Google’s Policy Changes are your Big Career Opportunity

Illustration with text: Google's policy changes are your big career opportunity

Running Point Monitoring Gmail Bulk Email Best Practices is a Leadership Opportunity

I made my career by raising my hand in tumultuous moments. You can too.

By now, you’ve heard all about Google’s Policy Changes for Bulk Email Senders. We like to call it spampocalypse here.  As with most things Revenue, it is way easier to to stay in your silo and hope everything works out for the best.  Get the information and use it, but no need to organize everyone else.  In some organizations, sticking your head up to try to make the company better will get your head chopped off.

But there aren’t many external forces that present an opportunity for visibility like this one. Think of this as a P on the PESTLE Model. For my career, the T (technological – marketing automation, online distributions) and L (legal – GDPR and Privacy Laws) were crucible moments that pulled me into visible leadership roles (often because everyone else was too afraid to raise their hand). At these moments, no one is an expert, and no one has any better idea what to do than you do.

Today, as a CEO, I can tell you I’m floored and excited most by when folks on the team raise their hand and take initiative. When Madison takes on a project and has thought through 15 steps deeper than I considered, Veronica has managed every step of an event before I even ask for help, or Russell has defined a problem from 12 angles before coding a solution, I know they are the right people to build a team beneath, and invest in for the future.

So, I’m suggesting that you raise your hand to run point on building a workgroup to manage Google’s Bulk Sender Policy Updates across your entire company. If you aren’t up to speed, I’ve aggregated a lot of content here.   But don’t get too confident – even among the experts, a lot is still conjecture.

If you are new the corporate strategy game, here’s what this move will do for your career:

1. Demonstrates Leadership Potential: – Tackling sticky cross-functional issues showcases your ability to lead in ambiguous situations. It’s an opportunity to prove that you can take charge and guide a team through uncertainty.

2. Visibility and Recognition – Being at the forefront of resolving complex issues brings you into the spotlight. Your efforts are more likely to be recognized by leadership, leading to increased visibility within the organization.

3. Skill Enhancement – Dealing with cross-functional challenges requires a diverse skill set. Taking point allows you to develop and enhance your problem-solving, negotiation, and communication skills, making you a more well-rounded professional.

4.Cross-Functional Networking – And this is a HUGE ONE.  This complex issue will involve collaboration across a massive number of different departments. This presents a valuable opportunity to build relationships with colleagues from various functions, expanding your professional network.

From a bunch of friends who recently left Microsoft, I’ve heard that they were leaving because if you were a tall poppy, a flower reaching for big goals, you were going to be the first to get harvested. Only you know if the risk is worth it.

Here are some pointers to reduce the risk:

  1. Find a group of leaders at other companies facing the same problem. I hear the Spam Policy Group is putting one together. has one in their Slack community
  2. Leading SHOULD NOT MEAN doing. You are leading a group. You should be in charge of communications, project management, and not much else. The other members of the workgroup should support the outcome too.
  3. Use async communications and notes tools aggressively to make your life easier and hold folks accountable.
  4. This is NOT a revenue generating activity. Make sure you treat accordingly. If you can show leadership that through tools, automation, and your amazing and effective leadership, that you can get shit done and move on, then you win.
  5. Don’t over sell it. No matter what any doomsayer says, we have no idea if Google will actually enforce this policy. There has been a lot of pressure on email providers from Congress to deal with spam issues. As in, if you don’t do something, Congress will step in. This might be a delay tactic that they have no interest in implementing.

Which takes us back to point #3. Be efficient, reduce risk, don’t commit to major work or heavy budget until Google and Yahoo make a move.

If your authority and spam rates are abysmal, you’ll have to meet and kick off ahead of February 1, async monitoring won’t be enough to reduce the risk.
If you are below advised thresholds, then keep it simple and async.

But be ready. Learn everything (seriously, it will take you three hours max to be an expert here). In Washington, DC, we called it cocktail conversation. You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to be able to lead a meeting of the experts because you are versed in all the topics.
Make sure you do this step because some of the game play is counter intuitive. Sending more good emails will help (this is a percentage game).

Find allies that are most likely to have a terrible month if someone gets spammy. If possible, reach out to folks with bigger job titles and the CEO’s ear. Likely candidates are HR – if a spam shutoff happens, recruiting will be absolutely destroyed, and that trust with candidates is precarious. Or Product? Are folks using their own emails for product? Password resets and features announcements re going to fail. Even if it is 5% of your userbase, that’s a nightmare.

If this really is your first go at cross-functional leadership, here are some universal truths.

  • Take extra care in drafting updates yourself, then give everyone else on the team praise and credit.
  • Immediately send out notes after a meeting. Always be the one to send the notes, and do it fast. Make sure that font and capitalization are on brand, and then highlight the work everyone else has accomplished.
  • Use your notes to cement the commits that work group members make, confirming due dates, and capture that in your notes. IF they don’t commit, run through action items at the end of the meeting and ask them for delivery date.
  • Highlight dependencies. If your notes highlight dependencies outside your control, your notes make it easier for leadership to help you.

If you want a project plan on how to kick of a tiger team, start here. I’ve also built a lot of communications for you to reach out to various team members. You got this!