Blake Dowling: Go team! Set some goals and go virtual for 2021

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Have you set your goals for 2021?

2021 is here.

Feels pretty much like 2020.

Congrats on pivoting (the 2020 word of the year) to the finish line; now it’s time to start your engines and do it all over again.

Regardless of last year’s vibe (or this one’s), our management team gathers every January on a Saturday at the coast to lay out some goals for the year.

We review last year (that should be interesting this time around), budgets, some team building (jet ski races/sand-castle building competitions) and set goals.

Then, of course, the Saturday closer — steaks and beer.

The Aegis management team prepares for strategic planning with a high-level meeting at Madison Social/Tally.

Last week, the year certainly started out of the gate lighting fast, with our first few events already lined up.

Next week our “Virtual Lunch and Learn” series kicks off; the topic is on-point as our virtual event is all about “virtual events.”

The event will show people what is needed to host meetings online, especially when they need something more than a standard Zoom call. In years past, we had around 20 guests for Lunch and Learns at our Tallahassee headquarters.

But since going virtual last year we have had 50+ registrants, which is cool.

The following week, we continue our “Biz & Tech” podcast series, joined by Capital City Consulting lobbyist/co-founder, Nick Iarossi. That should be an awesome chat to start our 2021 line up of guests; look for it later in the month. We talk racing, lobbying, football and all things Florida.

Nick is awesome, it is going to be a home-run show. Plus, our team has a slew of cloud and hardware projects, consulting engagements, and cybersecurity chats being lined up as we crank up 2021.

I am sure most of you have some sort of strategic planning mechanism in place. But if you don’t, this column is for you.

As consultants by trade, it’s easy to forget sometimes that we might also benefit from a little consulting.

I try my best to never kick this time from the calendar.

I spoke with Mickey Moore of Moore Business Strategies in Tallahassee about the importance of bringing in a third party to a strategic planning session.

Moore offered the following: “When you commit to a strategic plan — i.e. setting goals, objectives and strategies — for your business, you can’t overstate its value in terms of providing clear direction and consistent messaging to your team members, clients, donors, strategic partners, vendors, investors and volunteers!”

Thanks, Mickey; we appreciate you.

Another bonus of a third party in the room is everyone is on their best behavior. This might not be an issue for our squad; but for some of you out there, this may be the case. Not only do third parties keep people in line, on time and motivated, it really allows for both information and ideas to flow.

Blocking out some time for brainstorming and creativity is golden — having someone to guide the exercise is huge.

Over the years, some of our greatest innovations took place in Franklin County, as getting out of the normal work environment is just as important as having a third-party facilitator.

The final piece is the weekend. Who of you reading this could devote an entire (uninterrupted) day to an activity like this — no calls, teams, Slack (ouch on that outage this week), texts, Zoom and other distractions getting in the way.

On this topic, there are a lot of resources to check out: In South Florida, Metaspire can take your organization through a strategic planning deep dive. And they have an interesting website. One testimonial says they provide a “fresh set up eyes” to a client’s business.

Who couldn’t benefit from that?

Personally, I prefer working with Mickey here in town, which includes feedback from all staff in a pre-meeting survey, reviewing, setting goals, and then following up as we achieve them.

It is all about checking the boxes. not just saying you’re going to do it.

As I search for the cure for Zoom-itis (Zoom overload) and plan ahead for 2021, I want to make sure to say thank everyone for reading my columns in 2020.

In the coming months, I have plans for these columns in the coming months (speaking of goals) and I look forward to sharing them with you all very soon.

Happy New Year, take it easy — and set some goals.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies, the host of the Biz & Tech podcast, and he plans on setting many goals in 2021 including not eating and drinking everything in the house (like the past two months #holidayseason).

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at


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