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#BrightonSEO 2013 “Breaking down the Silos” Matt Roberts

BrightonSEO was undoubtedly a huge success, bringing fresh ideas to the stage through the talent from Agencies, Tools and Media’s that we know, love and use (too much). Matt Roberts, Linkdex, came to discuss the ‘Breaking down the Silos’.

A Guide to creating the Ultimate Team, and I believe, regardless of how sleepy everyone felt at that point, everybody will have sat up, tuned in and locked on for the inspired 7 minutes.

What is SEO and what it isn’t?

Kelvin Newman introduced one of the afternoons final 7 minute discussions from Matt. Apparently the last couple of BrightonSEO events have had underlying themes; “What SEO is and what it isn’t?”

Matt wasn’t about to give the ultimate definition, no-doubt someone would have stood up and argued. He was simply going to discuss when working with a mixture of disciplines you require Teamwork.

Working Together

Linkdex have had to remould the way they are seen on the outside because they are not specifically a SEO tool. It is also a Content, PR and Social tool. The mixture of these disciplines has meant the instrument is now regarded as an Organic Marketing Tool and is going to be used by a wider circle of professions.

He admitted he had read around 10 different books on ‘teamwork’, to allow the professions to work better together within Linkdex. And at the top of his pile he recommended the ‘The 5 dysfunctions of a Team’.

The 5 Dysfunctions

Matt skimmed over the 5 Dysfunctions and what characteristics make a really good team function.

1. Trust Within Each Other

Trusting each other in the team also included admitting what your personally rubbish at. This may seem a very hard task to begin with, many think they may be penalised. But, when the team trusts each other and communicates, holes appear.

The PR team may admit they hate Measurement and Analytics, and the Analytics team may admit to not being good at meeting people in cafes or persuading others to do something. The Social team may be less willing to get creative and the Creative team may hate looking and posting on Facebook.

When in a Team, be open about when you’re good at something and also open when you’re not good at it.

If you all open up:

  • No one is afraid to ask for help and learn
  • Team members rise to the challenge
  • Everyone knows each other’s level of skill and can access it
  • Discussions are more comfortable

2. Teams Can Argue

The best teams argue over a project or during a meeting – no pushing or throwing cups – just raised voices!

They will argue over the smallest detail to make sure it’s perfect to allow everyone in the team to input or have their say. A good debate will create a better solution.

But remember if your team leader and the solution is near perfect, do not push people to get confrontational and be placed on the spot to get responses. Respect can drizzle away before your eyes.

A team that Debates will:

  • Discuss the most difficult and important issues
  • All be passionate with fewer inhibitions
  • Have every member input to discussions

3. Lack of Commitment

Arguing is done for the benefit of commitment. If you sit on your hand, bite your tongue and don’t argue you’ll be less accountable. Having your say will allow you to set objectives in front of you and your peers, and accountability increases.

A Committed team will:

  • Have a single goal
  • Have role transparency
  • Learn from its mistakes
  • Allow all opinions to be listened to during discussions
  • Understand what peers are contributing

4. Avoidance of Accountability

Increasing team commitment lets a team have its say, which will allow it to set objectives in front of its peers, and increases accountability. Feeling less committed to the teams objectives will leave individuals avoiding accountability for the certain tasks.

An Accountable Team will:

  • Mention when another is unproductive
  • Identify problems
  • Challenge each other’s ideas and concepts
  • Create respect within the Team

5. Inattention to Results

Feeling more accountable for themselves, an Individual is less likely to care about what the overall team result is. However they will be focused on achieving the best in their own objectives, goals, status and increasing self-esteem. And in doing so benefits the team.

An attentive team will:

  • Retain good staff
  • Highlights others input quicker than their own.

Now that’s great ammo for your own team, but what about the Brands we work with?

Matt went onto mention that the measurements SEOs really care about are not being used as the primary metrics of success within many clients, and they need to be. This requires teams to debate success with these professions, integrate new metrics – perhaps with the companies own metrics – and also to be prepared to be honest and argue.

This talk highlighted team success within agencies and how to achieve it. Everyone who attended was able to take something away from it…..unless you’re in a one person know-it-all SEO company!

Little late I know, but I’ve been typing with a broken hand….sorry! 

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