Chris Reich of TeachU Says Time is Critical

Time is money! Haste makes waste! Early bird gets the worm! Fools rush in…

Which is it?

Certainly time can be equated with money but the calculation is tricky. Be careful.

I recently completed a project with an insanely tight deadline. Imagine having 3 days of work but being allowed only a day to complete it. Not only must you dig in and move quickly, but you must also sacrifice some of the little touches you might do if time permitted. This was an important project and it had to be done on time. I received the base materials that I had to work with and I quoted the project. No problem, get to work.

Because of the very tight time constraint, I worked late into the night to complete the work. A meeting was scheduled for early morning my time. I got up early and was at the phone but the client couldn’t make it because something came up. Rude. Oh yes, she also sent a dozen additions and changes which were needed before noon. At noon there were a dozen emails with more additions that were needed within a couple hours. That was followed by a flood of new changes along with nasty emails directed at me.

So this thing that had to be done in 24 hours ultimately stretched over 4 days. She (the CEO) repeatedly missed scheduled appoints and changed her own materials numerous times. Then she got her team involved. Everyone has to look good in from of the boss so I started getting changes for things like fonts and background colors. The “team” couldn’t agree on wording. Things ran in circles.

The project finally ended. I got 2 emails. One email told me that they could have gotten this job done for 1/2 the price. The other email, 5 minutes later from the same person said, “Great work! Thank you!”

I never commented on that 1/2 price remark.

Here’s the thing. You don’t gain a thing by imposing artificial deadlines. When you force people to race through a project, you get what you get. The artificial deadline caused panic within the company—that’s why they had so many changes. Those added changes cost money. They wanted more input from me but I barely had time to complete the work (so I thought). If the project really wasn’t due in a day—as I found out by the end—why add all that tension? And why was something that important put off to the last minute anyway?

Time to Think

I write often about taking time to think. Had this CEO spent some time thinking, and allowed me time to think, we could have collaborated on a far better end product. Instead it was rush rush rush against a false deadline.

Would I work with this company again? No. They asked me to do another project and I declined.

I understand when things get into crunch time. I understand deadlines and I help my clients hit them. But when I’m told I must complete something in a day and 3 days later I’m still getting “urgent” revisions, that’s just disorganized management.

What’s the bottom line?

Had this company stopped to think through their project and told me the truth about the real deadline, they would have saved money and I could have given more feedback. There were more than 100 emails received over this simple project. That’s bad organization.

Take the time to think. You’ll plan a better work product. And, if you are working with others, they will do better work for you.

It just works that way.

Chris Reich, TeachU