Do you have children? If so, you know what quality time in general means: although you have a stressful job, some overnight-stays in hotels in foreign cities or night shifts in your office you still can have the best moments for and with your children. Even though you are home less often. Meaning: the less time you can spend on “something” the more quality and focus this time should include.
If you do not have children, I assume you get the point of dealing with the limited resource of “time” in a very efficient manner due to this example as well.
Is Quality Time Nonsense?
Let me tell you one thing right away: I think the discussion about quality time around the education of your own children is bullshit. Because every minute counts. A child does not differentiate in quality or content. Your child loves having you around to play with you. Hang out with you. Eat with you. Or just sit on a couch next to each other and do nothing.
So, no matter if you are 100% focused on reading a book with your son or if you are only hanging around together in a park, enjoying the sun (which requires less focus and less attention towards the child), your child will enjoy the situation and it will strengthen the relation between the two (or three) of you.
From a parental point of view I therefore fully disagree with the quality time discussion – even worse: I think it is too often an excuse when not spending enough time with your family and/or children. I include myself in here since I’ve caught myself in using the phrase of “quality time” as justification to stay longer in the office or give me the OK to stay one night longer in a foreign place to arrange some more meetings with partners and prospects because I had planned quality time when I get home to my family.
Still, the idea of quality time is a very good expression of focused work towards one single topic because in business life this really can make a difference.
Quality in Business Life
That is why quality time in business life should be a very appealing and logical way of doing business and organising your own business day. If you do not focus on the single topics you work on, the result will be of lower quality. Of course you have daily tasks that just need to be done (and may require less focus) but for most of the business tasks your full potential and attention is required: “quality time” – or to make it more clear and split from the general expression of quality time, I am going to call it quality business-time.
Quality Business-Time defines the operational or strategic focus within individual business hours spent on a specific topic in order to increase the outcome of this single content.
That means: the more you dive into a topic to understand it, to control it and to master it, the better you will get in this topic. The more benefit you will be able to extract from this task. Simple as that.
Same goes for time you demand from another person within your business topics. So, if you ask an employee to get a project done, you just delegated to him and you are trying to get the maximum out of the business hours from your employee. On the other hand: you are trying to get the maximum out of your own business hours by delegating topics to your team in order for you to concentrate on other tasks that need highest priority or have the most urgency. Only very urgent topics or very high level priority should be done by yourself – other tasks can be delegated or postponed (as learned already from Dwight D. Eisenhower and his “Decision Matrix”.
Delegate or Die?
As said, delegating topics to your employees is rather easy. Getting the attention from your management is a harder thing to achieve. How can you make sure your CMO listens to you? How can you as a CMO make sure you listen to the right employees within your team?
Easy answer: quality business-time
If you – as a member of the marketing team – are trying to get the attention of the CMO this can only be done by relevant content: quality. Meaning: information that enables the CMO (and/or his/her company) to change an existing or future behaviour/scenario in order to save money, to increase the profit or expand the business. These high-level goals are of interest to the CMO.
Chief Marketing Officer Focus
I have been in detailed talks with many CMOs and CDOs in the last weeks and months discussing Marketing needs and Business Intelligence Plans in combination with the synergies of Creativity, Strategy and Technical Development. A lot of confusion and insecurity can be observed. This is mainly due to the fact that their education needs to be refreshed in other parts of their daily work.
A Marketing Manager has, by nature, not had to deal very much with IT while a technical Director may have almost never discussed creative elements or stories within Marketing. As a CDO or CMO you now have to combine different assets in your work to enrich the marketing playground and to grow your business. So, what to do with the new tasks? And how to guarantee quality in your work?
The increase of the Click-through rate, the growing success in the conversion, the level of visitor engagement: all nice to know but not related to quality business-time. Business-time yes, but not filled with quality. Informing about the increased conversion does not have any impact on the existing or future actions of a CMO. It is a good learning from the past and can be a learning for the future, but does not help in the current situation. Make sure you address quality business-time content to your boss.
And you, as a CMO yourself, make sure you only listen to the quality business-time content to grow your business, your company and your success. Quality business-time helps you to create higher business value.
*Quality Time image courtesy of Photographer Mark Nye via Flickr