The CEO’s Perspective: 10 New Years Resolutions for 2015

in Strategy & Trends | by David Capece

At Sparxoo, 2014 was another year of transformative growth for our integrated marketing agency. Our team size doubled and we added our Miami location as we set the company up for long-term sustainable growth. I am proud of our wow work, including our digital leadership of Florida Polytechnic and our New Year’s campaign for the YMCA. As we look forward to 2015, I am confident in our ability to create world-class work and deliver high value to our clients as we share our innovative spirit and evangelize our inspired effort. Please take some inspiration from the following 10 New Years Resolutions as I lead Sparxoo in 2015.

1. Transform from an organization of great potential to an organization of meaningful impact

We were officially founded in Florida in September 2010. Now, heading into year five, we are transitioning from entrepreneurial growth to creating a high performing company in 2015. Pioneering innovation is still in our DNA. We are fusing our can-do agility with an emerging culture of discipline that’s focused on performance and results.

2. Challenge the status quo

To create ever-greater wow work, we must maintain and accelerate a culture of high expectations. We must never be satisfied with our accomplishments. We must never be satisfied with “good enough” and must go beyond the industry standard. Our 2014 work was highlighted by groundbreaking work including our rebrand of the 120-year-old financial services company KSKJ Life, a packaging overhaul for Natural Seal, and an integrated marketing campaign for YMCA (see Superhero campaign video below).

3. Grow multi-dimensional thought leadership

Through thought leadership our organization becomes a preferred destination for top clients and top talent, so that we may take on ever greater and more exciting challenges. That’s why we are shifting our talent culture from one in which we are assembling energized minds for collaboration, to one in which we are growing thought leaders, who become recognized as experts and authorities in our communities and by our clients. Our clients are depending on us to go beyond the norm in delivering impact to their bottom line. We are raising the bar through industry know-how and best practices. We stay fresh and relevant as we read, speak and immerse.

4. Reward a culture of giving not taking

In a recent Knowledge @ Wharton Q&A with Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, Adam says ” I found that in sales, the most productive sales people are actually those who put their customers’ interests first. A lot of that comes from the trust and the good will that they have built, but also, the reputations that they create.” In Adam’s research, he found that givers often rise to the top. Yes, givers are the strange breed who look to help others by making an introduction, giving advice, providing mentoring or sharing knowledge, without any strings attached. And while takers may rise to the top, that’s not aligned with our culture. We must recognize and avoid the takers who walk into an interaction trying to get as much as possible from that person and contribute as little as they can in return, thinking that’s the shortest and most direct path to achieving their own goals. Our culture will thrive when we reward those who are creating a lot of goodwill in relationships, as this goodwill is dry powder for Sparxoo that lies dormant until we may actually need it.

5. Grow valuable relationships

In that same light, we aim to grow valuable relationships that stand the test of time. We are empowered to do more when we earn trust as a strategic partner. To grow these relationships, we are listening to get smart, and then apply focused energy to elevate their brands and further impact their business.

6. Apply energy to larger, more integrated initiatives

In our Sparxoo Book Club, we are reading “Essentialism,” by Greg McKeown. In this book, Greg challenges readers to practice the principles of not doing more, but doing better work by recognizing that while you may be able to do anything, you can’t do everything, and that only a few things really matter. The head of Google X says (see Wired article), “It’s Easier to Make Something 10 Times Better Than to Make Something 10% Better.” In 2015, this is one of our guiding principles as we forge deeper client relationships.

7. Win with technology

Technology companies lure venture capitalists with the potential to sustain tremendous growth and margins by achieving scale. The recent frenzy of social web 2.0 value creation exemplifies the scale created through network effects. With extreme value created through scalability, technology should be on every executive’s priority list. We continue to expand our development capabilities and grow a deeper organization when it comes to programming know-how. We have to avoid building web and mobile experiences that are just incrementally better and must do more to bring brands to life and maximize the utility of our web and mobile projects. There is an opportunity for technology-centered differentiation in all of our work. As we expand the capabilities of our digital team, more wow work will follow.

8. Stand out as a leader in our communities for the right reasons

In 2014, we were selected in elite groups among the top 50 in the community, selected as a finalist for Small Business of the Year, and through our participation in Leadership Florida, Florida Connect and Tampa Connection. We also contributed our pro bono time and additional contributions to make a difference in our community through our support of four non-profits: Alpha House, Tampa Theatre, Hillsborough County Safe & Sound, and Latinos Unidos. See #4 above, and it’s clear why giving back is so important for us to build a good organization for the long-run.

9. Build a healthy and disciplined organization

Being a very disciplined and healthy company will allow us to further elevate our capabilities and reward high performing team members as they deliver badass results. We are emphasizing maniacal improvements of our client deliverables. In 2015, we must be a culture centered on the principle of Kaizen, the practice of constant improvement. Through ruthless consistency in operating to achieve strategies, we can accelerate our transformation and deliver wow work. As important, our organic growth has enabled us to solidify our financial strength. Our balance sheet will remain an asset in 2015.

10. Recognize the support from family and loved ones

Success starts from within and is reinforced at home. As you passionately apply your mind and body in the office, be sure that you aren’t a taker at home. Recognize those who help you achieve your full potential. Even if you can’t achieve the perfect harmony of work-life balance, make it a priority in 2015.

As we look forward to 2015, these New Year’s aspirations will enable Sparxoo to deliver on our mandate to create awesome work, energize valuable relationships, and transform into thought leaders. What are your resolutions?

Make 2015 an inspired year. Don’t play it safe. Be proud, stand out and create the wow. Be first in 2015.