For the past few years in January our agency has issued all staff members a set of priorities and goals. We had 20 new faces in the room when we shared them recently in an agency-wide meeting. Many told me later that it was the first time in their careers that they knew exactly what their agency wanted to focus on and accomplish. It made me think: How many agencies commit their annual goals to paper? And how many share goals with the folks that are most responsible for helping to achieve them?
Last year, we had four goals: 1) focus on organic growth, rather than new business), 2) do better work, push harder, think bigger, get ahead of our clients), 3) part ways with any client not committed to doing great work and 4) focus extra attention on training, fun time, PR. We issued these in January, did a mid-year assessment and graded ourselves at our year-end gathering. We got A or A- on three of the goals, but found it a bit harder to pull the trigger on the subpar clients.
This year, we shared four priorities with the staff:
Work smarter, not harder. Be guided by the principles of our process, but don't let process get in the way of getting something done right. Think ahead. Ahead of our clients. Blue Sky sooner. Dig deeper. Explore further. Course correct faster. Debrief at end of big initiatives. Repeat.
Don't deliver or accept mediocrity. The first idea is not usually the best. Completion is not the main goal. Excellent execution is. Don't stop at round one. Don't stop until the case history is written. Polish. Create time to think. To noodle. To improve. To scrap it all and start from scratch. Add more finesse to all you do. Meeting notes. Media plans. POVs. Scope of works. Creative briefs. Look at each creative round with a critical eye. The idea. The design. The copy. The production file. The proof. Don't be afraid to stop the ball rolling if the product is not at the highest level.
. External ones like bad clients. Internal ones like underperforming employees. Process breakdowns. Mental lapses. Sloppiness. Slothfulness. Stop endless reply to all e-mails and never-ending comments in our collaboration dashboard that don't resolve the issue. These tools are not your primary way to communicate and collaborate. A conversation always trumps e-mail, text, IM, etc. Stop opening jobs with half the necessary info. Don't meet just to meet. Meet with purpose. Get the right people on board early. Have a goal in mind for each meeting.
Earn more. Earn more revenue. More profit. More promotions. More salary. More kudos. More recognition. More awards. More accounts.
This is the first year we outlined our numerical goals for revenue growth (organic and new business), margin, recognition/articles, awards, etc. As soon as I shared them, they felt more real and more attainable. Next year, I plan on sharing them with our clients as well. I want them to know what we are striving for. What we think is important. What we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months.
Check back in with me in December, and I will share our grade on each.