Marketing agencies are weird places. They typically never quite have either a horizontal nor vertical org chart, roles are often much more fluid, and major decision making sometimes is forced into tiny windows of evaluation.
In light of this, how much communication is too much communication? How little communication is too little communication?
Juxtaposing the Best of Intentions
When the best of intentions are misunderstood, disfunction ensues. Here are a couple of scenarios:
- Best of intention is to keep everyone informed of everything at all times. This plays out as a flood of information at all times. Side effects include email overload, too many meetings, low employee productivity ratios, and too much time spent on slack.
- Best of intention is to not bother anyone with another thing to think about until a fully fleshed out plan is created. This often plays out as Abbott and Costello’s Who’s On First Comedy Routine. Side effects include hurt feelings from lack of input, employee disengagement, feelings of abrupt change, and double work ensuing.
Questions to Ask When Evaluating Communication Needs at Your Agency
- What kind of season is your agency in? Startup? Growth mode? Stability? Blitz?
- How many decision makers are autonomously moving initiatives forward on a regular basis?
- Does each “department” have a spokesperson or is each employee their own spokesperson?
- On average, how much time is given between when a decision is made, announced, and implemented? A day? A week? A month? A quarter?
- How do leaders feel the current level of communication is?
- How do implementers feel the current level of communication is?
- Are the two above the same or different?
- Do you get good or back feedback from clients regarding communication?
- Who’s in charge of what? (And do they know that they are expected to be in charge of it?)
- Do employees feel energized and ready to complete their marching orders after internal meetings? Do employees feel overwhelmed and despondent after internal meetings?
- Do employees engage with company announcements?
- Which kinds of high level decisions are brought before the entire team before being made?
- Where do most ideas in general come from?
- Where do most ideas that get implemented come from?
- WHY? Ask why about everything you’re noticing when it comes to agency communication tactics, perceptions, and outcomes.
- Would you describe meetings as “open door” or “closed door”?
- Do you regularly have the same meeting multiple times with different people to get everyone on the same page?
- When good communication is happening, what is the result?
- What do you notice as symptoms of lack of communication?
Diagnosing these indicators can help guide your decision in how to communicate and how much to communicate with the varying stakeholders in your organization. There is no one size fits all. Find your stride and keep pace as your agency morphs.
What would you add to this list?
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