PRspectives BLOG

COO’s Corner: 5 Resolutions for Business Leaders to Consider in 2021

COO’s Corner: 5 Resolutions for Business Leaders to Consider in 2021

Resolution season is well underway. After the year we’ve all had, our goals and areas of focus may be a little different in 2021. Here are five suggested resolutions for those in leadership positions to keep in mind as we all prepare for a successful year ahead!

Establish a mentorship program

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Relationships are extremely powerful, and there’s nothing like the relationship between a mentor and a mentee. Mentors are especially great to establish for new hires to help them learn the ropes, develop those crucial relationships and fine-tune their skills, but also consider how these principles can be applied to your team long term. Of course, organizations already have informal mentorships as employees look to each other for guidance. However, if your team doesn’t have a formal mentorship program in place, consider creating a structure where identified mentors and mentees meet regularly and tackle set goals and objectives. Established mentoring programs directly contribute to the development of a better trained and more-engaged workforce over time.

Encourage development opportunities – and remember to pursue your own

As a leader, you understand the importance of continued learning and development opportunities. I consistently encourage my team to pursue the opportunities that interest them most, whether they be classes, conferences, workshops or anything in between. At the same time, however, don’t forget to attend to your own professional development! No matter how long you’ve been in the game, there’s always room to learn and grow. For example, All Points PR Senior Director Bailey Hewitt and I each recently earned a Leadership Certificate from Northwestern University’s Professional Development Program last year. In 2021, I not only encourage my own team to refine their skills and explore new opportunities, but I’m also seeking out my own continued education. As you would envision for your team, never stop growing and improving upon your craft as well.

Fine-tune your team’s Zoom etiquette

In the spirit of self-improvement, now might be a good time for your team to brush up on Zoom etiquette and best practices. One way you can lead this initiative is by setting up mock calls with your team, individually or in groups. It can be easy for team members to behave more casually during internal meetings via Zoom. If you frame these mock calls in a different setting, such as if they were on a call with a client or key stakeholder, this will allow you to better observe their behaviors. Note areas of success and improvement among each team member during these calls and present your findings afterward. 

Strive to maintain balance

This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s so important that you maintain balance in your life to avoid burnout. With many of us working from home, the lines can become quite blurry when it comes to leaving work mode and entering at-home mode, and vice versa. Strive to create a balance between your life in and out of the workplace by setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them. And, don’t forget to take breaks! Step away from the computer and do something for yourself during lunchtime, whether it’s getting some fresh air or reading a book. Finally, we’ve left a challenging year behind, but there’s still plenty of stressful issues and uncertainties in today’s world. Know when it’s time to put down your phone, turn off the TV and focus on you – not the news.

 Be ready to roll with the punches

If there’s one lesson I’ve taken away from 2020, it’s that you need to be ready to roll with the punches. Expect the unexpected and know that not everything in life goes as planned. You’ve adapted, faced your own adversities and overcome barriers before – trust that you’re prepared to deal with the new year ahead and any obstacles you may face. Resolve to handle them as best as you can, because all you can do is try your best.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points Matches Holiday Gift Exchange Purchases to Benefit Local Food Pantry

All Points Matches Holiday Gift Exchange Purchases to Benefit Local Food Pantry

On Friday, December 18, the All Points PR team gathered virtually over Zoom for our annual holiday party.

The festivities kicked off with an end-of-year highlights video put together by COO & Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks. From the International Franchise Association (IFA) Convention in February to virtual happy hours, “twin day” and office game nights, there were a ton of fun photos and moments to look back on together!

Then, President Jamie Izaks hosted the third annual APPR Awards alongside Lauren, honoring individual and team accomplishments throughout the office over the past year. An employee secret gift exchange and a Murder Mystery Zoom Party, presented by The Murder Mystery Company, followed the awards. The mystery was centered around a holiday train-ride theme, and each All Points team member was assigned a wacky character to play as the murder mystery unfolded. Many members dressed in costume to take it to the next level!

In the spirit of giving, All Points matched the value of the employee secret gift exchange to benefit a local food pantry. APPR donated $400 to the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines, a not-for-profit organization serving Des Plaines, Illinois residents with groceries and clothing during a time of need. They were the runner up in our PRo Community Project, an initiative providing pro bono integrated public relations services to Chicagoland nonprofits.

The holiday party served as a wonderful time for the team to celebrate with one another and gear up for the new year ahead. And, reflecting on the team’s unwavering commitment to positively impact the communities in which we live and work, All Points is proud to extend our support a time when it’s needed most.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

COO’s Corner: How to Start the New Year Successfully

COO’s Corner: How to Start the New Year Successfully

The new year is finally upon us, and as I’m sure many of you would agree, it couldn’t have come soon enough. 2020 was a unique time to say the least, and with more promising days now in sight, there’s never been a better time to ensure you’re feeling fresh, focused and ready to take on 2021. Here are three things you can do to start off the new year successfully.

Evaluate your goals – and keep them in a safe place

The new year is often considered a clean slate. It’s “resolution season,” and many feel the pressure to set fresh, sometimes lofty goals in order to start the year off “right.” However, it’s important that you don’t leave behind the goals you set over the past year – ones that you’re still working on. For example, if your goal was to run a marathon last year and it just didn’t happen, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed or it’s time to move on. Not every goal has a clear timeline, and it’s okay if you haven’t accomplished everything you’ve set out to yet – especially in a year like 2020.

I highly recommend evaluating your goals, old and new, and focus on the ones that will only better yourself in the weeks, months and years ahead. And, don’t forget to keep them in a safe place! Meaning, ensure you physically write down your goals somewhere that’s easily accessible. Try jotting them down in a planner, journal – even the notes app on your phone will work. When your goals are kept in sight, you’re better equipped to take smaller actions each and every day that will help you crush them in the long run.

Take stock

In addition to taking a closer look at your goals and what you want to accomplish, don’t forget to reflect on the things you already did! Rather than focusing on how challenging the past year was and holding on to negativity, celebrate the wins, big and small, that you achieved despite the roadblocks.

Start the new year by appreciating the good change in your life. Think – what went well for me last year? What improvements did I make? What relationships did I build? What did I remove from or add into my life that’s now making me happier? I’m sure you’ll remember more good things that happened than you’re giving the year credit for.

Prioritize your mental health and wellness 

While physical health and fitness are a typical focus during the new year, don’t forget to tend to your mental health and wellness, too. There are plenty of little things you can to do get started. Limit your screen time, get some fresh air or start a journal. Make sure you’re allowing yourself time to pause, reflect and better understand your thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and understand that it’s okay to take a step back and focus on YOU. Every single one of us has faced our fair share of challenges that have been physically and mentally draining, and you can’t pour from an empty cup. Putting your mental health first and optimizing your well-being will only benefit you and your growth in the months ahead.

Wishing you all a healthy, safe and happy start to the new year!

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

NIFA Q4 Recap: Navigating the New Year

NIFA Q4 Recap: Navigating the New Year

On Tuesday, December 15, the Northern Illinois Franchise Association (NIFA) hosted its Q4 virtual event, “Navigating the New Year,” sponsored by All Points Public Relations and Marks & Klein. It was an informative event, and we’d like to thank all those who could attend for their thoughtful participation.

The event kicked off with insights from U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), a local congressman with deep connections to the franchising industry. Representing Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs that comprise Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, Rep. Krishnamoorthi discussed the business forecast for the region amid recovery, touching specifically on franchising in 2021.

Managing Partners Tom Wells and Scott Pressly with 10 Point Capital then took the virtual stage to offer their perspectives on the state of the franchising industry and what’s to come. The 10 Point Capital team brings over 75 years of experience in the franchise industry, including experience in investing in and operating both franchisors and franchisees. The team has invested in over 40 franchise transactions, has been franchisees for seven concepts and has worked for four franchisors. Its brand portfolio includes Phenix Salon Suites, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux and Slim Chickens.

If  you would like to view the discussion from the NIFA Q4 event, click here to download the video recording, and click here to download the presentation deck.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Rep. Krishnamoorthi, Tom Wells and Scott Pressly for making this event possible. Your insights, strong connections and extensive knowledge of the franchising community fueled a valuable discussion as we set the stage for franchising in 2021 and beyond.

It’s important that we continue to foster these connections and share best practices in the new year. We encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning several wonderful 2021 events and hope to see everyone in person in the near future. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

The NIFA wishes you a safe and healthy holiday season! 

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

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