Testimonials

About Rick Houcek’s "Power Planning™ Strategic Retreats"...

Here is what 24 CEO clients said about the results they enjoyed:

This guy is a class act!  I run a $50 to $100 million company in the building material industry.  I have used Rick as my facilitator for my strategic plan the last three years with remarkable results.  He walks the talk and delivers exactly what he says.  As the CEO, I can sit back and observe and participate as needed, but the result is a plan we can all buy into and can execute.  The results?  Sales growth up 70% in 3 years, and profits tripled.  An accident?  I don’t think so!

Dave Boivin, President & CEO | Sto Corp., Atlanta

We’ve stuck to ‘the plan’ for almost 3 years now and it has taken our company to the next level.  This year will be our biggest and most profitable year ever – and your plan is one of the keys to our success!”

Dave Caple, CEO & President | ABODA, Seattle

Rick is by far the best facilitator we ever used for strategic planning and his process is the only one that was successful in achieving the desired results. Rick’s planning process and accountability measures provided the foundation to allow us to double the size of our company from $25 million to $50 million in revenues in three years. By using Rick Houcek’s strategic planning process I was finally able to get our leadership team to buy into our strategic goals for company growth and profitability and to hold each other accountable for achieving these goals. The accountability measures insured that everyone was held responsible for their portion of the strategic plan with real consequences for failure to perform. This is probably the most important aspect of Rick’s process for developing a strategic plan. Our team always came away from our retreats feeling energized and understanding everyone’s role in accomplishing company-wide goals. Rick has a unique gift of being able to engage everyone who attends a strategic planning retreat. He can deal with the most sensitive issues and help everyone to find the common ground needed to work together effectively. He is a high energy, enthusiastic group moderator.”

Ned Daffan, CEO | AERA, Washington DC

Rick’s planning process is the best I have done, compared with $250 million ZOLL and smaller companies I have run. The results have been very measurable after the retreat – Bill walks with a quicker step and has used the system for his 11 operations managers with great success. The team is holding each other accountable and is taking on the extra effort to complete as planned. Rick’s accountability is critical to the success of any ‘heavy lifting’ plan which requires significant effort over time and is on top of our ‘day jobs.’ Our most pleasing long-term benefits are accountability, long-range thinking/planning, and broadening the skill sets of our entire team. Rick has the ability to keep the team on track and pull them back to decision point, without hampering creativity… and the relentless effort to drive outcomes that are actionable and keep the entire process on track for time. The Senior Management Team had an eye-opening experience to the amount of effort and responsibility required to achieve a high growth plan. The accountability and peer pressure to perform is a good reinforcement to the culture I am trying to create at KPA.”

Vane Clayton, CEO | KPA, Denver

Things are going exceptionally well for us – thanks to your Strategic Planning sessions which we have been doing for the past three years. Our business YTD is growing 47% above last year and there are no signs of slowing. Not only that, but moral is going through the roof moreso then ever during the past 30 years of Videolarm’s history – again I have to say you and your planning sessions had a lot to do with it. Everyone feels more a part of the direction of the Company which is critical to achieving the growth that we are now experiencing. We meet once a month and discuss our tactical plan that you produced for us and discuss the good, bad and evil of the past month. It’s opened a lot of eyes and put a lot more people in my shoes for a change, leaving me more time to enjoy my new boat of all things (see the attached pictured) which is docked in Charleston, S.C. We are now set to expand internationally and…will again require the Houcek magic. Thanks for showing everyone at Videolarm how to 'soar with eagles'."

Ray Pagano, President | Videolarm Inc., Atlanta

Wow! I can’t tell you how excited I am from the outcome of our first-ever strategic planning meeting. You were an excellent facilitator and got all of my team members to ultimately come out of their comfort zones. I have spoken to a number of our managers who were in attendance for our 2-day meeting last week. They tell me they cannot get what we talked about and decided out of their minds. They continue to want to ‘pump their fists.’ As a new President and CEO, I could not have wished for a better outcome to this meeting. Now comes the hard work. Your system, which you have helped us put in place, will help to facilitate our plan of being successful. I feel strongly that because of the work that you did with us last week, our company has taken the beginning steps of going from good to great. Thanks again for all of your hard work and efforts, and thanks, particularly, for turning around our plans so quickly.”

Mark Blanchard, President & CEO | NOCS, New Orleans

I recommend Rick Houcek very highly. If you are looking for a pragmatic plan that you will actually implement, this is the way to go. We had him do a 2-day session last May and the results have been great. I have him coming in for another 2-day session this May.”

Rick Wolf, President | Wolf-Gordon Inc., New York

The greatest value delivered by Rick to Connolly is actually threefold: (1) he helped us develop an annual, focused planning discipline; (2) he gave us the action-planning tools that have been extremely useful in linking our strategies to the crisp execution of our tactics; and (3) there is clarity and alignment amongst our Senior Management that will allow us to focus on our few key priorities. Long-term, we foresee continued double-digit annual revenue growth and accompanying profitability resulting from sound strategic direction-setting linked with effective tactical action-planning and execution. The beauty of Rick’s approach is its simplicity. It is instantly comprehensible to the team and easy to use. With disciplined follow up it has become a very powerful business driver. The planning process originally spawned by the one-on-ones and the two-day retreat have given the Connolly team a common perspective and executional approach. These things have been instrumental in the significant growth of our company in the four years since we first started working with Rick. In his personable way, Rick was very helpful in facilitating Connolly’s diagnosis of organizational and planning issues. He kept us on track and did a good job coaching our group toward the solutions to some of these issues. Thanks to Rick’s action-planning template that assigns deliverables, accountability and timing,our associates actually do what they said they would do in their annual plans. The knock-off impact on our business results has been unbelievable.”

Larry Connolly, CEO | Connolly Consulting, Atlanta

We’ve gone through repeated attempts at strategic planning, been on retreats before, and they’ve barely hit the mark. None of them have been as successful in such a short period of time. The thing that always seems to get in our way is staying on track of making goals…and holding our team members accountable. But getting everyone to buy in and take ownership, Rick was a great facilitator in making all of this work. The one-on-ones were very important prior –it gave everyone the ability to say the hard things, to share with Rick their underlying secrets or doubts. Rick brought to the table his wide and deep knowledge on how businesses work, and why they don’t. He has a keen understanding of the players in the room and their behavior, and how to draw things out of them, or to stop others from taking over a process. I don’t think the retreat would have been as successful if we did not have such a dynamic leader in Rick and in his skills. We’ve had some trauma in leadership. There is a lot of confusion at the top with the loss of our original leader, and this strategic retreat, the process, and the goal setting that we all now follow, gave the new incoming president a real tool in his toolbox to hold everyone accountable. A new guy coming into a job where he has 11 senior team members, often it’s easy for these old timers to stray from the goal. But because we’re all accountable to each other, none of us can stray from the goal, not even us as owners. So the accountability measures will make us successful. We have sped light years ahead on the success of where we are. We have already secured a date and asked Rick to facilitate this great experience again. We, as a team, are very proud of our accomplishments. The president is just elated he has this tool. Without it, I can honestly say I don’t know that he would have been as successful as he has been. It has built camaraderie, it has built a united front to the marketplace in 11 of us going forward at the same time, at the same pace. It is a united front in leadership which our company has lacked with 3 owners often sending mixed signals. But with one strategic plan, and one leader running it, we’ve had far greater success than we ever had in the past. I hope every CEO has the opportunity to work with Rick Houcek –a dedicated business leader and a man who really ‘gets it’ when it comes to business. I consider Rick a business partner in growing this company to the next level. Please anyone feel free to contact me at any time. My email is nsharp2@foodforthought-chicago.com. My direct line to my office is 847-745-5163.”

Nan Sharp, CEO | Food For Thought, Chicago

Now that I’ve had time to absorb everything that was discussed, I realize that what you’ve done is to fundamentally transform how we as an organization will run. And you did it in two days. Impressive. Thank you for all you’ve done for us. Now to get to work..."

Johann Artigas, Chairman of the Board | Phoenix Boys Association, Atlanta

Thank you for leading us through a tremendous strategic coaching program (retreat) Thursday and Friday. I am excited about returning to work and starting in on making the plan a reality.We would have never been even 5% of the way without you.”

Stan Doobin, President | Harvard Maintenance, New York

I still can’t express in words the tremendous positive impact you and your strategic planning process is having on Lenbrook’s team. Our Board of Directors were blown away with the results.”

Debbie Taylor, President & CEO | Lenbrook, Atlanta

As always, it was OUR pleasure to have you facilitate. You have an enviable ability to fuel the collective creativity of a team and energize them toward success. I greatly appreciate that.”

Todd Thompson, CEO | Thompson Equipment, New Orleans (www.teco-inc.com)

The biggest value I got was that we came out of there with something tangible. I’ve been to these things in the past and it’s always… everybody was ‘Rah!’… excited… and no more than two weeks later it kind of fizzled out. Whereas we are now, what, a month and a half from our meeting? We’ve already finished one follow-up meeting and we really have accountability. And that’s what it’s all about. We came out with something tangible. We have accountability in place. We have a clear plan, a clear direction to work from for the next one year, two years, and as far out as three years. By having that strict accountability – I think he calls it ‘escape-proof accountability’ – there’s just no way around it. I mean, we’re going to get what we need done. The escape-proof accountability is what sets Rick apart… bar none. It’s what’s going to deliver the results for TK Carsites long term. We all became on the same page, focused on one common goal together. We all understand what we need to do as a team. We became closer. We all know what direction to go in now. And I believe that we’re a more synergistic team. When we started out with this strategic planning meeting, we set our sights on some long-term goals. And a lot of what we put in place was just kind of the road map to achieve those goals. And the benefits are going to really have what we’ve defined as success, happen within the company. You can’t ask for anything more than that. Rick knows how to deal with people. It’s obvious Rick has a lot of experience in this field. He knows how to bring a team together. He knows how to make sure people don’t get lost and caught up in the weeds, get down in the weeds and stuck, and look at the big picture. And he knows how to take differences of opinion and guide them so that everybody is bought into what the company needs to do to achieve its goals. I’ve been exposed to a lot of different facilitators, and there’s really no comparison. What it comes down to is, in a lot of planning meetings, you get into rah-rah sessions with no real tangible ‘something’ to hold onto… something that’s going to last beyond the 30 or 60 days after the meeting when people are caught up in their day-to-day duties. We’re definitely going to contract or use Rick again for our follow-up meeting next year.”

Richard Valenta, CEO & President | TK Carsites, Los Angeles

I would highly recommend Rick Houcek. He has conducted a couple of strategic planning workshops for us with great results. Super high integrity and energy – he is intensely focused on accountability and results.”

Jim Bowes, President & CEO | Peach State Integrated Technologies, Atlanta

We are now 8 months into the plan and recognize we probably have 98% of our goals achieved. The whole process was very good and our group has really run with it and embraced it. The fact is, now we have a very strong structure by which we can build our strategic plan each year. Rick’s skills were very important in this process. The organizational skills and tools he gave us prior to the 2-day retreat were every bit as important as the actual retreat, very important to having a successful meeting. Rick kept us focused on the real issues. He let us talk and hash out some of the issues we were discussing, but the bottom line is, when we did meander a bit, he pulled us back on the real issues. I appreciated his insights when some of the things got way off track, and having him pull the group back together was appropriate in this setting. He took time the day or two before the retreat to coach me on what my role needed to be during this meeting, to let the group feel comfortable and realize their participation was critical and invited and welcomed, and he got greater participation out of all the members. Thanks Rick.”

Ronda Zillner, President | Zillner Marketing Communications, Kansas City

We used a professional firm years ago, and I’ve never seen anything so long and laborious and painful in my life. It literally took 6 months and immediately went into moth balls –obsolete before it was ever finished. Here, Rick’s positive attitude and upbeat manner is key because he keeps things moving really well. Also it is very structured. Rick exactly knows where he wants to take it, how to create the outcome we’re all looking for, how to get participation from all the members, how to get the buy-in of all the members, and to have everybody feel totally accountable for the plan and their part to it. It’s been very positive for us at Aircond. The discussions at our retreats have been very, very beneficial. We’ve worked through issues that were hidden, that weren’t coming out. We’ve gotten past (our) inhibitions. That’s been really healthy for us. The plans we’ve implemented through the years have caused us to delve into issues and make changes we might not have otherwise. We’ve had monthly meetings of our Strategic Planning Team for the past seven years. This thing has really taken hold with Aircond. It’s been a crucial element in the success of Aircond, and I give Rick a lot of credit for helping us through some interesting and fast-growth times. We were acquired by another company –it has really helped us in the integration process, to establish our goals along side of the bigger corporate goals. My hat’s off to Rick. The accountability measures in Rick’s process have helped us solidify buy-in. This is one of the key differences between Rick’s process and others I’ve seen. I congratulate him for that…this is Rick’s signature. The accountability keeps it alive all year long. Rick’s very positive personality and positive outlook on things is very helpful for a facilitator. Rick’s patience has been particularly constructive, because we’ve had to wade through a lot of issues. He can sense when we’re bogging down, when we need a jolt, when we’re trying to railroad something. He has also gotten to know our team members pretty well, and he is quick to pick up (each) participants’ particular personality and the dynamics of how that fits in with the group and understanding the overall dynamics of our company. He gets comments out of everybody on an equal plane, so we don’t have people sitting back not participating. He’s developed those skills to provoke discussion, keep things moving, and understand the participants."

Alan Barnes Sr., President | EMCOR Services / Aircond Corp., Atlanta

I’ve been in business for 20 years, and I’ve been to a number of planning sessions, and Rick’s (process) really resonated with me. It is simple to understand, it focuses on what has to happen, and it ensures that what is agreed to will be implemented. When I assumed leadership of AMR, I first identified who were potential leaders and invited them to this (strategic planning) process. The value has been immeasurable. They took new responsibility for their part in building the business. They became very invested in the process and had much greater ownership about the outcomes. They clearly understood the absolute accountability this process was going to generate, and that made it very powerful. They grew together as a team from the result, and got a new level of respect for one another as they listened to all the different areas of responsibility each was going to assume. The long-term results were quite remarkable. We had budgeted to lose $360,000. My comment to the Leadership Team was: ‘Any business planning to lose nearly a half million dollars is not a business, but a charity. We are going to make money!’ And we did! So it had a huge impact on the organization. Rick, I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for my company. I would be surprised if there is anyone else in the marketplace who has the energy and skills Rick has shown. First, a very high level of energy, which was key toward driving the end result. Secondly, his ability to take thoughts and ideas and to fashion them into accountabilities with deadlines, and with clear objectives, is one of his strongest suits. It’s a passion doing what he does.”

Mark Gallagher, President & CEO | AMR Inc., Chicago

Truly, Rick, each member of the Management Team has said that he/she has never experienced a strategic planning facilitator as skilled and as effective as your esteemed self — and the team is a varied group, as you well know, and collectively, have been around a number of not insignificant blocks.  And when anyone asks me about strategic planning, you are the first person I recommend.”

Jeffrey LaRiche, President, Castle Worldwide, Research Triangle, NC

The long-term results have been to accomplish things we never would have gotten done without it. Many of these things we’ve tried to do over the years, but they just don’t seem to happen. This gives everybody the accountability to make sure they all get done. Also, some tough decisions were made – issues we probably would have put off. But we got them done.Rick developed a good feeling for members of the team, their strengths and weaknesses, and actually counseled them one-on-one prior to the meeting to encourage input, which was beneficial for getting more participation by all. Rick’s accountability system is excellent and forces people to make things get done. Getting us to discuss the accountability issue and getting the group buy-in was important. It made team members face realities and respond to them.”

Bruce Benator, Managing Partner | Williams Benator & Libby, Atlanta

The greatest value we received was that you (Rick) provided a structured process by which we could gain input from key people, get buy-in, have involvement in developing the plan, and have accountability. A process we hadn’t used before. We were able to get a lot clearer about our priorities, and who needed to do what by when to make it happen, and you took us from having a variety of different opinions and streamlining it into something really actionable. That was terrific – we hadn’t done that before. You took the whole strategic process for TJG and moved it to the next level. We put accountability measures in place. We didn’t want those at first, but when we did, it resulted in people getting things done. But had that accountability plan and specific action items with deadlines and clear accountabilities not been part of what we walked out with, we wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much done. That made a difference. The long-term benefit is additional discipline and accountability at TJG, not only in (our) strategic planning, but throughout everything we do. It was something I saw others start using, holding their groups accountable. Thank you Rick, I look forward to working with you again. You set the climate for success. You were a strong facilitator who guided us well – you knew when to stop, when to go, when to push back. You set an expectation we would be completely authentic with each other, that we would all have a voice, and you made sure of that. We ended up with something actionable.”

Gaye van den Hombergh, Managing Director | The Johnsson Group, Chicago

We now have people taking personal responsibility at a greater level than they ever have before –not just for specific tasks, but rather for broad, complex responsibilities. Having our processes and steps laid out, following a planning exercise, in which we all bought into responsibilities, is helping us get things done with a level of efficiency and responsibility that are extremely useful. In the past, we have had planning processes that were led internally. They had many of the same goals we arrived at with Rick’s process, with these major exceptions: With Rick, we laid out very clear major areas of change, identified specific areas that needed to be addressed, and identified accountabilities and tasks with much greater precision than we had ever done before. In the past, we would do planning, and then several months later, not really recall exactly what our objectives were or who was responsible for executing them. This has been resolved through the process and follow-up steps Rick implemented. What is unique about the process is that it is concrete and specific, and I, as the CEO, do not feel I am ultimately responsible for making sure that every task is done. While I have overall responsibility for the direction of the enterprise, I feel comfortable with the process we used to have others take on responsibility and ownership in their particular areas. This is exciting, because we now have the collective strengths, passion, and commitment of others harnessed much more effectively than we did when I felt that ultimately I had to be responsible for the process. As far as facilitation skill goes, he is one of the best facilitators –perhaps the best – I have worked with in my career. Rick demonstrated outstanding facilitation and conceptual skills. He was able to generate discussion, capture responses, summarize positions, and manage the entire process. There were times when he moderated discussions and other times when he knew when to back away and let the group manage the flow of conversation. These skills were unusual and extremely effective in enabling us to go through the process. I saw how effective my team is in identifying issues and conceptualizing solutions that would make us a better organization. I realize that my job is largely to set the stage for development, provide resources, and to welcome the participation of others.”

Steve Paskoff, President | Employment Learning Innovations, Atlanta

I have been reflecting over the weekend about the Vision 2020 meetings. Our team is always motivated and professional, but I have never seen our team as passionate and cohesive as they were at last week's meetings. The team willingly volunteered to achieve goals and also to help other team members with goals. The team treated each other with respect when addressing sensitive issues. I was surprised that the majority of the team (including me) voted for “strikes”, but after thinking about this, realized that accountability was taken very seriously by the team. I attribute the success of the Vision 2020 meetings to the preparation you required (reading Good to Great, completing the SWOT analysis, reading your emails about being a team player and taking the pledge). These requirements, along with Rob’s pre-meeting leadership, set the tone for very serious hard work. Your interviews and motivational speeches were very well received and added to the passion and cohesiveness that I witnessed. Your atmosphere of organization and timeliness at breaks and meals also set the tone for serious work. And of course, we have in place 15 excellent team members. Thank you very much for coming to Tyndale and for all that you did to help us achieve our 3 year goals.”

Gail Whittenberger, CEO | Tyndale, Philadelphia

I got wonderful feedback from our CEO group on your presentation. You gave them a tool they could really use, and all appreciated the passion and energy you brought. As you know, I take an anal approach to selecting speakers for our CEO group. There are 108 in the Vistage speaker directory under strategic planning and visioning. From that list, I looked at roughly 60 serious options, reading that many overviews, and then probably listening to about 15 audios. And from all 108, I selected you because… you’ve been a CEO like us, so when you talk about a subject like strategic planning and execution, you’ve been there…you’re not just sharing theory but proven practice… you’ve been recognized as one of Vistage’s top speakers and have been inducted into the prestigious Vistage ‘200 Club’… because your books prove you’re not a one-trick pony, you’re an authority on all matters pertaining to successful leadership… and finally because I had listened to your ‘passion drives success’ message in your other presentation, and I felt that if any CEOs in our group engaged you to work for them, that you would ignite in their team the commitment needed to execute their plan. And I was right. One of my CEO members did later hire you to lead a strategic planning retreat for his company. And he is still raving about his just-completed event. This is a CEO who I have struggled with in getting him to go through an SP process and who therefore shocked me when I heard he had hired you. He now not only has a 3-year program that he is committed to, but he also has 7 of his key people owning the success of the plan as well. Time will tell, but I think, Rick, you have left them with a workable plan that will give them attainable and measurable outcomes and which offers all 8 members of the SP team ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ results.”

Bill Curry, Chairman | Vistage CEO Peer Group, Boston

About Rick Houcek’s
"Self Motivation For Winners™" workshop...

Here is what 91 attendees said. (22 CEOs and 69 employees)

Using the book as you suggested is probably one of the most positive things I’ve done for my business and for me personally. I was really against the wall. Last year was the worst year I’ve had in 12 years in the business and we were on the verge of going belly-up. We lost 3 major clients all at once – they went in-house, moved away, and were bought –very frustrating because I could not control any of it. All my personal reserve funds were used to keep the doors open and I had maxed out my line of credit, etc., etc. I was burned out, on top of everything else, and wanted out! The day after your seminar, I put my book together and am continuing to add to it. I think the affirmations have been the most helpful section and I consider the book my ‘road map’ and use it daily to keep on track. Bottom line is, I’m back at the helm, re-energized, getting new accounts, have a great attitude, and digging us out of the hole. I still have a long way to go, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to thank you for not only putting the concept together, but also the excellent presentation –so thanks!”

Wayne Hood, President, Atlanta, GA

Best workshop on personal development I’ve ever seen. It contains an exact methodology for personal development that I know works! I love the part where you come right out and say what has to be said –that we are responsible for our own success or failure!”

Craig Aberle, CEO, Mahwah, New Jersey

Rick, the seminar was excellent. It exceeded my expectations and my staff was still buzzing when I called in (a few days later) from travels on business. You have a real winner with that workshop. I continue to learn –this is the second time live and, as you know, I have the tape that Larry made for us a year ago. I have attended many personal development workshops. This one really ranks at the top. This is something that I really wanted to share and I am pleased that people I care about had a chance to hear it. Our company has been on a growth path for quite some time now, but in the four months since your seminar, morale is up, and people are clearer on their goals and objectives. When they come in for their reviews, they know exactly what they want to achieve, and the good news is that they’re actually achieving those things! I know this will have a positive impact on our bottom line and will positively affect their personal lives too.”

Jim Hamilton, President, Alpharetta, GA

Rick, you did a great job with my group! Having listened to the tapes and now seen several members (all CEOs), you certainly generated a lot of enthusiasm for goal setting –and your own passion for what you believe came through very strongly. It’s always good to hear a speaker who patently practices what he preaches. Almost every member has re-evaluated his approach to goals and plans and time planning as a result of your session. More interesting is the effect on members who were not present but have listened to the tapes. Three of them have adopted your approach 100% and have asked me to be an integral part of the follow-up process. I thought you would like to know.”

Graham Thompson, Chairman, London, England

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the meeting where you did your presentation on setting personal goals here. I understand from other members of my group that you were great. Even though I missed the live presentation, I know for certain that the content and effectiveness of your program was fantastic! In January 2001, I took a trip out west for three days on some business. However, I also made sure to schedule free time to listen to, and participate in, your presentation (on tape). I did just that and it was, and continues to remain, an awesome experience for me. Over a period of one week, spending time each morning at the coffee shop I was able to crystallize my own mission statement, values list, affirmations and even a word picture representing a future vision for myself and my family. In addition to all of this, I also spent time building a master want list, and filling out my first goal sheet. Incidentally, my goal was to run five miles in 50 minutes or less by September 1 of this year. I reached this goal by June. Since that time, I have competed in three 5K races with great results! I’ve lost 12 pounds, and I’ve been working out on a regular stretch, strength and cardiovascular program since February. A long time ago, I read Covey’s “7 Habits” and was a little disappointed when he so briefly covered the idea of a Personal Mission Statement. I went out and purchased a couple books on Mission and Vision Statements, however, none of them was able to assist me as well as the program you presented. I want to thank you for putting together such a powerful set of exercises as they assisted me greatly!

Nick Stavropoulos, President, Detroit, MI

A clearly articulated presentation. It’s practical, applicable, easy to implement. Clear, identifiable steps.”

Buddy Pilgrim, President/COO, Dallas, TX

I took an honest look at my life and I’m excited to get to work on my mission statement. I like the worksheets and tools that will help me get to my results.”

Carrie Paige, Dallas, TX

May I thank you for an excellent presentation. You will be delighted to know that all CEO members, bar one, gave you an “A” and the other mark was a “B+”. This is a first class result and you certainly excelled, bearing in mind this is your first exposure to a meeting with an English culture.”

Brian Chernett, Chairman, London, England

Thanks for making the trek to Knoxville. My CEO members are telling me ‘Great takeway from Rick’s presentation’. Maybe the best thank-you of all. Come back soon.”

Don Dimmick, Chairman, Knoxville, TN

It gave me the tools to do what I have been trying to do for a long time. The workshop not only lets you know what we need to do, but how to do it.”

Don Russell, President, Dallas, TX

The workshop helped me realize that life is a complete picture of business and personal, and achievement is the common thread. It takes a system to make it happen –it won’t happen just because you’re a good guy. Also, the workshop brings the common sense of achievement into a succinct, understandable process. The best part is the core values –that’s where it all starts.”

Mark Kaplan, Chairman, Atlanta, GA

I recommend this workshop to others because it is both specific and flexible, as well as being applicable to both one’s professional and personal life. It covers all aspects of planning, motivating and acting to produce success.”

Sewell Brandau, President, Nashville, TN

I can honestly say my CEO group loved your presentation. Comments were: ‘Perhaps the most actionable seminar I have attended with the most valuable and applicable material.’ ‘Rick’s presentation was very timely and effective. I will take home more from this talk than from previous speakers.’ ‘Excellent topic, format, presentation.’ This is high praise! I hope to follow through myself and bring a bit more direction and order to my life!”

Neil Soslow, Chairman, New Orleans, LA

I would like to congratulate you on a tremendously successful series of presentations, and to say what a wonderful impression you made on us all. Not only with professionalism, but also with your enthusiasm. Put in very basic terms, ‘you made a difference’, and for that we thank you! I know that many members went home ‘brimming with ideas’ and your handouts received universal praise. You’re the sort of speaker that makes my job so enjoyable, and we would be delighted to welcome you back to the U.K. just as soon as you can make it.”

Krista Roller, Speaker Manager, London, England

It gave me a closer, honest look at who I am, where I am, where I’m going, and what I want in life.”

Tom Kemper, Dallas, TX

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you again for the great session you did for our company last week. It was very thought provoking and I personally gained a lot from your success system. You did a great job focusing people on what they want in life and giving them a system on how to get there. The feedback I have received from our staff has also been very positive. I wanted to give our people a session that would help them personally –and you hit a home run. I am having each manager share one goal during our manager meeting next week and we will act as a support group to help each other attain our goals. I am at a crossroads in my life, having accomplished a great deal, but also wanting to do more. This session really helped me focus on my life and re-set my goals. I am thankful for your mission to help other people. Thanks again for a wonderful session.”

Bruce Leech, President, Chicago, IL

You did a fantastic job, and I’ve gotten nothing but raves regarding applicability and relevance. And a couple CEO members have said your presentation was the most beneficial thing they have received from a speaker. Personally, I agree with them.”

Dick Wilson, Chairman, Greensboro, NC

Before using Rick’s system, I wasn’t being specific enough about my goals, and I didn’t have the essential elements of a well-planned goal. When I turned 30, I said to myself, ‘What if, when I was 20, I had a set of goals to accomplish certain things during the upcoming decade?’ I wrote down everything I learned in my twenties, which included all of my major accomplishments –everything from marriage to starting a business and having children –and I decided, ‘When I turn 40, I want to be able to look back on my thirties, and have accomplished my plan.’ Using that goal format, I was able to lay out a decade plan for where I wanted to be at age 31, 32, 33, etc. One of my biggest goals was to be a CEO by the time I was 35, and in fact, I hit that goal by the age of 32. Having that plan in place made me more competitive with myself by helping me try harder to reach it earlier than I planned. All of the aspects of that decade plan came back to Rick’s system. The most important thing for me regarding the decade plan has been not only putting together one or more goals, but crafting a plan with dozens of smaller goals as well, to help me achieve the larger ones. The plan has positively affected my company’s bottom line and helped us achieve major milestones in our business. Everybody’s on the same page and more clear and focused about our goals. In fact, our objectives are so clear, we know whether we’ve hit them or not. There’s not a lot of gray area, which is great!”

David Lee, CEO, Atlanta, GA

Very stimulating. The best part is the self discipline.”

Jack Matz, CEO, Richmond, TX

Thank you. It was well received by all CEO members as evidenced by the score of 4.8 (on a 5 scale) for both take-home value and delivery. Some of the members’ comments included: ‘Fantastic, very timely for me personally.’ ‘Excellent presentation.’ ‘Should be a college course’. And ‘Very energetic and informative’.”

Tim Monger, Chairman, Indianapolis, IN

I valued the understanding that I am in control of my life and responsible for its results. I recommend the workshop because it provides the framework and methodology to lead a fulfilling life.”

Eric Joiner, President, Atlanta, GA

Enormous self gratification to see my companions grow –to learn to commit, do, accomplish, and have the courage to celebrate the success. Rick, your enthusiasm is an example of how to –by living your dream.”

Bruce Thompson, CEO, New Orleans, LA

69 company employees – just like yours – had this to say:

The presentation is excellent. The same materials could be presented by someone else, or in a different manner, and not be as valuable. You were interesting, passionate, and well spoken with a disarming manner. I have momentum to continue working on the value and direction of my life. To discern the importance of values and recognizing and living my mission.”

Virginia McDevitt, Mahwah, NJ

The single best part is the determination of the personal mission, because it is so thought-provoking. Also, the workshop opens your eyes to your responsibility to yourself to achieve happiness, and how that can have an effect on others!”

Rich Rooney, Project Coordinator, Buffalo Grove, IL

It helped me tie in skills I have and focus them toward concrete goals. I recommend this workshop because it is energizing and goal-directed, and helps you accomplish goals within the workshop.”

Frederick L. Bryant, Agent, Atlanta, GA

The exercise of being the CEO of your own life is very important –‘If you don’t do it, no one else will’. I particularly like the example of rocks, sand and gravel –and how that analogy helps you set the appropriate boundaries regarding time spent on wasted activity.”

Joe Esquivel, Norcross, GA

It is a personal workshop that will benefit the company by improving my self worth and esteem.”

L. Keith Lopez, Mahwah, NJ

My son and I came to your seminar in November. I made a commitment in front of the group to exercise at least three times a week, and I wanted you to know that I have kept my word. I am running two to three times per week plus doing cardio and weight bearing exercise the other days. Now that I haven’t ‘taken a break’ for more than two months, I am hooked and feel guilty even if I feel like taking one! My son and I really enjoyed your presentation!"

Kathleen Earle, Atlanta, GA

The best part was the ‘Who Am I Now?’ sheets. I had to think about important things that I had not questioned before, then I had to force myself to look at those answers and realize that it was time to take action, set goals, and get moving on these things. The notebook serves as a guide.”

Glenn Guest, Marietta, GA

An alternative method to positive thinking that makes you stop and listen to yourself. You look deep inside your soul for answers to questions that will help you focus on your goals and mission.”

Andrew Lee, VP Operations, Mahwah, NJ

Valuable direction and organization –and the requirement (in the workshop) to dedicate time for me to plan, set goals, evaluate and affirm. It’s an excellent way to get your whole life in order.”

Sid Ferguson, Baton Rouge, LA

Best of all, I’m taking a real ‘working’ tool with me. And I really valued the self examination.”

Chuck Boyle, Project Team Manager, Chicago, IL

Best of all, I’m taking a real ‘working’ tool with me. And I really valued the self examination.”

Chuck Boyle, Project Team Manager, Chicago, IL

You do a great job conveying the message. I received a better guideline for the planning I already do. The materials will be a great help.”

Brad Edinger, Director, Store Development, Avondale Estates, GA

It gave me structure to the abstract part of my life, helping me focus on what’s important.”

Glen Hatten, Bossier City, LA

The best part is the writing materials. I enjoyed going through the exercises. It made me think about myself thoroughly and also many others things that I hadn’t considered being important until now.”

Michelle Gonzalez, Mahwah, NJ

This workshop helped me refocus myself on what’s important.”

Timothy P. Schroll, Chicago, IL

I feel motivated to tackle any problem I might have been afraid to face.”

Megan Thompson, New Orleans, LA

This system forces each person to think through their actions by better understanding their own motivations, allowing us to move to accomplishing and fulfilling our dreams. It’s about the big picture –not a time management system, but a more detailed life plan.”

Bob Sutan, Atlanta, GA

I value receiving an achievable plan for setting goals and converting them to action plans. It makes you stop and assess ‘Where am I headed?’ The best part is the positive energy as the group gets motivated.”

M. Georgina Scarton, Account Executive, New Orleans, LA

The real life examples and worksheets are very exacting –they get to the heart of it. I valued focusing on who I am and what I want to be –clarifying what’s important to me and setting goals. Also, I like that you live what you ‘preach’. I really enjoyed the whole experience.”

Virginia R. Talley, Avondale Estates, GA

The best value I received from the workshop was to believe in myself. And to learn how to evaluate my skills and recognize my needs.”

Bill Johnson, Northbrook, IL

I got peace of mind from keeping a written log of wants, fulfilling events, and goals.”

Michael L. Jackson, Inside Sales Supervisor, New Orleans, LA

What really hit home was the three different types of partner values. Also, the workshop gave me a simple platform for which to achieve my goals.”

Joe Mlaka, Chicago, IL

It enables each and every individual to evaluate himself through the guidance of Rick and prepare successful goals for all aspects of life. This, in turn, will help make you a more rounded and successful person.”

Byron Painter, Sales Rep, Duluth, GA

I value the focus on applying techniques normally associated with business…to my personal life. And that it makes it okay to consider your personal objectives –that it’s not purely selfish to do so.”

Jim Pridmore, National Sales Manager, New Orleans, LA

I discovered me! I live Christy every day, but I realized I don’t really know anything about me. What do I want? What do I value? Your course has opened my eyes to Christy and I am going to start running my ‘business’ today. It is an awakening. You know what you want to eat for lunch, but do you know what you want out of life? No one likes to talk about life goals because they’re silly. This class helps you get over the awkwardness of setting life goals and getting them started.”

Christine Davidson, Research & Development, Mahwah, NJ

I like actually putting goals in writing –they may be easier to achieve this way. It was enlightening, and put everything in perspective.”

Patia Connell, Office Manager, Avondale Estates, GA

It opens your mind to what might be possible in your life. And offers a concrete plan to analyze your life and develop a plan to take it where you want to go.”

Larry Ladner, Quality, New Orleans, LA

Best part is the introspection involved in setting core values and having the goals emerge from that introspection.”

Peter Wood, Salesman, Kennesaw, GA

It made me sit and realize who I am, where I’m going, and how I will get there. It has put me on the right course for what I want to achieve.”

Jimmy Austin, Mag Supervisor, New Orleans, LA

It made me really look at myself and start to change the things I feel are wrong.”

Steve Madlock, Tech, Buffalo Grove, IL

It’s one of the best workshops of many, many I have attended. A great formula to organize for achievement.”

Don Brennan, Director of Programming, Mahwah, NJ

I valued learning how to eliminate all the negatives that we have been force-fed and create new positive thoughts and goals to replace them. Also, creating an atmosphere where one can believe in one’s ability and change your thinking and outlook on life.”

Kevin Parker, District Manager, Atlanta, GA

I received more self awareness –an opportunity to explore who I am and identify specifically what my goals are and how to reach them. The single best part is the mission –identifying a specific mission in your life that confirms where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Excellent, I wouldn’t change a thing!”

Denise Marraccini, Mahwah, NJ

The best part is the realization of how meaningful life can be when definition is applied. I realized that core values should be defined and committed to, so as to bring more meaning to my life. I recommend this workshop to others because building one’s inner self is beneficial to that person and those they associate with.”

Keith McElligott, Daphne, AL

Not business motivated at all! It was all personal development, which is great! The best part is setting up your core values –using the eight steps to evaluate where I am and where I need to go with my life.”

Frank J. Atkinson, District Manager, Avondale Estates, GA

Great value from the specific system to set goals and effectively follow through to achieve them. Best of all, I like the focus sheets that help identify ‘Who am I now’ to direct the goal setting process.”

Mary Fitzgerald, Service Manager, Buffalo Grove, IL

Rick did a helluva job –dynamic presentation, no boredom. I learned that I am somebody, how to assess my values, and that there are no limitations to one’s success. The best part is designing your personal goals and determining priorities in a controlled format.”

Tony Asberry, New Orleans, LA

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect. It focuses on people being all they desire to be, and that’s wonderful. I liked evaluating some of the key areas of my life that need improvement. Happiness is contagious.”

Carla Capel, Dunwoody, GA

The best part was the whole experience of being here and listening to all the different and new ideas. It opened my eyes to ideas I didn’t know I had. And I received a great tool to motivate myself to become a better person.”

Juan C. Trujillo, Assembly, Chicago, IL

It makes you realize you have a purpose even if you don’t already know what it is.”

Lisa Baughman, Accounts Payable, Mahwah, NJ

It has the capacity to change your entire life. I valued spending the time to synthesize these things in my mind now. You forced me –with time to concentrate on and think about what is really valuable.”

Patrice L. Barnes, Manager, Admin/Finance, Controller, New Orleans, LA

I like being able to see yourself honestly with no restraints and to identify solutions to correct rough spots. I recommend this workshop because we spend so much time being concerned about the wrong things. I got in touch with my goals and desires –and accomplishing them.”

Brenda Burton, Billing Rep, Atlanta, GA

Specifically, I realized I am worthy of achieving astronomical success! This program focuses on all aspects of life, not only professional!”

Diane Virella, Customer Service, Chicago, IL

The single best part was having to set a goal. This is important to me, and I will use my book to follow my guidelines to reach my goal.”

Vicki Lohndorf, Customer Service, Mahwah, NJ

I like the clear, concise tools to help a person create a personal vision. I valued receiving clarity, a sense of purpose, and the need for a plan.”

Duane Butler, Operations, Atlanta, GA

I recommend the workshop because most people live without setting goals, and their lives show that success.”

Howard F. Entwistle, Sales Manager, New Orleans, LA

You made me write it down. I believe it works –it’s not a phony workshop –Rick is sincere. Best part is completing the worksheets in the workshop.”

Terrell L. Bowen, Snellville, GA

I feel like I’m gaining more control. The workshop takes you inside yourself and makes you identify and confront what needs to be.”

Susan Hansen, Executive Assistant, Atlanta, GA

It’s very enlightening. It made me realize how important I really am.”

Kim Williams, Atlanta, GA

It puts everything in an easy-to-follow format with the manual to use the rest of our lives. I can set a specific course for my life –which has been bothering me for quite some time –and make it happen.”

Mary Lou Letter, Buffalo Grove, IL

I valued receiving the structure that makes people succeed. Many of these things are done subconsciously, but putting names and procedures to them increases the frequency of occurrence and probability of success.”

Dale Lamberd, Manager of Engineering, Jefferson, LA

It’s a very positive and simple approach to a difficult and complicated procedure. I learned to set my own goals and not let others set them. Also, not to beat myself up or put too much pressure on myself.”

Rich Boling, Atlanta, GA

The affirmations create a positive river flowing through your system and prepares you for every single day with the right attitude. Before the workshop, I had no idea I should have a personal mission. Now I know what to do to put one together and how it could affect my future. I recommend this workshop because it can change your life and future.”

Ian Parham, Support Services Manager, Mahwah, NJ

I learned that you are important and you need to learn how to plan and focus your life, or you’re always going to spin your wheels. I also learned that ‘I’ own my own business, and I need to take care, nurture, respect, grow, prosper and successfully market my business.”

Andrea Perkins, Assistant Credit Manager, Atlanta, GA

It’s a very fresh approach to organizing your life, so as to prepare for a secure future.”

Donald Ritner, Pearl River, NY

This was the first time I have asked myself: Who am I? What do I value? Where do I want to go? How will I get there? I feel I now have an opportunity to channel the drive, energy and ideas that I have. I believe every person should go through this type of self examination, ask themselves some tough questions, and take charge of their lives. The ideas are concrete and not a lot of empty rah-rah.”

Charlie Bowden, Atlanta, GA

I have a better outlook on life. I’m more optimistic.”

Kathie Mahony, Shipping Manager, Mahwah, NJ

I now realize my success is important and that it’s okay to pursue it. It put me back on track. It was motivational –a kick-start on a possible new beginning.”

Lisa Affolter, A/P Supervisor, Atlanta, GA

A practical system to organize my personal quest for a more successful, fulfilling life. Aside from all others I have attended, I am leaving with a readable, understandable road map to the Land of Success.”

Bill Simmeth, VP, Mahwah, NJ

It’s so easy to not reflect on your goals, values and fulfilling events. It will be so helpful to me to figure out how I want to be spending my time, and what I want to accomplish, and how.”

Bill Potter, Health Care Representative, Atlanta, GA

I valued getting clarity of my purpose. The workshop provides a clear methodology for setting and achieving meaningful goals.”

Harry Joiner, Global Trader, Atlanta, GA

It was a global workshop, encompassing all areas of life, not just one segment, and it all tied together with those thin threads that need strengthening through in-depth work and affirmations! It all was excellent!"

Sandy Butler, Regional Accounts Manager, Mahwah, NJ

I valued putting in writing the goals I have and the specifics for making them happen. It’s a good way to get motivated to get your life in order.”

Judy Markent Thompson, HCR Supervisor, Atlanta, GA

What I personally like is that it was not a cheerleader session. It is about developing a personal plan. Everybody can gain something from it.”

Dean John Kalinowski, Atlanta, GA

I think there is something in it for anybody and everybody. Everyone seems to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and needs to get back in perspective. Best part is creating a personal mission to live by –to have something to strive for every day.”

Terri Evans, Art Director, Mahwah, NJ

It taught me how to plan.”

Angela Pricer, Front Office Supervisor, Canton, GA

The best part was the statement of values –the worksheet helped me realize what I’m really all about. Very eye-opening. It gives you the methodology to get what you want and to focus on what’s important.”

Susan Brandvold, Atlanta, GA

I valued actually setting goals and ways to make them work –some of which I’ve been trying for ages to do, but didn’t know where to start.”

Sheila B. Tonner, Switchboard Operator, Mahwah, NJ

I recommend the workshop because average people need encouragement to become successful. I recognize potential in myself and ways to gain confidence to grow.”

Nancy Picciola, Executive Assistant, Mahwah, NJ

About Rick Houcek’s Keynote Speeches...

Here is what 12 attendees said:

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for being part of our 5th annual Business Management Conference. Your presentation was most informative, educational, inspirational and entertaining. Your presentation has special meaning for me since I am a trained facilitator under the Covey Leadership Program.”

Peter Preovolos, President, La Mesa, CA

Your presentation motivated me to commit my short and long term goals to paper. As a result, I find my thought process has begun to focus on the action plans needed to accomplish those goals.”

Cindy Foster, Chairman, McDonough, GA

I want to thank you for your session with my members yesterday. I think I can honestly say that, in your performance, you exemplified your chosen approach to life, and I do congratulate you on that. All our CEO members rated you highly with “A” marks virtually across the board.”

Tony Shadforth, Chairman, London, England

Rick, your style is such an inspiration and those materials are outstanding…clear and easy to use. I took them to Florida the day after and shared them with my folks. Thanks!”

Diana Baycura, President, Atlanta, GA

Rick Houcek is a dynamic, inspiring speaker who brings his points home and shows you a practical way to use them. I highly recommend Rick’s program if you ever aspire to Soar With Eagles.”

Dr. Mark J. Dufner, President, Atlanta, GA

I have created and devoted time today working with your notebook of self-motivating goals which is truly excellent. Your presentation was outstanding. You really do ‘walk the talk’ of your personal mission statement of helping others! Thanks, Rick, for enriching my life.”

John Jordan, General Manager, Atlanta, GA

It’s amazing to me that our booked speaker had to cancel and the universe ‘threw you into the breach’ at this particular time!!! Your presentation hit the mark –right on! The commitment to prepare strategic goals –corporate and personal –for next month will provide a basis for setting new standards of accountability. The CEO group moved to much more meaningful conversations. This showed up later in the afternoon, when a member began to talk about the need to reconnect with his wife and strengthen their marriage. This is something he and I had talked about a year ago, but he wasn’t ready to bring it to the group. Today, he volunteered it and made a commitment to the group –because of conversations during your presentation. That’s real progress. Today was, for me, an example of synchronicity in action.”

Pete Wendel, Chairman , Buffalo, NY

You made a significant contribution to their lives, Rick! It was such a pleasure to sit back and watch a pro at work. You had our audience of CEOs in the palm of your hand. Many of them remarked about the insights –they now have a plan for goal setting. Undoubtedly, day-to-day living will be a little easier to face.”

Donald Wass, Ph.D., President, Dallas, TX

What a pro. Thank you for your forceful passion, your example of dedication. Every single CEO member agreed to start down your path. Wow! And here I sit, on a Friday night, working on my (life planning) book instead of lying around just feeling tired after four meetings in a row. Purpose is energizing!”

Glenn Waring, Chairman, Columbus, OH

Rick, you continue to add clarity to my day-to-day endeavors and that is a tremendous help in validating why I want to do the things I choose to do. You continue to reinforce my beliefs in being associated with positive thinkers and running away from negative thinkers. And you are the first person who has made enough of an impression on the goal setting process so that I now take it very seriously. I am happy to share that I am on track or ahead of schedule on all goals this year. For all this, you have my sincere gratitude and thanks.”

Roger Haggerty, Partner, Atlanta, GA

Thank you so much on behalf of all the members of the Executive Assistant Forum. The evaluations were excellent. You gave every member a tool to use for the rest of their lives. If they put it to good use, you will have enriched their lives forever. Please know that Alan and I spent three hours going over different parts of the binder. Thank you, Rick.”

Carmen Weinstein, Director, Buffalo, NY

You are very much appreciated. I can’t tell you how much your speech on Friday impacted me. I can’t wait to re-listen to it via tape. Thank you.”

Laura Schilling, Attorney/CPA/Financial Planner, Atlanta, GA

How awesome could your business be if your employees, your customers, and your prospects were saying all these gratifying things about a workshop you provided for them? They could be. Just contact Rick Houcek and lock it in!
770-391-9122 or Rick@SoarWithEagles.com