The Friendly Alien

In business (especially in a business like TLD, where we’re doing projects and services for our clients) you can plan your day/week/90 day goals all you like but every single day unexpected things will happen.

In our case, sometimes it’s an unexpected project that will be more than just a couple of hours work. We do these often, as we have the capacity and experience, but some projects are a little bit more involved.

These mean we rejig our other plans.

We need to work as a team to make sure we are calm, streamlined and efficient. We need a clear plan of action and division of tasks. We need regular communication.

Examples: 

  • A brochure, stationery, and popup banners that need to be done in time for an unexpected event opportunity
  • A change to a set of websites which relate to legal/technical changes
  • Hosting upgrades
  • An unexpected holding page/microsite for a product launch

We have decided this situation needs a term of it’s own. Like “Project Neptune” and “Code Red”

We decided to coin a term (as we have before with concepts “Don’t be an egg” and “hug a client”).

It will be called “The Friendly Alien”

Why do we call it “The Friendly Alien?”

It’s like the movie ET. He’s a friendly alien. If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s an amazing movie from the 1980s – you MUST try see it.

Characteristics of a friendly alien

Bear in mind, this is a strong analogy, so it’s about our ET type visitor, and how they relate to unexpected deadline projects

  • He is unexpected.
  • He needs looking after
  • And we need to make sure our parents and the other kids at school don’t notice any change in our behaviours.

In other words, no one sees ruffled feathers. Our other clients are none the wiser that we are dealing with a friendly alien.
Putting this positive spin on it keeps the team in check. We band together – we WANT to make sure this project is pulled off successfully, our friendly alien is kept safe and happy.
I decided to write this post because this attitude has helped us immensely. Feel free to use the “friendly alien” analogy in your business. Just comment below if you will – and share any stories (without revealing too much) that you can!

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