We’re all sitting on piles of golden rocket fuel…
I ran a team offsite last week. In person. With people and pants and posters. It was so great.
Its purpose was #planning for ’23. So, when I proposed that we spend a portion of the day in reflection, the CEO balked. “I want this to be forward looking – to leave the team inspired about where we’re heading,” he said.
I asked him to trust me – assured him that reflection done well becomes the rocket fuel that powers the planning. He did. And we did. And it was excellent.
I share this with you today because, as the curtain starts to fall on 2022, I want you too to look ahead. But also, I really really want you to look behind – and eek out every bit of lingering insight. Because truly we’re all sitting on gold mines of goodies.
So let’s talk about what I asked them to reflect on, and what insights they generated, and infused into their 2023 plans.
I simply posed three questions to the team:
- What were 2 – 3 “high” moments of the year (that you’d love to repeat)?
- What were 2 – 3 “low” moments of the year (that you’d love to learn from and avoid next year)?
- In hindsight, what actions/behaviors/practices seemed present for the highs and absent for the lows?
The team identified two new pieces of business they surprised themselves by winning (highs), and 2 clients who chose not to renew their contracts (lows).
To get to our “highs” we communicated with each other really well. We set aside time to discuss a strategy. We collectively generated, and iterated on, ideas and messages to present to the client. We anticipated challenges and obstacles in advance, we discussed how we would avoid or overcome these challenges, and we kept a cadence of weekly team check-ins all the way through.
By contrast, in our “low” moments, we got comfortable with existing clients; cocky even. We weren’t communicating until trouble with those clients arose. This left us scrambling to fix problems instead of avoiding them. And it was too late.
Our 2023 commitment? We will maintain a clear and structured cadence of internal communication for both new and existing business. We will establish a means of addressing problems early – we will all take accountability for raising flags. These meetings will be highest priority – no cancelling unless true emergency strikes.
We earned our highs not through efforting, analyzing or buzz-wording bigger and better than our competitors. We earned them, we now realize, through dialing up the uniqueness of our team – our diversity of background, thought, and experience – and really linking that to a uniqueness in deliverable and outcome to the client.
Our lower moments came when we kind of “samed” ourselves – when we tried to compete by doing the “regular” things just a little bigger or badder. But that’s not who we are – it’s not what sells us.
Our 2023 commitment? We will infuse with intention into every pitch, every campaign, and every sales conversation the key elements that truly set us apart from the competition. We won’t win every time, and that’s OK. But we’ll win on our terms. And that’s beautiful.
Our two highest moments of the year were born out of audacity – to chase “out-of-our-league” clients with very clear messaging and value to offer. We invested heavily in our prep – and twice it paid off. We have got to do more of this. We have got to be more audacious next year.
Our 2023 commitment? Just more of this! More boldness, more confidence, more willingness to put ourselves out there knowing how great these wins feel!
Friend. It’s your turn. If you were to put your year-to-date under a microscope, what would jump out at you? And how would you use that insight to fuel you forward?