There are things that work and many more that don't. Let's discuss what we've experienced . . . not our opinions . . . but actually what our days and nights as marketers, business leaders, parents, people are teaching us. Please give us a hand. Tell us about your experience with this stuff.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Win or Lose on Your Own Terms

Please note that I previously submitted this as a guest blog at Eric Fletcher's Marketing Brain Fodder blog ( Eric has taught me the ropes in blogging and in social media, although is not responsible for my lame efforts. See what you think:

As servants of an organization and the leadership of that organization, we often find ourselves within a reactive mode of management and execution. Short periods of that are understandable, but overtime the value we provide is eroded and our personal energy often diminishes dramatically.

So each of us must take a careful look at our own organization and make some decisions and accept some arithemetic. What are its strengths/weaknesses, our own personal capabilities, our role, the organization's expectations and our relationships within the organization? From that information and in order to be professionally authentic, you have to make two decisions:

1. You have to choose what (strategy, targets, relationships, etc) is most important and focus your best self there.

2. With apologies to Gene Krantz, failure is an option in business and usually not a career ender. (In fact, most of us have needed failure to learn great lessons and go on to better things.) There's always a chance things will explode and you will lose. You have to choose on what basis you can be fine with losing. This decision will allow you to focus your energies more efficiently and not act/react like a spineless functionary.

Let me give you some of mine:

1. What is most important:

Growing my firm's Industry Group and Client Team revenue (note: this is separate from our Practice Groups and is consistent with our firm strategy.)
Supporting my team: individually and collectively. I'm responsible for helping them grow professionally and being a success.
Provide ideas, solutions and execution which further our firm's leadership's plan.
We don't do any project, RFP, idea, event, etc without preapproved funding and an attorney champion on each. Even if we think it’s the right thing to do. (My work must be subject to the interest, will and approval of my shareholders. If that's not enough for me, I cease being a servant of the organization.)
2. On what basis am I comfortable losing:

I can't please everyone. So I respond the best I can to the above priorities knowing it won't satisfy some people.
They decide they don't like me or I'm not a good fit. If true, this would be for the best.
I didn't play the politics correctly. I play the politics based on the priorities above. If that doesn't work, we let the chips fall.
Nothing sacred or holy about this list; just a place to stand and operate from. Make yours make sense for who you are and where your organization is.

1 comment:

  1. Allen: I really appreciate, and value this finely tuned approach - and I see you living it out.

    Below is my 2010 business plan (the "real" one - NOT the one that I submited at our favorite law firm, which is full of "lawyer speak" and little details). You'll find that this plan is in the same "family" as your plan.

    I think that you've heard this from me already, so I throw this up to share with your readership

    1. Trust God, and do the next thing

    2. A new work perspective

    - I love my job because I compete against other lawyers that don't "get it" (how to effectively communicate with key clients and industry about their greatest needs, problems, challenges - yes "drivers")

    - I hate my job because I serve\work with lawyers that don't "get it" (here is where your good approach comes into play!)

    But then, my strategic plan is built on this statement:

    My job is to reduce from 60 months to 36 months the amount of time it takes my fellow lawyers to go from 'why would we ever to do that' to 'we've always done that.'

    I'm in month 18.