Sunday, April 26, 2009

HTG Q2 in the Books

HTG Q2 2009 has come to an end. What a week we had in Dallas at the Omni. It was an amazing week in every way. The energy level was unbelievable. People were engaged and focused. It was like no other event I have had the privilege of being part of. And I heard that from dozens of vendors as they gave me feedback on their time with us last week. The group meetings were very strong from all reports. Some of you couldn’t get enough of each other starting early on Sunday or working late into the evenings. That is so good to see. When groups are committed to going above and beyond for one another, we are on a very good path. I know there were a number of company deep dives and mini SWOT interactions that will make a difference in the weeks ahead. Hopefully you remember when you get back into the routine and the chaos of the day that the key to making HTG work is to continually build relationships. This isn’t a week every quarter kind of deal. You need to reach out to your fellow group members weekly or even daily if that is what is needed. You are accountable to each other – not for the 48 hours you are in your peer groups – but 24/7/365. Accountability doesn’t turn off and on. It is always on. We need to stay very focused on that. Without accountability I know how you all are – you are just like me. You do what you want when you get around to it. Don’t try telling me any differently – it is the nature of an entrepreneur. So we need to keep the peer pressure on and continue to drive each other to execution. That is what Peer Power is all about.

Back on the farm we have been working hard to get HTG to the next level on the back end. Sue and Nancy have been entering all the information into Quickbooks Pro 2009 as we move off the HTS accounting platform and out onto our own as HTG. Some big changes as we spread our wings and leave the HTS nest. ConnectWise has given HTG three licenses to use in managing our membership and vendor relationships, so that is beginning to take shape as well. HP, SonicWALL and Microsoft have provided HTG hardware and the needed licensing to allow us to spin up the new SharePoint MOSS portal that we are all enjoying and will be the communication platform for our future. Vlad Mazek of OwnWebNow is hosting for us at his Dallas based data center. There has been a lot of activity as we have spun HTG off as a separate organization and are beginning to build a sustainable program for the future.

The advisory board of Dan Hay (finance), Brad Schow (membership), Stuart Crawford (press and media), Lyf Wildenberg (Communication and platform) and Scott Scrogin (Administration) have been doing a great job helping us through the transition. Ken Shetler (contractor managing vendors) along with myself, Nancy, Mary and Sue have been focused on driving revenue and putting a sustainable program in place so HTG will last into the future. There is much to celebrate and be excited about for the future.

But as with all things, change happens and sometimes people struggle to adapt. There have been some bumps in the road as we have moved toward our HTG 2.0 vision. A bit of execution was lacking on the staff side, and a bit of inflexibility on the part of some members has made the last few months challenging on some days. With over 270 companies involved now in both our programs, and at least that many ideas and personalities, I recognize that we cannot make every person happy all the time. Some are driven by money, some schedule, some personal wishes, some just want it their way. I wish we could meet each and every wish and expectation, but we cannot. So the thing I want to encourage you to remember is this: HTG is not about you. Those are some famous words that come from a bestselling book about a different topic, but they are related to our mission with HTG as well. HTG is about community and not any single member. It is about making an impact in each member’s business, leadership and life. That happens in different ways and at a different speed for each, but make no mistake about it, we are focused on driving change. We will be a disruptive change in your business and life. For some that is uncomfortable. To you I apologize in advance but want you to know the pursuit will continue. HTG will continue to grow and evolve, and our HTG 3.0 strategy will take us to another level once we get it completely defined. Just this week I read a manuscript for a new book coming out in May. It is a business parable and had some very wise ideas to share. Here are a few key nuggets:

1. Pursuing perfection requires that we be willing to be uncomfortable. If you are always striving to get better, then you are always growing. You have to embrace discomfort as part of your growth process.
2. Those who want to be average and good like to be comfortable. But you are either getting better or getting worse – there is no standing still.
3. 5% of our life is made up of performance, but 95% is spent preparing, practicing and waiting to perform. We have to be disciplined in the 95%.
4. To succeed we need to focus on improving each day. We have to take necessary action steps to get better each day, week, month and year.
5. Ask yourself each day – what do I need to do today to create the success and outcomes I desire?

Many people ask why we have to change. The individual peer groups are the core of HTG, and always will be for that matter, but the reality of growth is beginning to hit those which have been together the longest. Call it a plateau, hitting the wall, struggling to continue providing value – the game has to change if we are going to continue to be relevant in the businesses we serve. HTG has to penetrate to a different level with more managers in these organizations. Those at the top can only create so much change before they need to bring up another set of leaders to drive things deeper into the organization. It has to happen or HTG will die. I know those still in the dating and honeymoon periods think it is crazy to change what they feel is working just fine. But things won’t be fine forever without change. That is the crux of the matter. We must continue to increase the value HTG brings, we much continue to drive value to our members, we must continue to grow and become more or what has been will cease to be. It is that simple. All organizations change over time. They either find ways to remain vibrant and relevant, or they are relegated to a corner and become a piece of history. We are not willing to let that happen. Of course that means that there will be some whining and gnashing of teeth. It would be much easier to just let it run it’s course and avoid all the change. Change is always a lot more work than status quo. But I won’t let something which I know can continue to make a significant impact in the businesses and lives of our memberships ride off into the sunset. We will change. Each member will need to determine if the value they receive is worth the cost. Some may choose to opt out and move on. But my challenge is to focus on what we can become and not on what we have been. HTG is not about the past, it is absolutely about the future and that is very bright. I look forward to continuing to drive change into HTG so we can grow together as we take everyone to new heights and a new level of performance and life!

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