At the recent Future Marketing Manager http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training.aspx we covered the usual wide range of topics. However, the three themes that involved the most discussion were perception, motivation and planning.
Perception is “the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted”. There was recognition that how marketing and business development in the professions is perceived impacts on how individuals in marketing and business development are perceived.
There was much debate about how to be perceived as a manager. So we explored how we perceived managers and how the fee-earners might perceive managers. This required us to use empathy – one of the core skills in emotional intelligence (http://kimtasso.com/faq/emotional-intelligence-eq-important/). We felt that there was a need to achieve a shift in perception – from reactive, service-providing executives to proactive, advisory managers who take the initiative and responsibility – before you might be promoted.
We explored how we perceived ourselves – and how non-verbal communication (NVC) would convey this to those around us. We did various exercises to consider who we were and our values and how we were similar and different to our peers and how these combined to form the basis of our personal brand (BrandMe).
It was agreed that a key element in how others perceive us is confidence. We need to manage our internal self-confidence and convey a confident image to others. The role of NVC was recognised here too.
Another issue was the need to generate trust (being consistent and reliable) and results. And this required a focus on the overall aims, some helicopter thinking to keep things strategic and “big picture” and to align with the aims of the firm and the fee-earners.
Motivating ourselves when faced with heavy workloads and frequent frustration is a challenge. However, once we have people reporting to us we need to think about motivating them as well. An element of this was communication and education – to see the bigger picture and understand the relevance of activities. There was also consideration of work by psychologist Nancy Kline in appreciation – which links to other themes in motivation around recognition.
We also explored personality (e.g. MBTI, Colour Insight etc) and team models (e.g. Belbin) to help us appreciate difference and the need to adapt supervision and management styles to the individuals, situations and the tasks. The concept of T-shaped people (in-depth knowledge of one topic and broad knowledge about a wide range of other topics) was thought to be useful to guide development.
The delegates developed a list of ideas to motivate the people for whom they are responsible:
- Engage on a person level
- Provide a safe and certain environment
- Encourage questions and ideas
- Set achievable goals – and monitor progress
- Provide regular feedback
- Recognise and praise good work
- Listen to and address concerns
- Understand their needs and interests and explain “What’s in it for me?”
- Be or provide a coach or a mentor
- Empower them by giving them responsibility
- Inspire through education
- Be enthusiastic
- Delegate the outcome rather the process
- Tell stories to make things relevant and real
- Develop a Personal Development Plan together and help them progress
- Ask for feedback
- Arrange out-of-office informal catch ups
There is other material on motivation, for example:
Throughout the day we looked at the relevance of business strategy and marketing theory in our day-to-day roles. Many commented that they were simply too busy to consider these things. We discussed the importance of being proactive and creating some “heads up” time so that we kept the overall goals in mind to enable us to prioritise activities.
The merits of the simple approach to planning was appreciated:
- Where are we now? (the marketing audit with internal and external analysis)
- Where do we want to be? (the need to have clear goals and manage expectations)
- How will we get there? (the overall strategic approach)
- What will we do? (the tactical activities and campaigns)
- How much will it cost? (the time and cash budget)
But there was also discussion of other relevant business and marketing processes and frameworks to guide discussions, educate fee-earners and structure our activities. These are examined in detail here: http://kimtasso.com/marketing-planning-nutshell/
We talked about avoiding both perfectionism and procrastination by the idea that “Good enough is good enough”. Marketing in professional services is rarely an exact science.
At the end of the day, delegates said that the following images were those that captured their main takeaways from the day:
- Oysters (there are lots of opportunities and possibilities)
- Helicopter (strategic and big picture thinking)
- Moon (“Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star” W. Clement Stone
- Badge (personal brand)
- Plant (nurturing those who report to us)
- Flower (partially opened and still to bloom)
- A red ball amongst grey ones (differentiation)
- Superhero (Marketing can make a big impact)
- Process (marketing planning process)
- Stiletto shoe (empathy)
- Polka dots (Plan – Organise – Lead – Control/Coach – Achieve)
- Person in chair with hands behind head (care with NVC)
- End of the factory line (consider outputs rather than inputs)
- Mountain (need to review past progress and not just the road ahead)