While there can be a lot of repetition, I do enjoy the myriad articles that come out each year offering advice on what you should do to make it a successful year. I also think that information becomes far more effective when you use it as inspiration to create your own.
Instead of just reading what other people are going to do and possibly bashing the future failure of those ideas and resolutions, set yourself and your agency up for success. I don't actually like resolutions myself, but I do like themes. I think themes can become extremely effective for developing long-lasting changes in behaviors.
Use these first two weeks of the new year as the opportunity to get your team together and go through this exercise. While individual goals and themes are great and necessary, having the whole team thinking about and acting on a universal idea will garner significant results.
And remember, ownership of an idea and a process is about 90% of making it successful. Gather your team together for a fun session of ideastorming, conversations of possibilities, and "what ifs". Make this fun, keep it moving, and you'll get great participation and an excellent end result.
1. Post the Big Goal you're trying to achieve as an agency. Maybe it's a revenue or retention number, maybe it's a goal to adopt a new selling system, or maybe it's a goal to take control of your agency through products and fees.
2. Ask the group: "Visualize us all sitting here this time next year and reviewing the hugely successful year we just finished where we blew the top off our goal. Describe what the year looked like and what we did to make it so spectacular."
3. List all the ideas that people start throwing out. If this isn't a typical activity for your group, you'll probably need to ask some leading questions to get the ball rolling and prod people to think deeper. Be sure to get ideas on each of the following:
- Thoughts and beliefs
4. Group these ideas into logical and natural categories. You'll start to see connections between ideas. Behaviors, actions, and beliefs will start telling you a story and giving advice on what needs to happen. What do these groupings have in common? What do you see as obvious or emerging that you need to do to make the year successful?
5. Select a theme and include examples. When you see the ideas from everyone all in one place, it will hopefully become apparent what you need to do as an agency this year.
- Do you need to stop living in the past?
- Do you need to develop a sense of urgency?
- Do you need to begin working as teams rather than as silos?
- Do you need to take control of your business?
- Do you need to have the confidence that you're capable of making the changes?
As you decide on and document your theme, be sure to include example ideas from the groupings so you remember what motivated this theme in the first place.
6. Write the theme in really big font and give a copy to everyone to hang at his/her desk. When faced with a decision, refer to the theme. Remind one another of the theme in agency meetings, team meetings, one-on-one coaching sessions. Ask yourselves what you've done in support of the theme. Share your stories. You'll be amazed at the type of decisions that get made and actions that take place when you put questions through the theme filter.
Some themes of ours from the past few years as we work with members:
- Take action – Time to stop thinking, wishing, and dreaming and just do it. This is a great one for a little extra motivation when you're getting something new started.
- Execution and results – Focus on taking the right action and following it through to see the results. This is good if it's time to get serious rather than just being busy.
- Teach, tailor, control – Adapting your efforts throughout the agency, and with clients, to take control of your processes in an effective way. This is good for taking a more advanced and customized approach.
- Confidence – Rightfully having and instilling in everyone that you've got the confidence to take control of your own situation. This is a very necessary one for moving forward and not allowing yourselves to slip backward into the comfort of what worked in the past.
Photo by Robbie Biller.
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