Why Confusing Strategy with Workflow Is Wasting Your Time

4 minute read

Upland Admin

You Waste A LOT of Time At Work

I’m not a fan of wasted time.

In the business world, however, we see a lot of it. The average employee faces 56 interruptions per day and spends 2 hours per day recovering from those distractions, according to research by Atlassian. In fact, I faced 14 unique distractions just trying to write this paragraph. Big or small, these distractions are major productivity killers and money wasters.


While most of this time-wasting comes from the usual culprits (pointless meetings, unnecessary interruptions), there’s another deeper issue creating inefficiencies in organizations. And believe it or not, it’s not just looking up stuff about cats.

Tall Cat

As a Community Manager I’m a meme expert. And no. I don’t know why this exists.

Let’s start with an example.

Why Confusing Strategy with Workflow Is Wasting Your Time

Recently, the Kapost content team re-defined our video creation process. There were a few too many email chains and meetings going around, so we took a closer look at the video workflow we’d built within our content marketing software. We outlined a new, much more efficient process. Since we do pretty much everything in Kapost, the next steps were to go into our software, create a new content type with the new workflow, schedule the correct dates, and assign the right people to each workflow task.

One of our content team members said to Jacob, our talented videographer, “Can you be in charge of that?” Jacob nodded in agreement, but I could sense his hesitance.

What the hell are you talking about?

This, but with less smoke.

Time passed. No progress. Meetings and email chains continued. We were wasting time.

When Jacob and I met one-on-one, the reason dawned on me. Our team decided on an end result, but we hadn’t appropriately communicated (1) what needed to get done and (2) how to do it.

This is not a knock on him. He simply wasn’t familiar with our internal terminology. Also, the content team knows every inch of the Kapost software. We spend hours a day submitting ideas, writing, editing, and communicating in the platform. But most of Jacob’s time is spent shooting and editing video in his own software program before uploading revisions and final versions into Kapost.

He knew the basics, but we were asking more of him than the basics. Responsibility had been assigned to the wrong person without support. We had an end result in mind, but didn’t think through how to get there. This brought us to a standstill.

Strategy vs. Workflow

This issue here was this: we thought as a team we had defined a workflow, but in reality all we had was a strategy. Paraphrasing the eBook The Complete Guide to Building Your Content Marketing Workflows,”Strategy helps answer why you’re doing something, workflows provide the framework for getting it done.”

It’s easy, as we realized, to focus on the task part while forgetting the task masters. Often, inefficiency arises as a result of the wrong individual(s) being assigned certain responsibilities. Or those responsible aren’t empowered to succeed.

“We thought as a team we had defined a workflow, but in reality all we had was a strategy.” @andrewjcoate

Once this became clear, I ended up taking on the task previously assigned to Jacob. I then created a document and video to help him (or other team members) in the future. Since then, we’re rolling.

Remember this as you build out your next project. Be sure you know how to execute your strategy, and that the right people have the right resources to succeed. Otherwise, you may find yourself stalled and filling wasted time with cat stuff.

If you already have the right people, but you’re struggling with the task part, we have some help for you. Get these three proven templates to help you design a repeatable approach for scaling your content marketing production.

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