When Doing a Crappy Job Is a Good Thing

Open Web Vancouver 2009 Day 2 -20090612-7I hear this plea from nonprofit communicators all the time: “There is way too much stuff to learn and do in this job. How do I cover all the bases when it’s just me and there is no additional help in sight?”

At a recent conference, in response to a similar question, I replied this way:

Choice A is you pick one communications channel like your email newsletter or Facebook or your blog and really nail that channel for, say, a month or two — really focus on it, learn what you need to know, incorporate best practices, and get your system in place so it’s easy to maintain — while phoning in (or even ignoring or doing a crappy job on) everything else during that time. Cycle through all the channels that really need your attention until it feels better.

Choice B is keep doing a half-hearted or lame job on everything, all the time, but at least you get something done everywhere you are supposed to be.

I strongly recommend Choice A. With that approach, by the end of a year, you would have upgraded your performance on all of your communications by giving each channel some concerted focus and energy. With Choice B, you are still doing a lame job on everything at the end of the year.

Yes, it’s ¬†tradeoff. Choice A comes with risks of failure on those communications channels you are ignoring. Something bad could happen on Twitter while you are ignoring it to focus on Facebook. But Choice B comes with pretty much guaranteed failure across the board.

When I said this out loud, half the people smiled, relieved to have a solution that gave them permission to be pragmatic and to catch their breath. The other half gasped (appalled that I would suggest they do a crappy job on anything) or sighed (knowing their higher ups would never consent to the approach). Hint: If your higher ups don’t really pay that much attention to communications anyway, they probably won’t even notice. Just do it.

What do you think of this choice?

 

 

Share This Post On