The Marketing/Ops Tug of War

Your marketing and sales people want to see what will happen if they try that new thing. Your operations and finance people can already see what will break if they do. This tension is real and right.  Swing too far to the marketing side, your current customer experience will suffer (not to mention your anxiety about paying the bills). Swing too heavy to the operations and finance side, the organization will feel flat and disconnect from its vision. It's only problematic when it stays under the surface — when the two 'sides' of your organization are allowed to stay in their corners, believing that all would be right and good in the world were it not for the other.

The way through it isn't (another) grand pronouncement about the need to communicate and work together. The solution is to work with the personalities on each side to show them what they can learn about themselves from finding that middle ground.

Mentor the marketers and sales-folk on the value of slowing down. Show them the value of going small, of focusing on things that will, at first, feel dull to them. Challenge them to make the connection for how their need for speed is holding them back in the rest of their life. Hold them accountable for stretching to meet the world where it is.

Mentor the operations and finance folk on the value of taking risks. Show them the value of breaking things, even when they're working. Challenge them to make the connection to how their need for order and control is holding them back in the rest of their life. Hold them accountable for stretching to meet the world where it could be.

Accountability is not a stick. It's an invitation to becoming a better version of ourselves. Thriving teams and cultures are created one evolving human being at a time.

Jonathan Raymond