Monday, March 28, 2011

 

What having a baby and good marketing have in common

Last week, my wife gave birth to our second child and first son. If you have children or have been through the process, you understand just how amazing the whole thing is.

Before our son was born, I had an interesting conversation with a nurse about birth best practices and realities. If we weren't in the hospital, it could have been a conversation about good marketing.

Here's what we discussed - equally applicable to having a baby and practicing good marketing.

Make sure everyone knows the plan, the rules and the objective
There are a lot of people involved to allow for a successful outcome. The objective, of course, is to have a healthy baby. But doctor, the nurses, orderlies, the guy with the epidural (my wife's favorite) - everyone needs to be on the same page, not just with where we're going, but how we're trying to get there.

Preparation makes everything easier
If you start executing without a plan, without a strategy, without preparing for what you expect on the road to success, you're flying blind. Guessing. Hoping. And even if you don't know exactly what will happen, preparation can help you anticipate likely milestones and be prepared with a proactive plan to get through it.

Work as a team and understand/respect roles
The moments right before and right after a child is born is amazing in a well-run hospital. Whereas it was mostly just my wife and I and occasionally a nurse for the hours before Nick was born, in the minutes before and after the room was full and everyone had a job. Things happened quickly, but the verbal and silent coordinated communication was impressive. Inherent in making this work was an understanding of what everyone was doing, and what was expected of each member of the team.

Flawless execution is a myth
I once had a boss who told me that flawless execution was expected - every day, all the time. Successful people know that's not possible. The best-prepared plans still go awry. Things will not go as planned, most of the time. How you execute and continue after things go unexpectedly is what separates those who succeed from those who ultimately come up with excuses.

Consistent, regular reporting will save you time
Everyone wants an update. Parents, friends, co-workers. You could spend hours with individual updates, but a good system and set of tools to facilitate reporting gives everyone what they want in far less time.

The end goal is most important (how you get there may vary)
As I write this, I have a beautiful baby boy sleeping next to me. Labor took longer than we expected. My son's heart rate dipped too low in the moments before he was born. Later that night, two other laboring mothers were rushed into emergency c-sections. But all of us ended up with what we wanted - tiny, amazing new children. Preparation, roles, expectations, reporting - all important. But at the end of the day? Success.

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