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What To Stop and
Start in 2019

By Mike Antonczyk and Matt Hirschland Ph.D.

At H2A, we are not big on New Year resolutions. We are more of the “try new things all the time to improve performance” types. That said, we know many business leaders are making their lists for things to do in 2019. In that spirit, and regardless if you wear a B2B or B2C hat, here is a list we hope you find worth exploring if not a bit inspiring (spoiler alert: it has a bias toward doing less but doing it better).

  1. Stop doing something. Pick one thing, activity, effort, etc. to stop doing. Candidates include: reports that few may read, a sales campaign that you do every year just because you always have, a stuck project, etc. Next, sit back, watch and measure the impact. If no one screams, it probably was not worth doing anyway.
  2. Get closer to revenue. A sure-fire way to enhance the relevance of any business function is to ensure it has a seat at the revenue-generating table. In practice, this can look like deeper collaboration with your CRO, providing customer insight to product managers, and others who can use it to shape powerful experiences with the brand.
  3. Measure something new. There is no lack of data in which we are all swimming these days. Choose, a component or combination of this that you have not tracked to date and see what you learn. Tackle this with other colleagues (e.g., client service teams, head of sales, etc.) and see what you can learn together.
  4. Link arms. In the spirit of #3 above, choose a functional peer with whom you would like to work more closely, explore areas where you can collectively move the needle to wow and amaze.
  5. Ask clients and customers what they need. Assemble a panel of “friends of your firm/company”. Take them to lunch. Ask them what is missing in the marketplace that would address important needs and challenges they are facing. The insights will prove invaluable.
  6. Run that A/B test. Next time you execute a campaign, website refresh, initiative or similar, put forth two different versions – an “A” and a “B”. Track reactions to both. Doing so will provide more information and options helping drive better results and internal learning.
  7. Take the time, do it right. So much of what we see being delivered is done breathlessly, under the gun, and often under-resourced. By doing less (see #1), you can free the requisite time and resources for really critical projects be they events, launches or the like. Err on the side of doing fewer things but with greater impact.
  8. Own the customer experience, own the data. Picking up on the notion of data’s critical importance, make a play to own, derive, and drive usable insight from the organization’s information.
  9. Make yourself even more indispensable. Step up and tackle a difficult organizational challenge. This does not mean you must do so alone and without resources. Build a team and the funding support to get it done. Doing so will help elevate your leadership standing and personal stock.
  10. Upskill the function and replace yourself. Finally, recognizing the ongoing shift to analytics and the growing power of data, push to add talent with this area of expertise to your team. Moreover, identify and work to replace yourself with up-and-coming leaders on your team. If you don’t have likely candidates, hire them. Ensuring you are building a deep and recognized bench, makes it easier for others to consider you for new opportunities this year and beyond.

Certainly, not all these will fit every circumstance. Still, we see time and again that any of these alone or in combination with one another provide new direction, fresh outcomes, and new standing for so many of the business leaders we serve whether they operate in B2B or B2C environments.

From all of us at H2A, we wish you a great start to your 2019!