Strategic Planning For The Soul

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I’ve always enjoyed the adventure of strategic planning. I call it an “adventure” because it requires one to truly explore the meaning and philosophy of a corporate soul.

A corporate soul differs from a human soul in that the former comprises an entity of many individual souls. With so many human souls making up its psyche, it’s often entertaining to watch as these individuals confuse their personal souls with the corporation’s soul.

OK, I admit this is a form of voyeuristic cynicism, but look, people are egocentric. And the higher up the corporate ladder they rise, the more egocentric they tend to be. And the higher up the corporate ladder they rise, the more likely they tend to be involved with strategic planning meetings.

So, it’s only natural, as an innocent bystander, to sit in on these things and watch with delight as executives confuse their moral compass with the needs of consumers and the demands of other corporate constituencies. After they’ve exhausted themselves, that’s when I usually step in.

Let’s explore this concept of “strategic planning” a little bit. As with all else (see “History’s Greatest Quest”) we’ll begin with the Greeks. The word “strategic” derives from the Greek “strategos” and roughly translates to “general.” In ancient Greece, generals would advise their leaders on the arrangements of the battles within the greater war (the strategy) as opposed to the particulars of any specific battle (the tactics).

The modern roots of applying strategic planning to business (as opposed to military) applications dates back to the 1920s when the Harvard Business School developed the Harvard Policy Model. However, the concept really took off with the evolution of operations management during World War II. With this, the philosophy of strategic planning combined with the mathematical rigors of operations management to successfully run large scale initiatives.

Several years after selling my second business and shortly before starting my third business, I decided to plant a personal stake in the strategic planning process. I wanted to go beyond what others had done, but I wanted to employ a process with a strong academic foundation. As a result, I bought a book called Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company by James Collins and William Lazier.

For any company, whether a start-up or an established firm, the strategic planning method outlined in this book, could prove very helpful. It certainly was for me, and it can be for you, too. Using it helps explain the nature and purpose of your firm to your (current and future) partners, your clients, and your employees.

Indeed, the Lifetime Dream Process has many attributes akin to the strategic planning process.

First and foremost, both require an overarching vision. In the case of the company, it’s a standard philosophy, a set of core values and beliefs. In the case of an individual or a couple, it’s their moral ethic or personal Creed and, ultimately, the meaning of their life.

Second, both utilize a long-range view, forcing participants to focus on the ultimate objectives, not the near-term obstacles or short-term goals.

But the difference between the strategic planning process and the Lifetime Dream Process is as wide as the Grand Canyon. In a corporate strategic planning session, executives emphasize the numbers end of things. After all, the purpose of any organization remains the maximization of some number. In the case of a for-profit business, that number is (or should be) “profits.” In the case of a non-profit group, the number may be “clients serviced” or “donations” to name a few.

For the individual, however, you need to dig deeper to obtain the greatest benefit. Like the Boy Scout “Start, Stop, Continue” process outlined in the previous chapter (“Do Self-Assessments Really Work?”), the standard strategic planning process works well when the application requires consensus among a large group of individuals. Users of the Lifetime Dream Process, however, can afford the luxury of catering to the specific needs of only one person or one couple.

And to provide for those needs, we require those individuals to explore their inner desires. Quite a few people I’ve taken through the Lifetime Dream Process stand convinced it represents a spiritual process. Even though I created it as a college undergraduate to help organize my time and energy, I won’t argue with them.

I’ve learned the Process is malleable. It can conform to the needs of the user in ways its creator (me) never expected. Indeed, having guided so many people through the Process, I can now say the Process adheres greatest to those who discover some spiritual component within it. Mind you, this is a non-denominational/non-sectarian sort of spirituality. Here’s the best way I can describe this: Unlike the sterile strategic planning process, the Lifetime Dream Process connects to your very soul.

Ironically, our next chapter reveals how this spiritual component differs from that of a much used religious-based program. In doing so, you’ll also discover why the Lifetime Dream Process is not merely a fancy financial planning exercise.

The Truth Behind The Mystery Of Weather Forecasting

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Ah, winter. Remember that? Well, if for some reason you had forgotten, last week certainly provided a useful reminder.

Of course, if you live in New England, you got your reminder a few days earlier with a classic Nor’easter.

Yes, that’s the way the National Weather Service (“NWS”) spells this famous type of storm. These weather events feature notorious low pressure systems that travel up the eastern seaboard. They’re so named because the winds along the coast come from the northeast.

Nor’easters are not limited to the winter. The NWS tells us these storms generally occur in Continue Reading “The Truth Behind The Mystery Of Weather Forecasting”

A Lament for All the Nobody’s Out There

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I showed up unannounced (and a day early) at Chris Collins’ office at 1117 Longworth. Actually, I was under the mistaken impression the “11” of “1117” represented the floor. There is no 11th floor in the Longworth building, which I discovered only after the elevator doors closed. Fortunately, a kind lady told me the first “1” represented the building and the second “1” represented the floor.

When I arrived at his office, Collins wasn’t there. He was on the House floor voting on, as near as I can tell from the daily record of July 18, 2017, a series of otherwise mundane amendments. Somebody probably thinks they are important. Maybe even Collins. I didn’t bother to ask. Ironically, I didn’t think it was any of my business.

I say it’s “ironic” because everything Congress does is, quite literally, “the people’s business.” It’s just that I’m so accustomed to thinking of myself as a nobody that Continue Reading “A Lament for All the Nobody’s Out There”

September 6, 2012 Towpath Boy Scout Roundtable Meeting Notes

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I’d like to thank Kip Webster from Troop 10 for taking the time to compile these and submit them to me.

I. Introductions ‘round the room

II. Announcements:

What Boys Shouldn’t Be Eagle Scouts?

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1212772_65845378_flag_eagle_stock_xchang_royalty_free_300(The following represents our discussion at the Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable on the evening of May 5, 2011. I want to thank Kip Webster for keeping the notes of the discussion and sharing them with me to use as a basis for this post.)

In the April meeting we talked about religious emblems. As a part of that discussion, a few of the more experienced Scouters mentioned how Scouts had to be deferred at their Eagle Board of Review because they failed to properly answer how they showed reverence and a duty to God. This prompted a broader question: Under what circumstances would boys be Continue Reading “What Boys Shouldn’t Be Eagle Scouts?”

Boy Scout Religious Emblems – An Underappreciated Gem?

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BoyScoutReligiousKnot166This April we celebrated both Easter and Passover. What better topic for an April Boy Scout Roundtable than a review of Boy Scout Religious Emblems? The Towpath District of Seneca Waterways Council hosted Annaliese Parker of the Seneca District. Annaliese completed her Wood Badge in 2007 and one of her ticket items involved the promotion of religious emblems for both the Boy Scout and the Cub Scout programs. She came prepared with a display, a PowerPoint and handouts. For those who missed – and those you didn’t take notes – here’s a recap of the highlights and some interesting tidbits outside the presentation we learned along the way.Continue Reading “Boy Scout Religious Emblems – An Underappreciated Gem?”

5 Ways to Promote Scout Religious Emblems

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By Annaliese Parker

(Editor’s Note: Annaliese Parker identified these five methods to promote Scout religious emblems at the Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable on April 7, 2011. This material is based on 2006 training materials and is an expanded explanation of information from PRAY (Programs for Religious Activities with Youth) training publications from 2006. PRAY gave Annaliese permission to duplicate this information as part of any promotional script. Annaliese originally expanded on this previously published information for her 2007 Wood Badge ticket. She has since updated some of the material as part of the presentation at the April 2011 Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable. She has graciously allowed us to reprint them here.)

All youth members of the Boy Scouts of America should have the opportunity to earn the religious emblem of their faith. The biggest roadblock is the lack of 1339477_29611971_roman_numeral_V_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300information about these programs at the unit level and area faith communities. That is why we are sharing this information with you.

First, make the Interfaith Quick Reference Chart available to youth members in your unit and their families. The brochure includes a chart of all the different religious emblems, lists the addresses, phone numbers and Web pages for the religious organizations, and explains how to get started on these programs. Council usually can offer assistance to provide what help you need in order Continue Reading “5 Ways to Promote Scout Religious Emblems”

4 Easy Steps to Begin a Scout Religious Emblem Program

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By Annaliese Parker

(Editor’s Note: Annaliese Parker provided this four step program at the Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable on April 7, 2011. This material is based on 2006 training materials and is an expanded explanation of information from PRAY (Programs for Religious Activities with Youth) training publications from 2006. PRAY gave Annaliese permission to duplicate this information as part of any promotional script. Annaliese originally expanded on this previously published information for her 2007 Wood Badge ticket. She has since updated some of the material as part of the presentation at the April 2011 Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable. She has graciously allowed us to reprint them here.)

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  1. Youth members must obtain the specific booklet for their religion. This booklet contains information on all the lessons and service projects they will need to complete. Each youth member needs a personal booklet to document progress. Some religious emblems programs also offer adult manuals for counselors or mentors. Some of these booklets are available in your local Scout service center. If they are not available in the service center, parents will need to purchase booklets directly from the sponsoring religious organization. The Interfaith Quick Reference Chart lists the addresses and phone numbers for the various religious organizations.
  2. Parents must review the specific guidelines for their particular program. Some Continue Reading “4 Easy Steps to Begin a Scout Religious Emblem Program”

Frequently Asked Questions about Scout Religious Emblems Programs

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By Annaliese Parker

(Editor’s Note: Annaliese Parker provided this FAQ at the Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable on April 7, 2011. This material is based on 2006 training materials and is an expanded explanation of information from PRAY (Programs for Religious Activities with Youth) training publications from 2006. PRAY gave Annaliese permission to duplicate this information as part of any promotional script. Annaliese originally expanded on this previously published information for her 2007 Wood Badge ticket. She has since updated some of the material as part of the presentation at the April 2011 Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable. She has graciously allowed us to reprint them here.)

What are the religious emblems programs?
The religious emblems programs are programs created by the various religious 873752_18385623_clouds_and_palm_trees_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300groups to encourage youth to grow stronger in their faith. All religious emblems programs have been created by the religious groups themselves, not by the Boy Scouts of America. The Religious Emblems Quick Reference Chart (publication No. 5-206) lists all the different religious programs currently available and who to contact for more information. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the recognitions to be worn on the official uniform, but each religious organization develops and administers its own Continue Reading “Frequently Asked Questions about Scout Religious Emblems Programs”

The Top 10 Greatest Challenges Facing Today’s Boy Scout Troops

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Minutes from the November Meeting of the Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable

We assembled at the Krieg Road LDS as usual on the cool evening of Thursday, November 4, 2010. The room filled quickly and after a series of 482033_90209043_mountain_climber_challenge_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300announcements, we divided ourselves into five patrol of 4-5 Scouters. Each patrol selected their names as follows: “Old Goats” (guess their average age); “Patrol #1” (guess their estimated self-worth); “Five Guys” (which, ironically, included four woman and one guy); “Mentally Challenged” (which pretty much tells you how much effort they put into the process); and “Knot” (signifying the contrapositive effort of the previous patrol).

It is duly noted here “Five Guys” took the unsolicited liberty of designing their own patrol logo. For going above and beyond the call of duty, each member of the entire patrol received one extra Roundtable Buck. It is also dutifully reported the whole assembly voted “Old Goats” as the “Best” (or, perhaps, “most appropriate”) Patrol Name and, in recognition of this outstanding feat, each member of that aged patrol found themselves richer by one Roundtable Buck.

For our troop activity, we spent the bulk of the meeting identifying the “Top 10 Greatest Challenges” our units face. After much deliberation, several really bad puns and a diversionary diatribe on the cultural significance of the 1984 cult classic The Adventures Continue Reading “The Top 10 Greatest Challenges Facing Today’s Boy Scout Troops”