Make 2013 Your Year of Change

Today's guest post is by Ken Jacobs, principal, Jacobs Communications Consulting.

When Repman asked me to write a guest post on what I believe owners and leaders of communications agencies should do in 2013, based on what I heard from them in 2012, one thought came immediately to mind: Make 2013 Your Year of Change!

Our world is changing at warp speed, from how news, information, and entertainment are created and shared, to our country’s demographic make-up, to the globalization of pop culture and business. Yet a number of these leaders seem to think that they can succeed just by getting incrementally better at what they’re already doing.

I respectfully disagree. I think one of the most important things these leaders can do is embrace their role as their firm’s CCO: Chief Change Officer.

Here are five areas in which I believe leaders should embrace change:

1) Get A Personal Digital Presence: You’re leading an agency that delivers what I imagine is a considerable amount of digital/social work for clients. But you don’t have a personal digital presence? Can you credibly participate in a meeting on this topic with clients and prospects if you have no real digital footprint? Make 2013 the year you embrace digital for your own personal leadership brand. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should have a strategy and execute some basic steps.

2) Implement A System To Monitor Client Satisfaction: You lead a business that depends on client satisfaction, but you still don’t have a formal way to determine if clients are raving about your firm’s work and its level of client service, if they’d definitely recommend your agency, and if they feel consistently “surprised and delighted” by your staff? Change that pronto! And, if you learn from your formal process that clients aren’t absolutely thrilled, don’t delay. Jump in and make immediate changes to your team and/or its work. Now!

3) Do Something Different: You’re trying to differentiate your agency’s brand in a highly crowded field. Your offerings are first-rate, but do you provide anything that’s truly different from your competition? Change this in 2013: identify at least one major product or service that your clients and prospects need, not offered by your competition, and determine how you can offer it.

4) Improve Your Leadership Skills: Leadership isn’t about your title, salary or fancy office: it’s about turning around and seeing a truly inspired team who’d follow you off the proverbial cliff. If you’re not yet the leader you want to be, make this the year you commit to become a better, more trusted, magnetic one. This may be the most important change you make in 2013. 

5) Become Your Agency’s CCO: You can’t be the only one driving meaningful change at your firm. If you want an agency full of change agents, and I believe you should, you must embrace the role of Chief Change Officer. Consistently communicate the benefits of healthy change in your organization, and model the behavior you desire. Do so, and you’ll be leading a team of dedicated professionals who are comfortable taking educated risks, and who’ll help make 2013 your year of positive change. 

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