Agency Guest Blog: By Robin Skidmore, CEO, Journey Further

The turning of a new year acts like a trigger to me. A time to take stock, reflect and create a new and improved plan for the year ahead. 2019 has been pretty fast -paced for Journey Further. In our 3rd year we have doubled headcount (25 – 55), launched new services (Influencer Marketing, CRO + Creative) and opened two new offices in Leeds and Manchester. With so much going on, it’s easy to lose sight of the original vision and purpose of the business.

I think people start every new year with great intentions, plans to change bad habits and to achieve greater than the year before. In reality, projects started aren’t finished, the big stuff doesn’t get the priority and instead of delivering change, we revert to autopilot and continue in the lane we are always comfortable travelling in. The same exists in business and those businesses that force change and innovate ultimately win.

Each year the shareholders at Journey Further escape the office and retreat to the Yorkshire Dales for two days. We spend a lot of time preparing for this event (we go in November) as it’s a rare and crucial time for the 9 of us to get together without distraction. We are very fortunate to be based so close to one of the most beautiful parts of the country and being out of the city gives us a chance to take a step back and think.


The two days cover –

1. Reflection – let’s take a breath and recognise what we have achieved this year. What has been great and not so great? What would we do differently next year and what can we be really proud of?

2. Personal happiness – we shared our personal ‘happiness objectives’ 12 months ago and listed them together as a reference point of what’s important. As a relatively new group of people working together for the first time, it’s critical that we understand what we all want and what is important to us. I am a firm believer that if we look after the people in our business and nurture the culture everything else will follow. We have lost 1 team member in 3 years.

3. 2020 game plan – where is the market moving? Where should we strengthen, change or adapt? What ambitions have we got for growth, culture, clients and our team? We devise our new plan and allocate responsibilities and agree delivery plans.

4. Hit ‘reset’ – every year we hold a meeting amnesty and cull every meeting in the business. Unnecessary meetings kill productivity so instead of blindly continuing we hit reset and start again.

These two days are the most important in my calendar. The time allows us to create a collaborative plan and removes any ambiguity around our purpose and what success looks like. It’s also a time to have fun, get to know each other on a deeper level, drink too much alcohol and walk through beautiful Yorkshire countryside to clear busy minds.

The plans are now agreed, and I can’t wait to see what success 2020 brings.