Thoughts and Ideas: Leveraging Them Into Actions

We do our best when we focus on positive energy.

I was up early, way before sunrise. I had alerted everyone that I would be out of the office all week, but there were still a few things to shift around or wrap up before heading to the airport. Of course, there was that underlying dread that some work-related issue would disrupt my week, as it always seems to do. I pushed those thoughts away, focusing instead on the incredible opportunity in front of me.

In St. Louis, my week would include The Pinnacle Experience, an SMPS conference designed specifically for senior-level marketers. Following Pinnacle, my first Society board meeting as president would take place, where we would kick off our strategic planning process. Anticipation. Trepidation. No, you’ve got this. The week could be a major failure … no, its success will take your breath away. (Self-talk at work here, can you tell?) I quickly focused on the positive: inspiration and transformation.

The idea for The Pinnacle Experience came from the same task force that inspired the transformation of Build Business this year. Why was the event created? Because SMPS members with several years on their résumés crave focused content and interaction that challenge the norm and fuel their ability to guide the direction of their firms. As leaders, we need to be able to see what others overlook and use that insight to strengthen our approach to improving the future … for ourselves, our teams, our firms, and our industries.

Along with others, my mind was opened to perspectives, strategies, techniques, and tools I hadn’t considered before. The interactive discussions created a network of intelligent, curious friends whom I can lean on for support and inspiration.

This resounding success was the perfect segue to our board meeting. As many of us are doing in our firms, the Society board and HQ staff are focused on planning for a relevant future of SMPS and the SMPS Foundation. One of The Pinnacle Experience speakers suggested that 55 percent of firms could find themselves out of business in three years if they don’t re-evaluate their business models. That was a sobering prediction, framed by the need to adapt with speed and flexibility to new technologies, procurement and delivery processes, as well as cultural and generational shifts. As a board, it is our responsibility to move the Society and SMPS Foundation forward by providing a solid base, the flexibility to adapt, and the confidence to transform business through marketing leadership.

And so those earlier feelings of anticipation and trepidation didn’t last long. The week was a major success and blew my mind! It reminded me that we do our best when we channel our energy into focusing on the positive, opening our minds to innovative ideas, and having confidence in those who work with us. Doing so enables us to concentrate on what matters each day, which is our ability to leverage thought leadership to inspire tomorrow’s success.

SMPS President Nancy Usrey, FSMPS, CPSM, is associate vice president of HNTB in Plano, TX. She can be reached at

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