The concepts of Run & Change approach in Business

Any company eventually runs into a scaling problem. Your current business brings in money, but you need to launch new projects. This takes time and people. You don’t know where to get the resources since 80% of your available energy is spent on current tasks. If you try to launch new projects with what’s left, you won’t get results. If you let the existing tasks go and dive into the new projects, you risk losing what you have.

With affiliate marketing, the problems are the same. You’re working with one vertical (the broad area that you work in) and one traffic source. Let’s say you are promoting e-commerce products on Facebook. You have a steady income, but this job takes 90% of your time. You want to try a new vertical, f.e. gaming, but you realize that you’ll have to spend a lot of time getting up to speed before you can learn how to make money off it. It’s a vicious circle.

At Mobio, we spent a long time looking for a way out of this situation and found an approach that applies to business in general and affiliate marketing in particular. We’d like to share our approach.

The concept of Run & Change

Our colleagues from the banking industry told us about this concept. There is nothing fundamentally new in the idea. The concept is simple and universally applicable. Over the past year, we’ve been applying it in all our business divisions and directions, including our largest department of media buying.

The point is to divide up all activities in the company into Running or Changing. Running refers to normal business activities and daily operations with clear processes while Changing refers to starting new projects and working with a lack of information.

In Sales:

The Running team sells services that they can already do: they have a price list and verified cases.

The Changing team offers new products. They sell services that don’t exist yet.

In affiliate marketing:

Running ramps up ads in the sources we know how to work with.

Changing investigates new sources and looks for productive setups.

Project activity is usually Changing, and daily operations are related to Running. So that part is clear. The next part is less obvious.

Runners and Changers are different people

Runners and Changers are different people. A common mistake in companies is to combine Running and Changing in the same person. For example, Runner managers are good administrators. They are good at building processes within the department and making sure that daily tasks get done.

Changer managers are visionaries and strategists who aren’t strong in the day-to-day operations. They implement new projects and ideas.

In the Adizes PAEI model of leadership, a Runner is classified as a good administrator (A) and a Changer is a strong entrepreneur (E).

Changers work well when faced with incomplete information. It’s fine to give them a goal that doesn’t have a clearly defined outcome or process. Changers do things that are difficult to formulate.

Runners don’t implement new projects

For a long time, I thought that all people should be on fire with new ideas and throw themselves at new projects, just like me. People who didn’t do this seemed, at the very least, strange or passive. That’s the wrong approach.

Now when I approach management with new ideas, they say: “Alex, we don’t have the resources for that. To be able to do that, we’ll have to give up either this thing or that thing. The first one we just started two weeks ago and the second one is something we’re doing very well. Are you sure you want to launch this?” This is a great trait of Runner managers. They are doing their job well and protecting it. This is absolutely necessary.

Free Changers from the burden of daily operations and bureaucracy

The worst thing for Changers is to perform the same tasks on a daily basis. They tackle them enthusiastically at first, like everything else that is new. Then they get bored. A frequent management error is to burden Changers with administrative functions, reports, and so on.

A new guy joins the team and creates a project from scratch. Everything is great. But then he gets bombarded with the daily operation as he begins to manage the same project. As a result, the employee gets depressed and leaves.

In interviews, I often hear strong people say something like:”I built up everything at that company. It’s all running well and I’m bored, so I’m looking for a new challenge.” Most entrepreneurs are Changers by nature. This makes sense because creating a business from scratch is tantamount to starting a new project. But at the development stage, an entrepreneur needs a partner or C-level executive who is a Runner, in order to strike a balance. Otherwise, it’ll be a chaotic mess.

Know what you’re looking for in a specific position

In interviews, it’s easy to distinguish Runners from Changers. Let’s say you’re looking for someone to create a new project from scratch. During the interview, a Runner will ask you to describe exactly what will need to be accomplished, and what the KPIs will be. A Changer will ask what you expect from the person who takes on this project, and how you see the project in a year’s time. To create new projects from scratch, you need a Changer. For good management of existing projects, you need a Runner.

The Run & Change approach to affiliate marketing

As an example, I’ll tell you how we started using this approach in our media buying department. Right now we have 28 people in the Running group, and three in the Changing group so far. The Running group works with traffic sources where it is obvious what needs to be done, such as Facebook, MyTarget, and other networks. The Changing group invents new ways to drive current sources and works with new ones. When the Changing group finds setups that are stable, it passes them over to the Running group.

Benefits for the Running team:

A constant influx of new ideas. If something stops working as well as it used to, there are a lot of opportunities available from the Changing team.

Variety. If they get tired of working with one source, they can switch to a different one — there is always a choice.

Exchange of experience. What works in one source often works in others. The more experience the team accumulates, the better the results are.

Benefits for the Changing team:

It’s interesting even for experienced affiliates. Experienced affiliates (employees who worked in the media buying department) aren’t motivated to join a team. In our case, experienced people join the Changing group. They get to experiment with things they never had enough time for before, and the Running team takes their experience and scales it.

They get to test new sources. Affiliates don’t have time to try new things because they’re busy doing what makes money right now. Our Changing people aren’t stuck doing the operational stuff, so they can work on finding new opportunities.

Passive income. An affiliate learns how to work with a source, turns it over to the Running team, and gets a percentage of the revenue from that source for life.

The idea of Run & Change is very simple, but it’s also universal enough to apply to any department in a company. In future articles, we’ll tell you more about how Run & Change works on our media buying team. In the meantime, share your experience in the comments section.

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