Summer 2020 is the summer that never was- that’s how it feels anyway. We’re used to a slowed pace this time of year as many of our clients’ industries are in their off-season, and our team usually switches some of our hours over into training and development mode in preparation for the fall and holidays- our two most hectic times of year. This year, like so many other routines that were obliterated, we never actually had a slow season. Digital marketing was one of the only things our clients could do during the pandemic, so we ramped up, retooling strategies and revolutionizing their digital presence, adapting and readapting, never letting our feet off the gas for a second. We’re grateful for the abundance of work- but realizing we’re headed into the busy season without as much dedicated time to prepare can be overwhelming.
Here’s what our team is doing to prepare for the busy season during a year of unknowns and new territory.
Leaning into our Strengths
Teams function best when each person is operating from their strengths and passions. We make sure that grunt-work tasks are divided between all team members, so no one is spending too much time slogging along. When each person is completing tasks they’re passionate about- and good at- the overall productivity of the team increases. There will always be tough and even boring tasks that need to be done, but we try to keep them from weighing down any one person unnecessarily.
Commiting to Concentrated Preparation Time
We don’t have the advantage of a slow season to prep this year, so our team is committing to concentrated prep sessions during a team retreat. We’ll use this time to go over protocols and best practices, hone our skills and learn new strategies, and most importantly, make sure our communication is seamless as we head into the chaos of the fall. While we’ll have to cover more ground in less time, setting aside a designated time and space for prep will help us stay on track.
Tasking Out Individual Skills Training
Since prep time is shorter and more concentrated than usual, we won’t have the time for everyone to learn every new skill we’d normally cover. Instead, we are tasking out specific platforms, programs, and strategies for each person to master. That way, we can utilize our prep time more efficiently, while ensuring we’re actively expanding our abilities as an agency.
Double-Covering Our Bases
Although we’re tasking out individual skills, we also have a team rule: You can’t be the only person who knows how to do something. Life happens- we get sick, need unexpected leave, or get overwhelmed with a project. Problems happen when only one person knows how to get something done. We are actively utilizing time now for some of our more experienced members to train others on a specific skill so that they have additional coverage and we can better support each other during future projects.
Here’s a mantra I repeat to our clients almost daily: “Scaling requires systems.” We’re getting into the practice of writing down all of our protocols, and systematizing our approach to every client project. It takes a little more time upfront, but it makes us way more efficient as time passes, and also prevents small mistakes and things falling through the cracks.
How are you preparing for the busy season during this time of new norms and unusual routines? We’d love to hear from you!