It’s Slava, so we’ll traditionally address some meaningful topics, such as money, time, and careers, and dwell a little on human psychology, which marketeers do their utmost to harness in their quest to “push clients through the sales funnel” and “close sales”. This will provide an insight into how this trend has seeped into our life and work (against all logic).
Important decisions are never spur-of-the-moment. Business considerations keep pushing us forward: we have quarterly reports to write and shareholders’ meetings to attend. As we’ve already pointed out, people don’t accelerate the way CPUs do — an idea worth keeping in mind unless you want to drop out of a project due to a severe case of burnout or end up hating the job you used to love.
Business considerations are understandable. Indeed they are. The way you can understand why a truck can’t come to an instant halt if a pedestrian jumps in front of it. Physics, inertia, velocity… An inevitable collision and its consequences. You can’t abolish the laws of physics or change the consequences of a truck running over a pedestrian. However, you can avoid becoming the pedestrian or change the situation if you’re the one behind the wheel.
A business always wants better results—that’s in its nature. There are multiple ways of achieving it: increasing headcount, changing methodologies and approaches, introducing innovations, and so on. That said, none of these options (not one in a hundred, for that matter) can deliver the instantaneous effect achieved through overtime work. It takes time to hire more people and onboard them, introduce new methodologies, explore innovations, and transform them into usable end products.
Meanwhile, business owners want to “double the results every quarter” (which isn’t an exaggeration but a real-life KPI of a major local market player). Setting such targets is always easier than meeting them. You’ll hardly double your team in a quarter (you may hire more people but won’t have enough time for onboarding). Not even the most flexible methodology can deliver tangible changes in a quarter… As for innovations—you get the idea.
Bouts of enthusiasm, overwork (call it what you want, but its nature is the same), “quick and dirty” solutions instead of well-thought-out and appropriate ones.
“All these IT guys want is to build their well-designed sandcastles, and they don’t care the tiniest bit about business needs…”
Actually, they do care. It’s just that high productivity can be temporal (and somewhat fake) or permanent, and the latter variety generates real profits instead of making your reports look good.
“This can’t go on!” yet another team leader or manager exclaims.
“Can it stop, though?” asks Business slyly.
“You’re right; it can’t,” the team leader agrees with profound sadness and proceeds towards burnout.
Again, I’m not saying this is the way to go. I’m not saying the truck is doing the right thing; all I’m doing is trying to explain to you and myself how I see the situation.
Why do decision-makers, known for their vision, treat people, their crucial, most valuable resource, in such a way?
The answer lies in the essence of business. In 90 or more percent of cases (I’m short of statistics here), all business decisions are made with a single sales target in mind, regardless of any fancy strategies managers use to sugarcoat it. A company-wide roll-out of an ambitious goal typically starts with something like: “Ensure an overall growth of X% considering that not all business segments will be a success and some may not even take off.”
Admittedly, many companies are governed by people who studied sales, finances (selling expectations and balancing percentages), or mergers and acquisitions (selling and buying businesses).
They focus on “pushing the client through the sales funnel” and “closing deals”.
“The results aren’t good enough.”
“Let’s boost the team’s energy! Let’s motivate them! Let’s shower them with money!”
(Such solutions act like an adrenaline shot, and their effects last for a month or two.)
“The results are still not good enough.”
“Let’s invite an energetic coach to pump some life into the team.”
(In 80–90% of cases, the effects don’t last for more than two or three months.)
“We must double our results.”
“Let’s inspire the team with an ambitious target. Let’s give them a Goal!”
(If done right, this approach works until the Goal is achieved. Then the team should be replaced or redistributed within the company.)
Surprisingly, these methods work, or rather, they are frequently applied in companies created by solid salespeople. Unfortunately, once such a company has been founded and has taken off, few managers can find valid arguments supporting their position that people aren’t machines and “doubling input voltage” is not how you double their performance.
Any model could illustrate this situation, even Ichak Adizes’ classic: Producer, Entrepreneur, Administrator, and Integrator. Integrators don’t found businesses. In some companies, integrators get the opportunity to influence business processes and take care of employees, preserving their experience, energy, and health.
Such companies are few and far between.
Logically speaking, it’s their employer’s. Indeed, employers sometimes do right by their teams. However, paraphrasing Maxim Dorofeyev, they do so “occasionally and sporadically instead of always and everywhere”.
Does this mean that everyone is still the master of their destiny, for all the good it does them?
Some would say, “This may well be true, but so what?”
What I’m going to say may sound paradoxical. We teach to resist and refuse. We teach how to say “no” when saying “yes” is bad for your business, project, or team. We teach how to make and justify the right decisions instead of dashing forwards and looking for more or less efficient solutions by a primitive (again, forgive me) human equivalent of brute-force search.
By marketing standards, this letter should be five times as short and should push you for a quick decision. Off the top of my head, I can even come up with a justification: team leaders and managers need strong decision-making skills (indeed); a manager’s job is a flow of decisions made (also true)… “No time to explain, just get in the car!” (There is always time to explain.)
We teach how to think, which is a complicated process that requires resources, time, and effort from students, putting them under physical and emotional strain. Interestingly, this may be why we enjoy low drop-out rates among our students: we cater to an audience that prefers making informed decisions in their time instead of rushing into them. Therefore, we also take time to explain what we stand for and what’s at the core of our programs.
On a similar note, we should have probably scheduled this letter for later, for July 10th when our program fees increase, throwing in some commonplace marketing message: “Last chance! Hurry up to benefit from our flagship course with a discount of 60% before it’s too late!” 🙂
However, this way, we would end with students who are responsive to this sort of “run-and-grab” marketing. Instead, we want to work with intelligent people who are good at thinking. And who doesn’t?
— Take a look at our School’s description
— Select the Team Course or the Project Course, depending on your objectives
— Make an informed decision without feeling pressured by the deadline (July 10th)
— Enroll in a program and embark on a systemic course on the responsibilities of a professional team leader and project manager as early as September 2021
You can find the module timetable, the sessions schedule, a comparison of our learning format with other providers’ courses and programs, and many more on our website: https://tetics.com/edu/school/.
All we want is for you to work at your own pace and enjoy these challenging roles.