How I schedule my work time has certainly changed over the years.
Years ago (prior to 2008), I refused to even have a schedule…I would say to anyone, “Hey, you can call me anytime…I may be available, I may not…but I don’t use a schedule”.
Ha! That sure has changed! Since about 2008, I’ve pretty much been ruled by my schedule.
About every 3-6 months I usually do a major change in my schedule and in where my time is spent between departments, and employees, and clients, and projects …and my schedule recently just went through another one of those big changes…but this change is actually one that I love the most since it’s doing 2 of my favorite things…talking with clients a lot, and meeting with all the employees.
Time with Clients:
For the past few years, my personal time with clients had gone down to usually only times when:
- A client insisted on talking with me
- A very large client which I’m involved some way in
- A client who is upset for some reason
- Some other question or reason for me to be in on a client call
We’ve built up a great Client Services team and Analysis Team who have been doing most of the communication with the clients over the past few years and I had stepped back from most of the client phone calls for a while. I’ve really missed this client time and I’ve really missed not knowing who all the clients are…so I’m changing that.
I’m now running all the first month client review calls, the third month review calls, and the yearly review calls, and every 6 months thereafter phone calls. FYI, we make contact with most clients about once per month (some much more), but I’ll now be in on these key times in a clients journey with Ninjas.
Every day, I’ve insisted on having at least one client phone call, so even if there isn’t a 1 month, 3 month, 1 year or 6 month review call scheduled for any day, then Client Services will find a client for me to talk to. Many days I have 2 calls… some days I have 3.
My phone calls with clients are famous for being close to 2 hours long. The first hour is usually reviewing the work we did and educating the client on our work…there’s a lot of education involved. The second hour is tips, suggestions, reviewing other analysis and prior recommendations, and just a lot of ” Look at this Analysis, Someone needs to do this… and someone needs to do that….and what can you do, and what resources do you have, and and what more can we do…basically a lot of “Here’s a ton of tips to get your ROI from our consulting and our services ASAP…what resources do you have, who can do what, and how much can we get done in what time frame?”
During these calls I share my screen on www.join.me with the client so they can view my screen as I walk them through as much as I can during those 2 hours….most of the time I feel like I could talk all day to the client, but I only have 2 hours, so I’m trying to rush in everything I can throw at them during that time to help them out. Sometimes these calls are recorded, and other times we’re taking mad notes on our end to put the call notes in the client reports as well so there’s a record of all the things that were discussed on the phone.
I love talking with clients…that’s why I talk so long with them…I’ll admit that I do the majority of the talking on these calls…they’ve already been sold….they’re already working with us…I have limited time…so I’m going to throw everything I can find at you that I think can help them. I ask lots of questions, but I’m in a rush to impart at much knowledge as I can during our time.
Sometimes I pace back and forth in my room while talking…sometimes I’m busily opening new windows on my screens and looking at as much information as I can about something during that time…and I don’t hold back or sugar coat or make unrealistic expectations to the clients… I go into these phone calls with excitement, amazing confidence, good customer service, and a touch (or more) of salesmanship….but in the end, so long as their traffic/sales go up, we’re all happy and that’s what counts.
When I’m excited, it’s hard to stop talking..and on calls, I’m often excited with what’s going on, and what the possibilities could be.
I could talk SEO all day, and talking on the phone with client is like reading a new mystery novel every time to me.
Between my phone calls, I have these internal meetings each week:
10am – Thom Craver to review tools
1pm – Neil Marshall, Bill Atchison and Thom to review WebmasterWorld and Developer Shed Properties
4pm – Client Services Team
10am – Some Department Leaders (including Ann Smarty)
1pm – Thom Craver and the Programming Team
4pm – Analyst/Reporting Team
10am – Content Marketing Team (every other week)
10am – Accounting Team (every other week)
1pm – Sales Team (every other week)
1pm – Human Resources (every other week)
4pm – Reputation Management Team (every other week)
4pm – Design Team (every other week)
10am – Social Team
1pm – Digital Asset Team
10:am – Content Team
Usually somewhere in that week is a random chat with our Chairman, Kris Jones, and I also have Ann Smarty in the office next to mine, and we brainstorm together some pretty awesome ideas at random times during the day.
This basically leaves me nights and weekends to get all the other work things I need to get done…this is why I’m at the office many nights until midnight, and often in the office on weekends.
With the current schedule, I get every employee in my room for anywhere from 1-4 hours every month.
With all these departments, it’s like I’m playing a Big game of chess with several department pieces that all have to work together in the bigger picture of the game. Someone has to wrap their head around all of this…and that someone is me…and it’s not just wrapping your head around the big picture, it’s communicating what needs to be communicated to make this Ninja engine run. .
For a few years I felt like I was like the King in this chess game…I was protected, and I didn’t get on the front line battles as much with all the clients and with all the teams….I was in a castle, and I let others lead the fight…I steered the company ship from a “step away looking at a bigger picture”.
But now, I feel like I’ve turned from what was once the King in a game of chess to now being the Queen this game… I’m back in the battle, I’m on the front line. I’m zigging in a line and a zagging diagonally like a Queen should. I’m helpign to shape the game much more now…and I’ve got a board with very few pawns, and many rooks and bishops, and knights…and a few other Queens who have grown from pawns.
I’m excited about the new schedule because it’s thing things that I enjoy doing the most…talking with clients, and talking with employees.
I know that sometime in the future I’ll have to change this schedule…There will always be other things will will need my attention for a time to get them going…it’s always that way….but in the mean time, I’m enjoying being on the front line with the clients and with all the Ninjas again.
I’m Feeling Lucky Today
jim, its time to invent new things 😉
Just keep the positive attitude and be steadfast. Change or no change, as long as you feel good about it, give it a go.
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