Your 2018 Journey

Your 2018 Journey: What Really Matters

And 2018 begins! Many of us spent the last months of 2017 developing strategic plans that would make our firms sing. Now, as we begin implementing those plans for business success, the world reminds us to resolve to improve ourselves, to change our lives, to be perfect. No pressure, right?

In my firm, the new year heralds the start of career-path development activities. We review and assess our accomplishments over the past year and adjust our goals or set new ones for the current year. It’s like developing a personal strategic plan.

As a leader, you want to make sure those who work for you want to continue to do so. You also want them to see and understand how their efforts contribute to the firm’s success and what they can do to increase the value they offer. And, if you’re a reasonable boss, you want them to actually enjoy the work they do.

All those things are important to us on a personal level as well. We all want to be part of something.

A colleague mentioned an intriguing concept … that of making sure your heart and your head are in the same place. The concept applies to almost everything. If your firm’s heart is to dominate your niche market, then the firm’s operational policies must be channeled to support that goal. If the firm’s operational goals are focused on minimal investment, then everyone in the firm must abide by that stringent approach to marketing, business development, delivery, and human resources. Neither approach is wrong, but if the pieces aren’t aligned, the mixed signals will confuse everyone and result in dissatisfaction on many levels.

Sometimes, we face this mixed-signal confusion in our personal lives as well. Last week’s Marketer QuickLook had a link to an article about battling burnout (admit it … you clicked through and read the article!). One strategy encourages us to identify what bothers us, what makes us happy, and what we can adjust. Being creative (and realistic) about what you can change, and what you can’t, is important.

Apply that approach to yourself, personally and professionally. Provide an open environment for your direct reports to do the same and work with them to create workable solutions. Encourage your team to look at the way they function and interact with other teams and departments. Bounce your strategic plan against the heart and head of your firm.

As you begin your journey through 2018, make sure you are content with how you spend your days. Focus on what you can change—if change is needed. Lead yourself, your team, and your firm to a great future!

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

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