June 20, 2018 @ 12:00am

Does it ever feel as if getting through your healthcare marketing plan each month is like you and your team are running a Tough Mudder? (For those that don’t know Tough Mudder, it’s like an extreme obstacle race that tests your physical and mental prowess).

Will Dean, the founder and CEO of Tough Mudder, says the whole success of his business—and the participants—was to build a “tribe.” That tribe’s support turned a small business into an international movement.

Maybe you should ask yourself how you can build a marketing tribe to create a movement?

Dean describes a tribe as a group of supporters forged by courage, grit, solidarity and love. It takes everyone to finish the race. One runner simply cannot do it alone.

As you build your healthcare marketing tribe through the addition of multiple consulting companies, how do you avoid the most common management pitfalls? Typically, these pitfalls tend to fall into three key buckets:

  • Not setting well-defined goals and expectations before work commences
  • Not creating clear communication channels and a single point of contact
  • Not respecting the role consultants play as an expert in their field

Charting your Course

Tough Mudder

Image courtesy of Army Recruiting

First and foremost, it is always critical to clarify the “endgame” before you start: Take time to clearly define a thoughtful process in the front-end before onboarding a new partner. Then engage the consultant in a dialogue to define the endgame, outline their contribution to the organization and define roles and responsibilities. This can reduce time and lower costs in the long run. It’s like outlining the course you will run together.

Every Team Needs a Captain

Image courtesy of Tough Mudder website

Identify a single point of contact for communication for your team. This will channel everyone’s effort and streamline the communication process. If it is important to your endgame, take time to make introductions to key stakeholders so they understand the key players.

No One Wants to be Shocked Unexpectedly

Establish continuous and regular communications. Determine how often you should communicate and in what formats so information is disseminated quickly, your team feels informed and you can build relationships and trust over time. Encourage proactively addressing concerns so they don’t get too far out of scope. This will also alleviate any surprises that might occur at the end of the process.

You Want Someone Who’s Got Your Back

Image courtesy of Army Recruiting

You’re adding a consultant or partner to offset your internal team’s bandwidth and/or expertise. When consultants are treated as outsiders, competition or a faceless asset it’s a lose-lose situation. This is especially true today in our digital landscape where work can happen anywhere, anytime and a consulting company might be several states away. If you fall into this habit, you lose the opportunity to get more than you’re contracted to get. Leverage video conferencing and live personal communications to build a partnership. Integrate consultants into the company culture and values. Treating them as one of the team increases performance and lays the groundwork for long-term partnerships.

Leverage Strengths to Create a Well-Rounded Team

All too often, excellent consultants are silenced by clients who are eager to put them in a box. If you’ve hired a consultant to provide you with their expert opinion, analysis or recommendation then recognize they might bring something to the field that you weren’t expecting, and leverage their strengths across the entire team. Your solutions will be realized quicker and they will be more on target.

Image courtesy of Minnesota National Guard

As you and your healthcare tribe overcome your daily obstacles, identify who else you need inside your organization to be part of your tribe. The CEO? The CFO? The Operations Manager? Accounting? The chief of staff? Nurses, doctors, patients, families? You can overcome the same pitfalls you might experience internally and build the winning tribe to start a movement. Your patients and community will thank you.  


About the author: Lisa J. Smith

Lisa J. Smith is 6AM Marketing's Director of Strategy & Client Service. 

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