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19 Dec, 2012 – one comment

what i’m focusing on in 2013

Rather than a trends-piece or a learnings round-up, I thought I’d grace you with the planned tent poles of my focus for next year. These are based on my experience over the last 15 months growing a new discipline within a rigid(ish) organization and debuting a new service model for an established industry.


‘Agile,’ or its cousin ‘lean,’ are the biggest buzzwords in our industry right now. If you plotted them on the Gartner Hype Cycle, I think you’d find them somewhere near the ‘trough of disillusionment,’ though. One reason for this is that agile has to be applied across the institution’s practices before it actually works. In advertising, agile planning or agile production sound great, but when they meet fixed budgeting, bloated approvals, or glacial staffing, there is absolutely no traction. Worst of all, you tend to deflate a team’s momentum and overall interest when you hit these inevitable roadblocks. Next year I’m going to pay better attention to our entire assembly line.

analytical management

I have two management-related pet projects I want to accomplish next year. The first is a system integrated into my Outlook Calendar that limits the percentage of my time that I’m allowed in meetings per week. Say I determine that I’d like to spend no more than 20 hours a week in meetings, then my calendar would alert me when I’ve reached this threshold and would ask the meeting coordinator to consider an informal chat or discussion via email instead. Admittedly, this won’t make me popular within my organization.

The second pet project I’d like to undertake is a system to measure the work load and overall happiness of my team. Right now I measure these things with a simple but crude weekly survey, via Google Forms. I’d like to mature this into a system which allows each employee to track their work load and happiness over time and record notes for the team as a whole.

paying off my promises

More than two years ago, I raised money to write a book. Immediately after this, life decided to muck about with my plans and my productivity. The cause of this disruption is finally coming to a somber but welcomed close, and the book will soon shift to be my top priority.

being liked

I’m still wrestling with this one. I have a blue-collar work ethic. I believe in putting my head down, grinding on a project, and then holding myself and my team accountable for our results. On good days, this makes me successful. On other days, this distances me from my co-workers and my superiors, which eventually erodes the power I have to lobby on the behalf of my team. If I want them to be successful in the larger organization, I suppose I have to come to terms with the fact that interpersonal impressions are weighted more heavily in organizations than direct results. As long as I’m working for someone else, this is reality.

getting married

Oh hey, I’m getting married next year. That’s pretty awesome.

One Comment

  1. Mary Toves
    Mary Toves December 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm .

    The fourth bit will always be difficult for people like us. But hey, I like ya bossman.

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