Mid-Year Musings

Evaluating the need for change can challenge your spirit.

Most of our firms operate on a calendar-year basis, placing July 1 as the midpoint and making this month a good time for a check-in/check-up. My inbox reflects a flurry of activity. Where are we on sales for the year? What trends are we seeing? What pursuits have come and gone, with win, loss, or no-go decisions? What opportunities have we added? What do we expect the rest of the year to look like? What best practices do we need to keep? What needs to change?

All good questions. If we are doing our jobs as marketing and business development professionals, we should be able to easily assess our 2/18 performance to date. Having a vetted collection of next steps and back-up actions at the ready provides options for mitigating threats or leveraging opportunities. SMPS Board Member Scott Butcher posted a blog on business development trends last week. He offered several ideas that support proactive leadership in working with clients and prospects as well as positioning our firms as thought leaders and good partners.

We also have a responsibility to understand how our marketing and business development decisions (and performance) affect our firms. Are we pursuing work on which we can make a profit? Are we executing fairly negotiated contracts so we can begin work? Are we making the right hiring decisions to support delivery? Are our marketing initiatives generating a return on investment within a reasonable timeframe? Are we undermining our profit margin by over-developing our proposals?

We sell ourselves short when we think of our roles as just focused on bringing a new client to the table, regularly refreshing our website or delivering a winning proposal.

Regardless of our positions within our firms, we have the ability to influence and create impact. That effort requires critical and strategic thinking strengthened by perspective that comes from a well-rounded background. Understanding other aspects of our business — operations, human resources, technology, finance, delivery — adds depth to our decisions and enables us to express the value of our recommendations.

While you’re checking in on your firm’s performance, take time to check in on your own career goals and those of your team. Where have you found success and joy in the past six months? Where have you struggled? What new knowledge or skill would help you overcome a roadblock? And once you’ve identified it, when will you start?

Evaluating and recognizing the need for change can challenge your spirit. Implementing steps to transform your business and yourself through marketing leadership… that’s what being a professional is all about!

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

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