In marketing, speed really matters. A team’s ability to quickly navigate obstacles, change course as necessary, and capitalize on opportunities are all major determining factors of growth and success.
Teams that move quickly themselves — or help others move quickly — tend to win. Facebook favors speed to market over perfection, adding key features weeks or months before competitors. Amazon has built an empire solely on speed. Uber is changing the transportation industry not by providing better transportation, but by saving people time.
Moving fast opens up a world of opportunities:
- The faster you move, the faster you fail, the faster you learn.
- The faster you move, the faster you understand your market, the better your odds of beating competition to market.
- The faster you move, the better you’re able to keep pace with changing consumer behavior, the more loyalty you’ll earn.
The list goes on. Here’s what you need to put your foot on the gas.
Get incredibly clear on roles
Role clarity is a critical component of a fast-acting team. The clearer your team is on what they’re accountable for, the less time they’ll waste shifting between tasks or wondering about logistics.
In managing multi-layered digital marketing projects, we embrace a model similar to the DACI framework:
- Driver – Oversees the project from A to Z. Accountable for deadline completion and key milestones.
- Approver – Provides final yes/no/veto in all decision-making.
- Consulted – Contributes strategic insight. Usually a subject-matter expert (SME) whose knowledge is vital to decision-making.
- Informed – Is kept in the loop, but does not have decision-making power in the project.
Sound simple? That’s why it works. Everyone understands his or her lane within the project and is empowered to move swiftly. Gaining this level of clarity takes a high level of intentionality and a small amount of additional groundwork up front. But it’s absolutely worth it.
Delegate as many decisions as possible
Consider the amount of time it actually takes to consult another human being for something. In big businesses, “running something by someone” is never that simple. Adding one more cook to the kitchen often ends up costing days or weeks.
Too many teams appoint a single person as the end-all-be-all decision maker, the only one who’s trusted to make major decisions — for a large volume of ongoing decisions. When this is the case, the individual eventually becomes a bottleneck.
The solution? At Bonfire, we like to pair two individuals with complementary skill sets to form a powerful one-two punch to lead initiatives. Person A is the primary decision-maker, with Person B being implicitly trusted to make a majority of decisions in the absence of Person A. When Person A is unavailable, Person B makes the call.
Two things need to be true of Person B for this to work:
- Person B must be values-aligned with Person A.
- Person B must have similar levels of expertise as Person A within their craft.
Person B may make a slightly less precise decision than Person A, but if they’re values-aligned, your gained advantage of moving consistently faster is worth the tradeoff.
Autonomy is a shortcut to speed.
Lead by example
Speed is contagious.
As the leader, the pace at which your team moves will be a reflection of your own.
Leading with speed is especially important if something is important but not urgent. So, as the leader, you’ll occasionally need to manufacture an urgent pace to drive the initiative forward. Set deadlines for everything — even for making the biggest decisions. If a decision needs to be delayed to think things through, do it for a max of 24 hours. If you don’t set limits, time will slip by.
Final thought: Speed isn’t necessarily the enemy of precision. But operating with both can require a significant time investment to effectively systemize the way you operate. In the end, it’s absolutely worth it.
Build systems. Be a doer-leader. Be fast.