If the value of your service to your clients lies in the number of hours you perform manual labour and face time you put in, then you are in deep trouble.
You see, the only way to increase your income is by working longer hours, which eventually gets to you in the form of messed up family life, divorce and a broad range of rather fiendish health challenges.
So, to avoid becoming a service slave, you have to better communicate the value you offer. You get paid more, and it will take you less time and effort to deliver it.
- Understand that if your value to your clients lies in the number of hours you perform manual labour, then you are in deep trouble. You are perceived as a service slave not as a service professional, and throughout history slaves have been exploited whereas professional have been respected. Take your pick.
- Detach your fees from time and other retarded arbitrary “measuring’ units. Make sure both you and your client focus on the outcomes and do not get lost in the tactical details. Commit to working towards specific objectives, but steer away from committing to spending certain number of hours to perform tasks and create deliverables.
- Focus on intangible deliverables, and minimise tangible deliverables to the bare minimum (or even below that). Stop writing reports and creating silly PowerPoint presentations. Well, stop presenting. Peers do not present to each other. Sales people do that. Peers compare notes and discuss their findings and experiences.
- Focus on maintaining or even increasing the “intensity” of the project. Hint: An “intense” two-week vacation far outweighs a dull two-month vacation. An intense strategy-setting weekend is more valuable than six months of aimless tactical drifting. A 45-minute fitness session with a personal trainer is worth more than two hours of half-asleep wandering-around in the gym. Utilise email and telephone as much as you can, and pay attention to how much “face time” you put in. In face-to-face meetings you can waste lots of time on small talk and irrelevant chit-chat. It is easier to get to the essence on the phone or in email.
- Keep your work as strategic as humanly possible and never succumb to tactical grunt work beyond the bare minimum. Make sure that the implementing team is doing all the tactical work. For instance, if you are a marketing consultant, never agree to stuff and lick envelopes. Remember, the client hired you for your brain, not for your muscle power. Spare your muscles for the gym.
- Emphasise the soft benefits and personal wins of your interventions: enhanced corporate image, reputation, lower stress level, better sense of strategic purpose, etc., and being regarded as a true leader and innovator, higher level of respect from employees, higher level of pride from your kids, etc.
- Strictly for internal use, create and use a profit loss account with each client, including the amount of time you invest in the project. Then you can calculate your productivity by dividing your fees by your invested hours.
Organisational Provocateur, Tom Bald Dog Varjan of Dynamic Innovations Squad helps service professionals to become premium service providers at premium fees in their fields. His web site offers a broad range of free tools and resources for professional service firms both gigantic and microscopic. Visit his site at http://www.di-squad.com.