Q: How do I make the most impact in my role when I only own optimization for a small part of the user journey?
We recently posed this question to the Experiment Nation community on LinkedIn and this is what they said.
This is a common question I get from folks across all disciplines, be it Experimentation, Product, Growth, or Marketing. Perhaps the only commonality I’ve noticed is that those who ask this are usually new to an organization, or are looking for rapid career growth. Whatever the reason, it’s a great question – but folks may not love the answer. There’s no silver bullet – but rather a methodical strategy – one that needs to be worked on and iterated on constantly.
That strategy, at least in my humble opinion, goes something like this:
- Build trust
- Make connections so that you can understand the business deeply
- Find an ally
- Define and communicate what success looks like
- Communicate all progress
The first thing you need to do is to build trust, namely from your manager. You were hired to do a job and unless you are delivering on what you were hired for, you won’t be trusted to work on anything else (generally at least). So take some time, rock your job for a while and earn that credibility. As you do so, however, remember to toot your own horn. I wouldn’t go so far as to be obnoxious about it, but if your manager is busy, they may not notice your wins. So it’s in your interest to showcase your worth.
The next thing you need to do is to network. I realize that sounds pretty gross, but you need to understand the business fairly well to understand where you can even have an impact. The best way to do this, is to proactively reach out to people in areas you think you can help and make a connection. Take the time to understand their world, their goals, and their pressures. Sometimes, places where you think need help, actually don’t. Don’t rush this step.
Eventually, you’ll find an ally – someone who could use the help, or loves exploring opportunity. You’ll generally feed off each other’s enthusiasm and eventually find something that you both can work on that will have a meaningful impact to the organization. Try to pick something you both can manage while doing your day job. Don’t lose that trust you worked so hard for.
But before you go full throttle, you’ll need to define success. Document what you plan to do, how you will measure success, and what success actually looks like. Share it broadly. I’d share it with your respective bosses. Get buy-in – the last thing you want is to invest time into something that no one wants or won’t make an impact.
Finally, communicate your progress. Keep everyone in the loop. Get the feedback. Share the learnings. Rinse. Repeat. Go bigger.
But that’s just my opinion. What’s your opinion? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Find us on Slack and continue this conversation in the #ask-experiment-nation channel!