What are your priorities for 2019? Thoughts for professional service firm leaders

What are your priorities for 2019? Thoughts for professional service firm leaders are shared below. But first, take a few moments to reflect on what you have achieved this year – and savour the successes. And then, as 2018 draws to a close, turn your thoughts to what you want to achieve in 2019.

Are you determined to get a grip on strategy? Grow your business? Increase profits? Work smarter not harder? Learn new skills? Develop your people? Get that promotion? Start that long-overdue project? Win that target client? Free up your time to tackle the important stuff? Promote change in your organisation? Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific. Measureable, Achieveable. Realistic and Time-specific). And that they align with your business plan.

Psychologists who study performance discovered that high-achieving individuals routinely practice two “prepping” habits:

  1. They form clear mental pictures of what they want to achieve
  2. They write down descriptions of those achieved states

Neurological researchers haven’t yet determined why there’s a correlation between those two habits and success – but there’s a scientific consensus that it exists. There’s some guidance on the stepping stones approach to goal-setting.

If your goals and strategies (for your business or yourself) aren’t yet fully formed, here’s some inspiration based on what has been of interest to my clients and contacts recently.

Be more strategic – Are you are still trying to herd cats to form your first coherent strategy or do you want to stress-test your existing plans for the challenging times ahead? Have you spent enough time exploring changes in the wider market as well as your own? I’ve designed and run strategy sessions – to facilitate discussions and forge new directions – for law firms, accountancy practices and property businesses this year.

Manage change – I’ve written numerous reviews of great change management books – perhaps you might read one over the remainder of the Christmas holidays? Search for change management in this blog. Or maybe you’d like a focused workshop to think through and plan what you want your change programme to achieve.

Forge better business relationships – My new book, published by Bloomsbury in October, shares a range of psychological insights to help you improve your business relationships – both internally and externally. Using the DACRIE model, it looks at difference and diversity, adaptation and learning, communications skills, relationship development and conflict management, internal relationships and team building and external relationships and selling.

Use social media – Lots of senior professionals want to understand better how to use social media effectively within their business development and relationship management strategies, Another new book – looking at the business case for social media – and providing step-by-step guides to using LinkedIn and Twitter – was launched in November.

Improve referrals – Most professional service firms generate significant work through referrals. Often referrals are from existing clients so cross-selling is important. But many are from external organisations. I regularly run workshops to bring new impetus to improving relationships with referrers and intermediaries – for example.

Free up more time – Everyone needs more time. Better delegation skills may be the answer.  Or maybe you need to develop more trust in your people. Or perhaps you need to brush up on your feedback skills  so that your people develop confidence and competency.

Appoint a Non-Executive Director (NED) – As well as providing strategic and marketing consultancy, training and coaching support, I act as a Non-Executive Director for a number of organisations. Consider the benefits of an NED to your business.

All the best for the New Year. See you on the other side!