I have never really had a great respect for defined job roles. My focus has always been on achieving outcomes … and if that means dragging the IT team into a marketing meeting or taking over the preparation of new project proposals, then that is what I do. Of course, this means that YOU (or I) have to take a leadership position … and you have to accept all that comes with it.
Often this means that you have to learn very quickly, think on your feet, and make decisions while consulting with your teams, stakeholders and executive/board management. You also have to fight against your own internal resistance — fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of knowing what you don’t know. And you have to maintain a focus on delivering the outcomes you were aiming for.
I remember working as an editor for a publishing company and thinking that there had to be a better way of typesetting all the content. There was massive doubling up of work. The editing was slow by hand and could be done faster on a PC. It was obvious to me that this duplication could be eliminated by using one of the new desktop publishing systems. But one of the problems was that doing the work in this way would make ME responsible for the editing AND the setting. And while I was happy to complain about the typesetting and the time it took in the production schedule, I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to take on the unions, the management and the mantra of publishing — "that’s the way we do it".
All these thoughts were prompted by this post over at Michael Wagner’s Own Your Brand blog. Mike points us towards an article by Monica Powers where she pinpoints the skills of a good marketer. I liked the way that Monica focuses on the strategic elements of marketing, not the tactical — you know, don’t hire a marketer to layout a newsletter. Actually, I was expecting the article to be in the blog style of "10 skills of a great marketer" … so loved that it wasn’t. Take a look to see what I mean …
But one of the important elements of this discussion was the need to push down the boundaries. Many marketers (actually most people) expect that opportunities will land in their laps. Even when you feel like you have good ideas or contributions to make, it is easy to sit back, throw a couple of comments into a meeting and then sit back and see what happens. It is much harder to volunteer to make something happen. This is partly what (I think) Mike Wagner means when he talks about owning a brand. BUT before you can own your brand, you have to own your own ideas. You have to have the courage of your convictions and a plan, and determination, to push them all forward.
If you are a marketer and you want to have input and impact on your company’s brand, then you have to put your hand up. It is easy to complain, but harder to take up the challenge.
So in the end, I pushed to take on the desktop publishing and the whole company held its breath. You know what, it worked. The editors were happier, the typesetters got rid of work they didn’t want, and the production schedules were cut in half. Our customers were ecstatic.
Think you can do a better job? Stop talking about it then, and step up and own your idea.