Does your boss have too many ideas that pull away from already established marketing priorities? Or maybe you're that visionary boss?In our previously recorded Q & A with A & J webinar, we sat down with Mike Schipper, CEO and Founder of InsITe Business Solutions to chat about how to wrangle in the ideas of a visionary leader when it comes to your already established marketing priorities. Take a look at the on-demand webinar below to learn how to wrangle a visionary leader.
Resources that were Mentioned in the Webinar:
- Download: The Slides from the Webinar
- Download: InsITe Business Solutions' Security Check List
- Book: Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
- Book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- Book: The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers by Patrick Lencioni
- Book: American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman
- Book: Radical Candor by Kim Scott
- Book: Make Big Happen: How to Live, Work, and Give Big by Mark Moses
Don't want to watch the webinar? No problem! Check out the webinar summary below.
Visionaries vs. Integrators:
There are two mindsets in every office: The "Visionaries" and the "Integrators." Often, these two mindsets don't always go together. So how do these mindsets work together? Well, we dive into this topic throughout the webinar and this webinar recap. But first, let's take a look at the difference between a visionary and an integrator.
You may be a visionary if you come up with awesome ideas in the middle of the night, during another meeting. Whereas, you may be an integrator if you often find yourself holding people to the consistent cadence of meetings, like to get tasks done, or someone who is a linear thinker.
Often Visionaries like to go from A to Z, but integrators are those who are back at the start saying, "What about B, C, D, E..." and so on. Overall, integrators like to go through all the steps to get to the point where the idea can become a reality.
Why Companies Need Both Visionaries and Integrators:
Now that you know how visionaries and integrators portray themselves, let's talk about why organizations need both of these roles.
For one, visionaries see the future and know where to go, whereas integrators know how to get them to that future they see. But without both roles being filled, a team can get very confused and/or discouraged quickly. These roles really balance each other out.
If a company employs all visionaries, ideas would be flowing constantly. This can cause a team to be overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done, or even have a hard time executing their ideas successfully. If a company employs all integrators, you can ensure that tasks would get done, but the lack of creativity could creep in, making it stressful to work.
Ultimately, a vision needs to be cast and also articulated to the team correctly in order to create success. And both integrators and visionaries need to work together to create this balance. Without both roles, teams can struggle.
Tips on How to Align with Visionaries:
Tip #1: Implement an Agile Approach
One of the best ways to align visionaries and integrators is through implementing an Agile marketing approach. Marketers on an Agile team think about their work differently. They exhibit respect, collaboration, improvement and learning cycles, pride in ownership, focus on delivering value, and the ability to adapt to change. Ultimately, rigid, long-term plans don’t fit with an Agile environment. Instead, teams should see a lot of small experiments being released frequently. After the experiments, the team would then apply the results of those experiments to their next round of work.
There Are a Few Things to Remember When Doing an Agile Approach:
- It's important for teams to stick to their plan and meeting cadence.
- Focus on helping the team succeed, not old school command & control management.
- Individuals on an Agile team also behave in distinct ways, always looking for ways to join forces to do better work in a more efficient way.
- All modern marketing teams need data to guide their efforts, but Agile teams are really and truly driven by their data — otherwise, how would they know if their experiments were successful? They make sure all of their work can be measured, and they rely on empirical evidence to make decisions.
How does Agile Marketing Work?
There are a handful of project management philosophies (frameworks) that are used by agile organizations to prioritize and accomplish work. Some of these are called Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, and Lean. All of them do basically the same thing:
- They identify a finite amount of work to do during a short amount of time.
- This work is pulled from a prioritized backlog of work.
- Then, the team focuses on accomplishing that work during a period of 2 to 4 weeks.
- After the work is done, the team reviews its successes and failures as a means to improve the way it works.
- Then it pulls more work from the backlog and works for another 2 to 4 weeks.
Working in these short intervals allows the team to have interactive build-learn-adapt cycles ensuring that it is always responding to company needs (and the Visionary) in the most efficient manner.
We often run an Agile approach with our clients with the help of Asana, our project management tool. Here's an example of what one of our boards would look like:
Agile approaches can be implemented in all sorts of companies and organizations, not just in marketing. If you have questions about implementing this methodology or want help implementing it for your team, click here to reach out to us!
Tip #2: Create a Standard Meeting Cadence and "Report Card" Review
Getting your visionary's eyes on what you're doing and how it's working within your organization is important. When you show them that it's working, the visionary is less likely to want to pull your team off the projects that are generating your company ROI. This is where certain brief meetings come in handy. These meetings typically include:
- Annual Planning Meetings to get your team geared up and focused for the year.
- Quarterly Meetings: This helps you look back at your ROI and assess your wins/losses. It also helps you look forward to seeing if you're still working on the right things.
- Monthly Report Card Reviews (See below for more information).
- Bi-weekly Project Sprints to talk about what's coming up, what's in progress, and what's potentially blocked from getting done (Following the Agile methodology above).
- Daily Stand-Up Meeting to talk about the top things everyone is working on (optional).
As stated above, it's also important to create a monthly Report Card Reviews with your visionary leaders to make sure you're setting goals, then tracking against them. These Report Cards can typically include:
- The total sales against the goal (you’re a team)
- The percent of revenue from marketing-generated leads
- Lead-to-customer close percentage
- Number of marketing-generated leads/leads by stage
- Number of leads that became customers
Tip #3: Create a Disney Drawer
As you've now learned, the visionary is someone who has a lot of ideas. But having a Disney Drawer can help prioritize those ideas and keep the team from being distracted from already established marketing priorities (To learn the story behind why it's called a "Disney Drawer," click here.).
To implement this, make sure you have a place where your visionary can store a running list of their ideas with any details they wish to add. Then every quarter, sort out those ideas based on current and future marketing priorities. When the entire team determines if/when an idea is a priority, task out the to-dos in the next quarter's workload.
Having a Disney Drawer allows the visionary to brainstorm ideas without pulling the team off track. It also creates a healthy organizational culture by giving both the visionary and the integrator freedom to do what they do best.
Q & A's from the Webinar:
In the webinar, we also covered several questions from the audience. Take a look below to see what they asked:
- How do you handle two visionary leaders who do not agree and have created a roadblock for growth?
- What's the balance between "allowing" my boss to dream, and keeping him/her from derailing our plans?
- How do you say "hang on a minute" without dampening enthusiasm?
- How to prevent an ‘idea’ person from constantly going down new rabbit holes instead of focusing on high-level plans/needs?
- Once you wrangle the visionary ideas and how do you ensure the strategic alignment throughout the organization?
- Do you agree that middle management needs to buy-in to the vision and strategic alignment before the execution of the visionary idea can occur?
- How can we effectively get the visionary to follow through with their ideas from start to finish?
- As a small business, how do you decide which “ideas” should be implemented and which have to wait simply due to limited resources?
To view the answers to these questions, check out the rest of our webinar below starting at 30:00.
Want to learn more about wrangling a visionary leader when it comes to your already established marketing priorities?
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