The Agency New Business “Busy Paradox”

"Busy-ness" abounds in good times and bad...
by Todd Knutson


Not long ago I had to let someone go who was always the first to arrive and last to leave. She willingly put in time on the weekends without complaint. And when she was at work, she worked; it wasn't like she was playing video games or surfing the web.

The problem was, the important stuff wasn't getting done, or wasn't getting done nearly fast enough.

That's the paradox: very busy, unproductive people.

When it comes to new business, you may have seen evidence of "busy-ness" in action:

  • The New Business Committee
  • Doing lots of research before picking up the phone
  • Re-doing the agency's marketing collateral, website, email templates, etc., etc. before 'being able to start' proactive new business efforts

I liken these activities to being back in college, feeling that I needed to clean my dorm room before starting to write a 25-page paper. For whatever reason, I thought I was doing something important, when all I was really doing was procrastinating.

In results-driven agencies, however, the only important thing is your productivity - the value you add in as little time as possible. Three great questions to periodically ask yourself are,

  1. Is what I'm doing right now adding immediate value to the agency?
  2. To our clients (or prospects)?
  3. To my reputation/career?

I'd love to get your input on this: Are busy, unproductive people more common

  • Among Gen X or Gen Y?
  • Limited to certain departments? 
  • Why do you feel this occurs in certain people?
  • How do you prevent it?

I hope you'll post a comment or send me an email, as it's really no fun letting a great person go.

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