Archives for posts with tag: Effective

Reduce, reuse or recycle: so goes the environmentally-aware aphorism to keep us on the straight and narrow with the earth’s resources. We should reuse what we have if at all possible. If we can’t reuse it, we should recycle it. If we can’t recycle it, then we should reduce it, so that it occupies a smaller space in the places where we borrow but can’t pay back, namely landfill.

It turns out that this guide applies equally well for the food we buy and consume. I derive an odd sense of pleasure from being able to use up all the frozen food from the freezer, or combine left-over perishables into a meal that wouldn’t exist if I threw out the separate items.

It’s that thrill of maximum utility – getting the most use out of what we’ve paid for.

It also turns out that it’s a handy approach to adopt in our work, especially marketing. Content, especially good content, takes painstaking time to create. But it can also be the gift that keeps on giving, since you can use it again, or recycle it into other formats, or reduce it into smaller parts that can form a series. Beautiful.

Any why not other areas of work as well? Whatever processes, resources and technology you can reduce, reuse or recycle, you should, as long as you achieve the goal of greater productivity.

I hate waste. Not using all of something where you have put in time and money to create it makes no sense to me. It’s all about striving for the 100% use of assets.

This is why I reheat tea and coffee I’ve been too busy to drink. Sometimes twice. Why not? It’s all about the efficient use of materials.

In my home we throw out a very small proportion of the things we consume. We’re lucky we live in a country where you can recycle many materials, and we compost both our fresh food and our cooked food (separately, of course). You’re working with the circle of life that way, not against it.

Where I’m most precious about waste, though, is with time, that most precious of commodities. I try to not to waste the time of others either. This is why I make my posts the length they are. I shoud be able to get my point over within a few short paragraphs. Many more would be a waste, and – who knows – you may hate waste too.

In the olden days, by which I mean in the last century when I was learning my managerial trade, the received wisdom amongst managers was that if you wanted to get something done, you gave it to the person who was the busiest.

The theory goes, I suppose, that the person with more on their plate who is better at getting things done will have more chance of completing the additional task. This assumes, of course, that busy is directly proportional to productive. It also sends a signal to the less able or less committed member of staff that by appearing to be doing less they will continue to see other people’s workload increase to a greater extent than theirs.

It is a short-term approach that has the medium-to-long term effect of alienating and burning out the very people who you want to keep in the business if at all possible. It also does not address the problem of the less able or less committed, who are clearly in need of more training, coaching, and dialogue to help them improve.

As someone who prides himself on getting things done, on executing a high volume of important projects, I can see both sides to the argument. But, as I argued earlier, it is a question of time, that most precious of commodities. Short-term gain, at the expense of long term benefit, is simply a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s not sustainable. It’s not good management either.

Do you want to be more successful at B2B sales and marketing? Then you need to do three things.

First, figure out how your customers want to buy from you. What do they want to do, when, in what order? If you don’t know, ask them. If they don’t know, consult with them and help them.

Second, map your roles, processes and systems to how they want to buy, so you can deliver that perfect buying journey for them. Then, adapt your roles, processes and systems accordingly.

Third, involve your people in steps one and two so they understand why it’s in everyone’s interest to adapt and come up with some great suggestions for how they can best get there.

Go map yourself. You’ll be glad you did. But not as glad as your customers. In some cases they may not buy what you have very often, and so you have to listen to what they’re trying to do and guide them through the steps they need to get there.

When you’ve decided to make a change or kick off a project, it’s easy to want to dive straight in and get started. After all, looking ahead is the right way to approach things; you can’t change the past.

I used to work with a company that used to make quarterly marketing plans and against each campaign they’d put the target number of leads, opportunities and revenues. They would do this every quarter, but they would never look back to the previous quarter to see how they actually performed against target. They would sweep things under the carpet and move forwards.

Before you start, you need to measure where you’re starting from. Sounds super obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, not enough companies do it. Sometimes they can’t measure the key things, other times they can’t be bothered.

Knowing where you’re starting from allows you to review and measure how far you’ve come at a later date. Instead of drawing up a plan every quarter, figure out how successful the last quarter really was. Then you have the information you need to learn from it and make a better plan next time.

I was doing some work outdoors the other day, an activity for me about as common as seeing an eskimo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A spot of waste recycling and composting was my choice of chore.

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the adage they use to remind us of our environmental obligations. For me the rank order should be to reuse if you can, otherwise recycle, and if you can’t recycle, and it’s landfill city, then reduce as much as possible. Recycling is great, but there’s a fair amount of energy involved in washing or reconstituting the plastics, cardboard and paper.

Composting is a different story. It’s nothing short of amazing. I’d forgotten how amazing. Take your used tea bags, egg shells and uncooked food, stick them in a bin, and the passage of time plus some friendly worms transform it into nitrogen-rich compost to spread on your vegetable patches so you can reiterate the circle of life. Total out-of-pocket expenses on this process – excluding the sunk cost of your bin and any worms you add to the mix – zero. Beautiful, perfect even.

Marketing via the leveraging mechanism of the Internet is a bit like this. In the connected economy the cost of reproducing something that’s already been created tends towards zero. Once you have your compelling content, it’s relatively easy to recycle it automatically through your other social media channels, rework it, reuse it and keep benefitting from it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

You don’t have to wait for time to transform it into something else but do you need to allow time for your social media efforts to pay you back. But that bit you knew already.