Keeping up with trends can often feel like a full-time job. One of my most dreaded conversations starts with, "Have you heard about..." and, in my mind, I'm already groaning, "Oh no. Here comes the new hot trend that I should know about but don't."

Maybe if I just nod and smile, I'll get by until I can Google it and learn more. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, and you're tired of feeling like you're always one step behind in the professional world, you're not alone.

The rapid pace at which new trends emerge and evolve can be overwhelming, even for the most seasoned leaders and managers of small businesses and nonprofits. But there's good news: staying informed and relevant doesn't have to be daunting.

Here's some practical help on how to stay in the loop while maintaining your sanity. First and foremost, it's essential to acknowledge that no one can be an expert on everything, and that's okay.

The key to effectively keeping up with trends is not about scrambling to catch up with every new buzzword or technology that comes your way. Instead, it's about developing a strategic approach to trend monitoring that aligns with your organizational goals and enhances your leadership toolkit.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Are you talking about social media? You need to be on it. Numerous individuals have sworn off social media yet attempted to critique or understand its dynamics from the sidelines. The reality is that the best education is hands-on. Create a TikTok account, explore, and interact.

I spoke with a 73-year-old entrepreneur who has had the most success with his TikTok account. The insights gained from direct experience are invaluable and often provide a deeper understanding of emerging trends and how they can be applied or adapted to your specific context.

Become a Life-Long Learner

The commitment to never stop learning is vital. I've incorporated a few podcasts into my routine, regularly read blogs, and participate in forums that keep me informed about new trends in digital marketing, small business growth, and fundraising. This habit ensures a constant influx of fresh ideas and perspectives, enriching my approach to strategy and decision-making.

Engage Experts

While I helm The A Group, I'm far from an expert in every facet of our work. That's where the value of working closely with experts comes in. These collaborations enable me to stay deep in the weeds of our strategies and tactics without needing to be the hands-on expert in everything. Understanding the tools, their capabilities, and their innovation potential allows for a holistic view of our operations and future possibilities.

Give It a Try: Call It a Test

Fear of failure often holds us back from experimenting with new ideas. However, if we frame these attempts as tests, the pressure eases. I love tests! Regardless of the outcome, every test yields learning, echoing the scientific method where failure is a step toward success. This mindset encourages innovation and risk-taking, which are essential for growth and adaptation in a rapidly changing landscape.

Don't Be a Cynic

Past failures shouldn't deter future attempts. Just because something didn't work before doesn't mean it won't work now. The variables and conditions change; what was once a misstep could lead to success under different circumstances. Adopt a mindset of iteration: try, learn, and try again. This approach fosters resilience and opens the door to discovering effective strategies and tactics that might have been overlooked or prematurely dismissed. Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine can transform how you view and respond to trends. The goal isn't merely to keep up but to understand, adapt, and leverage these trends to bolster your leadership and drive your organization forward. Remember, curiosity, openness to learning, and a willingness to experiment are your greatest allies in the realm of trends and innovation.

Digital Growth Strategies