June 4, 2020
Patrick Hennessy, Co-Founder & CEO
What are your big initiatives? How will you operate in the new world? Do you have the right team in place? What do you think your competitors are doing? How will you stay one step ahead?
This thought really hit when I was reviewing the results of our annual client survey. We posed the question: When you don't have an open position or marketing support needs, what would be your #1 reason to meet with a company like Blend?
By a wide margin, two answers jumped out, and I will paraphrase:
1. Come talk to me about my goals and initiatives so I can plan on how to hit them
2. Come talk to me about making sure I have the right team in place to deliver on the above
As the government is talking about reopening the economy, we must stay one step ahead of them in our plans. The old analogy “skating to where the puck is going, not where it is” comes to mind.
From an initiatives point of view, The Pandemic has impacted all our worlds in ways we could have never imagined. As pointed out by our own Ozgur Dogan in his article this week, Data Science: #1 Function for Marketers as They Work In, Through and Out of The Pandemic. It’s not all bad and with the right approach you can come out on top of your industry, but it will take smarts, guts and planning.
From a workforce/team’s point of view, many organizations are taking a very prudent approach to expenses, and many have had the unfortunate experience of having to reduce their headcount to deal with this pandemic. In the process, losing some very productive and culturally aligned team members.
It makes sense from a business perspective, to circle the wagons and hunker down until we get on the other side of this crisis. Here's the catch, when we get through this, and we will, companies must be prepared to run out of the gates fast. You don't want to be the one lagging while your competitors are eating your lunch. In order to take advantage of the opportunities on the other side of this hill, companies will need to have a plan. And it needs to be crystal clear- now.
Step #1: Understand growth strategies and initiatives of your organization. If these are not already defined, develop these initiatives through workshops. In this process, engage senior management and stakeholders to get buy in. Define the outcomes the initiatives are meant to deliver and what must be in place to activate the initiative. There are plenty of frameworks and methodologies in the consulting world to help guide you through this.
Step #2: Evaluate how your resources match up to your initiatives: personnel, technologies, methodologies, etc. Figure out if you have all that you need.
Step #3: Do a workforce audit of your team, do you have the right talent with the right skills on board? During this step, evaluate your team’s ability to deliver in a timely and high-quality manner. Broaden the way you think about your team and include your service and consulting partners.
Step #4: Determine how you will close the gaps, speed to implementation/value will matter. Develop an approach to build the team quickly. There are times where it takes 2 - 4 months to hire someone and you may not have that type of time. i.e. If your company downsized, think through bringing back some key players. Consider current and new partners that can help deliver faster than you can hire.
Step #5: Communicate with those who will close the gaps and get the commitment you need from them. Avoid confusion, as this can really delay a plan. Qualify availability of resources needed, costs and ability to hit timeframes. When communicating, make sure you are clear on the What, Where, When and Who are getting things done.
Step #6: Monitor and adjust the plan as needed. Creating a communication model to engage the owners of the plan that allows you to adjust in order to produce the desired outcome.
Understanding these elements will help give you the insight you need in order to make fact-based decisions towards the success of your mission.