This Is Why Executives Should Be Students With Their Teams

Ah, the joy of summer sounds: the hum of an AC, giggles and splashes from the neighborhood pool, the roar of lawn mowers. If they haven’t already, these sounds will soon be swapped out for school bells and bus traffic. School is back in, and it’s not an easy adjustment for kids. Making new friends, meeting new expectations, and learning new ways to combat problems are difficult skills to learn.

We’ve all been there. And as seasoned professionals, the difficulty doesn’t go away just because we’re years removed from school.

Executives are smart and experienced. But what if we turn the role of the executive around and place them in the shiny new shoes of a student eager to learn, instead of the well-trodden shoes of a veteran teacher? What if our known and able leaders took a step back and allowed their supporting teams or partners to take the lead?

By flipping the script, there’s potential for great insights and phenomenal strategic thinking that would impact the leading brands of the world. The current “students” in supportive roles have expertise and a pulse on hot trends that can drive genius strategy.

I’ve witnessed this first hand and am not afraid to say that my “students” have taught me a thing or two. Consider these examples at Search Discovery:

  • I had an entry level team member with a passion for content marketing. They had ideas for how to create better site traffic that promoted the brand while negating negative feedback. Some might be hesitant given their position level, but the ideas were solid and I went with it. The result? An optimized site experience for our client that was more conducive to retention.
  • After meeting the newest member to my Digital Marketing team, I learned that they had a wealth of experience with a third party display vendor at their last internship. They brought to the table great ideas for how to get even more accurate mobile geo-fencing. This strategy meant lower CPM and a considerably more effective and profitable approach to awareness dollars in market.
  • Wanting to drive more site revenue for a client, an IT/Dev Manager that I previously worked with shared some ideas on how to implement a more robust tag management solution. Upgrading from an antiquated legacy system resulted in faster load times and a more streamlined pixel upload process.

There’s a wealth of knowledge and ideas that exist within the employees of every company. As leaders, we can and should be providing a culture that allows all employees a platform to feel comfortable sharing their ideas—even with executives. Not every person can lead a company, and not all ideas will get a shot at being incubated, refined, and activated. But when executives are students, they create an environment that fosters unexpected positive results. With that kind of potential, who wouldn’t want to be a student again?

Class dismissed!

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