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PRESIDENT’S PLATFORM | Building New Stories: Using the Gift

March 29th, 2017

Featured Author

Robin Carathanasis

Marketing Manager

Lilker Associates

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  • President 2016-17, SMPS New York

Giving and receiving gifts is always a welcome activity in my life. It brings such joy to see the receiver of a gift light up with glee when they receive something special. And truth be told, I love getting a present (hint, hint-JK), especially when it is a surprise. Being the recipient of the gift has its own special sentiments especially when the offering is an expression of the thoughtfulness of the giver. I had the good fortune earlier this year of being part of a workshop exercise, which asked each of us to actively listen to the goals of our group members, as expressed through a story. We had to respond with a suggestion that would help them bring a goal or aspiration one step closer to realization. Our group of marketers, of varying experience levels, had to openly relate a goal, personal or professional and in return those of us listening gave our written response on a gift card. The recipient of the gift card could then do as they wish with the gift.

If you’re like me, goals such as bringing a new project to fruition, cleaning up the photo files/CRM data base, training sessions for technical staff or being mindful of an interpersonal conflict are part and parcel of our everyday work lives. Yet our more elusive goals are ones that somehow don’t always get the focus and TLC that they need. So many of these seem ethereal in nature, constantly shifting and changing, blowing in the wind, depending on what’s happening in the day to day of our work and/or personal life. Yet for so many of us, these are the aspirations that really matter.

Often those lofty ideas and goals get put on hold, lost to another day or don’t get recognized or realized at all. Despite the day to day stuff that seems to keep us from working on these higher ideals, they stubbornly keep appearing on to our “to do” list. Obviously, they must be important. We tell ourselves to keep them in the forefront so when that sliver of time opens up, we can give it our focus and energy and make the effort to bring ourselves closer to goal achievement.

Research tells us that writing things down or sharing your objective with someone else is a method to improve the odds for success. It seemed to me that the gift card exercise at TME could be a perfect way to test out this theory. Did this sharing of information and the receiving of positive commentary help anyone with their efforts? I thought I would check in to see how some of my group members were faring with their goals and actionable items. I’m encouraged by so many of the responses that I heard and want to share one.

One colleague made the bold move and took it upon himself to redesign a piece of collateral material for the firm. He presented it to his immediate supervisor as well as to one of the partners. It was reviewed and as so often happens, put on the proverbial ‘corporate backburner.’ Yet he chose not to sit around and wait, but moved on to the next design piece which then happened to get picked by a media channel. This recognition immediately caught the attention of the firm’s leadership and he was recognized for his efforts. And now when he goes back to his desk, he looks just below his computer screen and views the gift cards he received a few months ago. That effort gained him acknowledgement from his leadership team and a ‘green light to go ahead with the redesign of the collateral materials. He had, on the positive side of the ledger, increased his knowledge, visibility and most importantly-his boundaries. Is there a lesson here; perhaps it is to share your ideas and encouragements, for these are the things that motivate you.

Call it motivation, a wake – up call, borrowing ideas or stepping up to the plate through another’s challenge. You might want to apply this “gift” to an area of your life that needs a nudge to move forward, whether it be a brilliant career move, self-reflection or remembering that it’s okay to be BOLD.

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