So in my last post I stated it takes 40 days to create a habit. With respect to organizing your agency, you’re dealing with a lot of people in diverse roles. When you introduce process with structure and new tools (e.g. software) into the mix there’s a lot to evaluate and learn prior to rolling out the systems, not to mention gaining compliance.
Do your homework, get help (a staffer from each discipline is good) and get complete commitment from management.
Once you have trained – yes you must train and it can be painless – then roll-out and the 40 days begin. Be available to help. Few remember the details during training sessions, so prepare a simple step-by-step guide (specific to role) for people to reference later. When I say simple, I mean simple. Step 1 click here, Step 2 enter data here (pictures, lines and arrows do work).
Follow up continuously during roll-out. Be available to hold hands, stem the tears, deflect anger…and make adjustments.
The best laid plans get derailed if you’re inflexible during roll-out. However, this requires an objective review of issues before flexing. Keep in mind that when you’re implementing change in an agency or marketing department, you’re managing three distinct areas: process, tools (software / hardware), and people. The last is often the most difficult.
So, by day 20, invite an in-depth review of the issues, develop a plan to mitigate them, and review revisions with the entire team affected to assure a change is necessary. This will pave the path to a solid system for everyone by including the team in the process.
Try not to make changes too early. Some people adapt easily and quickly and others do not. Determining whether it’s the learning curve, a procedure or a format (I had forms that just didn’t work for some – made an adjustment and everyone was happy) helps determine how soon you need to make those adjustments.
Something to watch out for: workarounds. Never accept them. Workarounds are the evil un-doing of a good process that consist of: still using old systems or forms – because everyone is used to them; deciding the new system ‘takes too long, is too hard’ and not entering essential data such as estimates, schedules or client updates; or just walking-over-and-begging-a-colleague-to-make-this-one-little-change-because-I-need-it-done-for-the-client, skipping every process in between.
I will never tell you that the process of organizing your agency is easy. You’re working with people who are busy, stressed, and may just put up a little attitude. But with good planning, engagement, training, review and adjustments, you can successfully organize your agency or marketing department.
In 40 days you should see improvement. If not, email me. I want to hear what's going on because that time was a real investment and I want you to succeed.