Sometimes things break. With all sorts of processes and expectations, you will find that somehow, someway, someone will figure out a way to break something. Ether that, or someone will just not follow the process… and things break.
It’s not fun when things break.
It can be embarrasing and not look good.
When the situation looks messy, you are faced with choices. You may have a natural reaction where stress takes over and you begin to hyperventilate (hopefully not). Or, you can take a breath and do your best to be a calm voice of reason and help everyone figure out what has gone wrong.
I recommend a 5 stage approach
- Stop the bleeding. When something has gone wrong, stop the processes and ensure the issue(s) are contained.
- Root Cause Analysis. In the end, a complete RCA should be created so everyone involved understands what happened and what needs to be fixed to safeguard against the issue(s) in the future. However, when you are in the heat of the moment, ensure you at least have a high level of confidence that the root cause is understood so you can fix.
- Give the team time to build a plan to fix. Don’t rush. The worst thing you can do is have a team quickly try to fix something and they accidentally break something else. Make sure the full team participates in solution planning to allow for multiple points of perspective.
- Block and tackle. If the team needs any form of support, be there for them. Favors may need to be asked. Special exceptions may be needed. Be prepared to push.
- Most importantly… COMMUNICATE! Through the whole process of something breaking, regular communication to stakeholders and team members is critical. Ensuring everyone knows what is going on and giving insight into the decisions and steps being made will calm everyone else’s nerves.
Dealing with breaks is not fun, but it is not the end of the world. Keep a steady hand on the wheel and get out of the storm.
My work has commonly involved establishing new solutions to meet specific business needs. With new solutions come new processes.
I am a process nerd. I find it critical to have documented flow charts of all steps that are expected of various teams so everyone can be working from the same set of agreements and instructions.
With that being said, teams need to work in an agile framework where they can change processes as efficiencies are identified.
If you ever think that a process is set, you are thinking about it wrong.
Managing documented processes has to be a part of a teams functional DNA. The idea of empowering team members to find better ways to do things is exciting and highly encouraged.
However, if a processes adjustment is not recorded, those process changes may only be recognized by the small group of ‘in-the-know’ individuals that have hand-shake agreements on adjustments
You have to recognize processes as the playbook for enabling common understanding and scale.
There are 3 key benefits to maintaining process maps.
- Team members can use process maps to visually illustrate where changes can be made.
- New team members can study the process flows to understand how a entire system is managed.
- Leaders can quickly review and understand the flow of work.
It takes work to maintain documentation of processes, but it pays off in the long-run.
Summer time can be grueling. For those like myself with kids, we accommodate a lack of routines that come with school schedules. Remote work is still happening as we teeter towards a post-covid world and schedules are busier than ever. This means homes are being shared by more people, more of the time. It’s loud. It’s busy. It’s crazy.
We find ourselves looking for change or an escape.
We must not forget in all the chaos is that everyone needs to have a break. It’s hard when the sun stays up late, energy levels are high and there are always a ton of opportunities and fun things to do. It is far too easy to let your brain run on non-stop.
You need a break.
While a summer vacation may help people disconnect, it is just as critical to ensure proper rest and calm is incorporated into the summer routine.
It may be weird, but occasionally you should go to bed early.
Disconnect and play a board game.
Do something new!
Being overworked, overstimulated and overstressed is not healthy. The only person that can manage this is you. Take time for yourself and be healthy.
Lately, my focus has been on cybersecurity and recognizing risk. When it comes to marketing applications, typically risk is considered fairly low. However, once you find a vulnerability that could expose confidential information, all of a sudden you become very introspective.
Hearing all the horror stories of major brands unintentionally (or intentionally) leaking customer data or trade secrets can make you become paranoid.
Are all access privileges properly configured? Can you trust your team members? Can you trust your suppliers & partners?
End of the day, I recognize that it is my responsibility to make sure the right processes and safeguards are in-place.
I find there are 5 critical elements that must be in place to help ensure marketing processes are managed effectively and help you sleep better at night.
- Ensure roles & access are managed closely
- Validate that all actions in systems are logged & recorded
- Follow a release process that requires review, sign-off, and accountability
- Require reviews by technically competent teams and technology to evaluate and validate all interactions that will be released publicly are fully understood.
- Be clear with the teams about the need for strict processes and security measures.
The last point is critical. Sometimes it can feel like security reviews and processes are bottlenecks that slow down someones ability to execute quickly.
Be sure the teams understand this is not the intention. The risks are too great to rush. Ensuring all leaders and team members are on the same page in terms of understanding risk potential and having solid understanding of the processes being followed.
Clear communication helps an organization remember they are all on the same team pulling in the same direction.
This blog has not been touched since the beginning of 2020. I’m okay with that. Just acting like 2020 did not happen. Things are getting back to normal. Looking forward to making some updates to the site.
As you may notice, things are pretty basic around here. It is very intentional. I want to block the noise and the shiny distractions. Finding it critical to focus on what matters most. The content here should get to the point.
More to come.