In the last two weeks, our team has launched over a hundred campaigns. We’re in the process of several website builds, two regional social media ad deployments involving over 70 organizations, back to school and Labor Day sales for our ecommerce clients, and on top of that, we just endured a hurricane warning affecting four of our six team members.
While some days are overwhelming, our team is carefully cultivating a method to the madness. I’m a strong believer “busy” can become a four-letter word, but there are certainly seasons of life that require us to immerse ourselves deeply in our work.
The question becomes, how do we maintain our standard of excellence in the chaos?
With an increased workload comes a higher risk of errors, missed deadlines, and lower quality outcomes. Unfortunately for many companies, a growth season can easily be followed by a slump due to declining quality and efficiency. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a few simple tips, you can utilize a growth season to become a major catalyst for fulfilling professional achievement.
Here are my top 5 tips for maintaining excellence during a season of growth at work:
At the end of every major project, we schedule a debrief to determine the systems that worked well, and the ones that didn’t. This is much more efficient if we’ve taken detailed notes throughout the project. Even if it’s time consuming, write down the method you developed to solve a particular challenge, client feedback that will inform your process, and the areas where you’d like to do better next time. Use a task management tool like Asana or Wrike to track every step of a project, meet deadlines, and keep everyone accountable.
Break up your day with physical movement.
Around 3:00 every day, I can feel my brain start to become mush. The letters on my screen start to blur, and even that third cup of coffee can’t save me. I’ve started scheduling about 45 minutes into my afternoon for a brisk outside walk (“Brisk” might not be the right word for the South Florida humidity. “Sweat-soaked” is a little more honest). Clearing your mind with light exercise is not wasted time- it will increase your efficiency and creativity in those afternoon and evening hours.
Let go of your ego, and always ask someone to check your work.
Mistakes are part of the work- and when you’re putting in longer hours with less time off, it’s easier to make them. Every time you launch a campaign, publish a landing page, or save a draft of an email sequence, ask someone else on your team to check your work. Nine times out of ten they won’t find a mistake, but when it comes to that one time, you’ll be glad they caught it and not your client.
Create a culture where you admit mistakes and celebrate wins.
We’re working on creating a culture where we publicly admit our mistakes. We don’t take them lightly (even if they do occasionally merit a laugh), but the goal is to take the shame out making them, and make it easier for everyone else on the team to come forward when something needs to be made right. We also habitually and loudly proclaim each other’s successes. Be your team’s biggest cheerleader, and make sure your praise is specific and public.
Don’t let go of your passion projects.
It’s easy to let go of the less urgent work when you’re in the middle of chaos. Don’t. My personal passion is team development. I work relentlessly on our team’s culture and individual relationships. That’s the work that makes me jump out of bed in the morning. If I have a week I know will be filled with tedious, repeatable tasks, I don’t ease up on the team building projects that matter to me. Even if it means an overall longer day, I’ll be more fulfilled, and therefore more committed to my work, if I’m still doing the things that bring me joy.
Growth seasons are a tightrope- you bring in new clients and bigger opportunities and you need to maintain the level of care and skill that made you successful with smaller projects. With the right tactics, these seasons are also an incredible opportunity to flourish.