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  • Jeremiah Runser

Align Teams with the "4 Ps"—and No, Not the "4 Ps" of Marketing

People, Partnerships, Priorities and Process.

Consistently accomplishing goals and growing a company are no easy tasks. The best way to ensure success is to create and follow frameworks—whether that's an organizational framework like the OKRs we set each quarter, aligning on different situational leadership models or task-level procedures like creating documentation for every new process.


I believe that there are four primary contributing factors to growing a business (and growing personally): people, partnerships, priorities and process. The “4 Ps.”


People is about putting the right people in the right place. Partnerships are the connections you make with your team, other teams and externally outside the company. Priorities are about establishing boundaries—if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Finally, process is how you get there in a systematic, repeatable way.

 

1. People


Why this Matters

Everything is ultimately created by people—and it's no coincidence this is number one. Investing time, attention and other resources in your team builds a culture that puts people first. One bad culture fit or unmotivated team member can unbalance the scales of an otherwise effective team.


Things to avoid:
  • Not giving team members a voice.

  • Focusing too much on "rockstars". If everyone was a rockstar, the team would be chaotic. You need steady output from team players as much as you need rockstars.

  • Not building a career map within (and outside of) your organization. Your goal should be to hire and build team members that are so good they can leave—but they don't want to. And if they do, take it as a compliment.


Anecdote: When sesame oil is combined with roses or violets, it eventually ceases to be sesame oil and becomes known as "oil of roses" or "oil of violets".


Here's how I like to think about it:



2. Partnerships


Why this Matters

In my opinion, the biggest compliments are often masked in exclusion. Being left out of the process can be a good thing for you and the team in building alliances and partnerships. It means you are effectively working together and understand the processes well enough to act independently.


Things to avoid:
  • Siloing your your team or work from other teams within the organization.

  • Building complicated processes that limit the ability for teams to collaborate organically and effectively rather than working cross-functionally.

  • Creating shared OKRs or goals that do not align teams across the organizations.

  • Assuming you are in sync and not building a culture of collaboration.


3. Priorities


Why this Matters

You can't ride two horses with one ass. As counterintuitive as this may seem, if you say yes to everything, you ultimately end up doing nothing. At a strategic and tactical level in business, you can't be all things to all people. Set priorities based on what's the most impactful or the most urgent. It can be very stressful and time consuming when everything feels like a guessing game and you’re unsure if you’re working on the top priority.


Learn when to go, when to pump the brakes and when to eat the frog. There's a point when adding more work no longer adds significant value.


Things to avoid:
  • Not having a documented task priority methodology to organize your individual and team to-do list.

  • Having an unrealistic expectation of what you can do in a day. A week. A month. A quarter. Or, a year.

  • Accepting too many meeting requests. Carve out time each day to focus on one or two specific items on your to-do list.

  • Getting stuck in "analysis paralysis" and instead of doing something, you do nothing at all. Sometimes (and more often than not), done is better than perfect.


Hint: If you can't complete the task you're working on in 1 hour, get up and take a 15 minute break. Walk your dog, play catch with your kid, etc. You'll likely come back more refreshed.


Science says do less.


4. Process


Why this Matters

A good process produces good results.


For example, we set quarterly OKRs that align our marketing team and other cross-functional teams within the company to achieve similar goals. If we were to each set goals that don't align with the company vision, we'd likely end up siloing our teams and only working on what we think is important.


Another example I learned is using the tell, sell, consult, join, delegate leadership continuum model to maintain clear communication when setting meetings, or in everyday interactions by asking: are we trying to tell them about a decision that’s already been made? Sell someone an idea? Consult someone for help? Involve them in the decision making process? Or delegate the decision?


Anecdote: I firmly believe two things should be built in to every process—sharing before you're ready and Kaizen.


Things to avoid:
  • Over-engineering the process and not building it for the end user.

  • Not building processes at all levels of the organization.

  • Not documenting and communicating the process.

  • Getting "married" to the process and not leaving room for improvement and adjustment.

  • Not including employee and customer feedback in the process as part of a feedback loop.


Wrap-up


Always focus on the "why" you're doing the thing first. After that, get the right people who can forge relationships cross-functionally, prioritize work and create and manage efficient, flexible processes for the team and organization.

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