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Mack McKelvey Quotes

Erin Mack McKelvey

Mack McKelvey quotes: some damn-good advice from the SalientMG founder.

“What are the goals and milestones that you set, whether you’re a company or an individual? What do you have to do to get there?”

“It’s about what are you doing today and really more importantly, what are you doing tomorrow, and that’s a big, hard lesson. You got to learn it every day. There is no end goal.”

“You have to think bigger than people expect. Like, what’s the audacious dream? Be audacious. What’s the audacious dream? What’s the audacious state? Maybe mapping to that is what we should be aspiring for. Not what can I do, but audaciously what could I do if I had every bit of resource and I had every bit of time and I had every bit of energy and what’s the audacious goal?”

“Pause and reflect on the previous year’s successes and missed opportunities. It should also mark the time that leaders are focused on the coming year’s goals and milestones. Business milestones are one thing; resolutions are another.”

“The truth is that there aren’t stops and starts in business. In order to gain and sustain momentum, planning and execution must be fluid. Constant testing and learning, and continuous improvements based on results strengthen an organization. A company’s business goals and milestones should reflect the overall business plan for the year and company strategy. Stops and starts indicate a company’s tendency to live only in the short-term. And unfortunately, a short-term mentality is usually what derails a company, causing internal chaos and overloading employees.”

“Resolutions usually reflect short-term thinking. In fact, only 8% of those who make resolutions achieve their goals. That is an abysmal success rate. The success rate also highlights the flawed thinking about resolutions. The top 10 resolutions are personal in nature: weight loss, organization, financial discipline, fitness and habit quitting—to name a few.”

“So is there a reason people don’t stick to their resolutions? Professionals’ answers are mixed. Some believe that many don’t have a plan to achieve these ‘goals,’ while others believe that many rush into an idea, like weight loss, without a plan to sustain the goal once it’s reached. And others believe the lack of actual incentives force resolution-makers off target. If 92% of those that set personal resolutions don’t achieve them, what does that say for the professional world? I don’t see a place for New Year’s resolutions in business. We cannot afford failure rates that high in any sector.”

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, once said, ‘Some habits of ineffectiveness are rooted in our social conditioning toward quick-fix, short-term thinking.’ This is how I feel about resolutions. While I respect those that have resolutions, and even more so if they see them until the end, as the CEO of a strategic marketing firm, my New Year’s resolution is not to have one. I will keep my business executing against the overall strategy, and I will force the discipline to meet our designated goals. As an individual, could I say that I plan to improve myself? I certainly strive for that on an ongoing basis, but not at the start of each year. That too is a marathon, not a sprint.”

“Focus on your product. To build a strong company foundation, focus your team on creating the best possible product from day one. Listen to customer feedback to help continuously evolve your product. You will spend less on marketing and will have stronger customer relationships if you have a go-to-market strategy from the beginning.”

“Delay hiring as long as possible; but invest in contracted experts. Hire when you have a staffing plan and the revenue to attract, retain and engage employees. This is one of the hardest areas for all companies; as unforeseen circumstances can override even the best of plans.”

“Have a long-term strategy. Keep your eyes on the horizon, not in the rearview mirror. You cannot afford distractions. Stay focused on executing your strategy and product roadmap. Evolve or seize opportunity only when it is highly-researched and ensured that it will bring strategic returns and long-term growth.”

“The line of people ready to offer advice will be long. And it may be tempting to listen to them all—don’t. Many will be time-thieves, as they do not have a vested interest in your success. You don’t necessarily need formal advisors from day one; focus on building your company first. When it comes time, choose your advisors with great care.”

“Nurture your brand. Your initial customers will likely be from your personal network, so constantly nurture your brand. Utilize social media and thought leadership opportunities; speak at conferences that will further your business. Be selective with your time, but be visible. Be consistent and authentic. Think of your personal brand as a key driver of the company’s success, as investors invest in people; clients buy from people; and people work for people.”

“Personality matters. There will always be indecisive, impatient and even combative customers. You don’t know what their days have been like, but you have the power to change the outcome. Be patient. Smile. Be empathetic. You’ll be far more successful in the long run.”

“There are five facets that are inextricably linked to productivity: planning, time management, accountability, measurement and reward. Each facet is equally as important to the company and the individual; and a combination of all five will lead to the highest level of productivity.”

“Nothing can be achieved without a plan of attack. Get your objective off a to-do list and place it in a format that is easy to update, understand and distribute.”

“Productivity can only be achieved by testing the right mix until the individual figures out the time management formula that works best for them. Knowing how and when you are most productive is crucial. We should already know how to best structure our days and work accordingly.”

“Measurement and reporting provide transparency and keep us focused and accountable. We are less inclined to jam our days with calls or unnecessary meetings when deadlines are looming. Few like burning the midnight oil to complete an assignment and even fewer can sustain working last minute for the long-term.”

“Recognition and reward that compensates teams, or super star performance by individuals, communicates that you value your employees. Recognizing value has a profound impact on the productivity of individuals and teams.”

“I choose to believe that people are inherently good. I run my company with the same mindset. I believe my employees, contractors, clients and partners have intentions as good as mine. But when you run a company there will inevitably come a time when you will need to let people go, end client relationships, and retire partnerships in the best interest of the business. These are all difficult situations to navigate, which is why how you handle the situation will help you determine whether or not you’ve burned a bridge.”

“Employees often have little information about company issues despite the fact that their livelihoods may depend on the outcomes. When something difficult is communicated to you, how you react to that information says a lot about the type of leader you are. Despite the fact that these situations throw you off balance, it is possible to maintain control. Absorb the information, ask questions, and process it at your own pace. Handle the situation with poise and keep calm, whether you agree or not with the resolution. Chances are, the person on the other side of the argument will respect and admire how you handle a difficult situation.”

“Honor your contracts. If you owe people, pay them. If they owe you, collect. Be honest and act with integrity. If you aren’t being treated with the same in return, bring in a third party to mediate. Emotions should always be kept out of the conversation.”

“Treat people with respect and kindness before, during and after a transition. How you handle post-event communications will determine if you have permanently destroyed a relationship or successfully ended it for the time being, with the potential to work together again in the future.”

“If a bridge gets burned and it’s important for you to repair it, make a plan and act quickly. Relationships can be rebuilt, if both parties are willing to take the necessary steps to fix it.”

“You never know how many people are impacted by your decisions, so always act with care.”

“I have made my share of mistakes in handling situations as a CEO. And nothing bothers me more than a negatively severed relationship. However, there are very few former customers, partners or people I’ve hired and let go in my life that I wouldn’t invite into my home, even to this day. Whether they’d accept that invitation is the ultimate test.”

“Be a sponge. Learn everything about your industry, company, and your competitors. Do everything you can to be the most knowledgeable person in the room.”

“Never say ‘no.’ Take on any project that will progress your knowledge and experience; better yet, seek them out. Be proactive. Be positive. And most of all, be a team player.”

“Get out of your comfort zone. I left my home to start a career in an industry I knew nothing about and in a completely foreign city. But outside of that, I didn’t stray out of my comfort zone regularly. And I realize now I should have. Being uncomfortable actually made me a smarter worker.”

“Be collaborative. You don’t always have to be a ‘bull in a China shop.’ I had a boss who reminded me that it wasn’t what I accomplished; it was how it was accomplished that was remembered.”

“Find a mentor. Seek out someone who sees potential in you and can help you navigate your career. Be organized and thoughtful with this person; your mentor is not your therapist. Don’t waste this relationship.”

“Whether these mentor relationships were short or long, it doesn’t negate the impact each had on my life and career. From all of my mentors, I have learned that it was critical for me to create my own path and to hold onto those characteristics that made me unique.”

“Now as a mentor myself, I recognize that it may not be my decision whether I am in these rising stars’ lives for a reason, or a season or a lifetime. Yet, if I can leave an impression on my mentees as my mentors have for me, I feel like I have passed on an incredible gift.”

“Travel often. Take every possible business trip while you’re young. While on the road, watch and learn from your superiors. Learning how to travel efficiently is not a luxury as your career progresses, it’s expected. Plus, you never know what adventures you’ll have, people you’ll meet, or life lessons you’ll gain.”

“Think globally. Study different languages and cultures; understand how people work across the globe. And, if you have any opportunity to travel internationally or work abroad at this young age, do it. You will not necessarily be able to leverage a similar opportunity in the future.”

“Have a balance. I have played competitive sports my entire life. However, working three jobs in Denver left me with very little time to do any outside activities. I was obsessed with my career and didn’t learn anything about work-life balance until my late thirties. When you make time for activities outside of work, you’ll actually end up being more productive while in the office.”

“After working in marketing for over 20 years, I’ve seen enough to know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all career path. Personally, I think these nine suggestions may have helped me smooth out the edges of my journey, but truth be told, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

“Knowing your worth is something that I don’t think we’re taught when we’re young, so it makes us uncomfortable when we’re older to think of ourselves almost in monetary terms. You have to think that way. You’re priced at your brand value, just as a company is. You’re paid at your brand value based on your expertise, based on your reputation in the market, based on what value you’re bringing to whatever. You have a value placed to you. You are a brand whether you want to admit it or not. And if you don’t admit it and don’t nurture it, then your brand becomes… again, it’s up to somebody else to determine. I will not let somebody else determine my worth or my brand. I am curating it every day, meaning I’m conscious of it.”

“If you don’t have something that you stand for, you’re not packaging your expertise in a good way, you’re not distributing that expertise, then you fade into the background. You’re just one of many. You have to find a way to break through the clutter. And being visible is literally the only way to do that.”

“Can I do everything? No. Do I mess up? Every day. Do I learn from it and move forward? Of course I do. That’s part of my brand. No one on earth would ever say that I’m perfect because it’s not true, not even kind of. But that’s okay. I don’t think, maybe it’s at my age or my stage in my career, but I cut myself a little bit of a break, a lot more than I used to. But I think it’s always about you can’t trade on yesterday, you have to move forward, and I think that’s what brands do. If you look at brands that have escaped awful crises in their lives or just being sedentary, they’ve done it because they’ve focused and invested in it. And I would say to anyone that isn’t thinking that way you’re doing yourself a big disservice if you don’t invest in yourself. You get one life. This is it. You get one chance to leave a legacy. This is it. So, at what point, do you put your brand value at a high level and invest in yourself?”

“I think it’s interesting to look at the end. It’s scary, but my husband says this all the time, ‘Tomorrow’s not promised today.’ You think of the end as this thing that’s really far down the road and hopefully for everybody it is. Hopefully it is. But it may not be.”

“We have to look up, stop looking down. Look up, look around, and just be pretty pleased with how far you already have brought yourself.”

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