In the week’s episode of In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris talk shop about process change management when it comes to process management. How do we handle the creation and adoption of new processes, especially when they’re big changes? Tune in!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
Christopher Penn 0:02
This is In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast.
In this week’s In-Ear Insights, we are closing out the trifecta of people process and platform when it comes to change management.
We’ve talked about helping people change evaluated the technologies and how to think about technology and change.
So this week, Katie, we had a really good question over in analytics for marketers are free slack group, which if you haven’t joined in and go to TrustInsights.ai, dot AI slash analytics for marketers, and the question was from Patricia iare, who’s asking what’s the best process of best protrude balancing automation, efficiency and intelligence effectiveness and your Mar tech stack? And to me, that sounded not a, like a technology province has got process problem more than anything.
So to close out on change management process, how what’s your thinking on this?
Katie Robbert 0:54
Well, I mean, it’s, it sort of starts the same with, you know, evaluating people in platform, what is your goal? What is it that you’re trying to accomplish? And so process, you know, really, at the end of the day, when you break it down to its simplicity is a set of repeatable steps.
And so I remember, Chris, when I joined your marketing team, at the agency that we used to work at one of the first questions I asked was, you know, do you guys have, you know, your standard operating procedures for the following tasks that they all completed? And I just got a whole bunch of deer in headlights of like, What do you mean? And I was like, you know, the instructions? How you do the thing? Is it repeatable? And it just, it was like, mind blowing, that you would have a set of steps written out for how you do the thing.
And so what I learned was that people were just kind of doing it their own way.
And depending on who you ask, you would get a different answer.
So that’s problematic.
And that is usually the root of a process problem is that no set of instructions for how to do the thing is written down? So that’s part of it.
The other part of it is, you know, are there efficiencies to be found with the process? Do you have process just for the sake of process.
So on the flip side, when I worked in clinical trials in pharmaceuticals, a lot of times there was process just for the sake of process.
And it actually got in the way of getting anything done.
Because you had to go through so many, you know, regulated steps and hoops and checks and balances.
But getting anything done with like a month, a couple of months long process to like, make one small change.
And so there’s, you know, there’s good and bad about process.
And so the question of the best approach approach to balancing automation, and intelligence.
I mean, it comes down to first of all, you have to look at your data.
And that is your data around the amount of time people are spending doing the thing, and the data that you’re getting out of it to make decisions.
Chris, I know that I’ve sort of like, you know, thrust my thoughts of process upon you now to the point where anytime you mentioned that you’re like, ah, I sound just like you, you know, but I will say you’ve come around to seeing where process is good.
What are your thoughts on it?
Christopher Penn 3:29
I think the question of efficiency and effectiveness is kind of a false dichotomy.
If you’re, you know, when you’re writing I write code.
Code is a process.
It’s a process that you hand to a machine rather than you and the machine executes the code.
Ideally, it’s repeatable, right? Which means that if your code breaks, when you’re running, it’s not repeatable.
And it is effective, because again, the machine is doing the work for you.
And yours, there really is no trade off, your code either works or it doesn’t.
And if your code works, then it delivers efficiency, and it delivers effectiveness.
So it’s, you’re not having to choose between one or the other.
And to your point about optimizing process, it lets you do the same thing with your code.
You look at your code and go, what stuff could I do differently? How do what have I learned since the last time I looked at this piece of code? What could he be doing better? Are there better libraries to involve? Are there better procedures? Did I put some stuff in here that didn’t need to? I was looking at a piece of code I wrote from a year ago and was like just cringing in my chair like, oh, there’s so many things that I know how to do better now.
And so a big part of of that, from a coding perspective is looking at the written out process, and deciding what is important and what’s not.
And the hardest part, I think, and certainly for me is knowing what’s missing, like are there things that I should know how to do better? Are there things that I should efficiencies that I haven’t found, yet Are there more effective tools that could put in here, that would either take out some steps, or would deliver better results.
So for me process is, is sort of a human human aspect of what eventually becomes the code.
Katie Robbert 5:19
It’s reminding me of where I was helping test some software early on a few jobs ago, and one of the calculations was a logarithmic algorithm.
And in order to ensure that they had coded it correctly, I had to do all of the calculations by hand, which is inefficient, because I first had to brush up on how to do logarithmic algorithms by hand.
And then I had to continually over and over again, verify it.
And but that was something that was built into the process of testing the software in order to ensure that the software could then eventually take over for the human hand calculation.
And so it was inefficient, but it was effective.
And so I do think that you, it’s, you don’t need to couple the two together.
Um, you know, but one of the questions that we get all the time is, Will AI take my job.
And so we try to break it down even smaller to start with something like robotic process automation.
And so that is where you take a look at where you get from people to platform process, it’s in the middle of that, and what is it that you’re doing to the platform to get some sort of an outcome? Is there an opportunity to automate some of that, and that automation can look a lot of different ways.
Automation can be manual automation can be automatic.
And what I mean by that is, the automation is breaking it down to that repeatable set of steps, that sort of a manual automation, because then everybody’s doing it the same way.
And then you can interchange people.
But then there’s the automatic, where you program, something to happen, and it happens behind the scenes, but you still need the human to make sure that that automation doesn’t break, and or if you change it, that it’s getting updated correctly, to then produce the same kind of outcome.
So, you know, I think people skip over the process piece of it, one, because it feels like the word process sounds big and daunting and boring.
And two, it can actually be a little bit scary, intimidating, meaning like, well, if there’s a process, then I can’t hide, and I might be out of a job.
Christopher Penn 7:50
Thinking about process.
And as relates to, you know, taking ideas with software development.
One of the things I would suspect, when we when you encounter process questions is, no one is actually doing that QA part of your process metric to say, does this work? And could it be made better? And I think, but how do you how do you do that? How do you handle that as, as a project manager? How do you incorporate QA of the processes themselves.
Katie Robbert 8:25
So that’s, it starts with the planning piece of it and building that in and again, you know, a broken record, you know, take a drink, whatever it is, you have to do the planning of the project.
And planning is the first step of any project, whether you spend weeks planning it or just a few minutes, if you build in QA of the process before it goes live to production, you’re gonna save yourself a lot of headache.
And the QA doesn’t have to be, you know, elaborate, it can literally be like running it through some sort of a code checker or just having someone simulate running through it the way that your customers would run through it.
Or depending on what you’re building, maybe you do need to set up a virtual machine with all of the different operating systems and you know, all the different browsers to make sure that it doesn’t break across any one of those things with like the hundreds of different combinations.
But it’s a really bad idea to skip that part of the process.
And people skip it because it takes extra time to go from creating the thing to getting it out to the market and market might be like rolling it out to your team, that might be your market or market might be your customers that could be your market.
People just want to do things faster, and process slows you down.
And that sort of the misunderstanding of how process works process should be put in place to make sure that you can trace back your steps to where something might have gone wrong, versus people thinking processes put in place just to hold you up and slow you down from getting to your end result.
Christopher Penn 10:00
But like you like in the martial arts, for example, you know that repetition is what eventually gets you to speed, you know, you can you will hit much faster after you’ve done it 10,000 times, right? At that point, it’s second nature.
So I would assume that that process of developing process eventually gets to the point where Yeah, you can go faster, because you don’t have to remember what to do anymore.
How much this stuff like shoulder surfing, and you know, and ride alongs matter to process QA to be able to sit, you know, if you have an employee, it just literally it’s kind of creepy, but it’s like hanging off the shoulder going, Okay,
Unknown Speaker 10:36
this, what are you doing now,
Katie Robbert 10:39
it’s very important, actually, it’s why in software development, they have what they call peer reviews.
So, you know, a developer should not be reviewing and cueing their own code, it should be a separate person, another developer, or ideally, a QA engineer, who has not coded the thing at all, and is more neutral to the process.
And so it’s incredibly essential, because someone who doesn’t create the thing is going to see what you don’t see you creating it, you have blind spots, you’re too close to it.
Regardless of how open you think you are to everything around you, you’re always going to be too close to it until someone else takes a look at it.
And so one of the things that we’re doing is we’re having our VA Emily, write down all the steps to the processes that we’ve created.
And as she’s doing that, she’s asking a lot of questions like, Well, why do you do it this way? And, you know, this, this step here doesn’t make sense? And is this the most efficient way to do it? And, you know, sometimes the answer is yes, but a lot of times, like, Oh, you know what, I never even thought about that.
We’ve just been doing it this way forever.
Which, by the way, is the kiss of death.
If you hear someone say, but we’ve always done it this way, run, just run away.
Unknown Speaker 11:58
Katie Robbert 11:59
well, but that’s an opportunity to be like, okay, let’s evaluate Is that still the best way and it might be still the best way to do it.
But a lot of times, especially when you’re talking about technology, it’s definitely not the best way to continue to do it.
Christopher Penn 12:15
So how does somebody get started in you know, things aren’t working, right? You walk in, you know, it’s like that that meme that you see on on Tanner and giffy, or the you know, the guy with the, you know, walking into the room with some pizzas, and like the whole room is on fire, there’s people swinging from the chandelier and stuff.
I know, you walk into the situation, like, what is going on here? How do you out as a marketer, walking into, say, a new marketing team, or even just your quarterly marketing meeting, get started in even introducing the idea of process change management.
Katie Robbert 12:48
It’s going to be the unsexy answer.
But you have to start writing down how you get from A to B, that is really the best and most tried and true way to understand what’s happening.
So let’s say for example, you walk into a new marketing team.
And they’re delivering delivering their end of month reports to the clients.
But for some reason, they start those end of month reports on the 15th of the month, because it takes them that long to get to, you know, the second of the next month, and deliver the report and you’re like, well, that’s completely inefficient, because first of all, you’re starting your reporting way too early.
And you’re missing, you know, some key pieces because the data is going to be invalid.
And second, why the heck is it taking you so long.
So the first thing you need to do is start writing down what people are doing.
And you know, whether you want to record this, you know, I’m saying the term writing down, like literally pen to paper, or you can, you know, do some sort of a screencast and literally record what people are doing.
So take the term writing down loosely and just sort of apply it to somehow recording what the person is doing to get to that outcome so that you can start to pick apart.
Okay, it looks like you’re starting reports on the 15th.
Because in between each of you know, the slides, you’re taking six coffee breaks, and you’re doing other work or you’re unfocused, or the slide deck has 100 slides, and nobody looks at them.
And so there’s a lot of different things that you need to start to pick apart.
So yeah, I would say the first thing you need to do is sort of evaluate what someone is doing.
So that you can start to introduce more efficiencies.
And I will say sort of as a caution, if you try to change the whole process from start to finish at once, you’re not going to be successful because change is hard.
People don’t like that much change all at once.
And it can be overwhelming and people can check out.
So you need to start small and find those small wins and keep building up to the full change.
Christopher Penn 14:58
What what’s an example of a small wins should be looking for like when you’re looking at the existing processes.
Obviously, if I can save you a minute of time here, or Hey, don’t copy and paste straight from Google, you know, those are some some silly examples.
But how do you how do you find something that would be an easy win a, because it’s easy and be because it was legitimate improvement forward?
Katie Robbert 15:23
Well, I think your example of, you know, copying and pasting data, for example.
So let’s say, you know, I’m running Google ads, and I’m copying and pasting the data directly into a spreadsheet, and then I’m putting that into, you know, a PowerPoint deck to deliver to a client.
Well, fortunately, Google Ads collects, connects natively to Google Data Studio.
So I might suggest that either you connect the Google Ads data directly to a Google Sheet, if that’s more of your comfort level, or you can have that data go directly into a Data Studio dashboard, which, which replicates what you’re doing in the spreadsheet.
But it’s done in an automated way, so that there’s no copying and pasting.
And there’s much less room for human error, because you’re not copying and pasting.
And then if you want to still take that information and put it into a PowerPoint, you can do that, like you can sort of tackle one piece of the problem at a time.
Christopher Penn 16:23
So are you looking in terms of getting someone to adopt a process? change? Are you looking for something that for them is a time saver, like trying to find ways to chop stuff out so that, you know, like, we used to work with some folks who literally just copied and pasted Google for 40 hours a week? I was like, how have you not clawed your own eyeballs out yet? So But then, when you take that person, you say, Okay, here’s the automated way to do this.
Now, you have 38 extra hours
Unknown Speaker 16:52
Katie Robbert 16:54
Yeah, so that’s sort of the double edged sword piece of it.
And that goes back to the will AI take my job question.
So the more efficient you make the process, the more the person who was doing the job, needs to find other things to do.
And so you do need to, you know, it, what I’ve run into is that a lot of managers and a lot of change management, consultants and change agents, don’t factor in that people side of things in terms of how the person you’re applying the change to is going to feel about it.
Because if that person doesn’t get on board with the change, then it’s not gonna work, nobody’s going to be there, to do the thing, you still need a person to execute the process.
And so, you know, while I’m not saying that, you need to have sort of like a share circle of feelings and be like, you know, I just want to assure you that your job is not going anywhere, you can’t say that the job is changing.
But it’s changing in a positive way, where it’s taking you out of the weeds of copying and pasting data all day, to really start to hone your skills in terms of critical thinking to be, you know, identifying trends, identifying anomalies in the data, coming up with tactics to fix those things.
Because what we often see, what we often hear is I’m so bogged down with just reporting on the data, I don’t have time to even look at what it’s saying, and do something about it, you know, as it is, I’m probably a month behind in being able to do something effective with the data at all.
And that’s really the conversation you would want to have in that situation is, well, if we introduce this little bit of automation, then instead of being reactive to the data, you can be a little bit more proactive, and make positive changes in your marketing tactics.
Christopher Penn 18:43
So from a adoption perspective, then when we want to roll this out, how do we communicate our process changes or proposed process changes, we pull everyone into an all hands meeting and say, hey, guess what’s going on? How involved are the people, that the process changes will be impacting,
Katie Robbert 19:07
it really depends on what the process is.
So if you are within your own team, you know, just changing the process of how reporting is done, then it really comes down to whoever is doing the reporting.
So you would only really need to work with that one or two people.
You don’t need to pull the whole team together because it doesn’t affect everybody.
But once the process is refined, you should roll it out to everybody as an awareness but not as a Hey, this is something I need you to be directly involved in.
Um, you know, it definitely doesn’t need to go to the whole entire company, for example.
However, if you are making a larger process change such as you know, how the company as a whole is approaching hiring, then that’s something that everybody needs to be aware of, and you’ll get more success if you actually involve people who are doing the thing.
So that’s sort of another, you know, misstep that companies make when they’re trying to change make, you know, have any kind of change management or change a process is they don’t directly involve the people who will be the most impacted by the change.
They don’t ask those people.
You know why they do it a certain way, you know, maybe I was taught this way, or maybe this is what I thought was the most efficient, you know, they just sort of like, drop a whole bunch of new process on their desk deck, okay, now do it this way.
And people like, I don’t get it.
So it’s the communication comes down to why are we making this change? People like to know why they’re being asked to do something.
But then also the communication should be with the people who are going to be responsible for executing the change.
Christopher Penn 20:42
What do you mean blind mandates from autohide? forced on all employees don’t work.
Katie Robbert 20:47
You know, weird, you would think that they would, but surprisingly, they don’t.
Christopher Penn 20:53
Alright, so, to recap, process management is the third part of people process and platform and the I think the critical point to understand is what Katie said, the process is the glue that binds people and platforms together without it you there is no way to eventually reap the benefits of automation and AI and all these things.
If you’ve got questions about anything we’ve talked about in today’s episode, or this entire series on change management, hop on over to our free slack group Trust insights.ai slash analytics remarketing, where you have over 1700 other marketers can talk about all processes and changes and all these things and even current events.
You know, we’re currently having a discussion right now about Facebook’s ad changes that are rolling out the week of April 26.
exciting things happening there.
And wherever it is that you’re listening to the show if there’s a preferred platform you’d rather consume it on, go to Trust insights.ai slash ti podcast where you can find the show on pretty much most places that that you can enjoy it.
Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll talk to you next time.
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