This podcast episode is about helping you to improve your business operations. We’ll be talking about the concept that form follows function and how this concept applies to all of the projects you take on in your business if you are an entrepreneur, or your department if you are in corporate management. As a matter of fact, I am going to take a leap here and go so far as to say, that this concept of form following function can be applied to all aspects of your life, not just your business life. Life is all about managing projects.
Now some of you might be wondering what I mean by that and I think the best way to explain it is to give examples to demonstrate how it works.
Let’s take a look at someone who is a writer for example. Let’s say that they specialize in copywriting for small businesses and that is the service they provide. Even before the writer puts their fingers on the keyboard to create the piece they are preparing for the client, they need to fully understand what the piece intends to accomplish for the business.
- Is it a sales piece and do you want the reader to take action by buying what’s being sold?
- Is it an educational piece?
- Is it a relationship building piece?
These are just some of the examples of the functions that a copywriter’s craft might perform.
Based on the purpose or the function of the writing the copywriter will then decide on the form that the writing needs to take. Should the writing be a blog, print ad, radio copy, social media posting, or maybe even a white paper or a book?
What the copywriter should be asking at the beginning of the project is, what is the end result that I want to achieve?
The next example that comes to mind is the corporate trainer. Even before they begin to design the modules that will go into the half day training session they are creating, they need to fully understand what the learners need to walk away with in terms of enhanced skills. Another way to look at this is to ask, why is the training being conducted?
Answering this question helps the trainer decide on content, whether or not slides will be used to visually enhance the message, if a workbook will be created, and what interaction the audience will have, if any.
Some artists also subscribe to the form follows function concept, especially those who are being commissioned to create a work of art for a specific space or purpose.
Prior to taking the brush to the canvas, they may want to know the emotion their work is intended to evoke in the viewer. The decisions of colors, size, images, and framing will all fall into place if the artist knows the function of the piece they are creating.
For me personally, I am currently working on a market research project that involves mystery shopping for a client of mine who will be presenting the results of the study to stakeholder in the not too distant future. This client is looking to answer questions about the purchasing patterns of specific demographic groups in targeted areas of the country.
Everything from the design of the mystery shopping form our shoppers will use to collect their data and make their observations to the design of our executive summary and analysis, is based on the fact that this information is going to be presented to an audience that has a vested interest in the results.
So to wrap up, let me encourage you to decide to begin with the end in mind as you start your next project, because that is what form following function is all about. It doesn’t matter if the project is cleaning out your clothes closet or preparing to deliver a keynote speech to an audience of 1500 people, knowing what you want and need to achieve in the end will only contribute to your success and satisfaction.
1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey — A great book to get you into the habit of beginning with the end in mind for all your projects.
2. Evernote – Software to help you store and organize those ideas the feed into the development of your projects. It’s a free application but can be upgraded for a fee if you need more horsepower in managing your ideas.
3. Microsoft One Note – More software to help you organize projects and ideas. Also free but can be upgraded to their premium package.