How We Benefited from a Wake-Up Call...and Associations Can Too

I’m a resolutionphile. Okay, maybe I created that word just now, but the fact remains – I am an enthusiast for resolutions. Every year at the end of December and beginning of January, I am excited about more than just Christmas and New Years. At Cygnal and most other places, we set resolutions all the time throughout the year, but we call them goals. With that in mind, I thought January would be the right time to share how setting goals helped us when we needed a wake-up call.

Will your wake-up call be like this:

Or would you like it to be more like this:

Years back, we faced some hard internal truths. You know that feeling when you’re stuck? We kept doing things the same way we had been doing them because we didn’t make time to bring new ideas to the table and plan strategically. We had a ton of actual work going on and we let that prevent us from taking time to stop and think about growth and efficiencies. Before too long, we did grow in one meaningful way: we grew frustrated and realized that this was our wake-up call. The future could look the same or we could start setting and achieving goals to improve our organization and help us become the picture we dreamed for ourselves.

Here are the five steps that helped us:

Assess How You See Yourself

Our journey started with enhancing our brand and image. For Cygnal, it was a complete reinvention. We started by defining how we wanted to be perceived in the marketplace. It took creating a mission, vision, and goals, and then ensuring our brand reflected them. That allowed us to really understand who our audience should be and how we could achieve symbiosis between our organization and our audience.

Adjust How Your Audience Sees You

Next, we considered our outreach, advertising, and marketing techniques. To increase the traffic flow of customers to our brand, we needed to make sure we knew our message and that it would be clear to our audience. Your audience has problems that you can help them solve. They need to know how you are going to help them make wise decisions to achieve their goals. Every piece of content and every message needs to reinforce that you are helping them do something that they want or need to do.

Advance Your Audience Development

For us, it was a deep need to become immensely more strategic and measurable. Time was taken to develop audience journeys, complete with milestones to achieve and checks and balances along the way. We began to evaluate our audience and their journey into custom segments with unique paths to their desired end state. As folks progressed with us, we developed metrics that allowed us to see where we could improve or when something was working. Success and failure and what led to each became crystal clear.

Amplify Your Internal and External Communications

As a soldier, you always understand that communications will never be perfect, but that’s not an excuse to stop trying. Even though it’s something that we always need to keep improving, the importance of communications demands that we place a premium on making how we talk to each other a bedrock skill. We did a complete evaluation of our communications efforts, from how we keep our audience informed to how we keep our internal teams on track.

Acquire Systems, Processes & Automations

Being the geek that I am, this was one of my favorite phases. I should probably write a blog of just this phase because it is something that brings a ton of value to an organization. Think of this as taking everything you do, unpacking it, and then putting it back together in the most efficient, effective way possible. Write it all down. Find out what doesn’t need to be a manual process and can be automated or delegated or outsourced. It’s amazing how much identifying things and changing your approach leads to greater freedom to do the things you actually need to be doing.

So there you go. Maybe this is your wake-up call. All organizations can be better. It’s a matter of having the mindset to create change when necessary and developing the right roadmap to reach your desired destination.

Feel free to ping me anytime if you want to talk more about this. I’m happy to share deeper insights of what worked for us. Find me here.