Don’t put too much effort in …
These are words as designers we have all heard many times before in our career
It's usually the time between the 'important' parts of a project when it's quiet in the office or there is suddenly a mad rush to get things done. They are often seen as the little jobs on the side to give you something to do. They come with a very loose briefing with instructions like “there's no budget” or “it's not that important” I believe these are the unmissed opportunities and actually a time to shine. Let me explain …
We all love a good game of football, the pre expectations, the dreams of glory, the tactics, the feedback, the onlooking crowd waiting for that magic moment! A good game has its highlights and low points, its super stars and its winning teams. This is not unlike a creative project, the briefing, the ambitious ideas, the feedback from the client, the project managers, the designers, copywriters etc basically the whole team working together. The odd idea or concept gets through but there are also a lot of missed opportunities along the way. I could go on with these comparisons … but there is one thing, one very important thing where it differs expedentionally and i believe this is where we can learn a thing or two from that football game.
I understand as creatives on a project we like to believe we never give up, we give it our all on a project, we work those late hours, we eat pizza from our desks at the office with our tired teammates and if we are very lucky the agency pays for a taxi home at around 3am just in time for us to be in the office bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to do it all over again at 9am the next morning. I've been there believe me, many many times. Our PO pushes us forward and the team encourages one another as we strive together towards ultimate victory. And here's the crux and the moral of this story.
“I have a job for you, BUT … can you do this very quickly … oh and don’t put much effort in as there actually is no budget for this”.
In amongst this race for the finish line there falls a small brief in your direction, amongst all the other stuff that needs to be done, there lies that one tasks that I had mentioned earlier, delivered to you with those synonymous words “I have a job for you, BUT … can you do this very quickly … oh and don't put much effort in as there actually is no budget for this”. And here lies my point! The problem, the missed opportunities. Never does a Football manager say to his team players, it's the last five minutes of the game we are 2-1 down our defense is strong, I know your tired and have played a good game so please “continue playing but don't put much effort in”. This seems ludicrous to think this would ever be said so why does this happen on the shop floor of our creative studios.
These requests are not meant to be vindictive or there to quash creative minds, they just come from top down as a ‘need to have’, the briefing was pragmatic it was a tick on a production sheet to clear all of the todos before the end of the late shift or for tomorrow's presentation. Sometimes these briefings even end up on your lap as second hand briefings they are deemed so unimportant they are passed on at the coffee machine by your fellow developer or Tracy from reception.
I say this is the moment to strike! and to strike hard! We join our football game in the last minutes its 2-2 and we are already into extra time. The team is on its last legs the half the crowd are already packing up ready to go home, the other half are praying for a miracle, then from what seems out of nowhere one of the mid fielders sees a break in the defence he digs deep, his mind focused, there falls a moment of silence around his ears, his eyes dilate as time seems to stand still for a second, out of no where he finds that last unholy burst of power, from somewhere deep in his mind and body … then … booom the crowd roars as he runs to get into place, the ball falls from the sky as it lands at his feet, he side steps the tired defence and strikes the ball with all his might, top left of the goal post, the ball hertel's passed the stretched hands of the keeper where it settles motionless and undeterb in the corner of the net. The crowd go crazy!! The team walks away with glory and a 3-2 win. This would never of happened if he had let his guard down and been in the mindset of ‘not putting much effort in’. It is in those small moments that make the biggest of differences.
The largest and most innovative companies in the world started from humble beginnings and at some point were only a blimp on the economy's radar, an economy that thought they could never be touched. A small unexpected idea, the small piece of a bigger puzzle, that one unforgotten brick in the wall, if somebody doesnt keep an eye on these very important, sometimes unforgotten parts of the story it can all come tumbling down and greatness will never stand strong.
So I would like to promote that when we are faced with, or even handed down these kind of situations, remember the teams that play to win and how they are made up of many individuals playing under extreme pressures, they are of course stronger when they unite but once in a while something special happens and an unexpected task delivered at the toughest of times to the most unsuspecting candidate, remember to never let your guard down, this one small brief that doesn't ‘need much effort putting in’ turns out to be the one thing that saves the day.