Let’s begin with a question.
Q: What one thing could you do, that you aren’t doing now, that if you did, would make a tremendous impact on your accounts?
Take a minute to ponder that question. Get at least ONE activity in your mind. Write it down on a sticky note. Now continue reading
Put First Things First
We started with Habit #1 to get proactive. This is our personal empowerment. Then we discussed Habit #2 and how we begin with the end in mind. This is Leadership and involves the right brain. However, the whole brain can only be effective when both sides are working together. This brings us to Habit #3.
Putting first things first involves prioritization, which is reliant on our personal management. Management is left brain and together with right brain Leadership, allows us to be an effective PPC manager. However, management requires integrity. We must value ourselves and we must have the ability to make and keep commitments to ourselves. Without this integrity, we won’t be able to reach personal effectiveness. So first we need to how we make commitments and what we should be committing to.
The 4 Quadrants
To the right you see the four quadrants. On x-axis we have Urgent on the left and Not Urgent on the right. On the y-axis we have Important at the top and Not Important on the bottom. Think of the activities you do each day. Which quadrant do they fall into?
Quadrant I represents the fires. You have to put them out and put them out fast. This could be a declined credit card that threatens to pause your account. It could be a broken form or landing page. Obviously we want this quadrant to be as small a part of our day as possible.
Quadrant II is the gold mine. Your answer to the question at the beginning of the post is most likely a Quadrant II activity. Something you really want to do, you know it would help a lot, but it doesn’t get done because of the urgency of Quadrant I and III. Quadrant II is the focus of the effective PPC manager. Quadrant II activities include setting up and implementing solid testing strategies (ad copy, landing page, channel, etc.). It includes communicating with clients proactively.
Quadrants III and IV involve activities that aren’t important, so they should be minimized as much as possible. We’re not even going to give them time here.
Getting Into Quadrant II
The hardest thing about getting to Quadrant II activities is minimizing the impact of Quadrants I & III. This may mean a day off-site or a couple hours with the door closed (or the headphones on) so that you can focus. Whatever works for you. It takes planning and it takes the integrity to personally follow through and hold yourself accountable. Here are some questions you could ask yourself to help get in to Quadrant II:
- What fires flare up on a recurring basis? How could that be prevented?
- What unspoken assumptions should I be explicitly discussing with the client/stakeholders? Should this discussion be face-to-face or would an email work?
- What KPI is the most important (if you could only look at one)? What would be next?
- Are we focusing on the KPIs from the question above?
- What changes are coming in the industry? How can you adjust sooner rather than later to prepare?
- Are there areas of your knowledge that need improvement? How can you get that education?
The goal of this exercise is to identify those tasks that are important, but not urgent. Once identified you can begin structuring your time and work to put first things first.
Fourth Generation Management
The four generations of time management referenced by Stephen Covey culminate with his model being the 4th generation. The 3rd generation was marked mostly by day planners, where scheduling your day and “sticking to the schedule” were the most important priorities. The fourth generation looks at planning on a weekly basis, in the context of roles, so that the highest priorities get the time and focus they deserve. There are 5 distinct benefits conferred by the fourth generation:
- Defines your unique mission, including values and long-term goals
- Helps you balance your life by identifying roles
- Gives greater context through weekly organizing
I see this applying to PPC management is a couple ways.
Fourth Generation PPC Management
Every PPC account has a mission. That mission is to deliver the best return for the investment. How each account defines “return” will be different, but maximizing return is a common goal. I equate the concept of “principle-centered” with being “return-centered”. You know what the big picture goal is, but you have so many things pulling at your time. If you don’t become a highly effective PPC manager, these small things can prevent you from maximizing your return.
Conscience-directed means that you aren’t motivated by the threat of losing your job or getting reprimanded. You know that you are there to deliver results and your motivation is to fulfill that commitment. Remember the integrity we talked about earlier in the post.
Perhaps you don’t feel that your role is well-defined or that the big picture isn’t being communicated. Look back at Habit #1. Be proactive and seek the input of superiors as you define the role and determine how your position in the organization affects the big picture. Even if the rest of the organization is a mess, you can be proactive and ensure your role is aligned and effective.
The last point is a key differentiator between 3rd and 4th generation management. The daily, prioritized to-do list is great, but when you’re planning on a weekly basis you rise above the flames of Quadrant I fires and see the Quadrant II activities that prevent fires from even happening.
As you master the first 3 habits you put yourself in a position of personal independence. By being proactive you will increase your circle of influence and become more able to handle the challenges that come your way. As you begin with the end in mind you’ll eliminate wasted effort and ensure that you’re working toward the right goals. Lastly, as you put first things first you eliminate unimportant activities, reduce fires, and spend more time on the highly effective Quadrant II tasks that will drive your success.