For close to 3 weeks I pretty much put business on hold as I went to work trying to get all of my websites and blogs not only mobile friendly but drive up their mobile speed, which was atrocious. The traffic for all of my sites had dropped drastically, and all of them started dropping around the same day that Google had mentioned that they were going to take mobile friendliness into consideration when ranking sites. They didn’t mention speed, but since all my sites were already mobile friendly, per Google no less, I figured it had to be the speed.
Truthfully, this wasn’t back breaking work. Yet it was still a heck of a lot of work. Because I used to have as an offshoot of my general corporation a SEO business, where I also created websites, I knew a lot about coding but, frankly, I had to relearn some of it to do some of the work that needed to be done, as I had a lot of things to correct.
Along the way, I figured out there were some leadership concepts that popped up, enough so that I can tie in what I was doing to highlight some of them. I’d like to share those lessons with you as I talk about some of what I was doing that I didn’t mention in either the above post or the post that article links to.
1. Always keep up on all aspects of your business, even if you don’t do things the same anymore.
I ended my SEO business in 2014 but I’d kept up with a lot of basic HTML processes, which is the first bit of programming I learned back in 2003. What came up is that I basically had to recode my two business websites (luckily not any of my blogs), which meant I had to go back into principles of what’s known as CSS (cascading stylesheets).
Although I had kept up with minor changes here and there, I’d forgotten how to do an entire website with CSS. There were also a few other things I’d never done with it that I now had to do. This meant a bit of a learning curve in having to relearn things that used to come easily to me. Outside of the constant testing, this was one of the biggest challenges I had to deal with.
A problem many leaders have is that they end up repeating history because they don’t remember it. When I was an every day director, even when we changed things up I always made sure I kept up with particular “physical” processes and that came in handy quite a few times down the road. What you find out is that technology might change but people and processes don’t. Think about customer service representatives as a good example of what I’m talking about.
2. Things never happen the same way twice.
That’s a line from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (I’m such a big kid) that’s very true. The strangest thing about working with the blogs is that, even though they were all created using the same basic software, and three of the blogs actually use the same theme, what worked for one blog didn’t necessarily mean it would work for all the others.
The same thing also happened for my regular websites. I got all the main pages totally optimized the way I wanted and most of the other pages as well but every once in a while there was a page that wouldn’t conform to the norm. The thing is, Once you have a template set, there’s a lot of copying and pasting that helps to standardize everything so you should keep getting the same results. But I haven’t achieved 100% success, and that was driving me up the wall.
When it comes to employees, you’ll usually find that not every one of them will learn everything the same way that previous employees learned it. Some will learn faster, some slower, some in a totally different way. As a leader, if you really care about making sure an employee has a fair chance to be the employee you’re hoping they’ll be you have to be willing to modify training when necessary.
3. You have to know when to give something up.
I mentioned that all the work took 3 weeks. Truthfully, a lot of it was trying at first to reach perfection, and then deciding that getting everything into the “good” category should be my ultimate goal. For all my sites I got the mobile speed into the good category; for two of them, I couldn’t get the desktop up that high.
That irked me to no end, but what’s funny is that in the second post I wrote talking about my quest for speed (the one I linked to above was the third in the series) I said near the end of that post that I was good with what I’d already achieved. That turned out not to be true, because once I had a success with something else I felt compelled to go back to see if I could improve on what I’d previously done.
It wasn’t until Sunday night, around 9PM, when I finally told myself “ENOUGH!” Pretty much like that, since I’m the only one in the house right now. I knew I’d been obsessing on it for far too long, had achieved some miraculous numbers, and, as Dad used to say, it was “close enough for government work.”
I learned early on that not only could I not expect perfection from any employees who reported to me but that it also wasn’t fair to expect each of them to reach the kind of numbers I used to achieve when I did the same work they did. I also knew that you can only push people so much while on the course for numbers that just might be impossible to reach. Beating a dead horse never improves the condition of the horse and makes everyone else mad at you; nothing good gets done after that.
4. Delegation is a better use of management time.
Truth be told, all the while I was doing this work I kept wondering “isn’t there someone else who can do this for me?” The longer it took me, the more I lamented not knowing a single person who could do this work for me. Not that I didn’t try, but all I found were websites giving me a lot of tips (which I was thankful for) and not a single business marketing this particular service. I’m not bad at search after all these years so if I couldn’t find it, I’m not sure anyone else could either.
When you’re in a leadership position, sometimes there are things that you have to do because you’re in a certain position. What you’ll also find is that there’s a lot of work you end up doing that would be better handing off to someone else so you can concentrate on what it is you’re actually being paid for. This might mean you’ll have to train someone to do it the way you want it done but training is always better than always doing things on your own that don’t require you to do them.
I came up with more but I think I’ll stop there. Otherwise I’ll have to keep reliving the coding and testing I did and, frankly, my brain needs a bit of a rest. Isn’t it amazing the kind of things you can either learn or reinforce within yourself while doing other things?