I love this time of year for self-reflection. There’s always room to revisit your personal strategic plan. One of the big questions I’ve been asking of clients (and myself) is: What did you learn this year?

I find that each year you learn two or three really big things. You need to recognize them, make them a part of you (or NOT), and become wiser.

Here is my answer.

What I learned Personally:

1. First team first.
Seeing colleagues have their oldest and/or youngest kid go off to college has shown me how powerful it is when your kids leave. My eldest is twelve. That leaves me 5 years (and really maybe two before he’s driving) to create a strong bond that will last a lifetime, make sure our values are shown and known, and that they see a healthy spousal relationship.
This year I’ve been intentional to create carefree timeless moments with each kid and my wife. We also went through a process to define our family values which we’ll officially unveil as artwork in our house early in 2019.

2. Love is action.

I read Andy Stanley’s book, Irresistible, and it changed my perspective on love and how much more it can be an action and not just a feeling.

He challenged that we need to add one question to our lists.

What would love have me do here?

In it, he stresses that in all situations, asking yourself this one question will keep you grounded and heading in the right direction. It’s also an action question. What action will you take in love? The freedom and boldness of the question allows for all types of love. I do this poorly. I learned it this year. I’m going to try and make it a part of my internal DNA in 2019. (This works in business to, try it.)

3. I am a writer.

Are you reading this? It’s on accident. I didn’t mean to become a writer. Who said I was a writer? I did, when I just said it. No one named me one.
It started as a small research project and has turned into a book (which you’ll hear more about in 2019!) and weekly blogging for Acumen. At this time last year, writing was outside my comfort zone, felt funny so I had to push myself to do it. I was scared I would run out of things to write. It’s funny, it’s actually the other way around; too many things, what do you concentrate on?
I’m excited about this new thing. It’s a monster that I am learning to love and am scared about how it’s going to manifest. I have a lot of room to improve. I also have a new tool in the kitbag that I didn’t have last year.

What we learned from the Acumen Community:

1. Without an Operating System, you cannot scale

More partners are implementing or upgrading their organizational operating system than ever before. What has become clear, is in this new world of fast pace and constant change – an operating system limits the noise so you can concentrate on what is the highest and best use of your team and time. Companies without one have a fixed ceiling.

2. Digital Strategy is key for EVERYONE

What is your plan of attack when it comes to technology? If you don’t have an intentional strategy then this is something to discuss in 2019. Every company (even yours) is a technology company and needs a proactive strategy to at least keep up with competition.

3. Moving to the Board

We’re seeing a trend of business owners continue their transition plans and move to a “board” position. These aren’t public companies. These are the small and medium businesses that you work with on a daily basis that want to maintain their platform for Impact and influence versus sell and go off on their next adventure or “retire.” This is an interesting trend that we’ll keep our eye on for future writing.

What did you personally learn this year?

What did learn about your business and from your clients this year?

Dan Cooper
Post by Dan Cooper
December 20, 2018
Dan Cooper co-founded ej4, a video-based online training company, in 2003, and was its CEO until selling in 2012. During his time with ej4, he grew the company from a startup to a nationally-recognized firm, serving clients including Pepsi-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Honeywell, Monsanto and Syngenta. Channel partners included SAP and Oracle. As of the 2012, ej4 was serving 1,000+ customers, delivering millions of program views, was highly profitable and debt-free. Today, he is the CEO of Acumen, a mastermind community platform built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies. He and his wife, Ali, have three children and attend Cure of Ars church in Leawood, KS. Dan enjoys running, all things soccer — coaching, playing and watching —and burning all types of meat on the backyard barbecue grill.