When working on a high pressure task, such as, say, disarming an IED, or delivering a baby or, for example, filming over 1000 triathletes and their families, whilst simultaneously editing the results to create a high energy, motivational opener for an evening awards ceremony just hours in the future – I always find that by proceeding with an air of zen-like calmness, success will ultimately prevail.
So, whether you’re managing an on-site, same day video production delivery, or you’re the bloke with the wheel nut gun in a F1 pit crew – what are the tips to remember when undertaking such tasks to ensure that your team crosses the finish line still smiling?
Always remember that although you are in charge, and in control of the success or failure of the task, ultimately, someone is relying on YOU to make it work. Whether it is the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers on patrol, or the internal comms team at EDF Energy – the delivery of their needs and expectations are paramount. Sure, you’re putting your life (or reputation) at risk, but being the best at what you do, means that all these risks have already been assessed and planned so you have a clear head to tackle them. What’s the old ‘5P’ adage – planning prevents what? Well, it also prevents a panic induced mental breakdown in front of your client. Even if you don’t know which wire to cut – they don’t need to know that!
‘Can do’ isn’t ‘Will Do’. ‘Can do’ means that you’re up for the challenge, you’ll make it happen, you’ll find the best way to reach the goal. The other ‘Do‘ means simply saying ‘yes’. If you’re the type of person to just say ‘yes’ to demands that are put on you then it’s heading for calamity. Put this into a high pressure situation and you’re not only putting the task at risk but also becoming nothing more than an organ grinder, a lacky, a slave to the master! There’s no value add here – it’s purely a transactional relationship. A ‘Can Do’ approach tells your client, that you’re in control.
When time is non-negotiable sometimes you just gotta get on with the job in hand! The problems that at first present themselves so gracefully need to be met with clear thinking and confidence right from the start. ‘Right first time’ is actually a misleading phrase – What it really means is making the first decision create a positive result!
As a Creative Agency, having the most grandiose of ideas, or advent garde skills in designing communications will get you noticed but with a looming deadline, the biggest skill you can have is the ability to take a step back to be objective – to reassess the resources that you have at your disposal verses the objectives of the task. Of course you get the best results from pushing the creative boundaries as far as you can, but if they overcome you then you won’t usually get a second chance.
Above all, never giving in on the task in hand! Up until the final moment when the baby is born, the motorway reopened, or the highly anticipated film is played to an audience at the start of an all-night celebration, anything could, and often does go wrong. So keeping calm and staying focussed on the goal at hand keeps the all bad karma at bay and keep you in top form for continuing to deliver the goods. Sure you’ll have hard drives that fail, cameras that lock up, PA systems that don’t take your feed, and projectors that need formatting – but approaching any challenge with Zen thinking, by accepting that anything can happen – actually puts you in control of it.
Now breathe in through the nose…., breathe out through the mouth, listen to the sound of your own existence. Be calm, be still and sit back as you watch the results of our recent onsite production for Belron® – filming, editing, distribution and playout within 8 hours