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Digital marketing is not a profession for office owners — ideally, there should be notes, planners, and other productivity tools in full view. Mess is clearly different from dirt. If every inch of the office has a Pig Pen-like cloud swirling around, things need to change, but don’t let a cluttered desk lead you to believe your employees aren’t getting anything done.
Instead, signs of workplace disorganization are usually verbal and include factors that may not be visible to the naked eye, such as email, inter-office communications, to-do lists, and “behind the screen” objects.
How to check if your employees are disorganized
From your employees, you’ll want to draw attention to questions or comments like, “Who’s taking on this project again?” , “Did we get any follow-up? I emailed 46 times!”, and my favorite: “Wait, sorry, when is our date?”
If there is a general sense of confusion surrounding all of your campaigns, remove it quickly before it gets out of hand. Also, be alert to frequent comments about being stressed out or having a lot to do. Some people are naturally talented when it comes to time management, but others may start spinning the moment their plate gets a little heavy. Being an effective manager means being able to strike a balance between these two types of personalities.
I’ve found that the best way to maintain harmony is to separate your employees into two categories: checkers and tall vectors. This sounds negative, but I promise you it isn’t. Both types of employees are incredibly helpful when well managed and are essential to a running business.
Checkers are the types of your left brain, and partial manager. They keep abundant notes, and they oversee the workload, and schedule of the rest of the team. If something is due next week, they will have done it yesterday. Square checkers aren’t particularly creative but they have Terminator’s commitment to getting things done on time. For regular office maintenance, with a reminder of who should be in the meeting and a client facing a very specific technical problem, your checkers are your best friend.
Your long-haul trucks are usually your designs. They do not perform well on short delivery times and feel a great deal of pain if they feel that the project has not been completed to the best of their abilities. You can assign them several tasks at once, but give them enough leeway and factor in the feedback and review process for each project. In my experience, most long distance carriers need to get back to the drawing board at least once. Not only does constructive criticism help them develop a better outcome, but the continuous cycle of “this looks good and credits” will make long-haul runners feel like they’re in a hurry with content rather than a valuable part of the campaign process. Make sure to collaborate frequently with this group, because they have a good overview of how to reach the client’s goals.
By deciding who’s on your team and assigning tasks accordingly, you’ll eliminate 90 percent of the personal clashes and stress that leads to chaos.
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How chaos affects your agency
As you scale your agency, you will have less and less time to devote to looking into the finer details of each campaign. This is a good thing, because it is the result of the growth of your business and the increase in your success. However, you need to make up for this lack of time with employees you can count on — those who feel empowered, take action, and solve problems independently and honestly.
The best employees aren’t the kind who never go wrong – these types of employees just don’t exist. The best employees are the ones who are brave enough to come up to you and say “I really messed up,” or “I let this job out by me and I need help.” So be sure to instill that culture and turn mistakes into good training experiences.
If you’re constantly swept up in an employee’s mistakes or neglect, it’s time to make an executive decision about whether or not that employee has a place on your team. I hope you can instill a level of comfort in them before that happens, because it’s so much better than trying to hide a situation from you getting out of control until it’s too late.
Almost all problems result from some level of disorganization. If your employees are delivering sub-par work, spending a lot of time on low-priority tasks or missing deadlines, it is likely not because they are incompetent in their jobs, but instead have no practice in managing their time, thus rushing each something unnecessarily.
As a result, customers will get frustrated and leave if you don’t step in and take charge. But you do not have time to interfere with each client. so, what are you doing?
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How do you study organizational skills?
If some or all of your staff members need a little help developing essential organizational skills, there are some quick ways to teach them and achieve office efficiency and productivity where you belong. Here are a few:
Have one of your most competent team members help you establish operating protocols and procedures that can help all employees understand what tasks need to be completed and how to communicate effectively.
Use an app like Slack or Basecamp to keep all essential employee communications in one place and leverage task and task tracking for accountability.
Hold daily meetings so that you appear to be making progress in becoming a better, more organized team. Once you feel you’ve made progress, reduce it to bi-weekly meetings or even just weekly meetings.
Finally: Get everything in writing so that what your team did or didn’t do has a paper trail.
Organizing may not come naturally to some, but it is a skill you will need to develop for your employees if you have any hope of expanding your business, maintaining a reputation, and consistently producing good work. Try to remember that chaos is not a sign of a poor employee – only a sign of someone who needs rigorous training.
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