Have you noticed that whenever we have enjoyed a great year, we are always comfortable looking back with satisfaction - maybe even a certain level of smugness - and mostly pride? Conversely, when the previous twelve months threw up all manner of disappointments, insurmountable challenges, even tragedy, not unnaturally we are anxious to put it all behind us, sneak into the New Year as rapidly as possible - and erase it from memory.
So then, how fortunate am I? I am able to look back on 2010 with considerable pride and gratitude.
Gratitude? Yes, genuine gratitude for being presented with the opportunity to work with so many richly talented, visionary, and equally committed friends, acquaintances, and colleagues - my kind of people.
Committed? Yes, committed to continually raising the bar; advancing this wonderful profession of ours; being prepared to go "where no man (or woman) has been before" After all, you can only challenge paradigms if you are able to recognize that paradigms exist. Equally, you can only look outside the box if you are prepared to accept that you are residing within one.
But there is no time to tarry too long - no smugness here - so much more to achieve in 2011. Am I excited about what's coming next? Bet on it! More about all of that tomorrow - my 2011 objectives posted here for all to see - so I will have to achieve them. I am going to stride into 2011.
Just to say, that if Osborne was still around, I might be tempted to ask him to write something new - "Look Back In Pride"
So what about my 2010?
My primary focus as we entered the New Year was of course Top Sales World. The expectation was that we would launch "early Spring" A genuine case of best laid plans.....
Having taken the decision that this was a project too far for our internal team, we found a wonderful company, who I identified immediately would be able to translate my vision into reality - Obi Design - and I was right. They came up with a superb design, which is what we have today, but then as ten resource areas became fifteen, which became twenty, it was apparent that we were quickly running over budget - and that is something I was totally uncomfortable with. Experience has taught me that when budgets are slightly exceeded so early in a project, they will inevitably be greatly exceeded by the end - it is a fact of commercial life.
To cut quite a long story very short, we re-thought our strategy, brought the project back in-house, challenged the team, and came in a few months late - with just enough left in the budget to take them down the pub to celebrate!
Then we decided to bring all of our initiatives under one roof and the JF Corporation was formed - but with two distinct operating divisions, which I'll describe in greater detail tomorrow as we move into top gear in 2011.
JF Consultancy and JF Blogit both enjoyed a make-over. And I made some serious decisions about the direction I want to go with both of those - again, more tomorrow. However, I can tell you that I have no intention of canning the Blogit! Visitor numbers increased by 48% in 2010, which represents consistent growth over four years - and of course we passed the 1000 posts marker in October.
Away from home, I am still writing for AllBusiness, Salesforce, t-mobile, and a host of other sites, and may that side of my "activities" long continue - so please keep the invitations coming!
At the beginning of November, I had an idea - nothing unusual about that, as I have several every week - but this one kept forcing itself to the very front of that part of my brain which demands action, totally by-passing the "pending" part.
It occurred to me that there was not an online ceremony to recognize outstanding quality - personalities/products/solutions/books/articles/blogs - or, come to that, a site which annually lauded all of this. So we did what any self-respecting crusaders would do, we created it all. From conception to launch in just thirty-two days.
Did it all go smoothly? Don't be silly! Liaising with ninety-eight nominees, twenty-something sponsors, thirty-two judges, fourteen guests, the occasional instance of "robot voting," two very sore losers - but only two, maintaining the spirits of a very small back-room team, whenever they insisted on getting a full night's sleep ......was all very challenging, but we pulled it off. Top Sales Awards is born!
Congratulations - again - to all the very worthy winners. Very special thanks to the wonderful guests, who were so patient and supportive - before, during, and after the inaugural event. I also need to express my gratitude to my co-host, Gerhard Gschwandtner. It was like intelligent, suave, worldly, charming, witty European meets internationally acclaimed entrepreneur, sales guru and giant in the sales space ... and I also helped out
2010 was also a good year for making lots of new acquaintances, many of whom will develop into friends, I feel certain. And I only lost one, as far as I know - same old problem, I am afraid, found severely wanting in the all-important ethics department. But, I have been receiving tuition from a very good chum, and I am now incredibly adept at turning both cheeks - at the same time!
So that was the year that was, and if you think "Phew" is appropriate, wait until you see all of my objectives for 2011 tomorrow - 2010 was a vacation in comparison.
Finally, I want to thank that "back-room" team who I alluded to earlier. No need to mention them individually, all of my business friends know them too, and respect them as much as I do. Thank you! For your continuing faith, belief, trust - you are the very best!