The 3 Things Great Managers AND Employees Do ~ Consistently

When it all comes down to it, great managers get results.  How do you get results?  It’s not planning, it’s not charisma, it’s not even passion.  All of those things are great but useless without these 3 things.

If you are not doing these 3 things, and doing them well, you are probably going nowhere fast.  That’s a strong statement, let’s see if you disagree… comments welcome!

1. Prioritize

If you just do whatever you think of, you are going to get behind.  You MUST prioritize those things you KNOW will get results above those things you THINK will get results.  And even those things you just think will get results, prioritize those too, to the ones you think will be most likely to get the results.

PRO TIP – Every morning, get on an exercise bike and open or  (2 good online tools). Prioritize tasks to ones you think are most important to get results.

2. Draft Quickly

 If you aren’t getting things done quickly, you’ll never even get through all the important things, let alone to those things you think will get results.  The best managers and employees create drafts of stuff (whatever it is) very quickly.  Then, they refine the draft later up until the point where the quality meets expectations, then stop.  They don’t over-engineer, over-design, or over-think their work: it’s done it’s done.  Ship it.  This is a key to shipping, get to a draft and see if it’s good enough.  Ship when it is.

PRO TIP – Writer’s block?  Just write it in super simple plain English.  That usually reads better anyways.  Remember, emails should be 2 or 3 sentences MAX!  I like to send emails of 4 or 5 WORDS when I can.

3. Delegate / Get Help Fast

Overloaded managers need to learn this trick: find someone you trust and ask them to “own” part of your project.   This is not asking for group-work, this is asking them to “own it” and get it done.  I’ve blogged a lot about ownership, and for good reason… it’s been a key to my personal success for years.  Not having it, but giving it out!

Not a manager?  This applies to you too.  Delegate ownership of your work if you are overloaded.  Even better, ASK FOR HELP FAST!  If you are blocked, even 1% blocked, asking for help to get unblocked will keep you moving, make your boss happy, and more importantly, teach you something that will probably prevent you from getting blocked again in the future.

PRO TIP – Develop skills that help you get unblocked.  For example, learn how to Draft Quickly!  Also, learn how to “make a simple website“.

Harlan T. Beverly, PhD on a Business Trip to Mexico

How do you know what to work on? Engineering your Priorities

Do you find yourself often overwhelmed with the many, many things you have to do?  How do you choose what to put energy into?  How can you compare what is the more important thing, when the activities seem so diverse?  How do you justify not doing one thing and doing another instead?  This is where an engineering brain can help a marketer.  Engineers have this figured out: I bring you Engineering Prioritization.

Here is how an Engineer (myself) prioritizes, and how I apply it to Marketing work now:

  1. Calculate the estimated amount of time it will take to finish any given task or project.
  2. Calculate the expected financial contribution (savings or revenue) for completing the task/project.
  3. Use a “rough” discounted cash-flow model to estimate the impact in today’s dollars.
    1. Here is a rough way to do Present Value calculation, for an engineer.
    2. Present Value = Future Value – $2,500 * Num_Weeks
    3. If task/project is less than 1-Week, PV=FV
  4. What task will make the biggest impact for the least amount of effort? (highest Present Value)
  5. DO THAT!  If you need a break, do something that takes just a few minutes.
  6. Break long projects into 45min-2hr tasks;;; do those!
It sounds simple, but do you actually try to calculate the PV of your tasks?
Yes. I do.  
AND, You’d be shocked at how many tasks I’m assigned generate PV=0.
AND, You’d be shocked at how few of those tasks I ever do!
The 1 thing in marketing that can sometimes screw this up is research/data gathering/analysis….
to calculate a PV of these kinds of tasks, you must consider WHAT key variable are you looking for, such that if found, you could make an influence and thereby increase profits or save costs (thereby yielding a positive PV)… then I just cut that by 50%.. it’s seems like it’s usually a  50/50 effort to find data you need to make a good decision anyway.
So; get out there. calculate the potential PV of your work;and SKIP things that don’t add value.