It’s far too easy to let your proactive strategy, and even the basics of business, fall by the wayside while you respond to short-term results, knee-jerk fads, disconnected issues and opportunities, or even your auto-pilot behaviours. Here are 4.2 ways to avoid all of that.
1 Reflect first, always
You can only intentionally move forward, with purpose, if you consider not just where you’ve come from…but also why. Why that succeeded. Why that stalled. Why that changed. Why that didn’t. Ideally, reflection becomes a lifestyle, because it goes hand-in-hand with intentionally shaping the journey of your business/team/life, rather than purely responding to it. Aim to set aside reflection time at least weekly.
2 Revisit past intentions
There is a never-ending drive for the shiny new thing. In the same week last year, my LinkedIn feed had a ‘stop thinking disruption, start thinking amplification’ ad and, a few scrolls later, a disruption conference ad. What about blockchain? (Please don’t ask me.) What about the applied value of your conference lanyards from last year? Before you chase new knowledge, ideas or initiatives, revisit past insights and intentions. Is there something your business, your team…you…identified as worthwhile, but haven’t enacted? If it’s still relevant, start there. The accumulation of ideas we do nothing with is as bad as the accumulation of things we do nothing with.
3 Re-establish your value proposition
Value propositions morph with time and context. They also exist whether or not you’re intentional about them. If you didn’t ask your market, your conviction of your value proposition may be right off track. And if you once did, are you the same as you were 12 months ago…3 years ago…more? As time goes by, we gain more skills and get better at applying them. For organisations, we should be adding greater value to a (possibly) changing market. Before barrelling ahead, check to see if you’re running off an old idea of your value. If it’s on the money, great, but if it’s not, stop and re-establish what your value proposition is today.
4 Reinstate your priorities
I’ve decided that work/life balance is a rubbish concept for me. Life balance makes much more sense. And what I prioritise to get that balance is up to me. Expand that concept to teams and organisations. They are constantly being told what ‘good’ looks like. However, generic best practice and next-best-things must be challenged for relevance to your context. In marketing alone, it’s impossible to chase every in-vogue idea. Some are wasteful distractions anyway. Organisational life balance is essentially sustainability – where long-term goals and strategy determine clear priorities that aren’t constantly pushed out for reactive reasons. If your year is already feeling imbalanced and unsustainable, reinstate your priorities as your shot-callers.
We really should.
My final advice for an intentional year is to relish the wins, and the journey. Your critical business decisions will be all the richer next time around if you intentionally mark, and celebrate, the strides you make.
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash