Management Tips

If you have a job then your focus is on the wrong things.

When we get paid for work we try to do as little as possible.

Think about it.

The mindset of work is structured in a way that makes us want to put a lot of effort into doing as little as possible. It’s a defense mechanism that we all succumb to.

Why?

Well the alternative is the value of the work gets diluted.

If you have ever worked in a large consultancy (or any consultancy for that matter) you will understand this principle. In fact, it is so inherent that it is a part of the culture of most firms. Logically, there is no other way to operate in order to feed the machine’s many moving parts. Consider all the factors such as rent, salaries, equipment, marketing, supplies and human resources and how they drive the culture of work. Better usually acquiesces to faster which gives us the perception of cheaper and as a result is the catalyst to feed the machine.

Effort is heavily influenced by time.

The most important driver of project work is the deadline therefore we are conditioned to focus on deadlines and not much else. The deadline, in itself, has been the “constraint de jour” for hundreds of years and we abide by its almighty rule without thinking about it much at all.

What’s worse is it contains the word dead; aptly named.

What’s the pressure we feel as we approach the line? It feels like a point of no return and it is inherent to business practice. There has to be a line in the sand otherwise we would never get anything done. We are slaves to the line. It’s how we’re wired and it’s important that we recognize how the line in the sand is the constraint, right or wrong, which drives the bus as we work on a project.

The deadline forces our hand in another way.

We mentioned the necessity to keep the machine rolling and the resulting constraints are how we define value. The perception of value is the other significant factor that affects the outcome of most projects.

The amount of work we can do is driven by the deadline and the amount of work itself defines value.

Ask yourself these questions:

What’s valuable to your client in comparison to what is valuable to you?

Is your client getting the best from you for the value of work?

Is value perceived equally across the organization or project by project?

What drives the perception of value when you are considering a project?

Value, in financial terms, is derived by subtracting cost from the financial commitment your client is willing to make for you to meet their list of constraints.

In simple math; time = money.

So what happens when the value is not there? We look for ways to adjust the constraints to our advantage, right?

What happens when the recipient of your services doesn’t understand value the same way you do? We look for ways to adjust the constraints to our advantage, right?

I am by no means simply doing my work because I love it. I do, in fact, love the world of architecture and design but I also love my trips to France, my weekends with family and friends and my creature comforts so I have to resolve the limitations around the constraints of work or life will become much different than it is. It seems I have to bow down to the constraints of time (the deadline) and cost (value) and work as hard as I can to work as little as possible.

Am I stuck?

Over the past 18 months I have read articles by entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and small businesses write about things like freedom and opportunity to seek a path without constraints; the freedom to see what sticks. I applaud every one of them for their effort. I have a deep respect for their stick-to-it-ness, their effort, the free flow of ideas and the vast land of opportunity.

Sure, creature comforts are relative and there is certainly more satisfaction in life than trips to NYC or France (two of my favourite paves to go).

What about opportunity?

Opportunity has no line in the sand. It has no constraints and it can generate the best feelings that you have ever felt.

If you are like me and are employed then think about those times when you were given a chance to try something new without someone placing constraints on you. Has it ever happened? Sure it has. How did you feel?

That’s opportunity!

Or, try this. You are changing employers. Think about the interview process, think about the discussions and think about how your world will change as a result of the change. How did that make you feel?

That’s opportunity!

Seth Godin, the entrepreneur’s golden boy, was recently interviewed by another entrepreneur, my friend (at least I hope I can call him that) Srinivas Rao and the conversation covered a wide range of topics. We got a peek into Seth’s life as a young man and heard a bit about his upbringing which started to paint a very clear picture that he was, from a very early age, wired to be entrepreneurial. He went on to speak about his recent venture The Domino Project and brought up a very interesting point of view. I won’t go into the details (you can listen here – go to the 38;00 min mark if you don’t have time for the whole interview) but the notion was that he hired some young folks, paid them a salary and then found they were under performing even with awesome chance to work with Seth Godin and on such an auspicious project as Domino.

The a-ha moment.

What he realized was that once people are paid for their work they will do as little as possible to get the job done.

I don’t want to steal Seth’s thunder so I won’t go into how he solved the problem but he did and because of that we were able to experience The Domino Project.

Seth eliminated the constraints completely from the project because he had the luxury to do so. He was being entrepreneurial and as a result he convinced his paid employees, like you and me, to see the value of the effort in a different way.

The sense that we can find value in the work we do by looking for opportunity to change the outcome can still live within the constraints of our work. Our work is not limited by effort if we consider exerting the right effort at the right time. The passion to do meaningful work, even in the simplest of tasks, changes the outcome normally for the better. Seeing opportunity changes how the game is played and the more we look for it the more it becomes the way we do things.

Opportunity makes people happy.

Happy people recognize opportunity sooner and more readily seek it out. The effort necessary to discover and build on opportunity is the residual benefit of great work.

Over to you:

Do you find yourself looking for ways to cut corners? Do you see the value in opportunity by looking for the right answers? What do you see as the constraints in your work that drive what you do? Can those constraints change?

Let ‘er rip in the comments.

 

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (195 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday: www.designdialog.ca


49 comments
wwtks
wwtks

Seth Godin said it well in his blog today -

 

You'll pay a lot...

 

but you'll get more than you pay for.

There's plenty of room for this sort of offer to work. The hard part isn't charging a lot. The hard part is delivering more (in the eye of the recipient) than he paid for.

Plenty of people would happily pay extra for what you do... if they only believed that in fact it would turn out to be a bargain, worth more than it costs. One reason we price shop is that we don't trust that anything that costs more than the cheapest is worth what it costs.

Too often, in the race to charge less, we deliver too little. And in the race to charge more, we forget what it is that people want. They want more. And better.

 

wwtks
wwtks

The most ingrained issue is the fact that we even have to defend a fee for value. Never mind the fact that the customers are so conditioned that it is their right, nay their duty, to pay nothing. This is the "value gap" that must be bridged. Much easier said than done but the attitude of the customer that they are entitled to constantly increasing discount has to be changed - If not we are basically Walmart and the retail thinking normally associated with disposable, planned obsolescence items, manufactured using questionable labour sources by suppliers who have been forced to the brink of bankruptcy as leverage for more discount, will become the sole buying emotion for absolutely everything - doesn't matter if it is crap as long as it is cheap!

 

We need to build two bridges

 

Bridge #1 - We have to establish a thorough method of studying and learning the "financial language" of our customers' business - i.e. - what is the engine that drives their risk, their business aspirations/challenges and, ultimately,  their profitability? Only when we can point to metrics that shows results against their issues in their own language will we be able to prevent this unsophisticated bane of our existence.

 

Bridge #2 - The business leaders are being fed information that is too narrow-minded in that their procurement methods are too often managed by people who themselves do not even know this engine. They just know how to apply pressure to suppliers to force prices down. This is one thing for toilet paper, paper, pens and pencils but when the same logic is applied to professional services, real estate strategy and significant business decisions and investments the process has gone too far. Despite that they stand between the business leaders and us so we have to bridge that chasm and provide business leaders with a real reason to engage one on one in real strategic dialogue so we can build Bridge #1

 

Once we accomplish these unenviable tasks then all we have to do is find and destroy the "Easy Button" - beginning to sound like a Bond movie!

 

Too many people hide behind  - "But we HAVE to bid!" - It is the law or our shareholders demand it - that is also crap - the reality is they are not brave enough to make a real decision and stand buy it so the entire system has abdicated its authority down to the unsophisticated metric of arms length bidding with decisions based on price even if it is so low it is obviously a mistake. At the end of the day any fool can bid low - in fact the dumber we are the cheaper we bid!. Also - nobody ever got fired for picking the low bidder and no one wants to be accountable for being the decision maker so these systems have evolved to make it easy to defend a choice to the boss, the media, the shareholders etc. The easy button has to go.

 

The whole system is flawed and we are all to blame. We need to challenge our customers more and challenge ourselves to be less servile in allowing a system to bully us into reluctant submission. We are volunteers, not victims if we do nothing to change the status quo.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

Like @Danny Brown , I'm a fan of performance-based billing. We're testing it with a couple of long-term clients this year, but I'll tell you what...we're facing something I didn't consider. When we are successful and exceed goals (which triggers a bonus), the conversations turn interesting. "Why won't you do more work if we pay you more?" and "Well, if it was that easy, we should have set our goals higher." In other words, some are trying to get out of paying us based on performance. We aren't giving up, but I think it's a really hard thing to change because things have been done this way for so long.

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wwtks
wwtks

Ha ha - wait until I tell some of my colleagues that u was described as being succinct!

wwtks
wwtks

Hopefully I am not introducing a sidetrack here but this has me thinking about the design and construction industry where - It is so easy to become a slave to the billable hour. I think this influences some of the other attitudes and perceptions we are discussing here.

 

Breaking a project down into hours always makes it feel like work.

 

Often that is what drives the feeling that the way to be profitable is to do the work using as few hours as possible.

 

We monitor everyone and they fill in time sheets for every day so they now feel like cogs.

 

The real problem with this though is that - in this formula doing more will mean more fees and the customer baulks at that. Even if doing more would improve the outcome.

 

In the world of Design and Construction this is a particular issue as the BUSINESS value of design is never part of the consideration. The relationship between these is all too rarely seen if ever. Design is looked upon by many as an aesthetic service and not a business service. Who allowed this travesty to occur is unclear - I suspect that faults lie on all sides and will continue to prevail unless there is an intervention.

 

The Paradox is that - Some companies willingly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on business consulting and third party training facilitations because they connect the service to a predicted business outcome that provides them an ROI (on paper at least). Having been on the receiving end of some of these sessions and services I can certainly say that a large proportion of it is fairly useless in driving results mainly because of a lack of follow through after they leave and the added fact that a new "flavour of the month" session comes up before any results are realized with the first one.

 

All you end up with is being jealous of the third parties because of how much money they make for doing it and then they get to skip off without retaining accountability for results - some of the fees are beyond belief - How often do you catch yourself thinking - "I wonder why I am not doing that?"

 

As the business value is the bottom line in all things perhaps there needs to be a refocussing on this aspect. If a service can be aligned with business results then the math should be fairly easy and the focus will be on the results and not the effort. The two are not necessarily directly related anyway.

 

Sometimes we leave it to the client to understand the value of what we do. We should study their perception of value, become intimate with its definition and then help them join the dots between what we do and what they need to be successful on their terms!

 

Easy said and difficult done I know but worth doing nevertheless

 

Apologies if I am adding another tangent

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I can't wait to find out about Seth, The Domino Project and his solution to the problem. But I can't say I agree with your premise -- the sentence up top that follows "Think about it."  

 

So much of it depends on the organization, how seriously it takes its mission, the example set by leadership, and how well they hire. My experience and feelings tell me that companies that work like they really are "on a mission," and hire the right people for their culture, don't have these worries.

 

Of course, overcoming the lack of a compelling mission, squirrelly leaders and a culture of sloth -- that would be a real trick! 

wwtks
wwtks

Ha ha - that was meant to be "likes" not "lies" but I like the mistake - kind of makes a double point I am fully immersed in their lies too

wwtks
wwtks

Could not agree more I truly believe in the idea that if you can get paid to do what you love you will never work a day in your life. So hard to explain to some people and even harder to explain to the people who love to manage and control them. Not sure who I pity the most (actually I have no pity for middle managers like that - much the opposite) I do know that I have no wish to be either I agree with the lies of Seth Godin, Daniel Pink and Ken Robinson who point out that "work" is an industrial age, factory based principle - the cog in the machine. Funny thing is that at least when a cog turns something else happens. What most accountants and drone managers have now done is create a giant spreadsheet. Now, instead of a cog, they want you be be a cell on the spreadsheet. The formula that populates that cell is controlled by them, and all the other cells that the formula uses are utterly out of your control - I guess they are called cells for a reason! An old colleague once said "the trouble with most companies is that while they have lots of people who know a lot about business they have few who know about the business they are actually in." Managers make it work, Leaders make it a cause and we can make it a calling! Awesome stuff for a post Robbie Burns Day as I nurse a shortbread hangover ( that is my story and i am sticking to it) To quote the bard himself - Is there for honesty poverty That hings his head, an' a' that; The coward slave - we pass him by, We dare be poor for a' that! For a' that, an' a' that, Our toils obscure an' a' that, The rank is but the guinea's stamp, The man's the gowd for a' that. What though on hamely fare we dine, Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that? Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine, A man's a man for a' that. For a' that, an' a' that, Their tinsel show, an' a' that, The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor, Is king o' men for a' that. Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord, Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that; Tho' hundreds worship at his word, He's but a coof for a' that. For a' that, an' a' that, His ribband, star, an' a' that, The man o' independent mind He looks an' laughs at a' that. A prince can mak a belted knight, A marquise, duke, an' a' that; But an honest man's aboon his might, Gude faith, he maunna fa' that! For a' that, an' a' that, Their dignities an' a' that, The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth, Are higher rank than a' that. Then let us pray that come it may, (As come it will for a' that,) That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, Shall bear the gree, an' a' that. For a' that, an' a' that, It's comin yet for a' that That man to man, the world o'er, Shall brithers be for a' that.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Fantastic post and conversation starter, mate. The question of money vs. value over effort has always been a prickly one, especially in large organizations and agencies. I've seen people spend all their time on Facebook chatting with friends, and have the cheek to complain when asked if they can do some overtime.

 

I've long been a fan of the PRP method - have a low basic fee, and then charge on results. If you know you're only going to get a fraction of the ridiculous fees that some agencies charge, you'll soon have that bee under your bonnet that got you started in the first place.

 

Cheers, sir!

bdorman264
bdorman264

In our world it's the renewal that gets the clock ticking. Also in our world, nothing happens until the sale is made, but we have salaried employees (part of the machine) who expect that 'guaranteed' paycheck. 

 

I'm probably about as entrepreneurial as I will ever be (see my post this coming Monday) but I have tremendous freedom and flexibility within my job to do and try many different things. Ultimately it comes down to, who is going to pay me for my time, right? 

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

I'm not sure the "get paid do little" can be universally applied to all people, all of the time. I once worked an overnight shift at an injection molding plant. I like to compete, so I asked how many parts per hour people usually made on the machine I was working on, the answer was around 62. Then I asked what the record was, and that was 71 parts in an hour. The machine had several steps and I figured I could make sure that I was eliminating any wasted time. My best hour was 76, I averaged 74 parts per hour, over an entire month. I calculated the extra value to the company, if that was continued through an entire year, over three shifts, and it as $750.000.

 

It was a mind numbingly dull job, but I loved it, and each hour was like a new game, trying to make it to 76. My month of service ended and I went on my way. Sometimes it isn't just an employee showing a lack of interest, but an employer. Though I set a new record and averaged 3 units above the old record, nobody asked me how I did it. Management wasn't even curious.

 

Still, I wanted to do my best and I did. It was a fun month, even if nobody cared.

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AlaskaChickBlog
AlaskaChickBlog

Great post, Ralph. AWESOME-PERFECT answer and response, Mark!! Yeah, you go man! (plus, Ralph wont snicker, with the extra change coming from you!)

 

Jayme, I believe Ralph is talking about the fact that some people, a lot of people, forget that passion that got them the job to begin with, because J.O.B. mentality. Same thing with the word, "deadline."

 

I don't cut corners, Ralph, which is why, recently, I have been making my own self imposed "deadlines" by the skin of my teeth. And yes, I see opportunity waiting for me, and for our business, every day, in each new frustrating lesson I must learn, that I may find the key in saving our lives and livelihood through whatever it is I haven't understood yet.

 

If the constraints do anything, I only feel more pressure to learn even more, even better.

 

 

 

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Hi Ralph, I'm a bit competitive myself. It's always driven me. If you can't be the best in your industry or strive for it, what’s the point?

 

I'm more motivated by results and being the top dog in anything I'm part of. This focus got me to management/ leadership positions early on when I was young and working for other people. It has also fueled my entrepreneurial endeavors.

 

The worst case scenario I can think of is taking money from a client and not getting results. Only douchebags, losers and liars do that. Get real; either you can deliver or you can't. If you over-sell just to get the deal, you're an idiot.

 

When I became an employer, I always hired results oriented people who could flat out kick ass and make things happen, regardless of the position they filled. In exchange, I made it point to help my team get what they wanted in life.

 

I lost some good people this way; but they would have eventually left anyway. I don't know why employers attempt to put people in a box and stunt their growth. I would rather give my employees wings to fly and help them go as far as they can go in life.

 

I have very little tolerance for lazy clock punchers who do as little as possible for a paycheck. I can't stand to be around lazy, uninspired, negative, take-up space, losers. Don't have to look very far to figure out who these are in any organization. Fire them now; they are a waste of breath, time and money.

 

If you want to see the only constraint holding people back in life and business, have them look in the mirror... The buck stops there.

 

Anyhoo, just  two cents, Ralph. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

You got me on the first sentence. Really? I have zero experience with this; the people in PR agencies are Type A; we over-work and over-deliver and we have a passion for our work. I'm sorry you're seeing this lack of work ethic; that just doesn't compute in the network I keep...I'm a bit confused what you're suggesting here...please help me understand?

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @ginidietrich  @Danny Brown Have you read any of Eli Goldratt's books? "The Goal", "It's Not Luck" or "Critical Chain"?  He was a big fan of mapping out what sort of improvement in Throughput he expected he could achieve and then accepting a percentage of the improvement as his fee. The clients initially saw this as a win-win, because if it didn't work, they were out nothing.

 

What he found, because it often worked exceedingly well, is they had a hard time writing the checks because the growth was always so much more than they expected and even though it was a small percentage of the extra profit, it was hard to swallow.

 

I'd love to hire someone to promote my writing for a stake in the books. I wonder if that model would work?

 

I could see there becoming a point where a book starts to take off, because of the fine work of the promoter, and an author might think that it is running by itself and begrudge the promoter their due  spoils.

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barrettrossie
barrettrossie

Ralph, were up late? Or drinking a souvenir from your French vacation??  I assume you wanted to ask: In YOUR LINE of work how DO you assess value against the work you do with a client?

 

Specifics would be really complicated... But people who are in demand in various aspects of marketing have results to show for their efforts. E.g., an ad agency like The Martin Agency (Richmond VA USA) or Wieden+Kennedy (Portland OR USA) have turned also-rans into runaway market leaders, for national brands. Or rescued struggling brands. These guys have various ways of setting prices but you can bet the expectation must be that the return on investment will be significant. 

 

So that's from the agency P-O-V. Then you get to the actual workers. Well, the producers, strategists, account managers, creatives, etc., all want to be part of a hit campaign, so that they'll be in demand in the future. "We want the team that worked on Old Spice... We want the team that worked on Geico... We want the team that does Nike..."  Getting paid today has nothing to do with it... it's building that portfolio. For the rest of your life, you can say "I worked on the campaign that got Walmart out of its 2011 doldrums," or "My direct-response campaign was credited for lifting Geico from #4 to #3 in the car insurance market."  That can carry a career for a lot of years. 

 

The people who are there to get a paycheck NEVER EVEN GET IN THE DOOR.  You have to have an incredible work ethic, and you have to be productive. 

 

I would imagine it's the same way for a lot of creative professions, including, I would imagine, architecture and interior design.

 

But what I described only happens when the leadership and the culture are right. If an employer is hoping to get someone's best effort just by offering a big paycheck... in my experience, you just get a lot of outsized egos competing for glamorous assignments. You don't always get the best work. 

 

(Note: I hope this corresponds to what you were asking!)

 

Final note: At Wieden+Kennedy, in 1987, a couple of us were given an assignment: Help relaunch Nike Air, in an attempt to save Nike, which was getting its butt handed to it by Reebok and Adidas. We were a small company at the time. We had 3-4 creative teams and we all struggled with it. We all came up with stuff that was... OK, but not great. Then someone came up with the idea of using The Beatles "Revolution" as the basis for an MTV type of montage to re-introduce the improved and revolutionary show cushioning technology. It would be complicated because Michael Jackson owned the rights to the music, and The Beatles might have some kind of say over how their music could be used. But in the end, it worked out. 

 

The writer who came up with that idea? Our receptionist, Janet Champ. She went on to become a something akin to a copywriting legend. 

 

This can only happen at a shop with great leaders and great culture. 

 

Maybe this fits into your theory: Janet was not being paid superstar money when she came up with the idea that basically turned Nike around. But she did have superstar opportunity. 

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @barrettrossie Barrett, I am going to challenge you a little on your comment. I agree wholeheartedly that mission, passion and effort are critical to project success but what I am talking about is the translation of the effort into cost and the value of the project based on the client's understanding.

 

In you like of work how so you assess value against the work you do with a client?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @wwtks The lies of Seth Godin, Daniel Pink and Ken Robinson. I love that. Lies but they ring true. I am fully immersed in these lies because the logic behind them make so much sense to me. Human capital is not a widget and I know you agree.

 

We are all capable of independent thinking but constraints are constraints. The challenge I have with the purity of the entrepreneurial mindset is not the notion of trying something new and failing but the idea that the success stories are the only ones we hear about. The years it takes to become the overnight success are filled with constraints that have to be overcome and those constraints are never what are exposed. Just the freedom for free thinking.

 

If you are not built that way thinking along those lines is a real challenge. I am trying to be real about it all and look for practical solutions to change the playing field a little. Hopefully for the better. The thinking behind what Mr. Godin and Mr. Pink share is a really good place to start. At least for me.

 

The spreadsheet analogy is great. I hope you don't mind me using it.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Danny Brown Interesting point of view. Not sure what PRP stands for (that tells you something) but I get the idea. It's great that there is such an option to certain industries. It's a model that wouldn't work in the Architecture and Design industry only because the return (or results) is not easily measured, however, it may be some food for thought on changing how we approach services.

 

You know, it's the ridiculous fees that some agencies charge that I am talking about. The question is do those agencies provide value for the cost of their services or are they forced to charge at certain rates to keep the boat afloat (to pay that godly talent, etc, etc)?

 

Can a consultancy change the way they deliver service to align the value they bring to the fees they charge? It's a complicated question with no easy answer. Competition will always drive cost however defining value is open-ended. Notwithstanding a great customer service record, precedent work and reputation it's a land of opportunity.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @bdorman264 Exactly and it's about what you are doing with that time, how much of it you use and the results you get from it. I am very interested in how you measure financial success in your line of work. I know it's not the fun LOL kind of stuff that you love but it is good for me to get a broader perspective on how different industries deal with consulting.

 

As I mentioned to @ExtremelyAvg (Brian - I like to keep it personal) changing the thinking away from a widget based time = money formula is a considerable uphill battle. How is real value calculated? Repeat sales? Long term customers? Do you consider nurturing relationships over time as valuable as making the quick easy out sale?

 

Just some thoughts rattling around in this ole bean.

 

It's not all as dramatic as I am making it out but there is a factor of motivation that lies behind the value of building relationships, the time it takes and the perceived value of that time.

 

Thanks for dropping by. I do appreciate your insight here.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @ExtremelyAvg Interesting story Brian. Making widgets is fundamentally different than consulting and I am not sure we can draw a correlation between the two. I am sure I didn't need to tell you that. The fact that you tried to make more out of that job and no one even recognized the effort is, in a way, what's wrong in many industries with purely top down leadership.

 

Imagine, the guy responsible for the line thinking, "Damn, we always made 71 bits and now this guy comes along and starts making 75 and shows me up. There's no way I am going to look like I don't know what I am doing. I hope he goes away. And soon."

 

Where was the recognition of the opportunity there? None existent. The "git er dun" and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" manufacturing mentality has inherently leeched its way into 21st century business. Why? Because people are influenced by their family, friends and old school colleagues who are from that era. They can't help how they think. That's what we are dealing with and the Architecture industry is still rife with this type of thinking. It is this thinking that I am trying to change; first for myself (recognition is the first step) and then for the people in my immediate sphere of influence.

 

Thanks for coming by and thanks for the story. I will certainly remember that in my research.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hi  @AlaskaChickBlog maybe take a few minutes to read some of my responses below.

 

I wholehreatedly agree with your perspective on effort. It is my philosophy too however the more effort, at times, dilutes the bottom line and as much as we all have an attitude of giving the best service we can we also need to be practical when it comes to paying the bills.

 

My thoughts are centered around developing strategy to realign services to ensure the right type of effort gets your client what they need without sacrificing your livelihood to get them that. It doesn't have as much to do with what @Mark_Harai called "lazy clock punchers" as it does with looking for the right approach in lieu of your established norms for delivering service. Something akin to treating each opportunity as unique would be a simplified example.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

 @AlaskaChickBlog So maybe Ralph hasn't run across we solopreneurs much and whatever it is you do up there in the outer reaches of the world. There's no one to cry WOLF/ELK/WHALE to in my company; just moi...and I gotta learn just like you do with blood, sweat and tears.

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rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hi Jayme. I see both you and Mark are fired up about this post. That's goose because I was looking for the solo perspective here. Working hard is one thing but how do you reconcile overhead? I am not sure how it works in the PR world but in Architecture we don't tolerate people without intelligence, passion or drive either but that's not the point. I am bringing some awareness to the reality of business and that keeping the balance out of the red is as critical as doing good work. Without a sustainable plan it is impossible to stay in business therefore some work predicate a lean approach in order to remain profitable. Instead of defaulting to the "as little as possible" mentality (keeping in mind that brand reputation need to be maintained) is something that can change with a more creative outlook. Too many times we find ourselves looking for the wrong type of opportunities. Instead of finding a practical solution to the problem that fits the financial constraints of the work the default has been to look for a way to right the financial deficiencies of a project. My ideas are to find better ways to meet the needs of an organization and maintain a healthy project both from a creative and financial perspective. Make sense?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

 @rdopping  Oh yeah. Not only do we have a contract, but we have an extremely detailed comp plan. I think people are just so unaccustomed to paying for performance especially if, as @ExtremelyAvg notes, they exceed wildest expectations, that they can't come to terms with writing that check. We're only testing this with long-term clients and, even though I probably could take them to court for non-payment, it's one of those things I have to decide if it's worth losing the client over.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

 @ExtremelyAvg Have I read him?! I freaking worked with him once. I belong to Vistage and one of his proteges was in my group. So yeah...I've read The Goal and subscribe to a lot of what he says. And that's exactly what we're experiencing. I find it odd - if someone helped us make a gazillion more dollars, I'd happily write the check. I am also very cognizant of setting up our performance based on gross margin (not revenue) so it seems like it'd be a no-brainer. But alas.

Latest blog post: The Three Things, Edition 18

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @barrettrossie Hey Barrett. I finally got a moment to come back to this. Yes, I must have been rushing my typing. Aw, nuts.

 

I agree with your attitude toward the work ethic and yes, culture is a big deal. Having the opportunity to offer ideas and simply having leadership open to accepting the ideas is the type of cultural norm that is the utopia we all seek. To some degree it happens in many industries but certainly is not the norm.

 

Building portfolio has always been the draw for the A+D industry as well. It's been a way to tease great work without massive compensation deals. I agree that growth in any industry takes time and sacrifice. In my mind, work ethic is critical to any success but that doesn't change the fact that business cannot absorb unending effort.

 

I think the difference with the A+D industry is the compensation model. We get paid for the process of design (ideas being equal) and the value of that is based on the depth of experience, precedent work among other factors. There is no opportunity to find other payment models other than being paid for scope of work. Results from great advertising campaigns, PR strategies or the like can yield a "paid for results" methodology which likely changes the approach to a campaign. Right?

 

Great culture and great leaders find ways to make the results rewarding by allowing the talent to stretch itself, for sure but the reality is that with the yin there's the yang. There are always equalizing factors that the most creative managers are able to motivate to ensure the best results are achievable.

 

None of that changes the cost vs time business model.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @barrettrossie I worked in the marketing department for GEICO (All caps, it is an acronym) and I can say the Martin Agency is awesome. I was an analyst, so I didn't really get to know them, but I saw the results of their work.  That was all I wanted to say. I like cheering for awesome people or groups.

Latest blog post: Underwood Scotch and Wry Ch 7

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

 @rdopping Goose? Where you drinking Grey Goose, Ralph : )

 

I think I understand what you're trying to say, Ralph... I have found that the work environment established from the top down is what motivates employees to go the extra mile.

 

People want to be part of building something great, something that matters. From the janitor and secretary to management and C - suite, it's about building a great company and successful lives - together.

 

I have built some companies up to a couple thousand employees and what made it really special is if anyone had a problem with me, there would be a couple thousand people you would have to go through to get to me - everyone of them :o

 

If you make people feel special (because they are), treat them well, find out what makes them tick and help them get what they want out of life - they will work their butts off for you : )

 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

 @Mark_Harai Dude. Exactly my thinking. I was gonna suggest a #TeamBlogJack, but then I'd have to invite @KaarinaDillabough and I have no idea where she's at today, either. And, then, we'd just take over comments kinda rambling and such just like this until the owner decided to show hisself.  Get it?

Latest blog post: Media Relations

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @ginidietrich Just when I thought you couldn't be any more AWESOME!  My father had met him on several occasions and taught TOC at Iowa State University for many years, until he retired last spring.  Goldratt is awesome.

Latest blog post: Underwood Scotch and Wry Ch 11

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Agreed @Mark_Harai Goose is right! Smartphones are such a PITA.

 

 I understand and agree with everything you are saying and have a similar philosophy regarding people but I want to ensure that the point regarding consulting services is well understood. The basis of time = money is fundamental to financial viability.  Process improvements are often designed to reduce cost and many clients respond favourably as long as there isn't a perception of service degradation.

 

Cheers Mark. Glad this subject holds interest for you.   

rdopping
rdopping moderator

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing @Mark_Harai Sorry folks. Been busy making money for the man. Comments coming tomorrow for sure. Jayme, I get where you are coming from and I recognised the solo and entrepreneur in my post. What's important to remember here is the "average" right or wrong is where this mentality is prevalent. I will expand on that more. Thanks for holding down the fort. :-)

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