When subcontractors fail

Let’s talk about what happens when subcontractors fail, because it happens.

You hire someone that you think is going to do an awesome job and rely on them for your work – or in my case this is for client work – and they let you down. So there it was, d-face sighting – this just happened to me last week. I kind of saw it coming – I tell you what, creative people are really notorious for this and I think it just has a lot to do with the fact that creative people are definitely mired in that staying creative and not necessarily thinking about deadlines and hitting the mark and things like that.

So I’ve had people flake out on me before and oh my God when they do I just want to reach through the phone or reach the computer and just strangle them. And you know past me really would’ve but I’m telling you I’ve figured out through the years how to deal with it and how to take the d-face and make sure that it’s actually going to good use without annihilating any relationships.

So this just happened here, I had somebody that we hired to do a bunch of video work and the edits were supposed to be amazing and all done within a couple of weeks. Here we are two weeks, nothing; two and a half weeks, nothing… So I’m starting to get the inkling this might happen and so kind of approach it with a three strike option. “Hey, are we gonna hit this? Are we gonna get these things done?” Give him an option to respond back. I thought maybe there’s something going on in their life. Trying to look at what are the things thatmight be affecting him.

First strike – I let be… “Checking in, I understand things slide. Where are we gonna be? What’s the new adjusted deadline? I’m still expecting great work, let’s keep this going!” I tell you what that is one of the hardest ones for me to do with the d-face because I just want to drive right to the end and say no it’s already due and let’s get it done. But you gotta give that leeway and understand that creative people are not wired the same way.

Strike number two – I look at it and go “alright, you already told me the second time now that this is what we’re supposed to hit and we aren’t there. So, what’s going on? What’s the deal? Are you going to be able to finish – yes or no? Give me a straight answer, where are we gonna be?” During strike number two it’s kind of like I’m going to give you that last option – one more chance.

I also at the same time usually start working on what’s my plan B if we aren’t going to be able to hit the goal, if this doesn’t work. So in this case, I actually had been working on what’s my plan B, started looking at other people that could take over the job and really paying attention to what kind of work I’m focusing on, what kind of work ethic I’m looking for, those kinds of things. So I started looking at the hiring process and in the meantime also gave my last.

In this particular case the last chance finally came – I did finally get the work but it was almost two and a half weeks late and not anywhere close to what we had talked about in terms of formatting, editing, arranging, anything like we discussed about the project. At this point, I’m done, I’m really done.

How do I close it out? I’m actually going to be telling this particular subcontractor, “alright I’ve paid you for part of the work, you’re not going to get the rest of it.” But I’m going to keep the relationship as positive as I can. There’s no need for me to turn around and just start railing on this person or being super aggressive or anything like that. Even though, you know, sometimes I really want to. I mean, d-face citing comes out like, “Do your job! Do the thing I hired you to do. The thing I’m paying you to do.” I’m also trying to make sure that I get all of my raw footage, all of the things that we need to successfully get someone else on board. So really just kind of holding everything back to make sure that I’m getting what we need and to finally end the relationship with “okay, this isn’t going to work for me and here is what my experience was like from an entrepreneur’s perspective.. So that if you want to continue working with the entrepreneur type in the future, here’s where the relationship really kind of failed for me and where the no turning back place was.”

So maybe in trying to step back and take that initial knee jerk reaction away and really offering to try and make it a learning situation for both of us. Hopefully, that’ll end up helping and move both of our businesses forward. Also since I started working on plan b with strike number two I’m able to continue moving forward without losing double the amount of time.

So I’m really hoping ‘see, this is me growing look at me now.’ No, it’s really hard to step back from that d-face and that-need to just drive, get the stuff done and have it done right – when it doesn’t happen to just fire off and yell at somebody. But I really feel like I’m getting better at these things and I know that this particular person is a new business owner and we’ve all done it, we’ve all said ‘yes’ too many times. I know that that’s just where he’s at.

There’s just not a lot of time. We all have only a certain amount of time and I’m really trying to understand from that perspective and make sure that I’m not completely destroying somebody personally or the business.

So that is the latest in this High D Journey and the cause for the latest d-sighting.

I hope that helps when you’re looking for your next hire, your next subcontractor or your next agency hire. Think about those kinds of things when subcontractors fail or when people that you hire fail, that maybe the knee-jerk reaction is not always the best way to handle situation and really try to step back and take a look from another perspective while providing whatever we can in terms of leeway and setting yourself up with some rules with the three shape policy. Start to look at your plan B, plan C and those kinds of things. I’ll talk about my hiring practice in another episode, but if you’re interested in anything that we do in terms of developing processes and things like that, you can absolutely find out more at www.formuladone.com. I’d love to talk with you or have you talk with somebody on my team and see how we might be able to help even if it’s just somebody that you’re needing to vent about not having a job done right.

See you on the next day in the journey.