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Chris Wollerman is CEO of InnovaSystems International LLC, a software development company based in San Diego, California.

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Goals: What, Why and When.

clock November 12, 2012 07:37 by author Nick Metrie
  What is a goal? A goal is something you set out to achieve with effort and intent, as you believe it will result in added value.   A goal is excepting a motivating challenge. the result or achievement toward which effort is direct.   Why create goals?    ·         Clear goals pave the way to good performance; they give you direction, focus and control.     ·         Blanchard: “Research has shown that goal setting is the single most powerful motivator a leader has. But, in order for a goal to be effective, it has to meet certain criteria. And, people must have the knowledge, skills and commitment necessary to achieve the goal.”   To achieve your vision and mission, bring clarity to your key life roles, and live your values   ·         People who are motivated to create and achieve goals that resonate with their values and life aspirations are fueled by the energy they need to become a top performer.   Goal Scope/Timeline associated with a goal   ·         A critical element of goal setting is defining the length of time needed to achieve the goal.   ·         Setting milestones, or key measures, with due dates can help you stay on track toward successful achievement of your goals.   ·         The appropriate timeline to set a goal needs to be determined by the level of complexity to achieve the goal. It’s important to address whether the goal is attainable to achieve, or realistic, within the length of time you have to complete it.   ·         Determine your long-term goal for a year, then break that goal into smaller, short-term goals to achieve your overall goal.   o   i.e. a yearly strategic plan with three top goals to achieve at the end of the year. Break each of the goals down to four smaller quarterly goals; the idea being that by achieving each quarterly goal, you will then achieve your overall long-term goal set for the year.   ·         You can set goals with any timeline, as long as the timeframe is realistic and the capacity to achieve the goal is in complete control of the achiever.   o   i.e. is this goal attainable for the time I have to complete it? Will the participation or information needed to achieve this goal be in the hands of someone else?  Author- Jennifer Cradduck

InnovaMobile to Donate $25,000 to Operation Rebound®

clock May 22, 2012 05:29 by author Chris Wollerman
We are very excited about the opportunity to support our troops through Operation Rebound®, a program of the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) that supports permanently injured service members and first responders. It is a great way to give back to the incredible people who have sacrificed for us. They've given up their way of living by going into harm’s way and coming home a wounded veteran with a lost limb. Amazingly, instead of being succumbed by depression, they've made a choice to become an inspiration for others by signing up for a 620 mile bike ride this fall in the Million Dollar Challenge. We are proud to have one of our own employees ride side by side with them and proud to come together as an organization to sponsor and inspire more veterans to do the same. Two wounded veterans will be using our Inspire! app to prepare for the Million Dollar Challenge this fall and we’ll be sharing their progress and stories about how the app is helping them. In support of this program, we are donating all proceeds from our Inspire! app to Operation Rebound®. InnovaMobile will continue donating 100% of the proceeds it receives from its App Store downloads, in addition to employee donations and our company’s matching program, until it has contributed $25,000 to this organization. About the Challenged Athletes Foundation The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $30 million has been raised and almost 5,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. For more information about Operation Rebound and CAF, click here:

Have a more relaxing weekend with peace of mind

clock May 13, 2012 07:26 by author Chris Wollerman
Have you ever had that feeling of anxiety on Sunday evenings, thinking about the work week ahead? I used to feel overwhelmed to the point of losing sleep by trying to remember all of the things that needed to be done. There's a great book by David Allen called Getting Things Done where he discusses the concept of getting all of your ideas and To-Do's out of your head and written on a master task list. The process of creating and maintaining a master task list alone reduces stress by at least 50% by giving your brain a break from worrying about forgetting. The other 50% of your stress about the week ahead can be easily eliminated by creating your Inspire! Weekly Planning Report on Sunday mornings. [More]

Inspire! users' most common challenge: making the connection between roles, goals, weekly objectives and tasks.

clock May 4, 2012 04:03 by author Chris Wollerman
We recently taught another class of 25 employees on how to become more productive using Inspire! During our two day course, we teach the leadership principles that are discussed in our philosophy tab on the Inspire! web site. After the 2 day class, we have each student pair up with an accountability partner and agree to meet with each other at least 10 minutes per week for 5 weeks to discuss their weekly objectives, challenges and progress with the application. They are also required to send each other, their supervisors and the class facilitators a copy of their Weekly Inspire! Planning Report. This gives us the opportunity to look for opportunities for mentoring, improving our training and improving our app. [More]

Why Upgrade to Inspire! 1.1?

clock May 3, 2012 09:24 by author Nick Metrie
If you are an Inspire! Personal Productivity user and you are running version 1.0 or 1.01 you may be wondering why you should push that update button and upgrade to version 1.1.  If you are a New iPad owner the single biggest reason is Retina graphics!  We shipped several high resolution photos in the 1.0 and 1.01 releases but these images looks absolutely stunning in the new Retina display.  Tile images you are using for Roles, Goals or Values will also automatically upgrade to Retina resolution as you open up the details of the Role, Goal or Value.  You will be impressed with the sharpness of the Retina graphics across the app as well. If you are not a New iPad owner, we didn’t forget about you.  All users of Inspire! 1.1 will have access to some improved usability features.  We now reorder all goals and goal related data (objectives) so that uncompleted goals always sort by priority.  This will make planning for the things that are most important to you easier than ever.  We also added a second line of text display to all tile images giving you easier access to detail information.   Finally, we are in the process of adding full swipe and gesture support in navigation.  To do this we needed to make some behind the scenes changes in how data was loaded on some of the screens.  This will yield a snappier user interface now and lays the foundation for swipe and gestures in upcoming releases. We hope you are enjoying Inspire! and that it is making a difference in your life – that is what it is intended to do! Written by Jon Jensen- Project Manager and Designer    

Quick tip on organized weekly planning - rename goals to sort on current goal priorities

clock April 23, 2012 04:26 by author Chris Wollerman
We are currenly working on a few enhancements to clean-up and help users with the weekly planning process.  Currently, the tile pane for selecting goals/roles to create objectives is sorted alphabetically which is fine if you just have a few goals and roles.  However, now that many users have completed their goals from last quarter, the number of goals in the app is getting larger and the completed goals should not be available to plan against in the weekly planning view.  This will be fixed in the next update along with a new sorting scheme that will utilize the priority field that you can set in the 'Edit Goal' function. For now, an easy way to assure your top goals and roles are always at the top of your list for planning is to simply rename the goal with an identifier before the name such as G1) G2), etc. for goals and R1), R2), etc. for roles.  When you do this, the weekly planning process is much simpler because you pick your priorities from the top of the tile list.  After assigning an objective, it goes to the bottom of the stack and your next priority is at the top for selection (see image below). I highly recommend trying this to assure that your top goals are always getting your attention during the weekly planning process.

How to use Inspire! to improve relationships – Part 2: My Great Dad

clock April 7, 2012 08:02 by author Chris Wollerman
How to use Inspire! to improve relationships – Part 2: My Great Dad In my last blog, I wrote about using Inspire! to help me strive to be a great dad.  Using the app has also helped me appreciate and improve my relationship with my own great dad who recently passed away a few months ago. Last June while attending Steve Job’s final keynote speech during WWDC in San Francisco, I called my dad and tried to explain my excitement for mobile technology and the Inspire! app we were building.  It turned into another one of those “what is it you do again?” conversations.  It was easy for my dad to explain his job to people as a stone and brick mason:  “I take these stones, use this hammer and chisel, and create this fireplace.”  Explaining what a CEO for a defense technology company does is not so easy.  He never owned a computer and had a hard time understanding the concept of a smart phone or an iPad.  He had just turned 72 a few days prior so I decided to buy him an iTouch for his birthday and load it up with some of my original piano music and videos of his grandkids.  He loved it and began to better appreciate my passion for what I was doing. A few months later, I took my daughter Nikita up to Montana to see him for our annual father-daughter trip.  We loaded up his iTouch with some more media and were able to show him a prototype of Inspire! on the iPad.  As an artist and musician, he was really excited about the integration of art and music into the iPad and our app.  He had recently sketched this drawing of my kids which I scanned and loaded into the Inspire! app. We noticed that my dad had lost quite a bit of weight and was struggling to breath.  He was someone who I always assumed would live to 100 and probably outlive me by living a completely healthy lifestyle with good eating habits, exercise, never drinking or smoking.  But the years working in construction and breathing in asbestos on the job sites were catching up to him.  I decided to plan a family reunion trip for Christmas in Big Sky near his home in Bozeman.  Just before we arrived, he was rushed into intensive care with a collapsed lung.  We were all able to spend some time with him in the hospital over Christmas and during the following weeks before he passed away in late January.  It was a very sad time but we felt extremely fortunate to spend some quality time with him instead of finding out when it was too late. During my dad’s last six months, I used Inspire! daily to reflect on the priorities of my life and planned quality time every week with the people that matter most.  It’s allowed me to live without regret that I didn’t take the time that might have been easily squandered away with other urgent but less important matters.  It has also helped me clarify and strengthen my own personal mission, values and leadership point of view. Ken Blanchard taught us a class in our master’s program at USD called Leadership Point of View (LPOV) which he also discusses in his book, Leading at a Higher Level where he writes: “If you can teach people your leadership point of view, they will not only have the benefit of understanding where you’re coming from, but they’ll also be clear on what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.  They may also begin to solidify their own thinking about leadership so that they can teach others, too.  In determining your leadership point of view, you should be guided by the following questions: 1.       Who are the influencers (key people) in your life who have had a positive (or in some cases negative) impact on your life, such as parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, or bosses, and what did you learn from these people about leadership? 2.       What key events in your life have had an impact on how you lead others?  Think back to events and turning points during your childhood, school years, and early career.  How did these events impact your thinking about leadership? 3.       Think about your life purpose.  Why are you here, and what do you want to accomplish? 4.       What are your core values that will guide your behavior as you attempt to live your life “on purpose?” 5.       Given what you’ve learned from past influencers, life events, your life purpose, and core values, what is your leadership point of view-your beliefs about leading and motivating people? 6.       What can your people expect from you? 7.       What do you expect from your people? 8.       How will you set an example for your people?” I first presented my LPOV in class at USD in 2007 and have used it over the past 5 years in various settings to communicate my own beliefs about leading and motivating people.  I’ve talked about how both of my parents, spouse and other key role models have shaped my life, starting with my dad.  I recently presented my LPOV using Inspire! during the graduation of one of our company’s Leadership Working Groups (LWG) which is a 10 month intensive leadership learning course.  Using the visual image representations of my mission, values and role models in the Inspire! app, along with reflection on my dad’s life and recent passing, I felt it was the most powerful connection yet and recommend that all leaders go through this process with their teams.  The idea in your leadership point of view is to share some meaningful information about yourself-what that information taught you about leadership and development, and what it means to your listeners. I’ll share my full leadership point of view in a future blog but I’ll wrap this one up by describing one way my great dad influenced me.  The primary lesson he taught me was to be passionate about the work you do and to never settle for a job where you won’t want to come to work every day and love what you are doing.  He taught me this by the passion for the many houses and masterpiece fireplaces he built for people over his 50 year career.  I worked many summers and a several cold winters as his helper and learned his unique approach with people and his work.  While building the stone fireplace below at my own home near San Diego, we witnessed an angry painter yelling at his workers all day long and at the end of the day my dad said, “there are a lot of people who hate their job and hate their life – don’t waste your time with anything that you don’t love.”      Here's a short video tribute I put together for him.  Happy Easter!  YouTube Video  

How to use Inspire! to improve relationships – Part 1: Teenagers!

clock April 6, 2012 05:47 by author Chris Wollerman
How to use Inspire! to improve relationships – Part 1: Teenagers! I’d like to share a few personal stories with you this Easter weekend to give you some ideas on how Inspire! can help you improve some of your relationships.  It’s great to see how the app has helped people achieve professional and personal goals but what’s even more powerful is the way it’s changed people’s lives by improving relationships.  I’m sure there are a few doubters out there who don’t believe an iPad app can make such a big difference but when you combine the philosophy and process behind it, I’ve seen it really work for myself and many others.  To cut to the chase, here are the basics: 1.       Define the value and priority of your relationship in the Values section.  In my case, I clarified that my family is #1 and I will consistently do things to improve our family relationship 2.       Define your roles around your relationships and consider what it would take to make them beyond ordinary.  In my case, I decided that instead of an ordinary father, I would be a great dad who spends a lot of quality time with my kids. 3.       Reconnect with your values and roles every week and deliberately plan something in each role.  In my case, I considered quality-time events such as 1-on-1 dinners out without cell phones, focused help with school projects, and trips to visit our relatives. Last year, my daughter Nikita turned 13 and as I feared, our communication and overall relationship began to struggle soon after this big milestone.  I don’t know what’s magic about the number 13 but I’ve heard plenty of stories and warnings from other parents to ‘get ready’.  I’m sure there are a few parents who luck-out during this stage but my parents certainly didn’t and I believe they were waiting to see if I would go through as much hell as I put them through.  Here’s a picture of me on my 13th birthday after climbing to the top of Yosemite’s upper falls with my dad and favorite uncle.  I looked innocent enough but you can kind of see the look in my dad’s eyes wondering why his son just joined a rock band with a bunch of losers.  More on that story another time…maybe! Kids are legal to own their own Facebook account at 13.  As many kids her age, Nikita faked her birthday a few years earlier to gain access and rather than banning it completely, I made a deal with her that as long as I had access to her account info (userid, passwords, etc.) and that she would keep me as a Facebook friend, I would let her keep her account.  I’m sure there are many parents who disagree with me on this but I felt there were too many access opportunities for a savvy 11 year old to hide-out.  There are plenty of good books and articles out there so I won’t give much advice other than to recommend parents research early (before age 10), set a family policy and then watch posts very carefully.  I’ve learned the hard way that how you handle these posts is also very important and still continue to hit a few landmines now and then.  Does anyone know how to convince a kid to stop sharing their personal diary entries with 560 friends?  Anyway, Facebook was about the only way I knew what Nikita was up to and we were having a trend of more punishments, taking the cell phone away, etc.  She didn’t want to talk to me and certainly didn’t want to listen.  I tried Covey’s Habit 5 to seek first to understand but there was not much to listen to – just crickets.  With important high school decisions to be made soon, I needed to figure out a better way to communicate.  Since our town doesn’t have a high school, the public school options are limited to a few huge schools with thousands of kids and high student-to-teacher ratios.  After reading many articles like Jill Tucker’s “State’s high school dropout rate at 20%”, I hoped that Nikita might consider a private school where she would have a better opportunity to learn and thrive.  “No way dad, all of my friends are going to Granite next year!” she argued. After many creative and strategic attempts, I gave up on it.  Instead, I decided I would just find a way to be a better dad.  As we roll-out Inspire! to our employees, we train them to consider the roles in their lives and how to make them more extraordinary (as part of the 5 choices of extraordinary productivity).  Just about anyone can be a father, but how many are truly great dad’s?  I pondered this question quite a bit myself.  After reading Tony Schwartz’s book, Be Excellent At Anything, one of his energy audit survey questions also got me thinking: “I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them, I’m not always really with them ”.  How many of us waste opportunities to spend quality time by using their smart-phone or iPad at the dinner table or watching TV without good conversation?  I was wasting plenty of them. I started using Inspire! to deliberately plan quality-time events with rules such as no cell phones and focused conversation.  I plan events that I know the kids will enjoy such as the beach, parks, concerts, trips, fun-zones, and tell them about the plan each week so they will hold me accountable.  After a few months of this, I began to see some real and positive change.  Out of the blue, Nikita asked to visit some private schools – almost a year since I gave up trying and recently got accepted to one of the best.  On Valentine’s Day, she left me this note on my office white board:  We still have several challenging teenage years ahead of us but I believe we’re off to a much better start than we were last year.  The weekly plans do make a difference.  Here are a few insights from other employees who have had similar relationship-building experiences with Inspire! “Inspire! has really improved my relationship with my step children.  Using the app, I decided that I will help them feel a part of our family by demonstrating my love for them, helping them to connect with our full time family, and by having compassion for their situation.” “On a personal level, I have been able to reach out to my brothers more frequently than before. We are now more present in each other’s life.”  

The best way to achieve your goals using Inspire!

clock April 3, 2012 06:10 by author Chris Wollerman
Accountability is the key.  Over the past several months, I've seen a much higher rate of success of quarterly goal achievement than I ever have during our company's 15 year history.   I believe the primary contributor of this success is using Inspire! with an accountability partner.   The planning function in Inspire! includes a weekly planning report which can be emailed to anyone.  The way we train and distribute the Inspire! App to employees at Innova is to have them pair up with an accountability partner in the class, compare notes as they develop and track their values, roles and goals; bounce ideas off each other and commit to weekly 1-1 accountability meetings for 5 consecutive weeks.  Employees send their Inspire! Weekly Planning Report to their accountability partner, their supervisor and the class facilitator.  This report not only shows the planned activities for the upcoming week but also indicates the success percentage of the previous week's planned  objectives and tasks.   Research shows that when you tell someone about your goals and discuss progress regularly, you have a much higher chance for success.  Here's the winning formula in a nutshell:   1) Dream big and set a SMART (Specific and measurable, Motivating, Attainable, Relevant and Traceable) goal. 2) Reconnect with this goal every week and plan at least one small objective that will help you make measurable progress by the end of the week. 3) Plan out actionable tasks 4) Schedule those tasks on your calendar 5) Share your plan with your accountability partner 6) Meet weekly to discuss results   This works for personal goals as well.  If you are trying to improve your relationship with your kids or spouse, plan a specific event where you can spend some quality time and then tell them about it at the beginning of the week.  I find it's pretty hard to get out of a Wednesday night out at the skate park with my son when I commit to him on Monday.   I also like to plan our annual father-son ski trip at the beginning of the quarter and discuss it as it draws near.   I've read dozens of success stories from employees over the past week as Q1 came to an end and I believe we will see even better success in Q2 as more people are holding each other accountable using Inspire!    What are your dreams and goals for Q2?  Who are you going to tell and account to each week?    

Bill Walton visits Innova to discuss Inspire! and our support of Operation Rebound.

clock March 29, 2012 04:55 by author Chris Wollerman
Bill Walton visits Innova to discuss Inspire! and our support of Operation Rebound.   Just after the NCAA final four was decided this past weekend, basketball great, Bill Walton, visited Innova on Monday morning to meet with us to talk about Inspire!, Innova, his career and life, leadership stories about John Wooden, his video with FranklinCovey and the Operation Rebound program which is run by the Challenged Athelete's Foundation (CAF).  Operation Rebound is the premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities.  It provides unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment and training and competition expenses, Military Medical Center Physical Training (MMCPT) and sports clinics.   We believe there is great synergy between this foundation, Innova's mission for supporting our troops and the Inspire! application.   One of our primary customers in the Pentagon is responsible for personnel safety and suicide prevention and is challenged with huge numbers of troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries and depression.  In an article by NPR, they state that nearly as many American troops at home and abroad have committed suicide this year as have been killed in combat in Afghanistan.   Operation Rebound is a program that is addressing this issue by inspiring injured veterans to get their lives back by participating in sports and races.  We believe that Inspire! could be another great tool to help vets get on the right track by helping them define their values, mission and roles, set goals and accomplish them through the weekly planning.  We plan to donate the app to as many veterans as possible and are working with Bill on more ways we can get involved.   One of our employees, Bob Maslach, is already involved in this program and is training for the CAF Million Dollar Challenge coming up this fall.  Bob and his wife will be cycling over 600 miles down the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego alongside veterans from Operation Rebound and other athletes.  We will be working on a fund raiser at Innova to support Bob and CAF over the next few weeks and look forward to bringing Bill Walton back into the office to present our plan to all employees.   In the meantime, Lynn and I will be rooting for her home state team, Kentucky this weekend.  Go Wildcats!