As we stand at the starting block of a new year, it's only fitting to draw inspiration from the world of sports. Kelley Agnew, Senior Vice President for Roots Management Group, shares words of encouragement and a strategic approach as she reflects on Central Division's journey in 2023 and gears up for the challenges and triumphs of 2024.
Agnew, drawing on her high school swimming experience, draws parallels between building a successful team and preparing for a race.
"I was a swimmer in high school, and as I reflected on our division's performance in 2023, I couldn’t help but compare it to the preparation that goes into a successful race. In 2023, we had the laborious task of building our team from scratch. We brought seasoned performers and brand-new Community Managers together for this team. We won a few races, but we lost more than we won. As the “coach” of our division, it was critical that I took some time to evaluate our performance and ensure we are agile enough to win more in 2024. That reflection looked a little something like this.
Training and Work Out:
Our CM’s worked hard this year to complete the Certified CM path in Trainual. We held weekly meetings to be able to tackle training issues in real time.
The CM’s then practiced their new skills until it became muscle memory. This allows them to refine these skills more easily and more effectively add new skills.
This year, we are starting the year with boot camp. We want to make sure our muscles are all warmed up, limber and ready to tackle what’s coming our way.
Building the Muscle
Our CM’s had a lot of new situations thrown at them last year, which while painful, allowed them to build an arsenal of skills to take them into 2024 ready to win.
This year, we are adding new responsibilities and there will be, again, heavy lifting. We know that repetition and growth helps us to more quickly adapt and improve our technique.
We didn’t allow any negative self-talk in our team. Our MS Teams chats were a great opportunity for CM’s who were struggling with a concept or issue to come to the hive-mind and brainstorm for an answer. There was always grace – but no room for negative pity.
We talked through and role-played difficult customer service situations. We studied time management skills and how to better prepare our time for the week and month ahead.
Build a Strategy:
We started the year with one strategy but often had to pivot during the year due to external concerns out of our control. Again, using my swimming analogy – some pools are slow, some are too hot, some are too cold – all things out of your control. But you must have a strategy to overcome in advance so you’re prepared for as much as you can be.
This year, we will be working much deeper in how to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.
Ensure you have the right equipment:
You can’t swim fast with a ripped cap creating drag or goggles that leak. As a coach, I must ensure that my team has equipment that fits them. There is no one size fits all here, everyone’s needs are unique and I must meet them. This also includes ensuring that I have the right people on our relay team. I know who needs to start the race and who needs to swim the anchor.
Rest is a critical part of training. You cannot perform 100% all the time. Without managing your energy in sports, you get injured, your performance decreases and you will eventually lose your motivation and enjoyment. The same is true at work. Not taking breaks during the weekend and not using your PTO will have negative effects on your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
The Central Division is ready to loosen up our muscles, take the block and swim our best races this year".
Thank you Kelley! As Central Division readies to hit the water, there's a collective determination to loosen up, take the block, and swim their best races in 2024. The journey continues, propelled by lessons learned and a shared vision for continued success. We Are Rooted!