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GetWorkDone - Creatis

Call Me Difficult - But Why Do I Have To Pick Two?

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Over the course of my 30-year career in marketing, I've had the privilege (and pain) of managing many large marketing, CRM, customer database and web projects working with some very talented IT and Project Management professionals. One thing I often heard was, "Well, Kathy, you can have it cheap, you can have it fast, or you can have it good. Which two do you want?"

It's National Boy Scout Day - How Prepared Are You?

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So today is National Boy Scout Day. How cool. Unfortunately, I was never a Boy Scout because in my day they didn't let girls join the troop. Which always bugged me because even back then girls could certainly hunt, camp and survive in the woods. Oh well, at least we had our cookies.

Right Person + Right Position = Best Utilization

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One, if not the first, piece of advice when starting an investment portfolio is to diversify. It's a way to help reduce the volatility of your portfolio over time, and essentially balance the risk and reward for your investments. A simple concept that puts the investor in a good position. However, many marketers aren't taking the same approach with their staffing and resourcing models causing them to deplete their budgets too fast, put their current employees at risk and simply not get as much done in their organization. Let me explain.

Why "Just Do As I Say" Doesn't Seem To Work Anymore (and Probably Never Did)

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I never had the chance to have kids. So I never went through the stage where my two-year old son questioned everything by asking 'why' over and over (and over) - or the teenage years when my daughter did EXACTLY the opposite of what I asked her to do. I never got a chance to use the "Just do it because I say so" or "I'm the mom, that's why" lines - a skill which quite honestly may have come in handy during my business career. But employees aren't children of course, and using the "just do as I say" directive is not very effective leadership. Even if at times one gets awfully frustrated when things aren't getting done.


Whether baby boomer or millennial or gen z, it strikes me that no one likes to be told what to do. Or at least the highly productive business professionals I've worked with don't. We all want to feel empowered. We all want to control our own destiny. We all want to have expectations of us clearly stated so we can do great work. I doubt that any of us show up to work with a goal of NOT meeting our boss' expectations of what is needed from us that day.

So why is it, then, that people don't always do what they say they are going to do? 

Good question.

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I was talking recently with my friend and colleague, Kurt Theriault, who is the President of Allied Executives, about how to effectively run our business and he shared this model with me. As an aside - Allied Executives is a great resource for business leaders and sponsors the CEO Peer group that I participate in monthly. Check 'em out at www.alliedexecutives.com.

We were discussing why seemingly talented and engaged business people sometimes just aren't cutting it. Even with crystal clear direction on what is expected of them, they can not or will not do what is needed. He shared the following reasons why this might be happening:

  1. Don't Know Was Supposed To -This is the scenario where an employee has the right attitude and skills, but is working from unclear direction. He/she probably has not had great engagement from a boss who has clearly stated what is expected of them. The fix here is easy - review his/her seat, seek understanding of what they believe the deliverables of that seat are, and then clarify expectations and help prioritize actions. 
  2. Doesn't Know How - Similar to the scenario above, this situation has a fairly easy solve. Most of us aren't keen to admit we don't know how to do something, and often times this can get in our way of doing a job well. The solve here is to fully engage with your employee and be honest. Let him/her know that something isn't getting done and ask them why this is happening - ask them what is getting in their way of doing that particular task or achieving an expected outcome. If you've created a caring and trusting work environment where it is OK to admit a gap in skills or knowledge - this will come out and together you can focus on the right training or coaching needed to fill this gap.
  3. Don't Have Capacity- Gaps in capacity comes in many forms and some are solvable (and some not). Again the solve is open and honest communication with employees about where they are getting stuck or what is getting in their way. If they say they don't have 'time' - them help them re-prioritize their focus. If it is a work/life balance issue, that will require a little more conversation. Bottom line - as the leader you need to probe for understanding of what the real issue is - and coach 'em up or move 'em out depending on what you hear.
  4. Don't Want To or Don't Like To - The solve here is easy, this person has to go away. There is very little we can do as leaders to MAKE someone do something they fundamental don't wish to do. Don't waste your energy and cut your losses.

Win or Lose - I'm Thankful to Be In the Game

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I will always be a loyal Minnesotan. I complain about our long, cold winters but absolutely love crisp, cold January mornings that take my breath away. I would prefer a longer golf season, but am always a bit relieved when it is time to put the clubs away and get back into the gym. I roll my eyes at the passive/aggressive nature of Minnesota Nice, but puff my chest out a bit when colleagues from other states tout our strong work ethic and comment that we are just so darn NICE up here. And my disappointment runs deep like all hard-core Minnesotans when once again our beloved Vikings miss a chance to play in the Super Bowl, but my heart still bleeds purple.

As another year begins, I like to pause and be thankful that Creatis calls Minnesota home and for our amazing clients like UnitedHealth Group, Medtronic, Deluxe, Portico, AmeriPrise, Marketplace Events and Starkey Hearing Technologies (our newest engagement), along with others. At Creatis, we are celebrating our 20th year in business throughout 2018, and strong client relationships like these have made it possible for us to remain a thriving small business here in Minnesota and employ more than 100 marketing, creative and communciation professionals each year. 

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