Getting called in at the last minute

Likely impact

…on you: two things are pretty much inevitable:

  1. You’re unlikely to be able to have as much influence as you would otherwise have had on this project. So there may be all manner of opportunities going begging.
  2. You’re far more likely to have to rush, so your work is unlikely to do you as much justice as it otherwise might.

…on your client: they’re almost bound to lose out if you’re not able add the kind of value you otherwise would. Chances are their project won’t be as successful as it could have been. Or it’ll take longer or involve more hassle to get to the same place.

…on your organisation: if the quality of your work, or your ability to add extra value are compromised, anything you produce is unlikely to be as good as it could have been. So – as far as this project is concerned – employees are unlikely to be performing as well as they might.

Likely causes

  1. it may be your organisation doesn’t have a clear policy on involving IC Specialists at the beginning of projects. This in turn may be because of a lack of understanding among the leadership team about the true value of internal communication.
  2. Or perhaps that policy exists but isn’t widely understood.
  3. Or maybe you don’t have an adequate mandate to ensure people adhere to the policy.
  4. Alternatively it may be that some people don’t feel very confident about their ability to brief IC Specialists, and have been putting it off. This could be because they’ve got their fingers burnt before by a process which didn’t support them as much as they needed it to. This in turn may be because that process was flawed. Or perhaps the IC Specialists with whom they were working lacked the skills to give them the support they needed.
  5. Then again, maybe they’re just a new bug to the whole IC briefing thing, and either:
    • haven’t been educated in how to brief IC specialists, or
    • don’t even know there is a policy about involving IC Specialists at the beginning of a project.

Potential solutions

If no policy exists to ensure your team gets involved at the start of projects, it would be helpful to introduce one. But that’s going to rely on at least two factors. Firstly, the leadership team will need to appreciate the business value of introducing it. And you’ll need to be confident that your team will be able to deliver the goods if the policy comes into play.

This in turn means ensuring the briefing and campaign planning processes are thorough and user-friendly enough to give clients the confidence they need. And your people are going to need to be skilled enough to hold their clients’ hands successfully from start to finish.

Things to consider for your wish-list

A potential role for training

There are two roles training could play here. It can teach IC Specialists a series of DFVP:

  • processes for taking IC briefs and for planning campaigns
  • techniques for getting all the information they need to get from their clients, while using those processes.

Beyond training you’ll also need

A robust business case for introducing the necessary business policy, and securing:

  1. Time to practise this learning, so you and your team can deliver maximum ROI.
  2. A mandate to use these practices in all relevant circumstances.

And of course, someone will need to:

  • draft the new policy
  • get it signed off by the relevant people
  • ensure everyone who needs to know about it, does so.

Where these solutions could take you

They should mean that you’re being brought in much earlier on projects. This in turn means you can have much more influence over the decisions being taken. And you shouldn’t have to rush your work.

The business benefits…

…to you

Your additional influence could mean you’re able to add significantly more value, and get more juice out of each day (while doing your career a few favours as well). And not having to rush means you’ll likely also save some budget, not least because there may well be fewer reworks, and fewer rush jobs too. And of course you have less frustration and stress. And you get to go home at a reasonable hour and feel safe to switch off at the end of the day.

…to your clients:

They’re more likely to get the results they need, possibly more quickly, and with less heartache. And this in turn can only support their reputations

…to your organisation

The project’s audiences are more likely to be getting what they need, when they need it, in the most user-friendly manner. So it should be easier for them to work well (maybe a little, maybe a lot). And your organisation can deliver better results more quickly and cheaply to the people it serves