A colleague is tearing her hair out. A graphic designer, she’s created some attractive, readable, interesting employee newsletters and community reports. She meets every deadline, which always start out urgent. But somehow, every time a publication is almost ready for release…
The CEO wants to rewrite his message. There’s a last-minute addition to another article. Something else gets revised. The approval process goes on. And on. And on.
It takes months to finally get the employee newsletter out. Some publications just never get out at all. My friend is incredibly frustrated and disappointed at working hard and delivering on time, and then seeing all that work go down the drain.
What do you think she should do? Here are some of my thoughts:
- Research statistics for that specific industry, and find out how often peers and rivals publish information. Point out the contrast.
- Set up a schedule ahead of time. Be clear with the CEO the window he has to comment. Say if you hear nothing, you will assume everything is fine and go ahead as of the scheduled date. (I realize this won’t work with some people!)
- Make sure the content supports the company’s overall goals and the information needs of readers.
- Enlist help (the CEO’s administrator, maybe?) to get pieces that need approval in front of his nose and move them along.
Do you think any of these might work? What other ideas do you have?
Image: graur razvan ionut and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Here’s a few more:
Accept that nothing will ever be perfect. I learned early in my career that every time I looked at or touched a publication, I could find a way to make it better. If I did (or allowed others to do so), then we would never send anything to print let alone reach the desired audience. Letting go of the need for perfection is necessary to get things done.
You obviously do want to make sure that you’ve got it right. Always allow and must make changes (such as embarrassing factual errors or typos) but after a draft version and a revision, it’s important to indicate that only must-make changes are necessary. A lot of the little changes that hold a publication up tend to be minor that are more often a matter of personal style or preference and won’t make any difference in how the publication is received.
Many non designers also don’t realize how small changes can mean a lot more time at the design stage than they could imagine. It’s important that the text be considered final BEFORE going to design. That also helps focus on the must make changes.
Thanks for commenting, James, and great points. I am of two minds about finalizing text before going to design. Yes, in an ideal world, that’s the best option. However, sometimes it’s helpful to be able to show the reviewer how the piece is going to look in a PDF layout. With some people, that also seems to suggest how close to completion it is and they are less likely to make excessive changes.