Paul Carney

Working hard to make things simple

Tag Archives: good-fast-cheap

Time, Talent and Cash: Triad of Success

So much has been written about time management, but how do you effectively manage time, talent AND cash? As scarce resources, you have to determine the proper balance to achieve real value.

When you tackle a problem, you first determine if you have access to the talent. If you don’t have a way to use your own talent or gather the right resources to solve the problem, then no amount of time or cash will help.

Given that you now have access to the talent, how much time do you have? It is the one resource that you cannot increase – it is a steady resource that moves at the same pace, even though it sometimes seems to stand still. It is often difficult to be realistic in estimating how much time a task will take. Men, in particular, tend to underestimate how long a project will take, including the 5 extra trips to the hardware store!

And finally, we arrive at the cash portion of the equation. How much cash do you have and how much will you need? If this is related to a work project where you are trying to make money, it is important to make sure you will make more money than you are going to spend. If it is something like a home improvement project, then you need to make sure you have the money in your budget, including a 20% allocation in case you exceed the budget.

Good business owners and managers know how to take inventory of the time, talent and cash they have at their disposal. The great people have figured out how to effectively allocate those resources to gain maximum achievement. It is not easy to do, but if you can set up a process so that you understand how you have used these scarce resources in the past, it will help you develop patterns that will help you move forward more effectively.

That is why you have to review your inventory of time, talent and cash if you want to succeed. Of course, this is very closely related to the “Good, Fast or Cheap – Pick 2” concept. When you understand both of these formulas, you have a tremendous advantage over everyone around you. Go out and use them to achieve success!

Good, Fast or Cheap: Why You Have to Pick 2

It is the classic dilemma: you want to have great service, done quickly and for a cheap price. But the laws of physics only allow you to have 2 at a time and here is why.

Here are the combinations of 2 choices at a time:

  1. Good and Fast
  2. Fast and Cheap
  3. Good and Cheap

Whether it is the study of law, how to price freelance work, or project management, the laws are the same – you can only pick 2 at a time. One exception seems to be cooking, but only when I am not in the kitchen!

Let’s review these choices from the perspective of a craftsman who builds custom homes.

Take the first combination: “Good and Fast”. This is a great selection because you get great work done quickly. The craftsman who constructs a well-built custom home quickly will have decades of experience, having learned where he can take shortcuts that will not  affect the quality of the finished product. This level of provider knows that the market will pay him a higher price, hence he is “Not Cheap”

We now move on to “Fast and Cheap”. In this case, your custom home is put together quickly and for a lower cost. Quality workmanship for something as complex as a custom home cannot be rushed, and experienced craftsman know this. When he cuts the wrong corners or does the bare minimum to complete the job, you don’t end up with “Good” results.

Finally, we have “Good and Cheap”. In this case, you get a nice custom-built home but at a lower cost than the market drives. This means the craftsman will work on the home as time allows, allocating his scarce (and high-priced) time to other projects that will pay him more. You get your great home at a cheaper cost, but it will take a lot longer to get it done.

The bottom line: Good, Fast or Cheap: Pick 2. Do not try to fight it. The laws of physics will not allow you to win. The earlier you realize this in life, the easier it becomes to make decisions because you understand what you are giving up in your final choice.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.