It’s Monday again and it’s time to get s*** done! ⏱
Monday #Productive is a weekly interview format, featuring peak-performers from my network, who share 5 quick ideas on how to boost your productivity and stay at the top of your game.
Today’s guest is Mark Harrison, CEO & President at The T1 Agency and chairperson at sponsorshipX. Mark is a creator of entrepreneurial marketing solutions & brand experiences. Believer in helping people get promoted!
1. You are the CEO & president of a large agency in Toronto, having some of the most renowned brands as clients. Did you imagine building such a company, 25 years ago when you were starting up? What helped you getting through the tough times?
▶ I probably expected it to be larger than where we are today, which is seventy people, serving some of the best brands in Canada.. I am proud of what we have accomplished, but want more. The tough times for me are part of the fun. I am a highly insecure, paranoid, self abusing person. The world thinks I am the exact opposite. Call me a masochist, but I know that the bumps in business fuel me. Pain motivates me. Screwing up gets my motor running. Bring it on!
2. I’ve met you for the first time – last year in Graz at fifteen seconds, and I was very impressed by your system for self-management. Could you share with us the essence of it?
▶ For years I searched for some magical elixir to help me manage better. Finally I discovered the universal truth that crafting a daily to-do list and reviewing it regularly was scientifically proven to be the best solution. I listened. Today I have a self-management tool / workbook, I custom built for myself in Numbers. It consists of a variety of files, but the heart is my weekly plan.
✅Every week I set three goals and objectives. These come from my monthly plan, which is the offspring of my annual one page plan.
✅Every day I set seven big tasks that will help me achieve them. The tasks can be specific as how I want a presentation to go or they can be general – “talk less in my XX meeting”.
✅Every day, at its completion, I review those seven tasks and score myself with a few words of commentary written in red/yellow/green based on my success.
✅Every day I write a daily thought about my day. Six or seven words.
✅Every day I write down three things that went well that day. Best motivator ever.
✅Every day I review my day from one week ago, one month ago, and one year ago.
Ensures I never forget things and it improves consistency. If a year ago I noted that my best approach to presentations was to rehearse in front of a mirror, this provides a great reminder. Or if I haven’t followed up with “Stoyan” in a while, this review flags that.
It is simple, but it works. I can do more than I used to be able to get done, because I focus on the important things. The things I set out to do.
3. Talent Acquisition and Employee engagement are big topics today. What has worked for you in terms of spotting and keeping A-players on your team?
▶ I once infamously said all I needed was “forty secretaries” and I could run my business. I should be penalized for life for saying such a thing. Talent is everything. We have lost some key players at my firm recently. It has been really hard. They have all left for the right reasons, but losing their institutional memory and cultural impact on us is devastating. Talent is priceless. Right this very moment we are working hard at talking to our next Gen of stars to allow them to plot their tenure with us and build a plan for their growth. Talent is the difference maker. Whether it be sport, medicine, innovation, creativity, music, or business – talent wins out.
4. In the last few years – what habit or belief have you acquired, that helps you to be an effective executive today?
▶ The belief that I have to sell myself first, then my colleagues, then my clients. I have gone from a dictator to an orchestrator, I try to spend more time understanding that people are much more effective when they understand the why and not just the how. I also spend a lot more time now talking myself through my duties than I used to. I didn’t realize I needed to coach myself. Selling me to me is the most important sale I can make any day of the week. Being purposeful and in the moment has been an amazing learning.
Sell you to you!
5. Did you ever have a decision fatigue? What do you do when you are feeling overwhelmed or unproductive, but you have to make some tough and urgent decisions?
▶ I think decisions are hardest with more people involved. For example, everybody wants input. It is important to gather input. But there is a difference between providing input and having a vote. Too many votes lead to bad decisions. Applying that to my role, I don’t want to make decisions for issues I am on the periphery. My team needs to make the decision themselves. They are in the epicentre of the issue. They need to make the call.
[BONUS] Name one to three books, that helped you to become a better leader?
If you have any questions to Mark, please leave your comment below!
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Happy Monday! 🔥
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