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"Core Strength" for Business

This is the perfect time of year to revitalize your team's core strength.

In the field of fitness, core strength refers to those central muscles that power our bodies to function at optimum performance.

In the organizational setting, we build collective power by building consensus and refocusing awareness on core concepts. With our core in place, we can improve systems, solve problems and build a foundation from which optimal performance can be achieved.

More specifically, "core strength for business" encourages us to re-center our attention on the following:

  • Annual Check-Up (general health)

  • Mission/Vision (what we do and what we hope to accomplish, long term)

  • Purpose (why we do the work we do)

  • Language (how our communication supports or contradicts our higher purpose)

  • Relationships (how our relationships support or distract us from accomplishing our higher purpose)

So, how do we build core strength? At the gym, we engage in disciplined exercises; we might work with a coach or attend a class to gain some inspiration. In the organization, we build Core Strength through collective thought and purposeful conversations (a.k.a. real talk).

This article gives you the “exercises” (i.e. questions) to start the process. You can engage in this process on your own. Sometimes it helps to work with an objective, experienced coach to articulate goals and ensure that discussions move forward. Contact Me if you need a facilitator to lead you through the process.

You’ll notice that "core strength for business" offers a rich buffet of questions from which to select. You may find the questions to be provocative, but don’t overload your plate. Select a few items and then go back for more. Eventually, you will want to try everything on the buffet, but for now, select the most interesting items first and set an objective to strategically explore all of the items on the buffet over time.

Keep in mind that these are purposeful conversations. What we DO with the information that comes from the core strength process is critical. If problems are identified, then solutions can and should be generated. If success points emerge, be sure to acknowledge and celebrate. There is great potential for clarity within this process.

It is important to note a key assumption: honest conversation is possible. There are situations where data may be better collected from an anonymous, confidential survey. You do want to be sure to select a method that will yield “real” information. Like any exercise, form is important – if we are going to work out, we may as well do it with impact.

Strength Building Exercises

You can select any of these questions for your next meeting. They provide some wonderful reflection points for annual planning.

Annual Check-Up (General Health)

  • What’s working? What’s not working?

  • What are our strengths? What are our weaknesses?

  • How would the people who work here describe your culture? (Contact me to receive some wonderful culture diagnosis questions.)

  • What matters to the people who work here?


  • What do we do?

  • For whom do we do it?

  • How do we do it (what makes us unique)?

  • What do we hope to accomplish, long term?


  • Why do we do the work we do?

  • What’s unique about the way that we serve?

  • What is the impact of our work?


  • What’s working? What’s not working?

  • To what extent does our communication with one another support accomplishment our mission, vision and purpose? To what extent does it interfere or inhibit our progress?

  • What do our written materials say about who we are? What do our conversations with one another say about who we are?

  • To what extent are our conversations with one another supportive of what we hope to accomplish as an organization?


  • What’s working? What’s not working?

  • How do our relationships support or distract us from accomplishing our higher purpose?

  • How can we strengthen our intra or inter-departmental relationships to support accomplishment of our higher purpose?

One last word of advice: If you choose to start your own strength-building program, be sure to discuss it with your team to create buy-in, generate success guidelines and establish a concrete goal. Let your team members know what you hope to accomplish.

With core strength in place, your goal of improving systems, solving problems and building a foundation for optimal performance can be achieved.

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact for more information on motivational programs.

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