Most anyone who produces anything (books, videos, toys, cars) can tell you the three major forces that are constantly tugging at each other: Cost, Time, and Quality. Essentially, you can pick two of these items, but the third will be pulled from the sum of the other two. For instance, if I choose to do a quickly done project with high quality, I should expect to pay more for it. Similarly, choosing to go on a reduced budget within a short timeframe, I should expect to find a sacrifice in quality. The opposite is true if I choose a high budget and a longer production time – quality will certainly go up.
For some time I’ve prided myself in the fact that I’ve been able to still provide quality in spite of a lack of time or funding in most of the productions that I’ve been asked to produce. However, in taking a closer look at the three pulls, they do little to recognize the intrinsic value of the artist(s) involved in the project. Let me explain.
I’m passionate about my work. Hence, when someone comes to me in a pinch and needs something done, I’ll weigh its value based on if I feel it is a worthwhile item to me or within my company’s mission. Since I’m in-line with the mission, I find it energizing to do my work. Therefore, I can produce high quality video projects with short turnarounds and generally very low budgets; that’s my job at present – making magic happen, and I see miracles happen all of the time. In fact, I’ve racked up well over a full year of overtime in my salaried position during the past several years as I’ve sought to make dreams become reality with video/film. Some would say that’s foolish (and when I think about the calculation I might tend to agree), but it’s more the result of believing that what I do makes a difference.
Introducing, intrinsics. For the sake of the given company, they achieved what they wanted – a quality project with a great price and within a short amount of time. However, while they may not have paid much in this case, someone did. There was a person or a team working around the clock to accomplish the task; there was a volunteering of self to carry out the job in spite of the cost factors and within the timeframe. This is intrinsic value – a sense of worth emanating from within the artist that supersedes the tangible value of a project. It spurs to action and even pushes beyond the point of exertion to see excellence become a reality.
When you find skilled workers who believe in what they are doing, then you truly have an opportunity to surpass the performance envelope of organizations whose employees merely work to survive. Hence, in doing this, you also find a way for your workers to invest themselves into the task, maximizing the cost, time, and value of each project. Wow! The workers themselves have much to do in what your company can get done, so get it right on who you hire!
Let’s turn the coin around to the employees’ side, now. Those workers who invest themselves into their work because they believe in it still only have so much that they can give. They, too, have families, mortgages, bills, and issues that they need to handle, and if an employer continually takes advantage of a producer’s passion to excel, then he could turn his most productive worker into a miserable one. It’s a blind form of abusive behavior that slowly erodes at morale until people just don’t care anymore. Just recently, Dave Ramsey stated it this way on his twitter feed, “Inspiration requires a fair wage. All the high fives in the world won’t matter to a team member you’re taking advantage of.”
I remember reading the tale of “The Golden Fish,” as a kid in grade school, and it points to this type of behavior in a different way. Essentially, the requests keep coming and the miracles keep happening until the fish can no longer give, and then there’s a sudden return to the days when the golden miracle fish was not present. Production companies, ministries, clothing stores… you name it, employers must honor their self-sacrificing employees over seeing them as numbers. This results in a win-win for all sides.
Think about what you value most in your organization. Is it just your product? Or do you see the people who make it happen as valuable assets? Now, if you only pay top dollar, allow for extended turn-around times, and don’t need quality work from your team, then it’s not necessary to heed. However, if you ever find yourself asking members of your crew to work longer to meet a deadline, have tight budgets, or want stellar quality, then make sure you give a think to how you can help everyone to be successful. Essentially, let your team know that they are valued by providing communication, compensation, the proper tools, and other tangible and intangible means so that they will be strong workers with a continued drive toward excellence.
Yes, there are three strong pulls within each project (cost, time, and quality), but if you build with intrinsics you’ll get the needed catalyst to handle the times when you just need a little more to get through.