There’s a silent killer among authors, publishers, and organizations that ruins their marketing effectiveness. This deadly affliction is known as: consensus.
Consensus occurs when a leader is afraid to lead. This problem is especially common among non-profits, religious organizations, small business owners, and entrepreneurial authors. Rather than take charge and make a decision, the determination is given to the team to decide next steps. The leader relinquishes direction due to a misbelief that everyone must be on-board to make a decision.
However, nothing could be more counter-productive. Marketing works this way:
Leaders are supposed to lead.
Teams are supposed to execute.
Teams aren’t supposed to make decisions, because it delays the process and lengthens the time to reach results. Your marketing results will always be stunted if you seek consensus before taking action.
Imagine if an airline pilot requested consensus from every passenger before taking off. The plane would never leave the ground.
Yet, many of you reading this article work in environments where this type of nonsense occurs. For example, I’ve consulted with several publishing houses who agreed that a new course of action would help them sell more books. But, they never experienced results because consensus had to be reached by everyone in the digital, legal, and marketing departments. I once worked with a publisher who had to wait 6 – 8 weeks just to make small changes to their website. Nothing got finished, because internal consensus was required for ridiculously simple requests.
Marketing doesn’t run on consensus. Marketing runs on speed. The faster you make decisions, the faster you discover if a new tactic works. If it works well, the faster you can double down and get more results. Or, the faster you realize something isn’t working, the sooner you can change course and determine what works better.
Why is consensus so common? Some leaders are afraid to lead. They fear making a decision that fails. They fear being the scapegoat. Or, they harbor an intense need to please everyone and make the team happy.
But, here’s a key point to remember. Just because you seek consensus and try to make everyone happy doesn’t mean you’ll wind up with the best decision or even happy co-workers. Instead, you wind up with a lot of wasted time and a organization floundering to reach results.
My consultancy continues to thrive because I’m quick to tell clients what’s wrong and how to fix it fast. In most cases, I can quickly identify why a publisher or a non-profit is struggling to increase revenue. Or, I can rapidly diagnose why an author is struggling to reach a wider audience or sell more books. But, my clients who succeed are the ones who take rapid action. They don’t wait until consensus is achieved or everyone feels happy. The leader makes a decision and the team executes that decision.
If you work solo, such as an author or entrepreneur, consensus can still be a silent killer. Don’t abdicate decisions and seek consensus with your website designer, social media helper, reader focus group, or publisher. Be a leader and take charge of your own path. Get comfortable making quick decisions and fast course corrections.
No marketing decision you ever make is permanent. I’ve made tons of mistakes and still reached success. You can always adjust on the fly. That’s why waiting to get consensus is so wasteful. You lose valuable time and still have to make adjustments in the future anyway. Why delay the process?
When doctors treat patients in the emergency room, they don’t walk around the hospital attempting to get everyone’s consensus. They diagnose the situation, express leadership, and take quick next steps.
Use the same process to save your marketing from an early death. Leaders are supposed to lead. Teams are supposed to execute. I think we can all agree that’s a better way to run your business. If you care to disagree, that’s fine. I’m not seeking your consensus.
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