Jenny Taylor – President & Chief Growth Officer
I believe that being a responsible, successful leader is to intentionally carve out time to reflect. Well, I’m sure you’ll all agree that’s easier said than done! In 2019, we had our strongest year in revenue at Able, and like many other business leaders, we took care of our clients before we took care of ourselves. The pandemic, while disruptive, did offer a reprieve from all of the busyness and provided time to take a breath and reflect on the business.
As I considered the current state of my company and compared that to my initial vision back in 2008, I came to the conclusion that while we had our best year ever in 2019 and were very busy, we were not where I expected to be.
Yes, we were providing transformative strategic marketing and communications plans to our clients, but something was missing for Able&Co.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
My First Steps
The first thing I acknowledged is that saying “we never do for ourselves what we do for others” is an excuse. It was clear that we were maintaining the status quo. It was truly time to apply our own transformative strategic thinking and processes to — US.
We conducted an image-based brand survey. We were pleased to find that our external responders were very consistent about how they perceived us. But the survey turned up a matter of grave concern. Internally, there were discrepancies in how each team member perceived Able&Co.
I believe “every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets”. If my own team wasn’t clear on our brand — what we do, why we do it, how we do it — we weren’t going to get the kind of strategic and creative thinking that would help us build long-term relationships with satisfied clients while delivering a healthy bottom line. Following the tenets of systems thinking, I held a Cross-Functional Management workshop with the entire team.
Together, we identified our chronic issues and developed our set of critical success factors. We reorganized our structure too, which enabled us to communicate better and understand what we do to clients and our own employees.
The results prove that we have become much more diversified in the clients we serve, and the team is clear on what we do and how we do it.
The Journey Continues
To really kickstart the journey towards being a one-of-kind strategic marketing and communications agency that delivers transformative success for its clients, I recognized that all Able&Co. employees needed to be part of my journey to build the kind of culture we need for success.
I believe that responsible, authentic leaders are honest and open about acknowledging what they don’t know. I realized that I needed to seek out knowledge from experts. This is why I’m part of Vistage Worldwide, which is a peer mentoring membership organization for CEOs, business owners and executives of small- to medium-size businesses. One of the benefits of being part of this group is the peer sharing of great advice, experience and tools.
The topic of people comes up a lot because it’s the people on your team that make your company successful. While it’s my responsibility as a leader to ensure that each team member has the tools and training to enhance the skills and experience they brought when they joined Able, it’s also my responsibility to ensure that each team member understands how important they are as part of the Able culture.
My Vistage cohort was introduced to CultureWise, an end-to-end system that gives you everything you need to create, drive, and sustain a high-performing culture.
The CultureWise ideas and tools nestled in very nicely with the work we had already done.
CultureWise brings two very key additional concepts to the table, defining the behaviors, or Fundamentals, that drive our success.
- Leveraging data and analytics
- Collaboration and second opinions
In essence, defining the behavior associated with your Fundamental takes out any interpretation of what that Fundamental means.
All For One & One For All
I’m still at the beginning of our journey to drive and sustain a high-performing team — my A(ble)-Team as I like to think of it. I invite you to join me as I share my progress and learnings!
I provide transformative strategic marketing and communications by managing all aspects of a client’s brand. For MORE, connect or contact me and let’s talk.