Think about 2018. What do you want it to be? This is the beginning thought process of a highly successful year. We are what we think about. And more importantly, we are what we believe we are.



The end of the year can mean it’s the beginning of your success for next year

So often, we don’t take time to work on our selves. There is always something else to do. Create a day where you can close the office and go off-site. It can be like a retreat. We call it an in-service.  We got the name from the educational system. Educators do this to work on their own educational methods. You probably remember this as a day off.

This creates the opportunity to create accountability and look at team performance.  It’s also a time to enjoy the year’s successes and make plans for a successful 2018. We do these diagnostic sessions for our clients. They help determine insights, which create great marketing opportunities. They can be difficult to find.


An insight is

  1. An undisputed truth or belief
  2. That no one else is doing.
  3. That can be leveraged to make money


The most successful campaigns have this core characteristic. Here are some examples:


Company             Campaign                              Insight

Apple                        Mac vs PC                                Apple users are cool ,PC users are  geeks


Amazon                    Concept                                    People prefer home delivery to shopping


Dove                         Real women                             Real women are not size 0 models



This takes a couple of hours and digs into these issues

  • Setting goals and objectives for 2018
  • Review product offerings in the marketplace
  • Creating a strategy
  • Following with tactics
  • Setting the tone
  • Revisit what your competitors have done well
  • Looking at the Reasons to Believe- that our product or service is special
  • Defining insights
  • Refine your Unique Selling Proposition


Very few materials are needed to do a diagnostic. A whiteboard is extremely helpful. Also, set ground rules for the diagnostic. Ask everyone in the group to speak their mind but be respectful. The perfect size group for a diagnostic is eight to twelve people. This allows for many divergent ideas, but no so many that individuals can be overlooked.


Here are a few tips to set the mood and get the most out of your session


Food – Feed everyone. It’s bound to create a cooperative group.

Get a room!- If you are out of the office, there are no emergencies that pop up or phone calls to answer. You and your people are in the moment.

Get the picture-  Take a picture of the whiteboard when completed and prepare notes immediately afterward.

Create a follow-up schedule- Assign actions to specific people for accountability.

Make it fun- give awards, take breaks, host a nice lunch or a cocktail hour to build on the progress but also to create even better camaraderie.

No phones allowed-   Competing with cell phones or other connected devices divides attention instead of focus.