Work Hard, Someone is Watching

Work Hard,Someone isWatching

I climbed the stadium seats at the dolphin aquarium in Baltimore and spotted one of my favorite actors sitting with her three kids and mother. I smiled and walked past, not wanting to interfere with her mom time. Unfortunately, the guy sitting behind her finally figured out where he had seen her and chatted it up. She politely responded and then collected her family and left before the show started.

Her kids were not upset because they left the dolphin show; they were upset because a man tried to pull their mother away from their precious time together. Thankfully she made the right choice and put family before fans. After all, fans come and go, but family is still present in the aftermath of one’s career.

Colin Powell came to mind after the actor left, fully functioning in her mom role. Powell is a man who quickly gains respect from most everyone he meets, not because he’s so awesome, which many would say he is, but because he lives by his own words with integrity.

Had he been present during the decision to work hard in her role as a mom in that moment, he would’ve agreed with her decision. Powell’s great work ethic was not altered by the fans that surrounded him, but by his own focus on life. He owned the moral decisions he made daily and shared his simple viewpoint when he said…

“Always do your very best. Even when no one else is looking, you always are.”
Colin Powell

If You Take the Pay, Earn It

When I was in high school, I spent the early hours on weekends delivering newspapers to fund my art. The team would start at 4:00 a.m. stuffing inserts into the paper, and then stuffing the sections together into a lightweight plastic bag for ease of delivery. I did the prep work quickly because the goal was the delivery process, not the stuffing, as we were paid per paper delivered.

The college drivers got to pick the teen they wanted to ride with. The guys were jealous because the best-looking woman always picked me first—I’ll call her Beth. Some thought it was my charm or the good looks I sported back in the day, but I knew it was about the money.

You see, the teens moaned about stuffing the papers and dawdled in the process. Since the drivers got half the pay, they wanted the teen that worked hard and fast. Beth was smarter than the rest. Her motto was that if you’re going to take the pay, you needed to earn it. So, instead of hassling me like the other drivers did to get their teen helpers in gear, Beth encouraged me to find faster streamlined ways of stuffing the papers. I always ended up with three times more papers for delivery than my peers.

Beth also stepped away from the other jeering drivers and quietly stuffed additional papers herself. Due to her speed and the slowness of most teens, she typically stuffed an equal amount. Our truck was always packed with four times more papers than any other truck, which gave us four times more pay.

Always do Your Best

Not only was the stuffing process important in providing our potential pay, but also how we delivered the papers was important in determining which drivers got extra pick up routes at a bonus pay rate. To gain more opportunities, Beth memorized the entire map and knew where every street address was located in relationship to our current location.

If we were within a half-mile, she’d send me out of the truck with enough papers to walk 5-10 houses, while she drove off to cover the customer service issue. Beth’s timing always amazed me. Every time I’d get to the last house, I’d see her pulling up along side of me.

We had polished our process to the point of excellence. Beth had even determined my jogging speed and matched it, so I could jump in and out of the truck while it continued moving down the street. I’d basically jog a “V” pattern. On our approach to a given house, I’d grab the paper and jump off the truck jogging on an angle to their front door and return on an angle to be picked up a little past the house.

This allowed me to place the paper on every front stoop, giving the customer a great experience. Most of my peers tossed the papers from the truck, which scattered many sections across several lawns.

Don’t Disappoint Yourself

The process that Beth and I worked out allowed us to achieve our financial goals. She loved the opportunity of making extra cash and was disappointed when someone else got to pick a rider first, as it meant that our team would be broken up and our pay would drop to a fourth of our goal.

Regardless of how much our peers struggled to understand our drive, we never eased up. We were in it to achieve our goals and we didn’t want to ever let ourselves down. We were successful because we worked hard.

Beth always said that if she were too often stuck with an uncaring teen, she’d quit and find a new job. She was in it to accomplish her goals and made sure that she did her part in adding to the team’s success.

As for me, I never wanted to fall short of my goals or disappoint my partner. I had no problem hustling in order to achieve what we deemed as success. But boy, the disappointment that came from working with a lazy driver felt almost as bad as getting handed a measly check on an earlier lackadaisical day of work before meeting Beth.

Copyright 2017 by CJ Powers

 

Advertisements

Collaboration and Mock-Ups

Smartwatch_Arsenal_v2

Sample Mock-Up

The best products come from the collaboration process and use mock-ups to perfect the concept early in the development stage. Wedding planners use 2D mock-ups to determine seating arrangements. Book publishers use 3D mock-ups to photograph books before they are printed. Filmmakers tend to create mood reels to promote film concepts in need of funds.

Regardless of the project, creativity is key in the collaboration process, which drives some form of mock-up. The tool allows the team to visualize spatial relationships, size and details. It also improves communication and an understanding of how the product impacts the human condition – the customer.

Every businessperson can benefit from using mock-ups by following three key principles.

SPEED

Rapid prototyping has been alive for centuries. It’s ideal for finding the flaws in a product quickly. A mock-up of a book’s main photo or background with typography can be quickly discerned as being too small or the wrong color. The faster you learn what doesn’t work, the sooner the ideal look comes into play.

The playfulness of the mock-up process stimulates creativity that one-ups the previous concepts. Each step moves the creators a step closer to their final design and a clear understanding of the products use and feel. Rapid prototyping trims off months of development as it brings focus to flaws that are quickly corrected.

MASS

Transferring the conceptual into the physical realm gives creators an understanding of the complexities and vast details required to polish the details of their product before production. This not only saves large sums of money, but it also alerts the team to the depth of focus required to turn their imagination into reality.

Without understanding the massiveness of the project, creators are often blindsided by the large scope of their concept. Few professional filmmakers start shooting a script without first counting the cost of time and effort involved in shooting 1,400 – 1,800 shots that it takes to make their picture.

IMPACT

The human condition rarely makes its path known in the ever-changing structure of society. Focus groups are used to hone in on a plausible direction by observing potential customers interacting with a prototype. The perceptions brought to bear by various age groups and other demographic profiles help the team redefine their key market segment.

Since 80% of all books are bought based on its cover design and 15% from the book’s back cover copy, authors are able to obtain advanced customer responses with prototypes. Speakers can test the impact of their topics with one-sheets and sales people can explore presentations with previz.

All collaborators can make use of mock-ups and vision boards to get a sense of how the service or product will make a difference in their marketplace. By focusing on the speed, mass and impact an idea will generate, the team is able to find its flaws and make the necessary improvements so release day is a rewarding celebration.

Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers