Prisoner to the Plan
Image courtesy of now.tufts.edu

Prisoner to the Plan

Busted!

You may have noticed that it’s Tuesday, January 11 and, if you’ve been following along with our emails for the last year, you know that means two things: (1) We are a week late in launching this year’s email series, and (2) We are a day late in sending this email.

Even the Best Laid Plans Need Alterations

Before you assume that was a mistake, we want to share some planning we’ve been doing. The story begins in March 2020 when COVID hit, and we were thrown into the unknown. The recurring conversations we’d have with leaders on-site were canceled, and even the online meetings we’d plan were often set aside because of urgent and important issues they needed to address. We reflected on our desire to grow leadership and identified a plan to address that goal—we would write content that could be delivered to email inboxes three times per week.

As the world started opening back up, we intentionally downshifted to one article per week because we were having regular conversations with our clients again. Then, in late summer 2021, we started reflecting on feedback from readers, revisited our goal to grow leaders, and considered our own resource allocation. That analysis led to some key insights:

  • While readers may open our emails on Monday morning, many don’t read them at that moment. Rather, they save them in their inbox to read later and address the flood of emails that came from the early-morning risers in their organization (for Ethos, that’s David).
  • We want leaders to consume this content AND put it into practice. But most of our readers are too busy to do both in the same week. In fact, many leaders have shared that it may be several weeks or even months before they encounter a situation that nudges them to use a practice that we’ve outlined.
  • Many readers don’t just rely on their inboxes or their memories as the storage point for content. Because we also post each article on our website, leaders have shared that they will go back through the archives on our site to find content around a specific topic (e.g., strategy, communication, self-care, etc.).
  • With many clients re-starting all training, coaching, and organizational development activities, we would struggle to write meaningful content 4 times per month because we’re back to growing leadership in more traditional ways.

Those insights led us to change our content plan in the following ways for 2022:

  • We will send 2 emails per month. We hope that will enable you to read and practice the principles we discuss without overloading you. That approach will also honor our commitments to work directly with clients.
  • We will release emails on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday around mid-morning. No more competition with your early morning inbox. Take care of those items, and you can read our content as part of your coffee break.
  • We will categorize our emails so that you can more easily search the Leadership Content archive on our website to find relevant topics. That idea came from a client, and we love it!

The Lessons for All of Us

When we first started talking about making changes to our content plan for 2022, we were a little hesitant. We had a functional plan. We had a nice internal rhythm to execute it. We enjoyed the writing process. We talked about “this is just how we do it” and almost stopped there. Simply stated, we were guilty of becoming a prisoner to our own plan. 

We imagine we’re not alone. It’s tempting to hang on too tight when we invest time, energy, and financial resources to develop a plan. But a plan isn’t the end game. The purpose of a plan is to help us identify HOW we’re going to reach a certain vision or desired outcome. And the HOW can and should shift based on numerous factors, including new information, changing resources, and innovative ideas. 

As you enter the new year, examine your plans, and ask if they are still serving you well. If they aren’t, don’t become a prisoner to the plans. Adjust to meet changing dynamics and ensure you reach your vision.

—–

Start Today Examine one plan in your personal or professional life. Is it helping you achieve your goal? Any new information, resources, or innovative ideas that may impact what you’re doing? If so, explore those dynamics and adjust the plan.

Ethos Leadership Group, LLC

Share Today!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Recent Posts

Read More. Lead More.

All Work, All Play
General Leadership

All Work, All Play

We’re all familiar with the old American proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but what

Read More »
The Gratitude Challenge
General Leadership

The Gratitude Challenge

Social Media Challenges & Gratitude BenefitsIf you are on social media this month, you’ll likely see many of your friends

Read More »

Sign Up Today!

Leadership Content Delivered to Your Inbox

We believe leaders need support and encouragement. That’s why we send emails to our clients and friends with content designed to help us renew and refocus as leaders. If you would like to receive our bimonthly emails, sign up today.

Partner with Ethos

Sherri Ferrell

“Whether it’s using a self-assessment process to identify ways to improve board effectiveness, leading the board in strategy development and succession planning, or assisting with CEO performance evaluations, Ethos is skilled at assessing the scope of a board’s needs and devising strategies to help improve their performance and the performance of their organizations.”

Sherri Ferrell
Chief Executive Officer, West Virginia Primary Care Association
Lisa Jones

“I cannot say enough great things about the strategic planning process with Ethos. The process was not only fun but truly engaging. Becky and David were able to take a multitude of ideas from more than 30 participatory team members and help consolidate them into a workable functional plan. I will definitely use Ethos again for strategic planning and other leadership consulting needs!”

Lisa Jones
Chief Executive Officer, Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center
Renee Steffen

“Ethos was a true consultative partner in our strategic planning process. They listened to our organization’s feedback and were flexible in incorporating modifications into the process in a way that demonstrated they valued our organization’s culture and history. In addition to walking alongside us every step of the way, Ethos’s facilitation skills are top-notch. They helped move the conversation forward during critical breakthrough moments while ensuring everyone felt heard and valued. Several of our board members commented that it was the best strategic planning process in which they had ever participated. I can tell Ethos has a passion for helping clients move forward in a positive direction and this positive energy was highly evident in our experience working with them. We weren’t just another client but rather, we were a valued partner in the work!”

Renee Steffen
Executive Director, Sisters Health Foundation
Stacy DeCicco

“Our work with the Ethos team has impacted nearly every facet of our organization. Our initial experience engaged our board in a strategic thinking exercise. This half day event was originally scheduled to be an isolated experience; what it became was a launching point for organizational growth, professional development, and intentional, sustainable efforts. Our amazing experience within the strategic planning session brought mission and vision centered decision making to life for our team. The conversations of that day were not simply discussions that were archived and put on a shelf at the end of the meeting. They quickly transformed into digestible, attainable action items. Immediate implementation was possible because of the ongoing support and facilitation we received from the Ethos team. That energy and momentum flowed from the board, through our team, and out to the agencies that we support and engage across the community. We are a stronger organization because we are now able to execute our mission and serve our community better than ever before. The investment Ethos has made with us has created ripples that are felt further than they can ever be measured!”

Stacy DiCicco
Executive Director, United Way Alliance of the Mid‑Ohio Valley
Greg Franks

“Having served in leadership roles for several property management companies, I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous consulting firms. My experience with Ethos Leadership, which involved an operational analysis of an active adult community with more than 16,000 residents, was one of the best experiences.”

“After spending two weeks embedded with our operational team and reviewing hundreds of documents, Ethos provided a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations that addressed HR, Infrastructure, Leadership, Finance, Programs & Services, Planning, and Customer Service. Following Ethos’ analysis, we executed a plan to adopt sixteen (16) actionable steps that improved our operations while honoring the culture and values of our company and our client.”

“This entire experience set in motion a plan of execution that the community and its residents have benefited from and will for years to come. I highly recommend Ethos and their entire leadership team.”

Greg Franks
Vice President Southeast Region, AAM
Lisa Leach

“I best describe our organization’s experience of leadership development with Ethos Leadership Group as a journey of discovery that leads to building effective teams who are willing to break the silo mentality that often holds organizations from reaching their true potential. I have watched members of both our Management and C-Suite
levels grow and mature through the process Ethos Leadership Group has developed. Staff actively participates in assisting each other to achieve interdepartmental and strategic goals and share in each other’s successes rather than focus on one another’s missed opportunities. Through the discussion-based approach, our management team has learned to feel more confident in their decisionmaking abilities resulting in more effective and timely decisions. Ethos does a tremendous job of defining characteristics of effective leadership and helping staff to identify how their weaknesses and strengths can work in harmony to achieve organizational goals.”

Lisa Leach
Chief Executive Officer, Southern West Virginia Health System
Wendy Gall

“My time participating in the Ethos Executive Coaching program was a pivotal point
for me both professionally, as a new leader, and personally. Based off of a deep understanding of me as an individual, my coach was able to provide invaluable
insights and practices that helped guide me at a time in my career that was, I have to admit, a bit overwhelming. Our insightful discussions, along with the relationship that grew throughout our time working together, challenged me to grow in my areas of weakness and build on my strength, helped me formulate my thoughts around my leadership style, and provided me the tools and support I needed to gain confidence in becoming the authentic leader I am today.”

Wendy Gall
Director, Customer Care Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, First National Bank of Omaha
Enderson Miranda

“Ethos Leadership has been a trusted partner of OnSomble for several years. All members of our executive team trust and rely on Ethos’ expertise and advice. I have personally benefited tremendously by having Ethos available as a sounding board for strategic decisions over my years as COO and CEO at OnSomble. I can confidently say that Ethos consistently plays an important role in the continued growth and success of our company. I would unequivocally recommend the Ethos Leadership Group to any organization that wants to excel.”

Enderson Miranda
Chief Executive Officer, OnSomble, Inc.
Craig Glover

“The team at Ethos Leadership Group are great partners. They listened to my goals and developed a plan specific to my needs. Often, leadership groups have one approach they try to use for every situation. Ethos is different. Their various tools and approaches allows them to develop a custom plan for your organization.”

“The onsite work with the Ethos team was excellent. They are interactive, engaging, and fun. The session felt like a group of friends having a candid discussion as opposed to a work session. I highly recommend working with Ethos Leadership Group.”

Craig Glover
President and CEO, FamilyCare Health Centers
David Ray - Ethos Leadership Group

Ethos Team:

David Ray

Owner

In 2017, David joined Ethos after leading and advising in the non-profit sector. An organizational troubleshooter and natural synergist, David leverages his analytical and relational skills to help clients take their business and team to their desired next level. With a passion to see others live and lead well, David enjoys connecting leaders to evidence-based practices to boost leadership capacity, build human capital, and improve organizational performance. David particularly enjoys working with clients through strategic planning, executive coaching, and team development.

Fast Facts:

  1. Started his own property investment company at the age of 24
  2. Certified Human Behavior Consultant
  3. David enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to islands, and pretty much anything that has to do with personal development
Rebekah D. Mathis-Stump, J.D. - Ethos Leadership Group

Ethos Team:

Rebekah D. Mathis-Stump, J.D.

Owner

Becky joined Ethos in 2009 after leading the daily operations of five distinct work teams over a ten-year period. An analyst and solution-generator by nature, she works with clients to identify their needs and develops a plan of action to reach their desired results. Having worked in numerous disciplines in her career, Becky brings a broad range of knowledge and experience to our clients. Becky particularly enjoys working with clients on organizational audits, strategic planning, employee training and coaching, and governance.

Fast Facts:

  1. Lived in numerous states growing up, finally claiming West Virginia as home after marrying a native son, Jeff Stump
  2. Received life membership in The Order of the Barristers — a national honor society
  3. Becky enjoys reading, golfing, and cheering on the West Virginia University Mountaineers
Dr. James A. Johnson - Ethos Leadership Group

Ethos Team:

Dr. James A. Johnson

Founder

As our Founder, James encourages us to dream bigger dreams and mentors us to achieve them. James brings this same passion to our clients, skillfully blending inspiration with practical application in his work. James’ primary areas of expertise include leadership and fundraising.

Fast Facts:

  1. Development Officer at Pheasants Forever.
  2. Received President’s Volunteer Service Award (presented by President George W. Bush)
  3. James enjoys spending time with his wife (Lesa), and hunting