May 8, 2021

Remove the Friction

This is the twentieth in a series of short essays I wrote as part of the Ship 30 for 30 program. You can read all thirty essays here.

Early in my career, I used to write a lot of company press releases. I didn’t know what I was doing, so I would just write basic information and keep them factual. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company struggled to get press coverage.

I asked a journalist friend of mine how to get published more often. He told me to write the releases as if I was writing the stories I wanted publishing. So I did, and my results improved. It irked me slightly, as it felt like I was doing the journalist’s job for them. But it made sense. By reducing the effort required on their part, I increased my chances of getting a story published.

Now I run a marketing team, and I delegate tasks to them. While I leave them to get things done their own way, I make sure I give them what they need to do their jobs.

Running a client service team means people make many demands of me. If someone approaches me with an idea they want my help with and gives me what I need to deliver the goods, I will rise to any challenge and give it my all.

But if someone hasn’t done what is expected of them and is trying to dump their work onto me, I push back—constructively—and give them clear instructions on what they need to do before I can help them. Sometimes I don’t hear from them again. But those that do the work and give me what I need to do my job will get 100% of my support.

The moral of the story? If you want someone to do something for you, make it easy for them. Remove every friction point, meet them in the middle, and deliver your half of the bargain.