The State Of Our Union

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I was assigned the painstaking task of taking both of my kids to their annual wellness appointment. Finding time away from work can be difficult so I decided to take both children to the same appointment. Because they are now 3 years old and 4 years old I assumed they would be much easier to manage. I have not gained wisdom in the last year. Fortunately, my husband joined me and together we pinned the children down to the exam table.

Once the situation calmed down the pediatrician asked us a series of questions about the kids. What foods do they eat? Do they wear their bike helmets? How much TV do they watch? She also asked us about how we engage with the children. How often do you read to the kids? What foods do you offer? How do you encourage potty training? Then we had our turn with the physician. We queried her on how to manage bad behavior and when we would regain our sanity.

As fate has it, these wellness exams always coincide with the end of our company’s fiscal year. This is the time of year when we not only assess the overall health of the company, but also the fitness of our individual teams. At the close of every fiscal year there are 2 activities I always conduct.


Because I manage a large team, these evaluations provide me with an opportunity to celebrate the successes of each individual. Not only do we reflect on the previous year, but we focus on the upcoming year. We discuss their objectives, personal development, and desired projects. With this information we outline a fitness plan for each person. We identify courses to take, seminars to attend, reading to complete, and activities to lead. This also acts as a barometer throughout the year. As projects are assigned and work is assessed, I can measure how their work aligns with their desired successes for that year.

These evaluations also provide an opportunity for my team to communicate what they need from me. I get a good measure of where I need to improve, and focus, my efforts.


At the end of the year I also like to narrow our focus for the future. This is always a team effort. We look at the success and failure of past projects, projects already in the queue for the upcoming year, and industry trends. This exercise is not just internal to my team. We conduct a worldwide survey, sent to all company employees, soliciting feedback on the quality of our services. The results of the survey provide an unbiased outline for annual objectives. The results of these 2 exercises is a list of goals for the fiscal year. If supporting our products on mobile devices is defined as an area of focus, then we put in place a series of tasks, assign resources, and define milestones. For each objective identified we create a plan to meet those goals. We then take that plan and break it out over 4 quarters. We now have performance measurements for the entire year.

Just like a child’s development, the growth and success of a team can only be understood when the proper milestones and plans are put in place.

What objectives do you have for the impending new year?


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
One Response to "The State Of Our Union"
  1.' jvdt says:

    Inspiring post. Thanks!

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