It is your responsibility

accountability-business
I was just writing a note to our team about a client decision to rebrand a product in the middle of that product’s national roll out. While I fully support the client’s right to make the decision to make the change (they pay the bills) and I do believe it will be in the best interest of the company involved to create a global brand, I also believe it does open up an interesting question about responsibility or accountability and authority.

 

It is my humble belief that if I expect to hold someone on staff responsible or accountable for achieving expected, required, or anticipated results, I must then arm them with the authority they need to be successful. Implied in that authority is the fact that I have enough confidence in my staff member to know that they will not abuse the authority I give them and they will use all of their professional talents to meet the goals or objectives I and/or others on my team have set and they, as the project/program manager, have agreed to.

 

All of this is pretty clear-cut for me. I believe that if I do not empower the person I have assigned the task with the authority they need to do the job at hand, I have no right to hold them responsible or accountable for the results. It amazes me to sometimes see very bright people miss this point. I do not want to be held accountable for someone else’s decisions. It is just that simple. It goes back to an earlier blog I posted about hiring artists to paint pictures and then micromanaging them to the point that the finished product is a reflection of the micromanager and not the person assigned to the task.

 

If you want a happy and heathly work force, give them the freedom to put their background and skills to best use. If they succeed, then by all means praise and thank them. If they fail, try to educate them and set them straight realizing that failure is a part of learning and growing. If they fail repeatedly on the things you have already corrected, then you need to have the courage to cut your losses and move on.  My experience has been good people can do great work with the proper encouragement and just the right amount of direction. It really is just that simple.

 

–       Bill

The Cost of Author Alterations

caplus

A few days ago, I shared my thoughts on why I believe companies would be wise to treat their suppliers as business partners and not enemies. As I was wrapping up that blog, another one popped into my head that carries the question of the company/supplier relationship to the next level. From time to time, we find ourselves at DeeterUSA caught between clients and suppliers on the issue of author alterations. This issue is not one we struggle with on a personal level since we are selling our time for creative services and have some flexibility about what we do and don’t charge for. With out-of-pockets, however,  it is a different story and we often find ourselves as mediators settling disputes over how many edits, adjustments, or changes in a project are whose responsibility and ultimately, who needs to pay.

My rule of thumb is that every creative project is going to require one or two rounds of edits and those edits need to be factored into the supplier’s cost estimate. That said, I believe that any client who has more than the agreed-to rounds of edits needs to step up and pay for what I would consider their lack of organization and production savvy.

I am not taking sides on this issue except to say that we all share the responsibility of author alterations and that to avoid hard feelings, it is best to get who is responsible for what ironed out in the project proposal stage and not when the final bill comes in for payment.  I have found that is the best way to manage the client who is “just too busy” to pay attention and that supplier who is always the lowest bidder because he or she is constantly adding on to their bill those things their competition has planned for and included in their estimate from the beginning. Is that bait and switch? Not really! Just poor estimating and even poorer project management.

−        Bill