Mastering Time Management for Better Team Management

As our companies and marketing teams grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to establish clear priorities and manage them accordingly. Many of us have found ourselves getting caught up in this very problem, realizing that either efficiency has decreased, or we are simply overextending ourselves in the pursuit of making sure every item gets checked off that to-do list. Both seasoned CMOs and new marketing leaders alike deal with this problem to some scale on almost a daily basis.

During their latest mentoring session, CMO Club Mentor Virginie Glaenzer, Director, Marketing & Customer Experience, Maru/edr, Michele Fournier, Marketing Communications Manager, Assurance, and Melissa Marshall, Regional Marketing Manager, Clark Hill PLC, decided to tackle this very topic and see what processes they could put in place to establish good time management and task prioritization.

To begin, Virginie made the suggestion to step back and consider the big picture by asking a couple of questions to establish priorities:

  • What experiences do we want to realize in our life as a leader and marketer? 
    This can relate to goals and objectives within the organization but should also go beyond our role to our personal brand as well.
  • What do we want to contribute to our organization and what are we passionate about?
    What is the legacy that you want to leave and how do you want to be known? Start to understand your value and know where you can help others the most in order to be successful and make a meaningful impact.

Undoubtedly, these choices will be influenced by the company drivers, too. However, doing this introspective exercise is more likely to set you up with the right mindset from the beginning.

Time Management: Easy to Say, Hard to Do

Establishing what you want and need to get done as a leader is great, but it can still leave many with a sense of panic or anxiety, as each item on the surmounting list seems to be checked “important” and “urgent.”

As questions start to swirl in your head about whether it’s all even physically possible to do, it’s easy to get pulled into the daily details of each individual task. However, the best (and most effective) leaders remember to remain high level in order to be the person overseeing new changes and growth, rather than one in the weeds.

In the past, we’ve had CMOs liken this experience to sitting on the balcony, as opposed to going down into the orchestra. What sets a great leader apart from the rest is having the ability to discern which you need to do at any given time, as you will likely need to do both during your career.

Setting Priorities for Team Management

Once you’ve established your own clear process - perhaps using a system like Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle – and pledged to yourself to join the orchestra only when that’s the best possible use of your time, it’s time to overcome the challenge of managing these priorities at scale.

Here are some ideas that Virginie, Michele and Melissa wrote down:

  1. Plan Your Day The Night Before Dramatically Increases Your Productivity: Create a habit of planning before you dive into something - set goals, breaking them down into clear, actionable steps and then review your progress regularly. This translates into almost anything that is worth doing: nightly or morning routines, before a meeting, phone call or evaluation and before launching a new initiative.

  2. Be a master of implementing the rule of 5: Finish each day by writing the 5 most important things you want to get done tomorrow and start each day by working on those 5 things first. Scheduling them on your calendar also helps create importance and forces you to set aside the time needed to complete them.

  3. Use Annual Reviews to set clear goals: Provide even more value as a leader and use quarterly or annual reviews to evaluate your team member’s own needs and help give them the tools needed to drive personal, departmental and organizational objectives forward. By already having identified how you want to contribute (in the aforementioned questions), this is the opportunity to act on those goals.

  4. Remember that team collaboration can support priorities management: You’ve built a team of brilliant, capable people, giving them the reins not only takes some items off your own plate, but gives your people the opportunity to build their own personal brands and further develop skills.

Time management isn’t about creating a rigid schedule and sticking to it. After all, marketing goals - and with it, business objectives - are always evolving.

However, by becoming a master of your own time and knowing what your overarching priorities are, you will be able to better evaluate situations as they arise, a skill that will translate into stronger team management and leadership throughout your career.

Finally, remember that you aren’t in this alone. Building relationships with other executives in your company and with your peers outside of your company will create a network of informed people that you can turn to when difficult questions or challenging situations arise.