Why Thinking in the Right Direction Makes All the Difference

When it comes to the old adage “Third time’s a charm,” I found it certainly applied in terms of launching my career at Bisk. You see, I interviewed here not once, not twice but three times over the span of about three years before finally accepting a position.

Why did I keep coming back? Because I knew I wanted to be part of what Bisk was doing.

I’ve pretty much run the gamut in my marketing career. I’ve worked for agencies, had in-house gigs, and freelanced in traditional and digital marketing capacities. I started in search engine optimization, was involved in email, direct mail and trade show marketing, and moved into content marketing and then to paid search and conversion optimization.

Having spent most of my marketing career in e-commerce, I was (and still am) attracted to the idea of helping people.

At Bisk, I’d have an opportunity to help people, who might not otherwise be in a position to get a college degree or certificate, amplify their own potential. Contrast this with most e-commerce jobs and you’ll see the personal appeal. Selling the latest widget online just doesn’t have the same impact for me.

Why didn’t I take the job the first couple of times? All three times I applied at Bisk, it was for a paid search position in marketing. Each time, I went through the same process consisting of a couple of phone and in-person interviews. And each time, it coincided with a large cultural shift at the company.

As much as I love marketing, I’m not a fan of change and the general vibe I got was that there were big changes in motion, which made me a bit unsure of how stable the company, and my position, might be.

Talking Strategy — And Listening

So what made the third time so different from the first two? The short answer: thinking in the right direction.

The sense I got the first two times interviewing at Bisk was similar — siloed and disconnected. I talked only with HR and the paid search team. This seemed to conflict with the topic of integrated marketing campaigns that kept coming up in the discussions. If things were so integrated, where were the developers I’d be working with on landing pages? Where were the media buyers who would help me plan budgets and strategies? And where was the plan?

The third time I interviewed was exactly what I would have expected. Yes, I talked to HR. I talked with the paid search team again. But I also spoke with content writers, marketing managers and media buyers. We talked strategy! We listened to each other! I could tell it was integrated and there was a plan.

Sure, once the honeymoon stage wore off, I started noticing the holes, the imperfections, the need to iron out processes. However, one thing made all the difference — thinking in the right direction. Just like every other marketing gig I’ve ever had, it wasn’t neat and clean. There were, and are, communication issues, workflow bottlenecks and strategy gaps to bridge. But old, ingrained ways of doing and thinking are dying off.

In fact, we have an unwritten rule that the mention of, “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it,” is forbidden.

Moving in Unison

We are challenged to be proactive in breaking the mold and coming forward with opportunities for optimization and improvement. It may sound like a cliché, but it really is an atmosphere where anyone can get in on the ground floor of building something enterprise-level, from scratch.

Everyone knows the problems that need addressed and talks about how to tackle them. Even though solutions are sometimes small silhouettes in the distance, they’re definitely there. There’s a plan. It’s painful and sometimes we get into heated but very constructive debates. Silos are coming down and we’re more integrated because we have to be. We have to think and move like a group, in unison and relying on one another.

The trick seems to be not getting caught up in trying to solve monumental problems, but rather celebrating the little wins that make us more streamlined and effective. Taking small steps to improve our teams (when communicated correctly to other departments) tends to send positive ripples across multiple groups. Things move and shift for the better for everyone.

And we continually learn. Some of the things I’ve learned so far: make sure key stakeholders are in the meetings; and consider how a change we are contemplating might impact others down the road. We are thinking in the right direction, individually and as groups. That’s what keeps making the difference.

Change can be scary, but by thinking in the right direction, it’s easy to see how thrilling and empowering it is for not only my career, but also the lives of so many other people.

As the culture continues to transform and we embrace a new approach to helping universities, thinking in the right direction is already paying off big time. We’re helping more students, having an awesome time working together and learning a ton in the process.

Written by Brian

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