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29

Jan

Lessons learned in 2008... and plans for 2009

As a way of getting 2008 in review, we asked a few key Intergen staff members two questions:

  1. What’s the most important thing you personally learned in 2008?
  2. And, in light of this, what’s the one thing (if anything) you’ll be doing differently this year?

Here is the first instalment of answers, verbatim.

Tim Howell, Marketing Manager

What’s the most important thing you personally learned in 2008?

Throughout the year, it was fascinating – and disappointing – watching the overall decline of the print media, and the perceived replacement of the traditional forms of mass communication with electronic and, in particular, web-based media.

This wasn’t necessarily a new phenomena, as it had been predicted for years, but the haste in which it all came about was surprising. As we enter 2009, the pace of change hasn’t slowed, and the global economic uncertainty is already causing more media casualties as advertising dollars dry up and the significant amount of debt incurred by the media companies needs to be serviced; credit is now much harder to come by.

New Zealand companies – and the IT publication sector – are not immune from all this, and this is where are monitoring the situation closely. With the publication frequency of Computerworld and CIO magazine reducing, and organisations such as Fairfax making leadership and personnel changes, such movement indicates all is not well in the local market.

And, in light of this, what’s the one thing (if anything) you’ll be doing differently this year?

As a marketer for a technology company, we need to be cognisant of these changes and ensure that we get the most value out of our marketing spend.

We’ll continue to watch these developments closely, and monitor their impact on our marketing plans. We’re great believers in the print format, but at the same time our message needs to be where our customers are looking – and increasingly this looks to be online.

At the same time, recognising this move to online, we’ll be looking to further embrace the web and web marketing. The relative low cost of these channels is no doubt an attraction, as is the ability to track and measure the progress of any initiatives we look to run. Additionally, by developing and participating in relevant communities of interest, we hope to further understand our customers’ needs and be visible in the places they’re looking for their information.

Significant changes are afoot in how all organisations access and market to their customers, and the time to understand and exploit these changes is now.

Dwayne Bace, General Manager, Managed Services

Everyone knows that different people are motivated by different things. What is less well recognised, is that often people don’t really understand what motivates them themselves. Getting this insight and giving team members a clear, measurable understanding of what is required of them is the key to success. That will be a focus for me this year.

Wayne Forgesson, Director Business Development

What’s the most important thing you personally learned in 2008?

While I couldn’t be as brash as to say I didn’t learn anything in 2008, there was no single outstanding “important thing”. There were many lessons learnt or reinforced, including:

  • Despite what lots of people think, business travel is not fun.
  • We continue to live and work in a village and the village is getting broader (i.e. beyond just the traditional local boundaries).
  • Technology is delivering (finally?) on promises made for many years.
  • Despite best endeavours we just don’t spend enough time with family and friends.

And, in light of this, what’s the one thing (if anything) you’ll be doing differently this year?

Travel less, make use of video/voice and web conferencing and hey as a result not only will I feel better but I’ll be doing my bit for sustainability.

Murray Newman, Chief Financial Officer

What’s the most important thing you personally learned in 2008?

That delegation does not mean you can step away from involvement in the task and assume the task is completed and is what you are wanting. You need to monitor progress and understand the output that is being produced.

And, in light of this, what’s the one thing (if anything) you’ll be doing differently this year?

I will continue to delegate as I have always done however I shall make sure I am aware of what is being done and how this is progressing. The challenge will be finding the balance between micromanagement (because I want my team to learn and grow by doing new and challenging tasks) and detachment (it’s easy to forget to check progress on a task when you get busy yourself). An associated learning is that it’s important to invest the time up front with your team if you want the delegation to work. A few hours invested at the start can save a lot of time further down the track, particularly if you are handing over a discrete repeatable task or role.

Laurie Hogg, Strategy Management Officer

What’s the most important thing you personally learned in 2008?

2008 was a year full of lessons for me, here are a few:

  • Trust your gut instinct.  More often than not, if you don’t listen, you’ll go back to it in the end.  Only you know what is right for you.
  • Letting yourself off the hook to go with the flow can bring about as much success as planning things down to the wire.
  • Everyone has a unique map of the world, take a moment to try to align with someone else’s when you are communicating with them, you may be surprised at the results.
  • Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, have fun.  Life is too short for bad days.  Have fun, even if the going gets tough.

And, in light of this, what’s the one thing (if anything) you’ll be doing differently this year?

With 2008’s lessons in mind, this year I am going to take heed of my gut instinct, and avoid the temptation to rationalise every decision that crosses my path. I plan to enjoy wherever the road leads, remembering that “Life is a journey not a destination”. All the while bearing in mind that everyone has a unique view of the world, and taking the time to appreciate others’ perspectives. And, above all else, I aim to have fun and laugh a lot, out loud!

 

How about you? 2009 is going to be a year of _________. It can be whatever you want it to be. All the best for 2009!

Posted by: Katy Sweetman, Marketing Director, Empired Group | 29 January 2009

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