Tested. Tried. True. Business advice from Mark McNeely

Tested. Tried. True. Business advice from Mark McNeely

By Mark McNeely
March 14, 2016

Back in 2011, my friend Gini Dietrich asked me and several of our marketing and PR colleagues nationally to write one-pagers for a book she was working on titled “Dear CEO: Letters to the C-Suite from Experts on Vision, Culture, Community, and Integration.” The advice was to help organizations make it through the Great Recession. My one-pager was in the Community section. In total, there are 32.

There was a recent instance that made me want to pull it out for a quick read. In reviewing this more than five years later, I don’t feel that I would change a single thing about what I wrote. If you’re interested, here is what I wrote:

Dear CEO,

What can we all do better that improves the prospects of meeting our business, community, charitable and personal goals?

How can we best step out of the Great Recession and increase our productivity?

Here are a few suggestions and lessons learned from the standpoint of an optimistic but realistic communications specialist and small-business owner who has been victimized by some and vindicatedby others:

  1. DON’T be paralyzed by fear. It limits you and the people you depend on. It narrows your scope and your horizon. It can consume your approach to every facet of life.
  2. SHARE your successes. Tell those who need to know about the things you are proud of. If the successes are financial, spread them to everyone involved. It will make them work harder to assure a repeat success after success.
  3. THANK your lucky stars for every fortunate turn; but don’t get bummed out when you don’t win that new business, snatch that star hire, meet that fundraising goal or fall short of your expectations. Business, like life, is a numbers game.
  4. DON’T be afraid of change. It’s going to happen, so either get with it or get ahead of it. Don’t fall too far behind or you’ll never catch up.
  5. DO GOOD THINGS in your community – with your colleagues, your peers and even your competitors. It makes a difference. It makes everyone in your organization feel better.
  6. BE TRANSPARENT in your enterprises. Better to be proactive and proud than reactive, defensive and defiant.
  7. BE HONEST in all of your dealings. As someone said a long time ago, there’s a reason it’s the best policy.
  8. TAKE corrective action when needed, even if it is painful and difficult. The test should be what is best for your organization – not you, or a specific individual, but the entire entity.
  9. DREAM BIG, and don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. Just make sure you can afford it if you fall short.
  10. BE INNOVATIVE and try new approaches, models and solutions. Just because you have always done things one way doesn’t mean a better way isn’t possible.
  11. GIVE generously of your organization’s time and resources to deserving charities and causes; but DO NOT let the economic pressures of the day result in giving away your commercial product, your expertise and your pride.
  12. SAY NO to bad fits. If the business relationship feels as if it will be difficult or impossible, it probably will be, and it will be a much more productive use of your time to find better fits than to try to accommodate inherently bad ones.

Mark McNeely
Senior Partner
MP&F Public Relations