The Seven Dwarfs Teach Team Building:

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho it’s off to work we go…”

team building concept drawn on blackboard
Have you ever been lucky enough to work for a person who believes that the core function of your job should be something you love?

In strategic development, specifically organizational theory, making sure the right individual is in the right position doesn’t always seem to be a high priority. There are all sorts of reasons why people within an organization wind up with certain roles. Often, logic does not appear to be a determining factor in these hierarchal decisions.

Which leads us to what I like to call the Seven Dwarf model.

When putting together a team, chemistry is vital. Not having the right mix of personalities can be a recipe for disaster and dysfunction.

Building a team with the right chemistry and talent is an art form. Overlapping functions and roles can cause friction.

Define roles. Assign an understudy. Foster a mentality of “we’re in this together.”

Construct your team based on the Seven Dwarfs model. Potential team members exhibit one or two personality traits as demonstrated by profiling the Seven Dwarfs.

Doc- The team leader. The person that seems to have all the answers and acts as a sounding board for everyone else.

Happy- The backbone of any team. No matter what task you give Happy she is ecstatic to help. She executes with a smile. No task is too trivial.

Bashful- Usually very shy, quiet and reserved. By really paying attention to the Bashful on your team, you may uncover a complex person who has amazing ideas. Beware though, without proper prodding Bashful is unlikely to express himself.

Grumpy- The team realist. Often perceived as negative, Grumpy exudes pragmatism wrapped in a thin veneer of hostility. The macro thinker who can visualize how all the different pieces of a project interconnect. A Grumpy thinker is usually two steps ahead of everyone else in the room.

Sleepy- The person in meetings who always appears to be on the verge of falling out of his chair. Although he may appear to be in a stupor, Sleepy has rare flashes of insight that are dead on accurate. Outward displays of languor mask intense listening skills.

Sneezy- Any member of any team during allergy season. (Hence why anyone can be in two categories at once!). Sneezy is why we institute the policy of the “understudy.” Every team member has a backup that if the need arises can articulate their absent colleague’s projects’ status and progress to management on the spot.

Dopey- Every office has one, a harmless individual (unless in a decision-making, management role). The person whom you know must have a fairy godmother somewhere. Sweet, willing to help, but not a critical thinker.

To achieve a harmonious balance, teams should pull from all seven personality profiles. A team of 5 where each member fits the Grumpy profile may be brilliant. However, without diversity in the thought process, you run the risk of falling victim to groupthink.

There is one more personality type outside of the Seven Dwarf model.

The Evil Witch.

This team member is the person with whom no one else can stand to work. It is important to note that there is an underlying intent of malice in the Evil Witch profile. She (although men are not exempt from this personality) operates with the intent to make herself look important and better than everyone around her. This behavior is not conducive to a positive team building experience.

Three characteristics make up the Evil Witch personality type:

  1. The Glory Hog- no matter what anyone else contributes she takes all the credit.
  2. The Privileged Princess- When everyone else on the team is pitching in to meet a deadline she refuses with the excuse of “that’s not my job,” or “I’m too busy.”
  3. The Backstabber- steals others ideas and passes them off as her own.

If you have an Evil Witch on your team, start thinking about succession planning for that role now.

It is almost impossible to integrate the Evil Witch into the team model. She is too busy stomping on everyone else to contribute anything of value. Rehabilitation efforts fail as there is too much baggage for the rest of the team to overcome. Team members often resent, and will eventually start complaining about the Evil Witch in their midst.

So, what does a well-functioning fairy tale character approved team dynamic get you?

Engaged employees who relish coming to work and feel as if they are part of something important, maybe even momentous.

Almost a decade later, I am still eternally grateful to the boss who recognized that while I could plan any event she wanted, I truly despised event planning.

Allowing me to pass that function to someone who loved event planning let me focus on strategic and tactical planning. In strategic and tactical planning, I found my calling.

Recognizing that teams require calibration is a massive part of strategic development. A well-oiled machine is an asset to your business. A happy team is analogous to a well-oiled machine.

Interested in strategic development as part of your Business Intelligence strategy? Want to learn more? Visit us today at stcgllc.com.

 

Angela M. Insalaco is the Founder and Managing Director of Strategic Tactics Consulting Group, LLC (STCG). At STCG team efficiency is a core function of business intelligence strategy.

Management Strategy to Avoid:

In a glass and steel high-rise, in an American metropolis is a man named Henry. Henry, like many of his contemporaries, is a high-level manager who oversees a significant portion of a multimillion-dollar thriving business. Except Henry’s division isn’t doing so hot.

Henry, the silver-tongued devil that he is, is preparing for a management meeting where he will have to explain to his superiors, the status of current business affairs in his division. To plainly lay out the current situation in black and white to his superiors is a cardinal sin to him.

Holy water and divine intervention be damned. Henry knows his role. Cheerleading and obfuscation.

Presentation about to begin
“Welcome to the magic and the mystery.”

The meeting begins.

You’re sitting in the room while Henry is explaining recent events. You look around, and everyone else present is bobbing their heads in agreement. Meanwhile, you’re trying to figure out if dear old Henry is speaking in a language recognized by humans.

As the meeting progresses, energy seems to fill the room that is sweeping up the congregation while you’re still contemplating whether you really ought to purchase a Klingon Dictionary. The meeting ends with everyone clapping, high-fiving and giving off the air of a Texas high school locker-room after a field goal win on a Friday night.

On the way out, you hastily grab another manager and ask what she took away from this meeting. Moreover, this manager, who, not 5 minutes earlier was doing a gangbuster impression of a bobblehead on a dashboard, can’t tell you. You ask another, and another and no one can hit on the gist of Henry’s presentation. They only know that it was a positive, uplifting experience.

Henry has succeeded, and you have become a victim of office claptrap.

Webster’s New World Dictionary (and Thesaurus) defines claptrap as, “insincere, empty talk intended to get applause.”

“Insincere, empty talk.” You would think that workplace communication should have meaning and value. A joint mission to come together to produce or serve the greater good (i.e., clients, shareholders and employees). Apparently not.

Realism and pragmatism have no place in a claptrap world.

Claptrap is positivity for positivity’s sake. Groupthink at its worst. If you visit the About Us page on the STCG website, you will see we very explicitly state “we do not sugarcoat.”

When did it become acceptable never to tell the boss or client what is honestly happening in their business?

You see this a lot in middle management. If you’ve ever had a campaign tank and had to tell your boss exactly what the conversion rates are, you can see him/her blanch before your very eyes. If you make the severe tactical error of suggesting a conversation with management about an alternative path, you can feel the tension building before the slap down starts. How many managers do you know whose philosophy is that of the Ostrich? “Truth be damned, I’ll just put my head down and save my neck thank you very much.”

Plausible deniability. It’s not just for politicians.

I’m not saying every manager thinks like this. It’s just in my experience there are more people like Henry than pragmatists in the business world.

The point here is that only when you have an accurate understanding of the reality of your business situation can you make effective decisions benefitting your organization. A management strategy should be based on factual data, not warm fuzzy feelings.

Claptrap is flattery run amok. Claptrap leads to groupthink. Groupthink leads to bad decision- making (as many published books are happy to point out). Bad decision-making leads to stress in the workplace. Stress in the workplace leads to false, overly joyful, and everything is going to be all right meetings. Which leads to more claptrap. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Reasons Your Content Marketing Doesn’t Work

Do you find that you are constantly creating content that no one ever reads?

Are you spinning your wheels trying to keep up with an aggressive editorial calendar?

Are your readers unsubscribing from your distribution lists?

You keep hearing “content is king,” but a lot of content is just bad. It doesn’t resonate and doesn’t convert.

We are here to help! We’ve put together a list of 8 reasons why your content sucks so you can know what to avoid when creating content pieces for your business.

  1. You don’t know your target audience.

Marketing is all about the market.

  1. You are not providing value.

-Ask yourself, “why does my reader care about this?”

  1. It’s a love fest.

Don’t let content be part of a “thought leadership” strategy designed to make you look important. It’s not about you; it’s about the audience.

  1. Editorial calendar is holding you hostage.

-You’re publishing to meet an artificial schedule without taking into consideration how often your audience can stand to hear from you before they tune out. You value quantity over quality.

  1. You’re writing for SEO robots.

Robots don’t buy. People buy. Write for people.

  1. Highfaluting vocabulary.

-Too many ten-cent vocabulary words. If a sixth-grader can’t understand the words, edit!

  1. You’re not converting.

Follow the data. Review the pieces you’ve created that have the best conversion rates. Compare those to the lowest conversions. What does the data tell you?

  1. Using the wrong distribution strategy.

-Go back to knowing your audience. If your target audience is grandmothers who knit, then LinkedIn is not the appropriate platform for your content.

Handwriting of Content Marketing word in notebook on the wood table

What in the name of marketing does that mean?

Have you ever been reading a business article or marketing trade publication and come across an abbreviation or acronym and asked yourself, “what the heck does that mean?”

Man reading a business publication
Business Publication

It happened to me the other day. I was reading a marketing trade and came across the acronym FMCG. Flummoxed, I decided to put together a cheat sheet of definitions of the most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations in marketing. (With some commentary thrown in).

B2B- Business-to-Business– Companies that sell their products or services specifically to other businesses.

B2C- Business-to-Consumer– Companies that sell their products or services specifically to an individual consumer.

CorCom- Corporate Communications– Generally, an in-house term for the department that handles Corporate Communications.

CRM- Customer Relationship Manager– this is a fancy term for your company’s database of clients and prospects.  Tools like Salesforce.com and MS Dynamics are CRM systems.  CRM systems are awesome because they allow your sales team to record every interaction they have with a client or prospect including Opportunities. Us analytical marketing folks love CRM’s because they allow us to track marketing expenditures related to campaigns, events, and client acquisition and retention projects. By allowing us to assign dollar amounts to campaigns and for the sales team to determine activity rates among clients and prospects we can track all sorts of metrics like campaign effectiveness and ROI.

CPG- Consumer Packaged Goods– these are goods that are a) packaged and b) generally used every day by a consumer.

FMCG- Fast Moving Consumer Goods– another way to say CPG company. Seen more often in British publications.

IMC- Integrated Marketing Communications– My favorite marketing discipline! IMC is the concept of using one cohesive message across multiple marketing mediums.  This includes branding, advertising, public relations, social media, SEO, promotions, and events.  Here at STCG we create strategic and tactical plans that work within the framework of IMC.  One voice. One message.  Multiple mediums!

MarCom- Marketing Communications- Encompasses all of the marketing disciplines that deal with how your business communicates to your target market including branding, advertising, public relations, digital marketing, print, radio, direct mail and personal selling.

MarTech- Marketing Technology- This relatively new term encompasses technology related to marketing.

PPC-Pay-Per-Click- When running a paid search campaign, you are charged whenever someone clicks on your ad.

PR- Public Relations-This includes external activities related to publicly promoting your business.  The most identifiable use is through press releases that are eventually disseminated across the wire.

SEM- Search Engine Marketing- A type of internet marketing that increases your website or landing page’s visibility in search engine page results.  This form of internet marketing is usually paid.

SEO- Search Engine Optimization-  The visibility of your website and landing pages for search engines to rank. Also known as organic SEO and unpaid search.

SERP- Search Engine Results Page –Where your website comes up on the page when someone searches for it on a search engine.

SMM- Social Media Marketing- Marketing done on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchap, Pinterest, and Google +.

I hope this helps to illuminate some of the marketing acronyms’ and abbreviations that are floating around.

Have you come across one that we missed?  Got a question?  Let us know we’d love to hear from you!

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