The beauty of a successful digital program is that it combines the creative inspiration of the artist with the analytic rigour of the scientist.
I am often asked by my peers in various groups and councils on designing methodologies that allows scale but also doesn’t kill creativity in the process. Some assume that just building the process is enough and we can just force it upon everyone in our teams.
The reality is that doing this with scale can be a very complex and complicated task but often necessary in order to build a profitable business.
From my experience as someone who’s been designing, establishing and managing the digital marketing and transformation processes within companies and units of all sizes for the past decade and more, I can name a couple of biggest challenges to keep in mind while you work on your process implementation phases:
1. Creatives (and almost everyone else, except maybe legacy HR and Finance) don’t necessarily like processes.
They may see it as a burden, as something they are forced to follow and comply with, like doing timesheets. In my experience right of the bat you need to overcome people’s negative bias. Creativity is hard to put in a box, so there is also an objective point of making sure the process does not constrain creativity, and is not perceived to be enforced “for the sake of the process”.
Use technology creatively to ease the pain of following a process. In addition, do you really need to enforce the same process for someone who has done it the 100 times? versus someone just starting out?
2. Buy-in, especially at an executive level
Process, however great, is only as good as people using it. You may be able to get a buy-in from most executives and even sell it to most staff. Then it’s the point of enforcing it, this is a delicate balance since you don’t want people to perceive it as a hurdle, yet it loses effectiveness quickly due to lack of use.
So, Socialize. Work out Loud. Tell everyone about the benefits and how it eases their pain points.
3. High staff rotation.
A creative director or an executive who was sold on the process and was helping to put it to practice it within her team jumps ship, and a new one coming in is not a big fan of your process. That sets things way back, now you need to prove it again.
Document and socialize your process with as many leaders as you can to capture their input and earn influence in order to be successful.
Few considerations for keeping business process realistic:
- KISS. Keep it Simple, stupid. Keep a process minimalistic, focusing on key components and leaving a fair amount of flexibility. Focus on earned rights to give up even more control to the stakeholders.
- Please never use a process for the sake of the process.
- Document things and have the documentation easily accessible.
- Sell executive son the process with hard facts (saved hours, prevented screw ups, ROI).
- Keep reminding people gently, you don’t want to become a process police.
Hope this helps our change agents in transforming their organizations for the better.