First day back in Atlanta and I am excited! I cannot express to you how much I love my US team and how inspirational each and every one of them are.
It's been a phenomenal journey, one full of great surprises, obstacles that were easier than expected to overcome and an incredible amount of love and support that has led Marketing Eye's success.
Like all bosses that are a nuisance, I asked for a photograph of a couple of my team members who were sitting in a meeting with me this morning. They are quite use to it - as they know that nothing makes me more happy than to take their pictures and share it with the world.
This year is going to be great. Actually, better than great - it is going to be awesome!
I started the morning with a "pep talk". There are a few changes that need to be implemented and sadly, I have to divide my time more evenly with Australia, so I won't be here so much.
It's that time of year where companies are back hiring new recruits.
As someone who is always too busy, I have left the on-boarding to our previous CEO and Area Managers, with my role being minimal other than an introduction.
However, like most entrepreneurs, January is a time to re-think your business in every way; finance, recruitment, human resources, marketing, sales, products/services etc.
This has given me an opportunity to see just what is going on and I have to say, we have some gaps. As a marketing and communications based company, Marketing Eye plays a pivotal role in communicating a company's brand and culture to employees of our clients. We develop and design on-boarding manuals, podcasts, corporate videos and interactive presentations on the company, people and history.
What I have realized is that we are not dissimilar to a mechanic who never finds time to fix their own car.
With that, off came the gloves and I rolled up my sleeves to have a better insight into our on-boarding processes.
Here are some clever best practices that we teach our clients and implement on their behalf:
- When writing an advertisement for a position, include a link to your website which talks about the company culture and the type of person that will fit in. This is great for the applicant and even better for your company as it sends people to your website and drives traffic and engagement.
- Ask applicants to like your company on social media. If they don't want to do this, then they are definitely NOT interested in your brand, culture or the future promotion of your company - so strike them immediately off the list.
- When an applicant comes for an interview, ensure that someone from your team rings them the day before, introduces themselves and talks to them about a normal day in the office. It's a great way to give the applicant an idea what it is like to work for your company and also shares with them an insight into the culture and type of people that they need to fit in with.
- Do something clever to get the applicant to remember your company like sending them an inspirational email with a famous quote. Ensure that it is written on a picture to give your brand a "lift"
- On arrival at the interview, give them an iPad with a presentation and video of what it is like to work for your company and what type of people perform best.
- In the interview, present your company like you would present the company to a client. Then ask for the applicant to talk about themselves; share insights that do not come across clearly in their CV's and ask them to explain why they think that they would be a good fit.
- When they leave, give them a company brochure and any literature related to your company that may be of benefit to them.
I am curious to know what makes one person in an organization really stand out from the rest. As a seasoned entrepreneur with more than 10 years under my belt, I am constantly being reminded, if not surprised by the most interesting individuals in my team.
Today, I found out two things; the first is that I am not as bad as I thought when it comes to finding a solution to a problem and secondly, that if you give someone an opportunity, its the only way to see if they have the ability to shine or not.
As a person who is no stranger to having to pull up my sleeve, my first thoughts are always that I have to do it on my own - but I have something to share with you and it is that that is not always the case. In fact, if you reach out to your team and share your experiences and problems, they are usually the ones who come up with the solution that is best suited to your business or you personally. Your staff know you better than you think, and if you are delusional enough to think that by hiding in your office, that they don't, then you have a lot to learn.
I have been in Sydney for the last few days and I am so happy to experience the city that I love dearly, with my team. I usually waltz in and waltz out, within a day or two, and have my time so filled with meetings that I don't spend enough time getting to know the people around me.
It's a catastrophe in the making. Already you have eaten one extra scoop of ice-cream that you really did not need, and the vino - well, it was just there and it had to be drunk.
New Years Resolutions are renown for being thrown in the bin and rightfully so, because few of us really commit to them for longer than a day or two. In fact, statistics show that New Years Resolutions are not kept with only 8% of people keeping them past the first few days according to Times Magazine.
When you try and tie a behavioral change to a specific date, you tend to rob yourself of an opportunity to fail and recover and many who believe that they will change, and fail, tend to believe that they have to wait another year to try again. It's a weird psyche that many of us share.
This year is my year. I am dedicating it to achieving everything I ever dreamt of and more. There is no second place and certainly no throwing in the towel. Instead, I am committed like never before to achieving all of my goals and ensuring that I live life to the fullest encapsulating all my dreams in one forward movement into the future.
I am not getting any younger - and neither are you may I add, so there is no time like the present to get off my fairly ample bottom and put those trainers on with that Nike exercise outfit that has been gaining cobwebs and start the race on high speed with milestones every day of the year, that need to be met.
On Sunday night, I woke up in the middle of the night and got online and booked a flight to Melbourne. I was tired and partied out. After a week in Sydney, enjoying the harbour and catching up with my friends for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I was exhausted!
Not exactly how I would like to start the new year.
Booking the flight was one of those things that had to be done yet once I pushed the button, I realised that perhaps I should have given it more thought.
The next day, after saying goodbye, I boarded my flight to Melbourne. When I landed, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was exactly what I needed after a big year.
I picked up my car and drove straight away down to Portsea to stay with one of my good friends without telling a soul.
After my first good nights sleep in weeks, I woke up and realised that it was New Years Eve and there were things to consider. Should I attend a party or should I just stay in. In the end, I decided against a romantic night with someone I love, and decided on a quiet night in with a few friends so that I could take time out for myself and look ahead at the new year that I was about to enter. I don't know about you, but for some reason, I found that being in situation without any influence would help me start the new year in the best possible light. The hardest decision was sacrificing spending a night, with candles and conversation with the person I admire most in the world - but it had to be done.
We had a simple dinner overlooking the ocean and thought through our New Years Resolutions.
Here is what I came up with:
Theme: If nothing changes, nothing changes.
"Onwards and upwards"
It doesn't take much to realize that 2013 has been the biggest roller coaster of my life. While I have had many wins, I have had equal losses that have been harder to swallow than I would have liked.
Building a business isn't easy. In fact, it is damn hard. You get on a roll and then one thing happens and it crashes downward until somehow you find the strength that you didn't know existed, then you pull it back in line and then start all over again, hopefully learning from those mistakes and taking the business in a slightly new direction albeit one that has the same end result.
It's no secret that I have taken a few days off. For a start, my social media accounts have come to a stop and I am not checking my emails. Instead I am giving myself time to think and soak up the atmosphere of Christmas and family, without disruptions.
I won't lie by saying that I don't want to do all of these things, but I know that in order to give 2014 my best shot, that I will need to have a few days off and really get back to grassroots.
Having travelled back to Australia for Christmas and to spend time in our different Australian offices, I have been absorbing myself in everything that I did when I lived here full-time.
First stop was Melbourne. Skinny flat white and croissant from a cafe on Commercial Road for breakfast before work, prawn dumpling soup from Rice for lunch and dinner at Fog Restaurant - the food is delicious and there really is nothing quite like it.
With breakfast, I like to read the papers and I enjoy nothing more than walking into my local newsagency to pick them up. As I read through page by page, I am dumbfounded as to how much bad news there is out there. When I travel, I tend to only read business newspapers and usually online because that is the most convenient. But golly gosh, does it all have to be doom and gloom?
My second stop was Sydney, my favourite city in the world because I believe that there is nothing more beautiful than the harbour that I fortunately get to look out on all day long. I go to the office in Kent Street, Sydney, each day and I really enjoy the great weather and hustle and bustle of a big city.
On Thursday, I met with Family Future Managing Partner Rolf Howard to discuss Estate Planning. I am travelling a lot and there is many things that have changed about my life and finances. My biggest issue I face that in the event if I die young, my dog has to live with someone who loves and adores her as much as I do - which is impossible, but near enough is good enough. She has travelled to the US with me so that while I travel continuously, she can travel with me on the plane, in the cabin. It's very exciting and I know I will be travelling for some time to come, so it makes perfect sense for her to do so.
The modern marketer is young, dynamic, nimble, clever and always on call. They never drop the ball, and always have something in their hand - namely, a cell phone with an Apple logo that is their all in one, complete communications platform that talks, listens, looks up and engages on levels no-one thought imaginable 20 years ago.
There are many great things about a modern marketer, but who is counting. Instead of doing the maths, the modern marketer is doing the sums, talking the talk and jumping hurdles in a way we never thought imaginable.
I cannot believe the difference the past 10 years has made to marketing and I am wondering if my "old school" counterparts are able to keep up - literally. We are not getting any younger and as much as we want to believe we are youthful and can tweet with the best of them, it is becoming more and more evident that the fresh out of University marketers know a thing or two about marketing that we just haven't quite captured.
It's an employees world - and don't I know it! I am not about to complain, but gosh, it's hard trying to be a leader and getting 100 percent of your employees engaged - all of the time!
#24yrold asked me the other day, "what can we do better?"
I couldn't believe my ears!
With the constant issues many of my entrepreneur friends face with Gen-Y, and my own struggle with finding the right people for the right job, that are self-motivated and wanting to be exceptional at what they do - I find that my team rarely asks me for feedback other than in a performance review.
Working for a company is a two-way Street. It is not "what you can do for me" or "just about the money" - it's about together working as a team to achieve a common goal. When that goal is achieved, everyone celebrates and is rewarded through recognition and financial upside.