For more than twenty years Allen Fuqua has led marketing organizations and efforts in industries in the midst of high-consequence change, including healthcare, professional service consulting and most recently as a CMO in the legal industry. He is not only a colleague, but a friend; and – as the saying goes – most of what I learned about marketing, I learned from Allen. I’m pleased to welcome him as a Guest to this space, and encourage you to follow his musings on Twitter (@A_Fuqua). — Eric Fletcher

As servants of an organization and the leadership of that organization, we often find ourselves within a reactive mode of management and execution. Short periods of that are understandable, but overtime the value we provide is eroded and our personal energy often diminishes dramatically.

So each of us must take a careful look at our own organization and make some decisions and accept some arithemetic. What are its strengths/weaknesses, our own personal capabilities, our role, the organization’s expectations and our relationships within the organization? From that information and in order to be professionally authentic, you have to make two decisions:

1. You have to choose what (strategy, targets, relationships, etc) is most important and focus your best self there.

2. With apologies to Gene Krantz, failure is an option in business and usually not a career ender. (In fact, most of us have needed failure to learn great lessons and go on to better things.) There’s always a chance things will explode and you will lose. You have to choose on what basis you can be fine with losing. This decision will allow you to focus your energies more efficiently and not act/react like a spineless functionary.

Let me give you some of mine:

1. What is most important:

  • Growing my firm’s Industry Group and Client Team revenue (note: this is separate from our Practice Groups and is consistent with our firm strategy.)
  • Supporting my team: individually and collectively. I’m responsible for helping them grow professionally and being a success.
  • Provide ideas, solutions and execution which further our firm’s leadership’s plan.
  • We don’t do any project, RFP, idea, event, etc without preapproved funding and an attorney champion on each. Even if we think it’s the right thing to do. (My work must be subject to the interest, will and approval of my shareholders. If that’s not enough for me, I cease being a servant of the organization.)

2. On what basis am I comfortable losing:

  • I can’t please everyone. So I respond the best I can to the above priorities knowing it won’t satisfy some people.
  • They decide they don’t like me or I’m not a good fit. If true, this would be for the best.
  • I didn’t play the politics correctly. I play the politics based on the priorities above. If that doesn’t work, we let the chips fall.

Nothing sacred or holy about this list; just a place to stand and operate from. Make yours make sense for who you are and where your organization is.