I recently visited a newly formed networking group, and afterward a colleague asked me how it went. I answered, “It’ll be interesting to see if the enthusiasm survives the execution.” We both chuckled at the thought – something surviving an execution. I elaborated that there was a lot of enthusiasm and opportunity in the room but I wasn’t sure if there would be enough tactical execution of all the wonderful things the group discussed for the group to survive.
Something Seemed Eerily Familiar
I started thinking about how that describes a lot of website redesign project experiences our clients go through before they connect with us.
Here’s a typical description of how these projects go far too often: Someone decides that their business website is out of date, flat and not delivering much value to the business. They decide that it’s time to start using their online presence as a marketing tool and determine that their website is the best place to start. They get buy-in from management and call a meeting to get started.
Great ideas are presented, opportunity is plentiful and enthusiasm runs wild. A week or two later, they feel it’s time to regroup to see where things have gotten to, and when they do they find out that everyone who was supposed to do something got busy. But, the enthusiasm of the first meeting is still there and everyone is excited by how great the new website is going to be. Seeing through the enthusiasm and identifying a lack of progress, the organizer makes sure that they have some progress to report by the next meeting. When they report their marginal progress they hear that once again not much has happened with anyone else and thus begins their own personal Groundhog Day.
This is an example of the enthusiasm not surviving the execution. There is plenty of enthusiasm in these scenarios, but without proper management of the tactical execution the project doesn’t gain any traction.
We inherit these types of situations sometimes and here are a few things that we do to help the projects get the traction they need to succeed.
Set a Deadline for the Project Completion
When it comes to deadlines, the harder the better. There’s nothing better than a due date on the calendar bearing down to keep people focused and on-task. Hard dates come in the form of the launch of new products or services, a tradeshow or workshop the company is going to be part of or the end of the current web platform (if you’re moving away from a paid website service like HubSpot).
If you can mark a date on the calendar and use it as a constant reminder of the importance of progress then you’re one step closer to having a successful project.
Nominate a Taskmaster
You need to nominate a taskmaster, and just like deadlines, the harder the better! This person needs to be disciplined to manage themselves but also to keep tabs on everybody else, too. They need to be mercilessly relentless – they’re going to hear all sorts of sob stories about why stuff isn’t getting done but they need to push that aside and focus on what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.
Assign Responsibility, Enforce Accountability
A well planned internet marketing platform should touch your entire organization. It shouldn’t just be about marketing and selling your products and services – the global marketplace that the internet has evolved into makes it just as easy to buy something across the planet as across the street. Your internet presence should represent your entire organization – not only should sales and marketing have their say but your customer service department should, too, because they’ll be dealing with after-sales support and your human resources department can use your platform to connect with the next generation of employees.
Whatever support resources you decide to involve in your project, your merciless taskmaster should assign clear responsibilities for what they need to move the project forward. Those who commit to those responsibilities should be held fully accountable – “I got busy” just isn’t good enough.
Building an online presence for your business – whether it’s as simple as rebuilding your website or involves other forms of online marketing initiatives – can be difficult. Too many businesses fall into the trap of the people supporting the project getting too busy to make it succeed. But if you have a hard date to work towards, nominate a hardened taskmaster, assign responsibility and enforce accountability then you’ll be more likely to have a successful project.
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