Proactive Management For Personal And Team Development

Proactive Management For Personal And Team Development

The last few months have been hard for everyone, many managers have had the hardest time, supporting their teams and supporting themselves through the crisis. 

There has been no guide on how to handle this situation or be great for everyone. 
The last couple of months have been difficult, there have been reduced team sizes, furloughing and redundancies alongside having to be scrappy, survive and drive the company forward and no doubt you have had to cut your marketing and growth spend with budget cuts.
You could be one of the lucky ones and saw your company and teams performance actually thrive. 
The near future is going to be another challenge but one which should be clearer and offers the chance to step up and help develop those around you. It is imperative to use your EQ and IQ with this exercise!

Be Proactive 

In the coming weeks, it is essential for Marketing and Growth leads to step up and drive personal and professional development of their team members.
Q4 is often the most important period for businesses, ending the year hitting or succeeding the annual goals, seeing your plan and all the hard work pay off is one of the treats towards Christmas.
Something that is important towards the end of Q4 is boosting the team’s confidence into a new year, this provides a the right foundation to develop the individual and team skills and start the new year in high spirits and confidence to develop again.

Mentor and Coaching

As previously mentioned in mentor or coach it will be essential to arrange either an internal mentor or coach or bring in the right external coach or mentor.
Professional development should be something that is automatically thought of and prioritised, unfortunately speaking to a number of Marketers and Growth practitioners recently this has not been the case.  
I challenge you to set up 2021 for success, work with your team members and help them decide what they require. 
The new year is often when staff members question their role within organisations and look to move on, ‘new year, new start’, if you would like to keep your team together and make your team members feel valued, get ahead and use the following method. 

Question Yourself Before The Team

Before you look to ask a series of questions, take a step back and run a SWOT analysis on the team, the team members and the supporting agencies.
Here are a list of important questions to ask yourself about you and the team:
  • Are there core skill gaps? 
  • Are there obvious steps you can take to develop out your team?
  • Are there easy lunch and learns you can set up?
  • Do we have the right staff and agency mix? 
  • Could we retender our agency work?
  • If we were to shuffle the pack what role would benefit us most? 
  • Who is the internal influencer we need to keep motivated? 
  • Can we arrange guest speakers or remote sessions to benefit the team? 
  • Would an internal conference be beneficial? 
  • Which teams aren’t working closely together? 
  • How can I bring the teams closer together as a department? 
  • Could you arrange a captain and champion system? 
  • If we were to lose one team member, who would it be and what would be the impact? 

These are important questions to answer honestly, I would recommend that you run through twice on your own and then run through with someone on a similar level to you to get honest and direct feedback. Remember these questions are for the benefit of the team and the team’s performance, this, in turn, will help to develop the team, while you are helping individuals to develop and where possible share knowledge and round out specialists, and help to improve important generalists.

Questions To Ask Your Team Members

  • What skills do you feel you can work on?
  • What marketing or growth skills do you feel our team could develop on? 
  • Where do you see yourself in: 
    • Six months? 
    • One year? 
    • Three years? 
  • Do you see yourself as a generalist or specialist? 
    • Would you like to change this? 
  • If there was one change you wanted to make about your role what would it be and why?
  • Where do you see your future laying within Marketing or Growth?
  • Is there a specific Marketing discipline you would love to learn more about?
  • Are you self learning currently?
    • Is there a development area we can support you on?  

Once you have collated these answers and understand the direction you would like to take the team and develop out your team members, action these, start with smart internal steps to help build momentum, create milestones so you understand how far you and the team have come, revisit your budget and where possible or relevant reassign these to external coaches.

Personal Development As A Marketing Leader 

Question: How would I benefit from these questions and where can I improve and develop? This process will help you develop as a people manager and coach but also as a leader.
Developing out your team and team members do take time but it is invaluable for the team’s cohesion, for team members development and for the company’s performance. 
You will see bumps, however, you will see improvements short, mid and long term and celebrate wins, micro wins all roll up to huge change. 
Take the challenge. I dare you. 
Blog Note: This article was written for Heads of, Director and VP / C Suite members but importantly many senior managers and upcoming stars can use this framework too and should openly and proactively go and speak to the bosses about rolling this out.

Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring and coaching - Danny Denhard I am a huge believer in personal mentors or coaches. In the professional world the more senior you become the less training you tend to receive, the less time you make for self-learning and although you feel like you do coach and offer to coach, the less you deliver.
In the near future, I truly believe many individuals should self start and actively look to find a coach or mentor. 
Over recent years I have found myself being introduced to senior Marketing, Growth and Product people and asked if I could help one of their colleagues or have a coffee with them. 
In many cases, these introductions and virtual coffees have become informal mentees or have become formal coaching clients. In many cases these are CMO’s or VP’s.


I personally love mentoring, like many skills, it is a skill you have to work on, the more mentoring the more you will learn, the better you become, not just for you but for the mentees and future mentees.
In over two decades of professional work, I have mentored a number of people in and outside of the company I worked for and I believe mentoring is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. 
Something to keep in mind with mentoring is, mentoring often is unspoken or informal, so mentoring often happens without your realising. 
A coffee with someone regularly might seem like therapy but is likely mentoring or coaching
A good percentage of the mentees I was lucky to work with were some of the smartest people I have met or had the pleasure to work with.
A good mentor relationship is two ways, a mentor who says they do not learn from their mentee either isn’t a mentor or is part of the unique 1%. 
A great mentor will improve your confidence, learn with you and help you with some tricky decisions and where possible introduce you to good people. 


I have also coached a number of professionals who had hit their ceiling or felt like they needed someone external to help their growth and help provide a different context to their work
In the near future mentoring and coaching is going to be priceless especially within organisations. Companies will have limited budgets, they will have to make hard decisions around how much they can invest into formal training and many should turn to the right internal coaches and mentors, or, go external and take on paid coaches or mentors. 

Coaching Vs Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are two different disciplines.  Mentoring is lighter, longer-term without a formal written down set of goals but should feel the benefit over these regular sessions after a few months. Mentors often provide you with a few avenues to take and helps to guide you softly. Rarely should a mentor make your decisions for you.
Coaching is harder, shorter-term with an agreed set of goals and you should feel improvements within four to six weeks. Coaches should be improving a set of skills or helping to shape you and improve you tactically and strategically.
Coaches are important to everyone’s careers, whether you are a CEO of a large successful company (even Apple, Disney and Google c-suite have coaches) to someone starting out on their professional journey.
Even the highest performing athletes, like boxing champions, Olympics double gold winners to footballing icons like Ronaldo or Messi have coaches working with them and improving them constantly. 

Coach or Mentor? 

Are you still wondering if you should be looking for a coach or mentor? 
If you are looking to improve specific skills or a set of skills a relevant coach is the right choice. If you are looking to discuss tactics, campaigns or projects and looking for actionable feedback a coach is the right choice. 
If you are looking to round out your professional career, discuss general issues and look for guidance or options of how to tackle potential issues a mentor is the better choice. 

Coaching and Mentoring Combined?  

Mixing the two can work, however, it is important to state and call out if it is a mentor or coaching session with actions to come off the back of it.

Internal or External

If you wanted to know if you should look for an internal or external mentor, question if the internal mentor has the time, the energy and can remove themselves from the job to mentor you and be objective about your situation. 
If external, always have a chemistry session and ask if they have the time and commitment to one to two sessions per month. Paid mentors will, of course, have the time but might not be the right fit. 

Coaching And Mentoring From Me

I have made the conscious decision to take on more paid mentor clients and more paid coaching clients, the areas I will be offering include Marketing, Growth, Strategy and Culture.
My approach to paid coaching is building a structure, we review your plan (or build one if you do not have one), review your process and address and solve problems, typically one problem at a time. Expect homework and challenges throughout the coaching sessions.  Read more about my Marketing Coaching service.
My approach to paid mentoring is to have open mentoring sessions where we talk through how you are feeling, what you have on, what is going on with you and what areas you are looking to discuss and potentially nurture and we work through. Mentoring is far more informal and deliberately more relaxed, there will be times where I set homework and push you. This has worked for me and my mentees previously and an important call-out.
If you would like to discuss this happily hit the button below or email me. You can reach out over LinkedIn by clicking this link.
I also offer dedicated Growth Advisory services which will help to take your business to the next level. Happily reach out with any questions.

The Performance Brand Book

The performance brand book In recent years it has been great to be invited to speak and keynote at conferences, hosting mentoring and coaching sessions and taking part in chapters of books, white papers and ebooks.
I’m happy to announce I was asked to be part of my own chapter for Attest’s The Performance Brand book.
The book is running through how a brand can learn from a performance approach and really put data and insights at the forefront of their branding campaigns.
I was more than happy to discuss a previous campaign we ran at JustGiving, running radio ads to increase the awareness of the JustGiving Crowdfunding brand and have a CTA of creating a page for people who needed support from their friends, family, their local community and potentially strangers.
A little tip: In the coming months I predict audio will be a huge part of branded activity, especially with the multiple options and improving reporting, targeting and insights available. Probably a good idea to check out your audio options.
You are invited:
To join the virtual book launch in September 2020. Follow this link and sign up. Thanks and look forward to seeing you there (virtually of course).

Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof

Problem, pick, plan, prepare, predict, present, preview, prove, proof - the 9 p's Here you go, it has a name. The 9p’s (not as catchy as the title) is the process we all go through at large organisations, every quarter we run through the same process to understand what we should be working on, how we hit the goals that are set, be proactive in making positive change, present it and then spend months chasing the goals or in many cases trying to prove and get proof it worked.  
This process is a silent process, we typically run through this but rarely map it out in a way that it formalised or easy to apply for many departments.
I was recently speaking to a senior leader of a business, we discussed an array of subjects but one that stood out was the difference between teams within organisations.  We landed in saying that Marketing, Growth and Product Departments have the impossible task, they are the only teams that have to predict the future and then make it happen.  Let that sink in for a minute, only three departments truly have to think, collaborate (yes the best ones collaborate) and create the future alongside making it happen. 
Product Departments have the difficult task in managing and delivering big techinical projects, Product Teams are often behind on delivery, catching up with predicted and long serving roadmaps or having to pick up tech debt.
While Marketing and Growth have to pull the company and their users to the future and help to enable the future to happen. There are no real excuses for Marketing and Growth teams not to do this. 
There is a but, almost all departments follow the same flow;
  • Understand the problem(s) we are solving,
  • pick what they are going to be working on,
  • plan for the future,
  • prepare a presentation or the numbers,
  • predict the outcomes, (assign yourself a large enough number to please the bosses but in near enough reach for you to actually hit
  • present to senior stakeholders,
  • preview the work,
  • prove it was the right thing(s) to have done
  • Show proof that it worked.
Then rinse and repeat. This can be frustrating but it is the nature of the business world.
Marketing and Growth often have what looks like the easiest or best jobs but the constant need to pull the company forward, breakdown every penny they spend, analyse and communicate user behaviours is challenging and getting harder.
The more channels that become popular the harder the job becomes, the more effective the messaging and targeting has to be and then passing over users to other teams to ensure they have a great experience often removes marketing from understanding their customers and who is likely just browsing. 
Growth often has to pick up where Product work drops out and Marketing do not have the time or resource (typically technical or development) to improve the experience for the customers they worked so hard to get to the product or service.  Marketing does not sound so easy now, does it. 
So although the 9P’s sounds like a silly process, it actually is a good way to build action plans and connect into the company-wide strategy. This 9p process will work in Marketing, Growth and Product Departments, a word of warning – do not allow teams to run off and create their own team version otherwise you are instantly siloing projects, tests, campaigns or programmes. In recent conversations I have used these nine steps and have simplified the process down and enables staff of all levels to write down their action plan for the quarter ahead. 
Why not try out the 9P process and see if it helps you focus the departments efforts for the future quarters ahead. 
9 P’sExplainer
ProblemProblem(s) you and the team are trying to solve. List out the problems and think through the next three to six months. 
Pick Pick the most important problems and the ways you are looking to solve said problems. Pick a date for when they need to rolled out by 
Plan Plan your activities, plan the projects and the campaigns and demonstrate you understand the impact you are going to have. This is the spike or hunt phase for Growth or Product teams. 
PreparePrepare the data, prepare the deck, prepare the communications and understand how you are planning to move forward and backing up your problems and why you picked these and why they are a priority. 
Predict Predict the outcomes, breakdown by priority and show you understand you are going to move x or y metric. 
PresentPresent the findings, present the campaign overviews and present it in a way that will get cut through
PreviewCreate a preview of the work, show the teams around you, preview the campaign or project and start to roll out to live. Your plan and deadline dates will be important here 
Prove Prove you have done the right thing, prove you know the metrics you are moving and update to the teams and management that you picked the right work, prove it is working and show when you know how to optimise and improve. If it is working this is where you can ask for more investment. 
ProofThis is the second most part of the process, gaining and showing proof you have answered the problems, that your plan was right and you are pushing the company into the right place. 
The 9P’s
With strategic projects there are so many ways teams and departments tackle presenting these issues, they all create in different formats and all predict in different ways, this is a way you and your departments can tackle the coming quarters and apply one theme or process for all to follow. I cannot stress how important it is for teams to collaborate and partner through the creation phase and check in constantly and not on slack or teams but on a centralised tool or in person.
Remember numbers are what senior leaders want but it is hard to demonstrate a story and growth of what you are doing without a presentation or video. Lead with numbers for trust but story-tell for cut through.