changing future. A.I. along with Augmented Reality and Predictive Analytics are emerging as technologies to watch and assess their impacts to your markets in the near future.
5) How many years out should we be thinking in the planning process?
Marco Robert on #5: You need to develop the ability to anticipate, but that doesn't just come from planning. It comes mostly from your understanding of your own business and yourself. As I said, I am much more an advocate of mapping (understanding who you are, what your product are or should be, who your clients are or should be, your business' strengths and weaknesses, etc) rather than planning. In a world that is changing as fast as ours is, thinking that you can anticipate anything beyond 12 months ahead is pure delusion. Remember what a sage man once said: "Man plans, God laughs."

Kendall Clifton-Short on #5: I would say you need to know where you want to be in 10 years.  Are you building a business you plan to sell, or exit but still remain connected to in some capacity, or are you building a practice that relies on you as being the core of it?  If you don’t know the destination that far in advance you can’t make decisions that move you closer to that goal.  We want to be captains, driving our boat to a specific location, rather than crew men, bobbing around in a vast ocean wondering where the weather will take us. Then we need to know roughly where we want to be in a year, based on that 10 year goal. And then we plan in 90 day sprints. And part of our planning involves building systems that allow us to be adaptive and responsive to the world around us.

Alex Devereaux on #5: Now, long term is two years to realistically plan strategically. Keeping your hand on the pulse of your industries and markets is even more important. You must assess how technology will productively and destructively affect your business and markets and be willing to act accordingly to survive and thrive.

6) How can CEOs get unstuck from thinking that is holding them back?
Marco on #6: The first ever business transformation has little to do with the business, it's about its leaders. I say there are 4 keys to success to becoming a better CEO...
1. Learn to master your own emotions. Most people allow what happens in the world around them to dictate how they feel. As examples: 
If the weather affects your mood...
If your team losing or winning affects you...
If your kids performance affects you...
If the traffic affects your morale...
...It will be hard for you to get unstuck! 
2. Build up your physical energy. Eat better.  Exercise. Take care of your hygiene. Take your vitamines. Cleanse your body regularly. Never stop learning ways to hack your physical body. 
3. Get to know yourself better. Any psychologist would tell you that 99% of human beings have no idea who they really are. In fact Who You Think You Are and Who You Really Are, are two completely different people. Who you think you are had been conditioned by your environment since you were a kid. That's not the essence of you. Do tests like Strengths Finder, DISC, Meyers Briggs, Etc. And learn more about yourself. 
4. Learn about the world around you. Get more curious. Ask more questions. Study social sciences (economics, history, psychology, communication, philosophy, etc.). Most of the mistakes made today can be averted by people who study social sciences. Either the world has already made te same mistakes or some people have thought of ways to avoid them. No one can be successful without a keen understanding of the world around us. Again, business is an exchange of value for value - an exchange that requires two human beings. You need to know people to succeed in life.
Dr. Corinne Jenni on #6: I suggest to broaden your perspective and make learning new things (not just about your business/industry) a priority for your own personal growth. Learn about yourself, your behaviors, beliefs, and fears so that you recognize when you keep circling around the same thoughts. It is easy to get stuck on a certain way of thinking, or what you consider as right or wrong. How you view the world is based on your upbringing, education, culture and beliefs which also influences how you filter or distort information. Thus, my advice, continuously and consciously challenge your own thinking, force yourself to look at situations from a neutral point of view, and have a friend or mentor help you look at the world from different perspectives. Basically, get to know yourself, be curious, and continue to learn about yourself and how you perceive the world.
Kendall Clifton-Short on #6: I agree with Marco’s answers and would add that our ability to navigate the emotional rollercoaster of life is usually the biggest predictor of success.  Our ability to continue to show up and do what we need to do regardless of the world around us allows us to have the success we want.  Knowing what contributes to those ups and downs and learning how to even them out is such a gift we can give ourselves. And secondly - work with someone external to the organisation! As Einstein said “We can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created the problem”. Someone providing a different perspective, or seeing things differently, or helping us see our limiting beliefs or even helping us become conscious about where our unconsciously gaps are can be invaluable!
Alex Devereaux on #6: This is a complicated question. Feel free to call us at The Devereux Group to learn more about how we help CEOs get unstuck from their thinking and seeing their blindspots as well as what can be holding them back from achieving their revenue goals. Check out our “Be an Unstoppable Champion Quiz” for starters. Link: Https://

Speaker Biographies

Marco Robert - Business Investor at Manchester Capital Ventures

Topic: Getting Ready for New Thinking in 2019

Marco is the author of the book, The Business Intervention, to be released soon. Professionally he is internationally recognized as an Inspirational Speaker & Lecturer, Turnaround Management Consultant, Corporate Board Advisor and Venture Capitalist. His clients and peers have dubbed him: “The Business Disruptor”. Since the early 2000’s, in his function as a consultant, he has advised nearly 500 businesses all over the world, including Africa, America, Canada, Europe and Asia. With the help of the aptly named BOSS management system he created, Marco is said to be able to pin point business solutions and rescue a business faster than any one else. Over the years he has made a name for himself as the “turnaround specialist who never fails.” Every year Marco is single-handedly responsible for pumping millions of dollars of value into his clients’ businesses in the form of increased sales & profits, job creation and business valuation. Marco Robert is a true citizen of the world. For the first five years after college, he worked in Canada and in the Bahamas to gain experience and muster the confidence to start his first business. From there he moved to Guatemala in Central America where he opened two restaurants. Later, after selling his restaurants, Marco started a private equity investment company, and soon moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, enjoying a beach lifestyle while running his business. Starting in 2001, he began visiting California’s Silicon Valley on a regular basis. The charms, climate and entrepreneurial spirit of Northern California soon seduced him. So, in 2004 with a partner, he started a management consulting firm and began helping local Californian businesses grow and thrive. As soon as the word got out about the kind of successes his clients were having, Marco got head-hunted to collaborate on larger consulting projects with a national consulting firm. Over the years he has collaborated with several such large firms on business projects all over the world. In 2016, with a partner, he formed his latest business; a Silicon Valley boutique venture capitalist firm.

Dr. Corinne Jenni - CEO of Strategati, LLC

Topic: Reevaluate Your Strategy for 2019

Dr. Jenni is a strategy and management consultant at Strategati LLC helping small/medium businesses formulate and implement strategies for an uncertain, unpredictable, and often turbulent environment. Strategati’s focus is to uncover inefficient processes, strategic misalignment, and management capability gaps and provide the client with a customized strategy with results-oriented operation and aligned management capabilities for a sustainable and successful future. She is a trusted advisor to many small/medium business owners, CEOs and their top-management teams, and a facilitator of strategic planning workshops and seminars. Having grown up in Switzerland, worked in international commodity trading/shipping, taught in MBA programs, and traveled the world, Dr. Jenni brings a unique perspective and bilingual language skills (English/German) to her work. She got her DBA in Strategic Management and since has authored/co-authored several articles and book chapters on strategic management, executive behavior, management capabilities and small business management. In 2018, Dr. Jenni won a Gold Stevie Women in Business Award for Female Solo Entrepreneur of the Year as well as a Bronze Stevie International Business Award. In addition to serving on the Editorial Board of two academic journals; she is an active member of IMC USA; a member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; as well as a mentor and workshop presenter for SCORE San Diego.

Kendall Clifton-Short - Principal at Purpose:Fully

Topic: Success with a Purpose Driven Strategy

Kendall works with purpose driven organizations (or those seeking to become more purpose-driven) and leaders to re-imagine impact, and embed purpose as a pathway to increased growth and profitability. She specializes in helping organizations and teams adapt and rethink they way they lead and do business in response to our changing world: exploring impact as a pathway to growth and innovation, adapting to change quickly, harnessing the potential of their team in powerful ways, and rethinking the way they operate in systems. She believes in today’s changing world there is a growing need for leaders to explore new ways of doing business and new ways of leading that change.  And when she’s not working she can be found mucking around in the bush with her three kids, asking questions about how we can build and promote a more equitable and sustainable world.

Alex Devereux - President & Founder at The Devereux Group 

Topic: Critical Thinking on Strategy and Success

Alex's 32-year career of providing strong direction, expert advice, training and consulting, is highlighted by his continuing quest to find the keys to high performance success for clients. Always a problem-solver, Alex is known as an effective mentor and knowledge manager who advocates human potential development, knowledge retention, and collaboration. Because of his clear understanding of modern business issues, the desire for executives to build a breakout company with exponential results, and the changing technological landscape disrupting many industries, Alex developed a strategic approach called The Devereux Method. Unlike some approaches that require a company to change personnel or insert an entirely new system, Alex uses an intuitive and systemic approach that preserves the integrity of an organization’s processes, procedures, and personnel. As an executive and corporate consulting firm, The Devereux Group works with corporate executives, owners, managers, and sales teams from coast-to-coast, Hong Kong and London, to bring more strategic intention into an organization. As an entrepreneur himself, he launched and managed three successful businesses ranging from management training to direct response video production, and has worked with clients in media and entertainment, fashion, construction, education, hospitality, nonprofit and more.



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