The "How" Matters: race day lessons for everyday business​

I blew it.

After months of hard training in preparation of posting my best time ever for a half-marathon, I blew it on race day.

I made some typical running mistakes; silly mistakes that left me shaking my head saying, “I know better.” But the kicker, the mistake that turned out to be my fatal flaw was that I was too obsessed with monitoring my pace on my watch, and not concerned enough about my form.

Focus on form – or the “how” of running – and the time takes care of itself. It’s the how that matters; a good process results in good product.

This is also true in the work we do here at Slate. 

Process First

No matter what type of project we’re tackling, whether comprehensive strategic communications plans or quick-turn-around ads, we always start with a conversation about the appropriate approach. What’s the intention? Who are the key players that need/want to be involved? How do we structure collaboration to be both efficient and valuable? What are the core messages? A defined approach is critical and will ultimately save you time.

Stop Looking at Your Watch!

We know time is precious. Sometimes – okay, always – it feels like there is simply not enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want. And the more you worry about the clock, the more you shift your focus away from the task at hand, and the faster time slips away.

Here at Slate, we're committed to using your time, and ours, wisely. Sometimes that means hunkering down to meet a deadline. Other times it means making an upfront time investment to better understand our clients, their products, their audiences, their communities, and their goals. We often research industries and topics on our own time because we know in the end, the better we understand our clients, the more value we add.

Client Satisfaction

While my race time wasn’t bad, it simply wasn’t what I was hoping for. Similarly, if Slate produces a great product but the client isn’t 100% satisfied, then it doesn’t matter. When we’re working with clients, we invest the extra effort to assure that they are happy with the entire experience, from the approach all the way through to the final deliverable.  

As for running, well my next race is in the fall. I’ll let you know if I can follow my own advice.