This probably comes as no surprise: I'm basically the definition of a Type A personality.
Psychologists describe us as ambitious, competitive, aggressive (but in a good way, right?), outgoing and highly organized. We're often considered workaholics. We push ourselves and are typically high-achieving as a result.
As the new year kicks off, the Type A small business owner in me has spent considerable time establishing resolutions for 2018.
Because now is the ideal time to determine how we can be even better.
I believe it's an important exercise to do each and every year because positive change doesn't simply happen; it's the result of careful planning and then follow through.
By reflecting, envisioning, prioritizing, setting goals and developing action plans, we all can put ourselves [and our businesses] in the best position for continued success.
And, according to this Huffington Post article, those who invest in goals display greater persistence, creativity and risk-taking in the achievement of them.
So, listen up, 2018: I've got big plans for you.
Below are my top resolutions for the coming year to help move virtually any organization in one direction and one direction only: forward.
1. Never Stop Culture-Building
A strong company culture extends well beyond policies and practices: It's at the core of business success. And it's a journey, not a destination; culture-building is a process that requires constant effort. To attract the best and brightest, you need to create a place that recognizes and embraces shared values, attitudes, standards and beliefs that characterize the overall goals of the organization (Entrepreneur).
I'm so excited that, in 2018, Approach is investing in a number of processes designed to maintain our culture alongside massive growth. Two tangible ways we will do this are through:
Creating regular opportunities for feedback
We've completely rethought the annual performance review. We believe that reviews go both ways, and receiving insights on how the agency is doing is just as important as offering our consultants feedback. This year, we've established a new position, Head of Talent, responsible for advocating for our consultant team and looking for regular opportunities to provide feedback more than just once a year. We will launch our Feedback Forum program alongside quarterly touch bases, surveying clients and looking for new ways to celebrate our successes.
Providing meaningful professional development
High-performing and motivated professionals are constantly seeking new and better ways to do their job. From challenging the status quo to improving their skills to mastering a new technology, they deliberately seek out a company that provides opportunities for continued growth. This year, I am especially committed to offering more meaningful professional development. We've invited team members to establish what types of continuing education they are most interested in and have built this professional learning into our budget and calendar. The possibilities are seemingly endless, from bringing in a subject matter expert for a workshop to enrolling in an industry-specific webinar to watching and discussing a TED Talk.
2. Narrow Your Focus
In my early years of business ownership, I wore multiple hats. As a jack-of-all-trades, I tried to do it all-filling every role from business development to marketing the agency to recruiting and onboarding new team members to managing client campaigns. But I learned over time that as business expands, those in leadership roles need to pursue only those tasks that have the biggest impact on the company's success…and let go of the rest.
One of my big resolutions in 2018 is to make sure we have the right team in place for the right jobs, so I can focus on the areas of the business where I have the most influence. In addition to creating two new leadership positions, we are reworking our internal teams-such as Marketing and New Business-and establishing leaders that thrive in these areas.
Growing your business means narrowing your focus so you can contribute the very best of yourself to the organization. If you are a business owner who is overcommitted, try this simple exercise.
When you're about to start something new, ask yourself:
- Is this generating revenue?
- Are my clients better off with me involved in this project?
- Is my team benefiting from my participation here?
- Is this contributing to the overall growth of the organization?
Committing to doing what we love and doing what we are best at is a smart business resolution that will extend far beyond 2018.
3. Surround Yourself with Good People
Aligning yourself with key advisors and mentors who can offer insights, practical experience and overall guidance to steer your professional and even personal endeavors is critical.
A perfect segway from narrowing my focus is my final resolution: to continue my own professional growth by surrounding myself with the best and brightest. In addition to our new Head of Accounts and Head of Talent, I am pledging to working alongside other talented mentors, including my business coach and outsourced CFO.
As the saying goes, it takes a village. You simply cannot do it alone. Sharing leadership responsibilities can help us all improve our practice.
While our work may be mounting by the minute and every day is filled with an endless list of to-dos, let's face it: Entrepreneurship is a thrilling journey that allows us to challenge the status quo, drive a brand and build something meaningful.
So, let's be bold:
Set some goals.
Stay quiet about them.
Smash the heck out of them.
Clap for yourself-you deserve it.