Five Tips for Overcoming the Cobbler’s Children Syndrome

Written by Talana Morris

At MPD we often joke that we suffer from Cobbler’s Children Syndrome. I’m sure you’re familiar with the old tale about the Cobbler who was so busy making shoes for his customers that his own children went without.

Similarly, we at MPD specialize in helping businesses grow through strategic marketing initiatives to reach their target audiences. Yet, we struggle to find the time to address and improve our own brand presence, or we get stuck in a rut of ‘perfection paralysis’.

In 2018 we decided it was time we redesign our website. While we don’t sell services directly on our website, it is an important tool that lends credibility and showcases our expertise. As with most professional services providers, many of our prospects go online to check us out, so we need to ensure we look polished and capable. We were well overdue, but again…Cobbler’s Children Syndrome.

The effort took longer than we originally hoped, but we’re happy to announce that we finally launched our new site (check it out). It took a final push and concerted effort from our team to make it happen by our target date. Funny since managing project timelines and deadlines is also something we do for clients every day.

Chances are you sometimes struggle with accomplishing similar business objectives. You know it needs to be done and you know how to do it, but you simply can’t seem to take time out of your busy schedule to knock it out. The strategies below helped us accomplish our goal without compromising client service. Perhaps you can benefit from them as well.

  • Make a Plan
    You know your end goal, but now you need to determine what budget and resources it will take to accomplish it.
  • Set a Deadline
    Set a realistic date and stick to it. Treat it like a client deliverable deadline. Try your best to not let it slip.
  • Assign and Track Tasks
    Determine and assign tasks to resources based upon their skill level. Sometimes it may be best to outsource certain assignments. We found it helpful to create checklists in Trello to keep track of assignments and progress to ensure we covered everything.
  • Use Work Blocks
    Schedule dedicated blocks of time for all resources involved to work exclusively on the project. Shut off all distractions—i.e. email, phone—to focus only on the tasks at hand.
  • Don’t Let Perfectionism Slow You Down
    We get it! We have high standards, too. But the need to make things perfect often leads to procrastination, delays and excuses. Be able to recognize when you’re slowing things down by being overly particular. In some cases (i.e. a website project), you can go back to tweak and improve things later.

What are the “shoes” in your business—the things you’re so busy providing for others that you are not meeting your own needs?

Whatever it is—whether it’s a brand refresh, improving your client on-boarding process, launching an email marketing campaign, or improving your social media presence—it requires resources, time and money.

Sometimes you simply need a partner to hold you accountable or to set you up with a strategy and action plan. We often act as that partner for our clients (refer to #3 above), so contact us if we can lend a helping hand.

About Talana Morris

Talana brings over 20 years of experience in managing complex projects, teams and budgets. In addition to a project management role, Talana also leads digital and event marketing for clients. Her skills span from project management to technical to provide clients with a resource knowledgeable in the process of delivery and the functional requirements.