• Views February 1, 2012

Arlo the PuppyIím Emily Shirden, a managing associate in our Chicago office. It comes as no surprise weíve been talking a lot about new beginnings of late.† The launch of Finn Partners is just a start!† Itís also that magical time of year when creative minds come together in conference rooms to brainstorm strategic plans for the year ahead.†† As I sat with brainstorming notes and a fresh PowerPoint deck in front of me the other night, I couldnít help but think of the unsolicited advice Iíve been given about another fresh start in my life.†† Iím getting my first puppy in a few short weeks.† The more I thought about it, everything I need to know about raising a puppy, I already learned at Finn Partners.

1. †Focus on what you want, not what you donít want. I was told to teach the puppy to sit when greeting people. Donít just yell at him for jumping up.† Here at Finn Partners, we want to aim high and focus on the end goals and objectives, especially when brainstorming a new program.† What would be a key win for the client Ė a hit on CNBC? An exclusive in USA Today?† Growing Facebook ďlikesĒ by 300 percent?† Focusing in on how we get to those wins and how we can all work together to deliver positive results is something Iíve already been trained to do.

2.† Make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the puppy rules with family and friends who will play a significant role in his life. At Finn Partners, this relates back to the importance of making sure everyone comes to the table with the background they need and is up-to-date on anticipated deadlines and results.† Ongoing communications with internal teams, clients and vendors assure that everyone is working towards the same goal and delivering on expectations.† While I donít believe the vet was referring to status calls and frequent chats with the client, thatís how I assure all my teams are going to deliver anticipated results.† What do you do?

3.† Baby gates are your friend. Physical baby gates may save my rugs, but mental ones can work wonders if brainstorming conversations keep circling back on one topic or focusing on a ďcanítĒ instead of a ďhow can we?Ē Here at Finn Partners, weíre all firm believers in focusing in on what we can change and keeping out the second-guessing, especially when coming up with big ideas for the year ahead.

4.† Set a routine. Potty training, apparently, proceeds more smoothly if the puppy knows what to expect every day. Iíve got this one under control, too.† My teams will tell you Iím a sucker for schedules.† One of the first things we teach junior staff at Finn Partners is the simplest, easiest way to build trust with media and clients is to deliver promises on time and of course, produce project trackers to clients like clockwork on the agreed-upon schedule.

5. Supervise, supervise, supervise. If you cannot watch the puppy like a hawk, he needs to be in his crate or in his ďroom,Ē they say.† PR and social media programs need to be watched constantly, too.† †We live in a fast-paced world.† Checking in on metrics quarterly no longer works.† If engagement isnít as high as youíd like it to be on a social media program, you need to know in week two, not week 10.† If media arenít responding to a pitch, itís better to re-strategize after a day, instead of a week.† Keeping a close eye on all programs, and being ready to change the course as needed, once again, is a nod to account management at Finn Partners.

You see Ė everything I need to know about being a puppy parent, I already learned from the partnership of professionals I have the honor of working with daily.† What else can you add to this list?