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Oct 11

I have just returned from three fabulous days away facilitating our Art of Prioritisation workshop at the Marketing Forum, I was fortunate enough to meet some really interesting and inspiring people, it’s amazing how much a good dose of debate and discussion can get your grey matter going.

The Marketing Forum is a great event in that it allows its senior marketing delegates to get away from their day job and open their minds to new ideas, trends and technologies within the world of marketing. Many of the marketers I spoke to said that outside of the forum, they are so busy just keeping on top of their to do list and emails that they find it very difficult to keep abreast of what is going on.

But it’s not only trends in marketing that are being overlooked as a result of the ‘busy-ness’ of many senior managers, I’d argue that some valuable on-the-job development of up and coming marketers is also being put on the back burner in favour of daily fire fighting by their managers. Within my prioritisation workshop, we cover a section on effective delegation, I found it really worrying that when I asked people how comfortable they were delegating, many came back with the same response, which was they didn’t like delegating because they didn’t have the trust in their team to do the job properly and often found it was just quicker to do it themselves than to brief someone in their team to do it.

So let’s think about that logically, if you don’t trust the members of your team to do a good job what does that say? Well I’d say that’s a big problem and one that senior marketers need to deal with now in order that we don’t have a shortage of decent marketing managers and marketing directors ten years from now! Surely there can’t be that many organisations that have so many of the wrong people in the right jobs? Unlikely…I think it’s just a case of inadequately trained marketers who are likely to have left university without any formal marketing qualifications and who are thrown into their jobs without benefiting from any specific functional training or on-the-job learning, which in many cases is down to the fact that their managers aren’t giving them the opportunities as they are too bogged down in their own work load and not prepared to delegate!

It’s a vicious circle, but one that needs to be broken! So, what can be done? First of all, the training and development of marketers needs to rank higher in the priorities of the senior marketers they report into. Personal development shouldn’t be discussed once a year at appraisal time and then forgotten, but should be an on-going conversation with managers, encouraging their direct reports to have active personal development plans with clearly identified knowledge or expereince gaps and a plan for addressing them whether it is formal training, shadowing experienced staff or on-the-job learning.

It was also obvious from the workshops that I ran that many managers are struggling with prioritising their valuable time; I am convinced that too much time is spent not focusing on what’s important but just dealing with the urgent stuff regardless of importance. So, it’s not rocket science – there is a serious need for executives to eliminate the tasks that are nothing to do with fulfilling the companies’ objectives and focus on the important tasks, one of which is team development.

As the old saying goes you are as good as your team, so if your team are ineffective perhaps that’s a reflection on you? And you can do something about it….

When I set up The Progress Lab, I wanted to make helping ambitious people unleash their potential a personal mission of mine and that is genuinely what I want to do. I want to help junior marketers learn some of the fundamentals of marketing from writing a decent marketing brief to formulating a strategic plan and have developed training programmes specifically to do that. And I want to help senior marketers master the art of delegation and be more emotionally intelligent people managers by offering one to one coaching and mentoring.

For more information on how The Progress Lab can help you, call or email Joanne on 07903 864731 / joanne@theprogresslab.co.uk

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