Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stick To Your Convictions

It's been a while since I have written anything here (except for the last couple of posts of course!) The on-going rise of Twitter and Facebook as the place to share a quick morsel has relegated the blog to an occasional plaything. I've also been kinda busy with work and family which has made writing anything a challenge.

I hope to turn my attention at work to skills in my teams over the coming months (I know, hope isn't a strategy), and the use of the great and talented resources we've recruited over the last couple of years. I know I have been distracted on this as one of my duties lately.

It's making me look at my philosophies and beliefs when it comes to running a world class strategic planning group. I have for a long time believed, for instance, that plannerly types need to have a diversity of brands and categories to work on at the same time or in close proximity.

Not too many mind you.

I've found three to be about the maximum (more or less depending upon experience and energy of the person). My experience tells me this is stimulating for the individual and adds value to clients, as outside experiences and strategic points of view are brought to the table.

This was reinforced again for me recently. I have a group of planners who are, for business and culture reasons, dedicated to one single category (which is the opposite to this philosophy but a battle I lost some time ago). Some of the team have been doing this for a while now. A senior planner in that team was recently struggling to develop a strategic solution despite having worked on something for a long time and after having done more than enough research. It was clear that due to the 'focus' on the one category, this planner had lost the ability to see the wood for the trees, and during that time was not adding value to the client or our business. With a little help from others not working in the category, we were able to get through this fairly quickly.

It's not been an isolated instance of late but it is a good example of the need to be able to work in different categories and contexts during the same week to stimulate and spice things up. I am convinced that if this planner also had responsibility for another category they would not have struggled so much. They'd have been able to walk away, think about something else and then return to the original problem renewed and able to draw from a different experience.

What do you think? Focus or some variety? What's your experience tell you?

It has renewed this conviction in me but it's a philosophical perspective that I now regret compromising on. I can't remember the context of the time when this happened now, but I must have had my reasons for yielding on my convictions.

So moving forward, I need a new plan. Something that will create the same (or similar) effect, allows the tem to grow and keeps the peace!

Thus, whatever your convictions may be, stick to them. Easier in the long run.

2 comments:

Carol L. Weinfeld said...

It's important to have some variety in order to have perspective on one's work. To work on 3 brands at the same time sounds right.

@clweinfeld

emily said...

I agree, variety provides perspective that allows you to hone in on your ahas. While you might have your team tasked on specific industries it might be beneficial for them to have collaboration/share out sessions. We have found it very helpful not only does it provide a push in thinking but so much can be learned and leveraged across industries. What is happening in CPG can have implications for Automotive and so on. It continues to work well for us.