Do you get as annoyed as I do when someone throws around some over-used, corporate buzz phrase at work? Do you also not have enough fingers and toes on your body to count the number of times someone says “operational efficiency” or “streamlined activities” in meetings? I actually tried counting them the other day, but couldn’t finish. I mistakenly grabbed one of those small yellow sticky notes and filled it up before the meeting was even half over!
(As a funny, albeit related aside, “Conference Call Bingo” cards exist…but, we’ll have to “take that offline” since I don’t have enough copy space to talk about that here.)
Yes, words and phrases like “leveraging resources” and “enhancing efficiencies” are necessary at work to describe what you aim to do, but I am not convinced people mean them when they say them. In fact, CNN found that people often use cliché phrases to blend-in just like you used to do in high school for acceptance into the “cool kids club”. Furthermore, actual attempts to achieve the true meaning of these phrases are typically unsuccessful—more support to notion that your team members should be fined a dollar every time they say “synergy”!
What does work then?
At iProspect, we’ve built an entire department for the past six years dedicated to taking phrases like “operational efficiency” and “streamlining activities” seriously. In late 2011, we formed a Project Management Office (PMO) with just myself and my boss; today, we’re now 20+ project managers strong in seven offices throughout the United States and support the majority of our company’s entire clientele. We also lead initiatives that are aligned with the strategic goals of our Senior Leadership Team to organize us internally, creating more efficiencies for pioneering iProspect forward as the best agency out there. This year, we formed a global network of approximately 100 Operations and Project Management experts from 15 of our sister agencies across dozens of countries and have already shared hundreds of hours of information across four continents.
At a time when advertising agencies are forced to cut costs and clients are spending less on ad-spending, iProspect is heavily focused on re-defining the phrase “operational efficiency”. To us, that phrase specifically means stretching the client’s budget further than what our competition can do. It also means that the PMO constantly aims to strike the perfect balance between efficiency and effectiveness as our primary operational goals. To that end, we define Effectiveness as doing the right thing and Efficiency as doing that thing right. Hence, our definition of “operational effectiveness” is improving how we deliver upon our performance metrics. We do this by collaborating with our internal teams to define and maintain common and consistent operating standards, processes, policies, procedures, templates, communication protocols and account-level performance metrics.
Regarding collaboration, we listen to our clients when Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard says to advertising agencies: "Frankly, your complexity should not be our problem, so we want you to make that complexity invisible." Collaboration is one of the five core values of our parent company, the Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), and a strong emphasis on internal collaboration is our answer to Prichard’s statement. In fact, iProspect’s PMO continues to receive the highest possible score for Collaboration from Forrester Research in their Q1 2016 Search Wave report.
iProspect’s PMO is centralized and follows a common Mission to Lead the Team, Build and Enforce the Process, and Successfully Manage the Project. We define and maintain iProspect’s standards for project management process and performance, as well as strive to introduce economies of repetition in our delivery and execution. Along with this mission, the PMO’s Vision is to Expand and Demonstrate PMO Value Across iProspect. With a strong focus on leadership and collaboration, we continuously maintain and share hundreds of unique process documents, tools, templates, and lessons learned that are repurposed across teams to save iProspect time and leverage best practices. Together, the PMO’s Mission and Vision help iProspect’s project managers achieve consistency and maintain team focus for stretching our clients’ marketing budgets further and (yes, here comes that buzz phrase) achieve operational efficiency on our account teams.
Stay tuned for future news from the PMO team—and we promise, no horrible corporate buzz phrases.