Back when I was a bright-eyed, first-time founder, I remember negotiating terms with a supplier and thinking to myself “Well, of course we expect things to be done affordably, quickly, AND perfectly… Duh!”
Yup, that was me. I was the client who expected the world but didn’t want to pay for it. I was the maximalist with a minimalist budget. The one who lived in a dream where limited resources still got you limitless results.
And you know what else? I was always the one who was disappointed when things took time (oh, SO much time…) or when the cost was greater than I was ready to pay or when the quality was below what I wanted. I wasn’t being unreasonable, I thought, I just wanted it all.
But as any three-year-old understands, you can’t have all the things. And it wasn’t until I was introduced to the Trinity that I found that out for myself.
Now anyone who has had some experience with project management will recognize the Trinity. It is that secular force of nature, that powerful triumvirate, that all-knowing three-some called Time, Cost, and Quality. And the law of the Trinity dictates that we can only ever optimise or maximise two out of the three on any given task, project, or business.
Want your bookkeeper to provide low-cost services and superior quality? Then expect a longer turnaround time. Want to have your next development project be flawless and quick? Then expect to pay a premium for it. Want to spend pennies on your marketing campaign and get it done quickly? Then expect the quality to be less-than-stellar.
I know some of you might be thinking the way I did. You might think it defeatist to accept the reality of how the Trinity works. You might even think you and your business are the exception and you are going to show the Trinity up.
And you would be wrong, my friend.
Some things are just true. Some things aren’t worth debating (water is necessary for life, gravity exists, the tax man cometh…) and trying to pretend those things ARE debatable is a foolish waste of time. The law of the Trinity is just another one of those truths.
When I started accepting the law of the Trinity in my businesses, it made a huge difference. I made a conscious choice that Quality and Cost would be the two I optimised and accepted that Time would be the aspect I would have to be flexible on as a result. This not only reduced my stress levels (no more screaming down the phone demanding things be done yesterday!) it also made my cash flow projections realistic instead of hopeful (businesses don’t operate well on hope).
So let the Trinity be your reality check on how you plan and execute your business and your life. Work with the Trinity, not against it. Say goodbye to unrealistic expectations that don’t serve you, your life, or your business. Accept the Trinity and use it to your advantage.
And start saying Amen to that.