The National Bank of Miami uses a little three-point exercise to put more hours back into the day of its leadership team, as reported by ChiefExecutive.com1. The goal of this additional time is to uncover ways to improve the organization… a.k.a. How could we do better?
The exercise goes like this:
- Ask yourself, what would you do if you had two extra hours in the day?
- If you were forced to eliminate two hours of what you already do, what would you eliminate?
And finally, discuss what to add and what to eliminate with your supervisor.
Meant to generate ideas on how to run the organization better, the feedback gets thrown into a circle of discussion for further buildout and feasibility study.
Ultimately, this exercise does open up some hours in the day for creative thinking – because everyone has allocated time to the endeavor. And it’s helping outline the things that make the company great, the company’s intelligence and thought leadership, its specializations, and its strategic niche.
For a marketing agency, this would be analogous to the owner (and leadership) stepping back from production to talk about vision and strategy. Doing so would require the ability to step away from the day-to-day execution of commoditized product offerings: Things that might be billed hourly, such as pre-press studio work, CMS copy changes, or illustrations (examples only). Things that any client could probably buy anywhere.
These repetitive, time-consuming tasks have a way of taking over daily schedules and detracting from leadership’s ability to provide true, effective thinking.
An Example of “Hours in the Day”
Think of web development services that an agency might offer its clients. Maybe it has in-house developers, admins, designers, SMEs, QAs, SEO, UI/UX, or 3D renderers. Or maybe the agency has freelancers for all of that. But, overall, it’s a big load of disparate resources so a number of development-savvy unicorns are required to be on staff to manage it all.
Either way, it’s expensive.
The average full-time compensation for a Sr. PHP Developer alone is about $100 an hour2. That’s a talented individual and well worth it. But that’s just ONE staffer. Now, multiply that by whoever else is needed and add a number for recruiting, onboarding, and ongoing personnel management.
It’s a load.
One way to open up time in one’s day would be to offload all of that to a web-dev outsource partner. The right outsource has every essential specialist at their disposal when needed. And set aside when not. Likewise, that entire outsource itself can be taken off the shelf and put back on. Utilization is 100 percent. And pricing is wholesale.
Even if a unicorn is still assigned to manage that one resource, it’s just one resource. One point of contact. One unicorn. Way easier than the hairball of disconnected freelancers all over the map.
Brain Power versus Production
Say the strategic agency has now paired up with a commodity provider for execution; a white-label agency focused on production.
The white label is geared up to offer programming and maintenance and design and tech advice and SME. This gives room for the agency to provide big ideas and creative thinking, as well as account management and care and feeding of clients. Agencies are good at account service. There’s a lot of money in it. In contrast, the outsource is good at hands-on technical work.
And outsource personnel are on the job for as low as $39 an hour2.
For $39 an hour, the agency is putting countless hours back into its day while eliminating countless $100-per-hour tasks. That’s a win-win.
The Exercise Challenge
Try the exercise above among leadership teammates. Identify the common items that keep getting mentioned as distractions. You’ll likely notice that the majority of distractions are the commoditized tasks of execution. Whitelabeling those tasks will open up more time for your account managers to think strategically.
It’s hard to find time to exercise when you really don’t want to.
- K. Goldsmith, M. Goldsmith, “More Hours In The Day Would Make You a Better Leader—Here’s How to Get Them”, CheifExcitive.com, CEO Briefing, https://chiefexecutive.net/more-hours-in-the-day-would-make-you-a-better-leader-heres-how-to-get-them/, data pulled Dec 29, 2022.
- White Label IQ, https://www.whitelabeliq.com/, data pulled Dec 29, 2022.
- J. Gaffigan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGEXzI9wENU, data pulled Dec 29, 2022.