Published on February 22, 2014
Slide 1: We all know what compromise is and how it works. It’s the settlement of a dispute. Mutual concession. But it also means “To weaken a reputation or accepting a lower standard.” That’s part of the actual definition. And in our industry, we’ll often find ourselves having to compromise. Why is that? And how do we overcome it?
Slide 2: We compromise as the result of three things. One, we’re constantly being asked to deliver our work faster than ever before. Two, our clients, managers, and benefactors want that work done at decreasing costs. And three, they want it done a certain way with a very specific outcome. And so, we must compromise, either on time, budget constraints, or the end product itself.
Slide 3: It’s impossible to have all three. I refer to this as the twelve lemon problem. Remember this movie, the Breakup? She needs 12 lemons to get the centerpiece done, but she’s being asked ”why?” Why Jennifer do you need 12 lemons? Let’s just use the three.” You don’t get it, I need 12 lemons, Vince! By the way if Vince is the name of your boss or client, this analogy works perfectly, doesn’t it?
Slide 4 Slide 4: So if we can’t control these demands in asking us to complete projects faster, cheaper, all while negotiating on some of that work, then there’s only really one thing we can control. And that’s ourselves. How can we adapt? What do we change to be able to deliver great work while still having the opportunity to resources to do so? The answer, I would argue, is efficiency.
Slide 5: Becoming effective and efficient in our work is key to trying to achieve the balance between all three when we have no control over external factors such as cost, timing, and pre‐determined decisions. Take as an example the sport of Formula 1 racing. F1 is arguably the world’s most optimized sport; teams are obsessed with improving their cars by tenths of a second.
Slide 6: In F1, Efficiencies have to be gained continually in order to win in this sport. To put it in perspective, the difference between fastest lap times are anywhere between one and three tenths per lap. And when a race is the over, that difference in the championship is about 40 million dollars in winnings. Drivers need to be efficient in their driving in order to achieve their goal of winning a Grand Prix.
Slide 7: Take a look at the heads up display on the left. F1 drivers using 22 controls from the steering wheel, some of which include sub‐ menus. Sub‐menus! He shift gears hundreds of times during a race you can see his fingers hitting the paddle shifters and adjusts the brake by using left hand to reach down near his leg dozens of times. This driver is very efficient and effective at handling the car.
Slide 8: Races entirely aren’t won based on who’s the fastest driver with the fastest car, but also teams who the most efficient in achieving the perfect pit stop to change out a cars’ tyres. As you can see here, the pit crew works like clockwork. The footage here is in ultra slow motion. There’s a specific job for every individual to do. It takes about 20 mechanics to change out an F1 car’s tyres.
Slide 9: Using this as inspiration, we should ask ourselves: Are we as efficient and effective? What can we do better? It our team in synch on this project? Is everyone gaining and maintaining skills equally to provide the best outcome possible? It’s rather inspiring to see how the Infinity Red Bull team works together. And just as they, we too should commit to improving, even if marginally, as much as we can.
Slide 11: So, in the F1 example, we understand that efficiency translates to speed. Here’s another thought. Build something that makes you more efficient, a tool to make you better at what you’re doing. Right now, I’m using a very cool app that’s designed for 20x20 presentations. Because of it, I’m now more efficient in delivering my presentation. If you can build or make something that makes you more efficient, go for it.
Slide 12: Nowadays, automation reduces the amount of time we have to complete something. As an example, our team uses simple but effective automation to clean up reporting across multiple sources and hundreds of data points reducing the time to compile by as much as two days. And we’ve shifted from static reporting to provide more insights through interactive dashboards delivering twice as many insights. We reinvented our reports.
Slide 13: Granted there will continue to be external factors outside of our control. But internally, I think we can become more efficient in trying to understand what could be driving things such as timing. Skill, scale, and scope. These can effect both internal and external factors as well. If one of these clashes against the other, it essentially creates a storm. As they say, “when it rains, it pours.”
Slide 14: We need to be more effective about understanding the objective, and not just the job. What do I mean by that? I mean, do we see the job as generating awareness through campaigns, developing advertising, and building websites? Or do we see an objective to creating an engaging experience for customers, ask them to participate, an building something that’s useful to them. What’s the objective?
Slide 15: When we don’t understand the objective and only focus on the “job” then you get checkbox marketing. Ads concepted. Check. Website built. Check. Banner campaign. Check. It’s less about doing good or bad work and more about just going through the motions. Let’s ask ourselves, is this an opportunity to develop another campaign, or to actually provide an new, more engaging experience that the last?
Slide 16: To avoiding checkbox marketing, we should strive to become more POV‐oriented. We should always deliver a formal point of view when we feel we can deliver something better than the original ask. Lay out the pros and cons. Show the gives and gets. Help your client, manager, or benefactor understand what’s at risk if we don’t slow things down when the need to. It means showing what we gain vs. lose by compromising.
Slide 17: When fast happens, we tend to react the same, fast. But when we do, we run the risk of not paying attention to detail, and things can slip. To prove my point, I only spend 10 seconds making this very point. So I have 10 seconds left. I slowed it down. Now its just a little weird while I wait…
Slide 18: To summarize, a constant problem we face is that the industry will continue to demand more for less, and that really won’t change. So what do we do about it? Well, mitigate compromise and become more efficient. We can become better strategists, planners, negotiators, and communicators to achieve balance between the forces driving timing, cost, and consensus on the output we create.
Slide 19: And so how? Build something to drive efficiency. Automate and reinvent. Seek to understand the internal and external factors. Understand the objective, not just the job, avoid checkbox marketing, and become more POV‐focused. These are just a few things, but important ones that I wanted to share with you today.
Slide 20: Ending with my passion for the sport, F1 thrives on teams’ obsessions with becoming more efficient in improving their car. They look to self‐optimization to produce the best product, that car, to win championships. Similarly, when we’re faced by tighter deadlines and budget constraints, let us work towards becoming more efficient and maximize our ability to achieve greatness. Thank you.
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