It’s January and everyone is talking about “New Year, New You” and what the upcoming trends are for the year ahead. It’s great to think ahead but what if you don’t have the infrastructure to support new initiatives? Before getting too far with your 2018 planning you should also look at your team and foundation to ensure you’re set up for success. Here are three things to look at when setting, or resetting, team goals:

Evaluate your team as a whole

Start with your foundation; the team. Your team is everything and why you’re able to do what you do for your clients. Ask yourself, do I have the right people in the right seats? Is your team moving in the same direction as the industry? Take some time to explore what skill sets are needed to stay competitive. Once you have a good sense of where your team should evolve you can determine if they collectively have the same baseline skills and where more education is needed.

Be sure to set your team up for success by keeping up with and offering the latest trainings. For example: does your team know the basics of what Artificial Intelligence is and how it can be utilized in their day-to-day. Share articles, watch videos, attend free webinars. Use your team meetings as a time to let members share what they’re working on and what they want to learn more about. Do smaller, incremental training sessions. You don’t need to tackle a whole new technology all at once.

Evaluate individual team members

Most people start off the new year by making resolutions. You can do this with your team members in the context of “what do you want to learn this year?”. As you and your team members come to an agreement on new skills to master, setup SMART goals. A SMART goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound. Remember, not every employee is the same and they won’t always have the same aptitudes, skills and goals. That’s ok! You’ll likely have foundational goals that everyone should work towards but start to differentiate your team members by their strengths and interests. Having a core set of skills and then specialized capabilities will help your team from falling behind what the rest of the industry is doing.

Evaluate tools and software

Do the latest and greatest tools outperform what you’re currently using? Does your team have the tools they need to succeed? Take inventory of the types of questions you’re commonly asked by your clients and colleagues to evaluate whether or not the tools you’re using are the best ones to find answers. Sign up for free trials, read reviews and run comparisons to see if there are better tools out there. Doing this will help you get ahead of questions such as “should I invest in XYZ tool, have you used it? Is it worth it?” Using tools that are still in beta has become a common practice. You may find that by using a tool that is still experimental is actually a benefit. You’ll be able to get in on the ground floor and help shape and evolve the tool by providing your user feedback to the developers while it’s still being built.

Q1 is a great time for a fresh start but you should also take a look at what you’re currently doing for your clients and within your team. Maybe you don’t need to totally start over – maybe you just need to shake things up a little and refocus what is already working well. Evaluating on a regular basis will keep your thinking, your services and your team ahead of the curve.

Katie Lioy
Director, Marketing Technology

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