Eight Months on the Job: Q1FY07

Here I am eight months in and things are still moving at breakneck speed.  I can’t believe it’s already the middle of August which also happens to be the mid-point of the first quarter of the fiscal year at work — hence the title of this post.  Why does this matter?  We ended the previous fiscal year with very little money to execute our marketing plans.  That situation required us to rely on some clever and creative ways of promoting the various products we support and limp along until we could get more budget.

Well, July 1, 2007 changed all that as our marketing plans & budgets were approved giving us the resources necessary to breathe new life into some of our retired, withdrawn projects and begin seeding a few more.  With great resources come great responsibility — to paraphrase Spiderman — and I have spent the last month-and-a-half putting the things I am accountable for in motion.  It’s a weird predicament to be in to first ask for money to do some big things, be allocated the money requested and have the only stipulations be:

  1. Do what you said you would do.
  2. Do it at the price you said you could do it.
  3. Do it now.

Anyone who has had to forecast, predict or project a budget for a set of future activities knows it’s more an art than a science.  The problem with marketing (as is the case for big-budget activities like running a government, I suppose) is if one doesn’t nail each of those requirements, chances are good the budget will be “adjusted” accordingly while the deliverables/commitments remain unchanged.  Nothing more motivating than being held accountable for requirements #1 and #3 after #2 is changed to “Do it at a price less than you said you could do it.”

Now I know many of you are reading this and thinking, “Yeah, right!  I wish somebody would give me the money I requested and then just leave me alone to execute my plan.  I would be all over it.”  That’s what everyone says and thinks yet many find it surprisingly difficult.  In fact, #2 (the money) is the easiest of the three — at least where I work.  However, I’ve found a blank check is worthless if there’s not enough time to execute or when the proper nouns (i.e., people, places and things) are all tied up with other projects.  I know, I know.  Cry me a river.

I am doing what I said I would do at the prices I said I could do it (barely).  My schedule over the next month requires me to do more than I’d like now than I would if I had my druthers since I’ll be out of the office for 3 weeks traveling for work.  I’m presenting at conferences for a week in Auckland, New Zealand & Sydney, Australia followed by a week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a down week in-between.  I have to tie up as many loose ends at work as possible over the next few days before heading out as I will only have a couple weeks remaining in Q1 upon my return.

Sidebar:
Thanks to the knucklehead air travel restrictions introduced by our beloved and beleaguered Department of Homeland Security following the foiled hijacking attempt planned by a band of super knuckleheads, I will be enduring some of the most inconvenient carry-on baggage rules/safeguards at the same time I’m taking some of my longest flights ever.  No toothpaste, no mouthwash, no lotion.  It could be worse though.  Travelers in the UK can’t bring aboard laptops or portable music players either.  That would be sheer torture.  My longest leg going is 13 hours.  Coming back, 16!