Every year feels as though the last twelve months has raced by more quickly and frantically than the last and 2017 has been no exception! My role at PepsiCo has felt all-consuming at times but has meant I have been very busy but also learned so much about many things at the same time. Unfortunately this has meant that my personal bog writing and development has taken a back seat however I’m confident I’m developing many other skills in my day job whilst I have set aside plans to ensure my writing and education continues in 2018.
As I look forward to 2018 it’s another opportunity to outline three words to shape the year ahead, an annual tradition inspired by Chris Brogan and a practice I always find incredibly useful and motivating as an alternative to the standard New Year traditions that never quite work!
Before I outline my three words for 2018, here is my assessment of my three words from 2017:
Developing a bias for action is still a work in progress for me but something I have worked on consciously in 2017. I still believe I take more time than necessary to make a decision and it’s something I will continue to work in 2018 (and beyond), however inspired by entrepreneurs and big business leaders such as Jeff Bezos who talk about the importance of making decisions without being 100% sure, I have pushed myself to lead initiatives and instigate action over the last year.
Innovating within a large corporate environment can be difficult due to the natural hierarchies and bureaucracies that form within big businesses. Nevertheless I’ve ensured throughout 2017 that I’ve always asked the question “what could we do differently?” to push the boundaries of the content and campaigns we’re creating as well as the ways of working with different teams and agencies.
I found ‘Challenge’ quite difficult to accomplish in 2017, mainly due to the sheer amount of activities and priorities to juggle both personally and professionally. It’s been tricky to prioritise as effectively as I’d like sometimes however last year was about establishing my role as a digital leader at PepsiCo and I feel I accomplished a lot in this area by dedicating the vast majority of my time and energy to my job. This has come at the expense of my personal projects and goals although this is something I’m looking to tackle in new ways in 2018!
As always the three words from previous years including 2017 will always be relevant and require further work, however my three new words for 2018 to shape my focus for the year ahead are:
In 2012 I talked about confidence and building and maintaining confidence is an area I’m always working on. But related to confidence is the feeling of belonging and being a part of an organisation’s set up and culture.
Joining a big, established company can be daunting at first and at times I’ve suffered from impostor syndrome. But in 2018 I’m determined to feel, think and act as though I truly belong in the role I’ve now occupied for nearly 18 months and mentally fall back on all the expertise and experience I’ve built up over my career.
Having a clear opinion and point of view is something I’d like to develop and use to build my confidence and belonging in 2018. I’ve always held a point of view on everything from sport to politics, business and marketing but I believe this is something I can shape and channel more effectively.
Nilofer Merchant summed this up really well in a post from back in 2013:
“To have a point of view is to know why you’re there, to be able to signal your purpose and organizing principle so clearly that the “reader knows”, even before he or she dives into the details. It attracts talent, it creates allies, and it focuses the work… when you have point of view about what matters to you and why, your chances of “changing the world” rise exponentially”
Over the last few months I’ve been attempting to build my interest and understanding in subjects beyond business and marketing, including science and mathematics, areas I don’t directly use in my day-to-day work but something I believe important for developing my broader education.
Whilst I think having an opinion is important, it shouldn’t be set in stone and must always be open to debate and interrogation. The formulation and testing of a hypothesis is part of the scientific method, the approach scientists use when attempting to understand and test ideas about natural phenomena. Scientists are not driven by dogma and neither should any professional, including marketing. So in 2018 I want to broaden my mind further, test assumptions and discover new ideas and ways of working.