Tuesday, August 8, 2017

3 things I wish I knew...when I started leading a team

1. Your vision better be clear.  If you haven't done the hard work of focusing, refining your messaging, and painting a picture of your company's future you're going to have a hard time getting people to buy-in and stay inspired when the road gets tough.
2.  Define roles and responsibilities with your new team member AND the rest of the team.  I've made the mistake of devoting all of my time to onboarding a new team member and neglecting to onboard the rest of the team to new workflows or responsibilities as a result of the growing team.        
3.  Communication goes both ways!  Weekly check-ins allow me to give guidance and feedback to members of my team.   I wish earlier on I'd realized what a valuable opportunity those meetings can be to get feedback on my own leadership style as well.

Leading a team isn't always easy, but there are lessons to be learned through all of it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

3 Key Engage for Good Conference Takeaways

The 2017 Engage for Good Conference in Chicago, led by David Hessekiel brought together corporations, nonprofits, and agencies to discuss the latest efforts and trends in cause marketing.  At the conference, companies like Spotify, WestJet, LifeStraw were honored with a 2017 Halo Award that recognizes innovative and creative campaigns that are shining examples of the power corporations, nonprofits, and agencies can have in making an impact in society.   

Here are my three key takeaways from #EFG2017 of interest for nonprofits, corporations or agencies supporting social initiatives.
  1. Corporate Social Responsibility is more than a responsibility, it’s an opportunity.  How can you build a sustainable business and make a sustainable impact on society?  Corporations need to concentrate both on building a business and solving problems.  Finding authentic and creative ways to do that and keeping it at the heart of their business can be a winning strategy.     

  1. Measure immediate outcomes, but look beyond that and tell that story, too.  What is the domino effect that your cause creates?  For example, if your campaign aims to educate children about the importance of eating veggies, what is the long term effect that could have?  For example, they may grow up to have fewer health problems, they could become an advocate in their family and they might be a future parent who passes on those healthy eating habits to their own children.  If your campaign encourages more kids to brush their teeth, that could lead to less financial burden on families for dental care, less school absenteeism, and habits for life.  The story shouldn’t end.    

  1. Everyone in this space needs to be using storytelling and creating meaningful content.  People and organizations involved in causes need to think like a media company.  Produce compelling content that shares your story and resonates with your target audience.  Joe Waters, one of the speakers at the event, suggests concentrating on “building an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you.”  He mentioned the success The Audubon Society has had in growing their community and also encouraging their supporters to share their own content.  What stories can your organization tell and share?  How can you effectively educate the next generation about your cause or create behavior change?  

Engage for Good creates a wonderful space to connect with other like-minded socially responsible organizations.  The opportunity to celebrate creative campaigns, share and combine collective expertise, and forge new partnerships may just lead to the next great campaign that makes an impact.     


Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Day in the Life

One of the best things about my work is that no 2 days are alike.  Most days, I have opportunities to think big picture both about running an agency and also on behalf of clients.  But, I'm always interested in looking at my own habits and routines to see where I have room for improvement.

7:00 am Up, first thing I do, check the baby monitor, making sure baby J is still fast asleep.
7:30 am Enjoy my coffee and chat with hubby while he gets ready for work.
7:45 am Begin getting myself ready
8:15 am One of my most favorite parts of the day, going into baby J's room and seeing her bright eyes, glowing smile, and extreme joy that another day has begun.
9:00 am Trade off with J's nanny and begin my walk to the subway.
9:05 Pop in my headphones and start my audiobook, currently A Man Called Ove
9:30 Arrive at my desk and identify my 1 main focus of the day, and 2 more non-negotiable to-dos before checking emails or getting pulled in any number of different directions.  My favorite tool for this, Momentum for Chrome (pic above)
9:45 Check in with a colleague at my agency.  How can we keep people motivated?  How can we inspire people to participate in the vision and growth of our company?
10:00 Discuss an upcoming Request For Proposal to be released.  Begin thinking about the team to build for the project, ideas to propose, and best practices in digital design for children.
11:00 Agency Marketing Meeting. How can we use our website to attract and capture more leads?  How can we best tell our story?  What content will be engaging for our clients and prospects?  What value can we add?
12:00 Reading about up to date research and best practices in web design, interactives, and games for children.
1:00 Webinar (and Lunch). How to uncover the pain points of your prospects and offer solutions.
2:00 Director's Meeting.  Departmental meeting to get an overall sense of the work being done in each department and solving any departmental issues.
3:00 Blogging, twittering, Linkedin-ing
4:00 Meeting with education team and creative team to brainstorm innovative solutions for a current client.
5:30 Head back to the subway, audiobook playing.
6:00 Wrap my arms around lil J and head straight to the toybox or bookshelf together
6:30 Enjoy dinner together as a family
7:15 Begin baby J's nighttime routine, put on pj's, sip on some milk, read books
8:00 Enjoy some quiet time with hubby, usually involving an HBOGo episode of some kind
9:30 Begin my own nighttime routine
10:00 Crawl into bed and read- anything from fiction to business to magazines to parenting books
10:45 Lights out, get ready to do it all over again.

Some days are busier than others, but I definitely know I need to find more creative, quiet thinking space somewhere in my daily routine.  Any tips?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Managing Change

I had a meeting today with a new client who is looking to use education and personal development to create systemic change in her organization.  And she's going about it the right way.  So many times, change comes from the top down and people in the organization have little say.  Buy in from your stakeholders in the beginning is so important.  Even if you know the change is guaranteed to transform your organization and improve outcomes, your staff members are busy in their day to day work.  You have to be able to explain to them WHY the change is important, and explain what danger there is in NOT implementing the change.  Once the WHY becomes clear, you can provide people with resources and allow people to drive their own sustained growth and development.  Change is inevitable.  Unless you are thinking about how best to introduce it, manage it, and maintain it, the likelihood that your vision for change will succeed is slim to none.