Strategically Planning for Success: What’s Your Power Question?

In an effort to avoid stagnation and regret, there is one powerful question that professional gold medal-winning Olympic athletes have used that will help with your planning and allow you to assess your decision-making and choices leading to long-term success, according to a recent article on  

Ask this One Question if You Want to Succeed explained how former British competition rower and Olympic champion, Ben Hunt-Davis, had been on the British national 8-man rowing team for nine years and was on the team when they won the gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The most inspiring and motivating thing about his story is not that they won, but how they won after 88 years of losing. How the team became triumphant after not winning in the Olympics for 88 years is said to have been based on one question that determined all of their decisions for the two years leading up to the race.

How? By asking one simple question before every big and small decision: “Will this make the boat go faster?”

The team knew that if they wanted a different result, they had to do something different daily, Hunt-Davis stated in a YouTube video. The team knew they needed to make a “jump” to the next level.

Mr. Hunt-Davis proceeded to point out in the video that most people think winning at the Olympics is about what you do in the minutes of the race, but it isn’t. In comparison, it isn’t the specific moment you land the $1 million contract. It’s what you do in all the hours, days and years leading up to it. And that’s what the Olympic team focused on changing, he stated.

“Before we’d all get on the rowing machine to practice for 70 minutes, we’d ask, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ Unfortunately, yes. So that’s what we’d do.” Hunt-Davis explained. “Before going to the pub, we’d ask, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ Unfortunately, no. So, we didn’t.”

The team asked each other this question for every decision during all the months leading up to their race. This one question kept them focused and gave the men on the team a strong bond, knowing they were all using the same criteria to determine any actions they took.

In summary, the video is about how to plan and focus in order to stay on track and achieve your goals. And how it’s something we can all train ourselves to do.  

What power question can you apply? “Will this grow my business to $5 million this year?” or “Will this make my body healthier?” or “Will this help me attract and retain more customers?” or “Will this get me where I want to go?” 

Once you have your question, the power is to apply it to every decision you make. For example, you may want to scroll on social media for hours. But will it make the boat go faster? No, so you don’t. When you’re tempted to skip exercise training at the gym, will skipping it make the boat go faster? No, so you go to the gym and train hard.

It’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking your “little” decisions aren’t important. Moving forward, try strategically planning for success and using your power question and see the difference it makes in your business, choices, actions, and life.

As you wrap up 2022 and prepare to take full advantage of all the new year has to offer, contact us today so we can help you initiate the steps required to ensure your business with a clean bill of health that empowers superior performance, develop a strategic plan, and use your power question to stay on track in 2023 and beyond!

To begin your strategic plan development process, contact iSeek at, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog or follow us on LinkedIn.

Thinking Ahead So You Don’t ‘FALL’ Behind

As you prepare for the year-end closeout and begin planning for 2023, assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Ask questions that include the following:

What does my organization need to successfully close out the year? 

What planned goals and objectives were not achieved this year?

What worked well this year that I should carry into 2023?

With less than two months remaining in 2022, the sooner you get going with your 2023 business planning, the more momentum will build up behind your efforts and the more likely you’ll be to achieve your 2023 goals. Begin by asking what changes if any, you will be making in your business. By thinking ahead and creating your business plan now, you can use November and December to initiate change, deal with false starts, and get the mindset needed to make the big shifts that can lead to big successes in your business. 

Your business plan is like a compass that points in the direction your business should be heading. Consistently monitoring and reviewing your business plan will alert you when a change in course is needed. Research shows that 80% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by February, so thinking ahead and starting early will provide time to reset, restart, course-correct, or adjust your SMART goals as many times as you need to.

Being proactive and starting now allows time to slow down, step back, and wash away some of the pressure that a time crunch can bring. Taking a deep dive internally into your business can prove to be beneficial. By January 1, 2023, you’re not making a list and wishing for the best; you’re in forward motion. Your company will also have a head start while others are just starting their goals/resolutions, you’ll be relishing in results. Being intentional early will allow you to start the new year stress-free, aligned with your company and goals.

Now is the time to conduct a Year-End-Project Review, an iBPA© – Business Performance Assessment – is an in-depth assessment of an organization’s operational effectiveness (what went well and what didn’t), and aligns/realigns vision, mission, goals, and initiatives to enable winning outcomes.

Consider iSeek’s Strategic Plan Development Workshop – This interactive workshop positions your organization to effectively develop the five best practice components of a strategic plan, prioritize business objectives and make informed decisions.

iSeek’s resources and expert consultants can help you Align, Optimize, Empower, and Succeed! Here are a few of the benefits: 

  • Assess, mature, or develop your organization’s strategic plan 
  • Help you gauge the value of opportunities that come your way
  • Construct business and technology roadmaps that enable strategic objectives
  • Ensure organizational governance and stakeholder engagement
  • Analyze business impacts that may impede progress in 2023
  • Evaluate operational effectiveness
  • Ensure processes are adequately documented
  • Lead and manage transformation and growth initiatives
  • Measure the actual performance of your business against pre-determined goals and objectives

If you need a “running start” or motivation to make positive and powerful changes in the life of your business/organization, iSeek Solutions will equip you with the right tools and strategies to help you get ahead! To increase your chances of success and staying on track in 2023, try using this month as your Fall season jumpstart! 

To learn more about iSeek Solutions, read our case studies that provide insight into some of the challenges we have helped our clients successfully overcome. Review our resources, and contact us today to get started! 

Quietly Quitting

How is quiet quitting affecting your business? Eight ways to combat it.

“Quiet Quitting” – to mentally check out, but still physically present, “Quiet Firing” – leaders who penalize or ignore employees in hopes they’ll leave of their own accord, and “The Great Resignation – where employees were quitting and leaving corporations in record high numbers in 2021, are all new workplace trends/buzzwords in business and in the media that have emerged since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last year, around this same time, the workplace trend was, “The Great Resignation”. In line with the topic, iSeek Solutions hosted a live Zoom webinar event titled, ‘Retention: How to Stop the Employee Exodus’ (Keeping the people while Changing the Culture) during our WINning In Twenty-Twenty WON webinar series. During the online seminar episode Chris Craft, Entrepreneur/Leadership Speaker, asked important questions, “In today’s malleable society where many employees seem to be looking for the “perfect fit,” how can we influence the right people to stay with us for the long term? How do we foster commitment in an age where de-committal seems to be the norm?” “How can we create a culture that keeps the bottom-line profits, while encouraging employees and staff members not to run across the street for just an extra incentive?” 

“If you would like something to change, then something needs to change and it has to start with a leader,” Craft stated in the  ‘Retention: How to Stop the Employee Exodus’ webinar – click the link to watch the full webinar series available on our iSeek YouTube channel.

In a world and time where everyone is constantly going, hustling to get more work done, and striving to rise up the ranks, quiet quitting is a trend focused on doing sort of the opposite – only what is expected of you and nothing more. 

Employee disengagement – doing the bare minimum. 

In the article, What Is “Quiet Quitting”—The New Workplace Trend Taking Social Media by Storm the trend was previously called “work to rule”, and involves doing only the tasks that were strictly under the scope of the job to protest against worker issues. In 1968, employees of Air Canada carried through this tactic and strictly adhered to company guidelines to protest against a labor issue. Prior to this, they were made to use whatever means necessary to keep passengers moving at a fast pace. “Quiet quitting” is a new term, but the tactic is nothing new. Today, the trend has made a comeback because of pandemic-induced burnout and as a way to resist the hustle culture in the workplace, according to the article. 

According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, quiet quitting has to do with those in management positions. The study found that three out of four cases of quiet quitting happened in companies with inefficient management. The same research also suggests that 62% of employees were willing to go the extra mile for managers who balanced work outcomes with employee relationships. In short, the lack of employee motivation can be a direct consequence of the behaviors of the company’s upper management.

How can your company solve the quiet quitting problem? Let’s look at an outline of the eight ways to avoid this style of quitting in the workplace and on your team from

  1. Encourage Open Communication
    -Employees who can approach their managers openly are far more likely to discuss issues that matter to them, affecting their engagement at work.
  2. Promote a healthy work-life balance
    -Ensure that your team can take vacation days, sick days, or personal days as they need.
  3. Make sure employees feel valued
    -Ensure employees are given both positive and constructive feedback to keep them motivated.
  4. Avoid overworking your team
    -You should avoid scheduling too many overtime hours or putting too much pressure on employees to meet unrealistic deadlines. 
  5. Don’t buy into the hustle culture mentality
    – Work towards creating a healthy workplace culture that places value on employee well-being and healthy boundaries.
  6. Listen to your team
    -You must listen to what your employees say and consider their suggestions.
  7. Be flexible
    -Being open to different arrangements can go a long way in keeping employees happy at work.
  8. Create opportunities for growth
    -Create opportunities for employees to grow and advance within the company.

Based on the above mentioned, quiet quitting is an organizational problem rather than blaming employees for their passive attitude toward their jobs. The management level should establish a sense of trust with the employees and try to understand their goals and aspirations. 

Has your business/organization experienced “Quiet Quitting” or any of the buzzword trends previously mentioned? iSeek can help you mitigate the risk of having employees quietly quit on you. 

Perhaps, you need an expert business health check (iBHC). Our iBHC© – Business Health Check diagnostic tool is used in associating and comparing your business purpose and desired objectives to actual outcomes.

A business health check, like a physical health exam, should be conducted regularly, no less than annually. A health check ensures the business is tracking towards its goals. It delivers insight into the overall performance of your business, uncovers opportunities for improvements, measures employee health and the end-user experience, and assesses the organization’s culture, engagement, and alignment. It’s an opportunity to make course corrections, mitigate or exploit risks, market changes, or take advantage of new and innovative solutions.

Don’t wait until the New Year or when your organization is sinking, make sure your business’ performance is on the right track as the fourth quarter of 2022 begins.

Purchase our iBHC resource from our catalog of resources or contact us directly for a customized consulting engagement.

The Tale of Piggly Wiggly and Kanban Workflow Management

Flashback to the 1950s: In an effort to find new ways to reduce waste and increase efficiency, Japanese auto manufacturer, Toyota, sent a team to Michigan, USA, to learn American manufacturing techniques from Henry Ford and Ford Automotive. Taiichi Ohno and his colleagues, however, did not find all their answers in the American method of automobile manufacturing. Instead, they found inspiration at Piggly Wiggly supermarketOhno was intrigued by the visual clues Piggly Wiggly used to indicate that a product should be reordered and restocked. He observed cards strategically placed on certain food containers within each section of product. The product was not reordered and restocked until the tagged container was reached.

Ohno’s observations laid the foundation for Lean manufacturing and Kanban (from the Japanese word meaning “signboard”). The resulting Toyota Production System built upon the framework of “just-in-time” manufacturing, that is, responding to market demand without wasting time or resources by creating surplus. According to Toyota’s The Toyota Production System – Leaner Manufacturing for a Greener Planet, the basic concept was to make only what was needed when it is needed, and not to stockpile by making automobiles or ordering raw materials in advance. Much like Piggly Wiggly, Toyota placed visual cues at the point at which more cars would need to be manufactured and additional raw materials ordered. By doing this, Toyota’s just-in-time manufacturing method would significantly eliminate waste.

Fast Forward to the 2000s: Ohno intuitively suggested that industries beyond vehicle manufacturers could benefit from the application of Lean principles. His assumption was correct, and in the first decade of the 21st century, other industries, including IT, were adopting Lean and Kanban concepts.

Kanban must not be thought of as a software development lifecycle process or a project-management process. Kanban is a change-management technique that requires making alterations to an existing process.

David J. Anderson, Kanban

David Anderson, originator of The Kanban Method and author of KANBAN: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business, created the “virtual Kanban board” when he made work processes visible to his team of developers. In traditional forms of project management, when a developer completes a project task, they push the work to the owner of the next related task. Anderson’s concern was that work would pile up on the recipient’s desk before the developer had time to get to it. Kanban practitioners believe that much of this piled-up work, in addition to traditional project management planning activities, represents wasted energy and overhead.

People uniformly spend too much time estimating the size, costs, and impacts of their work. They over plan up front and as context changes, they find themselves endlessly modifying their original assumptions. Planning should occur with minimal waste; it shouldn’t become overhead.

Jim Benson, Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life

A Kanban board contains columns which represent the workflow process and cards (such as sticky notes, etc.) which represent work items. When a Kanban team member completes one work item, they move the item on a physical or digital board to a holding column from which team members select or pull, their next task based on the current urgency of, or demand for, the work. This limits the work in progress to smaller, bite-size amounts and improves workflow.

A Kanban system is more than sticky notes on a wall.  Visualizing workflow is the basis of Kanban.  Visualization is also integral to keeping  Kanban’s pull system effective. To provide more context, below are the six practices at the heart of Kanban (from

1.     Map Workflow

Carefully and precisely plan the workflow. Create columns on the board that accurately represent each stage of the work process.

2.     Establish Pull

After setting up the Kanban board, stop pushing work and start pulling it only when there is a demand for it.

3.     Limit Work in Progress

Control the amount of work that gets in and out of the workflow by placing limits on the number of work items in progress (WIP) in each column. This will reduce work item lead time and ensure the workflow is as smooth as possible.

4.     Break Down Work

Break down work into tasks that require only a few days to move from the first to last columns. As a result, not only will the cycle times of work assignments be reduced, but the bandwidth of your pull system will increase.

5.     Apply Pull Signals

Pull ‘signals’ will allow a team to understand when a task is ready to be moved to the next workflow stage. Create additional columns, such as “Review” or “Validate”, to function as pull signals on the board. This indicates to the team that these work items are ready to pull forward.

6.     Manage Bottlenecks

Even with workflow precisely represented on a Kanban board, bottlenecks can happen. If a bottleneck is identified, find the source of the problem and determine the measures that should be taken to prevent or remove it.

When these practices are followed, the Kanban team should notice the following benefits:

  • Increased visibility of the workflow
  • Improved delivery speed
  • Alignment between goals and execution
  • Improved predictability
  • Improved dependencies management
  • Increased customer satisfaction

For more information on Kanban or other Project Management tools and techniques, reach out to iSeek Solutions’ Project Management Team