Unbeknownst to me at the time, this book was conceived over a dinner in January 2009 with Greg Wells, then the top executive for North American operations for Vistage International.

I had become a Vistage speaker two years earlier, and, by the time of our dinner, had given nearly 100 workshops around the United States and Canada about the whys and hows of strategic planning as one of the first steps toward achieving high levels of performance. Greg asked me about this experience and I shared my observation that while leaders had a variety of excuses for not developing a plan with their executive team, almost every single leader among the hundreds I’d met said that their single greatest obstacle—whether operating from a written ...

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