Understanding Organizational Agendas To Maximize Results

Everyone has an agenda. This can be applied to organizations as well, including departments. As a designer, to maximize your projects, you need to be able to understand the agendas of other departments in your organization, not just yours. As those of us strive to become Art Directors or Project Managers, knowing the agendas of accounting, product development, sales, engineering and more will allow you to be a leader who understands where everyone is coming from and how all of the pieces fit together. Of course, being a manager in marketing, we are always future oriented, trying to get more sales to maximize/ grow profit while using minimal resources. However, what about accounting? The accountants at your company are looking at the past, making sure that the books are balanced and that the company is using its financial resources wisely and making sure all profits and expenditures are accounted for when incurred.

People in organizations also have agendas. In an ideal situation, these agendas are based on what is best for the company and customers, not for themselves or based on ego. For example, it is the CEO and CFO’s responsibility to make sure that financial statements are accurate and that the business is operating in good health. Otherwise, you get into fraudulent situations like Bernie Madoff.

Many times there are those who operate from a place of ego, which is not the way to run a business. Other times, things outside of the office have our coworkers and ourselves preoccupied.

In order to be an effective designer, one needs to learn the skill of listening deeply and intently on our coworkers. Dale Carnegie brings this up in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Instead of talking just for the sake of filling up space, learn where your coworkers are coming from in regards to their jobs and in general. For the most part, people want to be heard and acknowledged, which gives them satisfaction. It also allows you to imbue yourself with knowledge that is valuable and can be transferred to your marketing projects, seeing how the bigger picture works together.

For example, I have learned analytics, financial accounting, and web scripting. Do I have to be an expert at all of these? No. However, the basic fundamental foundation of these activities allows me to understand what is involved in my coworker’s jobs. I can then choose if I want to become an expert in those fields (which I have with analytics, as it is a valuable skill set for my current job to be able to scope campaigns backed by data and experimentation).

What have you done to understand where your coworkers are coming from? Share below!

Other resources:
Disrupt Your Business: Think Like an Entrepreneur

Watching Teamwork in Action

How to Create Human Centered Design Solutions in the Economy of Connection

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