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Episode 68: Kicking Off 2021 - How to Steer Your Course to a Strong Year

by Doug Davidoff | Jan 15, 2021 3:00:00 PM

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the first episode of the year! We're officially in a new decade. A lot has  happened this year and we're only two weeks in. If you're feeling overwhelmed, that's okay. This episode Mike and Doug talk about what the new year means to businesses along with sharing their predictions of 2021 and any advice on navigating the noise and chaos of our world.




Show Notes

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Editor's Note: Happy New Year's everyone! If you haven't already, leave the podcast a review either on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


It's the new year...what does that mean to you?

For Mike it doesn't necessarily mean anything, there's not a big difference. While you can set up new goals and reevaluate what you were doing versus what you want to do, these are all things you should be doing all the time.

For a lot of people it's starting fresh after the quarter is done because nowadays it's life and death when it comes to closing out the quarter let alone the year. Drift started doing something that Mike and Doug found interesting, they shifted their fiscal year to end in January so that there wasn't as much pressure to hit a number during the holidays. This switch might not be such a bad idea. While it helps out sales and customer success, it also impacts the customer, so by shifting the month, you have time to hit the number and can fully get the sale without pushing too hard too soon.

Other than salespeople, to Mike the new year is just an artificial date. For him and his company they don't do any kind of kickoff, but they do have long team calls once a week to discuss goals for the week and quarter. He mentions that the yearly kickoff tends to be amazing with a lot of energy, but once everyone goes home they lose that energy and motivation. Doug disagrees and believes kickoffs are important because they're a refresh. If you're overly focused on execution, you can become misaligned. And on top of it, humans rely on dopamine which helps with motivation. Of course the energy will dissipate but if you don't get that charge will you still be motivated? Is it endemic to all kickoffs or to bad kickoffs? Both Mike and Doug agree it's endemic to bad kickoffs. (And if you're watching or listening, Mike did indeed say bad kickoffs.)

If you don't do some sort of refresh you never close a chapter to start a new one. The wonderful aspect of a fresh start is the fact you can start back at zero. To Doug you have to look at every quarter as a refresh, and every year you should close and open 4 chapters.

Question of the Episode:

The question of this episode is: Going into the new year, are things going to stay similar as they were in 2020? What are your predictions and how would you advise companies to stay successful?

For starters Doug jumps in and mentions that for companies to stay successful they have to be successful to begin with. And even in uncertain times businesses should start because otherwise it'll never get started. How can you be sure that times are certain? You really can't.

For Mike, 2021 is only going to be different if you make it different. The pandemic will still be here. We have a lot of challenges on our hands and it's hard to truly make a prediction. You can either rise up or you can let everything stomp you into the ground. Think about what you are looking to accomplish this year and what you can do to get there.

As a business owner, manager, executive, what do you do with everything that's already happened this year? How do you keep moving forward?

Have in-depth conversations on what's happening. Address it with your company and don't sweep it under the rug that way you can see how everyone is feeling to be there to support them. The danger is we either define life by what's happening or we try to ignore it from a business standpoint. We still have to hit numbers, but there is a lot going on. The single best thing to adopt is the Serenity Prayer:

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Say this everyday. There's a lot going on and it's easy to get lost in it all. The toughest thing you have to do is learn how to navigate it.

Doug predicts that the craziness will get bigger and the best thing to do is to take a Bayesian mindset. The core element to this type of mindset is the importance of priors - taking what you know and turning that into another hypothesis. There's going to be so much news, so much noise, and so much chaos in 2021. You need to have the "Comfort Zone" course. Ask yourself if you're still in the zone. If you are, keep operating as usual. You need to be aware of what could happen, but don't operate out of the zone if you are still in the zone.


Mike - Already in 2021 I've talked to so many people and a lot of what they said is what we talked about today. 2021 is the year of getting yourself in a better mental and physical mindset because with so much going on, taking care of yourself is key. This is the year to do it.

Doug - In 2021, you have to surf the wave. Influence what you can and ride the rest out.