I recently saw a job ad saying, “The ideal candidate will be results driven”. What does that mean? If you’re NOT results driven I suppose you sit around all day and – whether you achieve anything or not – that’s fine. Whether you get any work done or not, it’s fine. All of us have to do something in our job. And that will produce a result: the photocopying has been done, the pencils have been tidied, the tea has been made. But I guess “results driven” may actually be code for ‘sales’?

'From Belo' shoot, Oct 2020
‘From Belo’ shoot, Oct 2020

I looked it up. It seems to mean measuring the things you do, recording the things you have done – so you may spend as much time writing down/cataloguing the tasks you’ve done as actually doing them. In the broadcasting business, we have a product at the end: a film/video, an interview broadcast, an item on the news, an acting role in a movie or TV show that people can watch.

Of course, some days are prep days though: nothing is produced. I tend to write these days up as “progress made on x project” even if it’s just understanding the problem/obstacles better, or taking time out to think about something, to let it percolate, for me to cogitate a bit. Sometimes I need to step away from something to see more clearly what I need to do, or not do. In the creative process (ooh get me!) sometimes you can’t force it, you need to see what comes to you, what drifts into your mind over time. That’s VERY un-business, isn’t it!? I can see the suits LOVING that!

Fortunately, I don’t have any suits in my business – it’s just me. But I do have deadlines and sometimes I just need to hit those deadlines and produce the goods, whether that’s writing a script, learning lines, or coming up with creative fixes for problems. I recently heard of a student, a friend of my daughter’s, who had asked for extra time on his exam. He said he wasn’t ready and could he take the exam 10 days later. Errrm… (and I don’t want to belittle anyone’s mental health and I know we try to accommodate all different types of people in education now) …but that wouldn’t really work in Broadcasting. “We don’t start when we’re ready, we start when the bongs go”. Sometimes you just have to stand up and be ready.

Anyway, back to the “results driven” conundrum. There are a few “how to be more results-driven” articles around – the main advice seems to be to track and measure the response to your work – the numbers of follows/shares of your social media posts, sales generated etc. My work is a bit more nebulous than that, so I’ll leave “results driven” to others for now. Of course, everyone likes to make a smash hit programme, host a webinar with gazillions of watchers, voice a podcast with a huuuge following – but usually that’s down to the promotion, or other factors which don’t relate to the actual quality of the product. So I’ll just try to do my bit as well as I can, and leave the marketing/sales/promotion to others with the ‘results driven’ skills 🙂 ?

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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