Expert's Panel

A collection of timely and important topics posed to our panel of experts.

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    How do I operate at a higher level and go from a fire-fighter to a planner?

  1. That is pretty basic. The solution was true a long time ago and will still be true in the future. You need to have identified what your job is all about and the priorities and get a buy-off from your supervisor –we did such an exercise at the beginning of this program. You develop objectives to meet your most important pursuits, develop execution plans, and make a commitment to be responsible for their accomplishment.
  2. You have to also learn to delegate the right tasks to the right people. My experience with product marketing people is that they tend to take too much on themselves rather than delegate or pass off to the responsible people. Are you chasing around to find information about a machine being built for a customer when, in fact, you do have a production planning department? Get your organization to be truly customer responsive and then let it operate. This gives you time for proper planning.
  3. If your boss asked you why should I promote you? Your answer to that question is the answer to what you need to be doing rather than fire-fighting.
  4. Take the tasks that you are performing and Pareto them (identify the 20% that are giving you 80% of your valuable results). Then take the remaining 80% and ask the question, "If I had authority to hire someone to perform this task and had time to train them, what is the lowest dollars per hour I could pay such a person and have the job performed adequately?. This will pretty quickly identify the tasks with the high hour expenditure that should be put somewhere else, or eliminated.
  5. Put a process in place that pushes some of the detail gathering that you get caught up in, back to the salesperson or person that generated he request. We set up a process that made the salesperson provide specific information before we would do a proposal or demo.
  6. Remember the old saying, “give a man a fish and you will be supplying him for life; teach him to fish and he will supply himself for life.” Truly teach your field people about the product and other pertinent data and you will find that you are making fewer trips, handling fewer questions, and dealing with fewer field requests.