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People will always be wanting you to deliver value. By using the value triangle to set people’s expectations, you position yourself better.

by Jerry “Doctor Spin” Silver // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Senior Digital Strategist // Spin Factory

It could be your boss, your client, your customer, or your spouse.

We all find ourselves in situations where we must to deliver value to someone else.

But it’s obviously important to manage expectations. One powerful persuasion technique is to ask for clarification in terms of priorities using the value triangle.

Make them decide what not to prioritize!

Here’s how:

You Can Have Two, But Not Three

Here’s how the value triangle works:

If you want something done CHEAP and FAST,
you can’t ask for it to be GOOD.

If you want something done CHEAP and GOOD,
you can’t ask for it to be done FAST.

If you want something done FAST and GOOD,
you can’t ask for it to be done CHEAP.

It’s a tough discussion to bring up, for sure, but this conversation won’t be any easier if you postpone it until after your delivery. (I know all of you project managers out there agrees!)

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

Doctor Spin’s comment policy:
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

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Doktor Spinn

Edit: I should say that you can ASK for all three, but someone’s going to loose, creating a win-loose relationship.


The triangle seems infallible long term, but not so at short term. Recent graduates, and others, can be fast, competitive and cheap. For them taking a low salary is a matter of limited experience or ignoring the market value of their talents and skills. However, employees that deliver a fast, competitive and cheap job tend to leave quickly. Employees with long term personal goals, or non-for-profit goals, may deliver a fast and competitively job at low cost. In more restrictive societies and cultures fast, competitive and cheap employees may stay a bit longer. Sometimes people from such cultures move to more progressive societies. Until they realize their freedom they leave.

Doktor Spinn

Great point, Paola. I too see that pattern. Some junior staff can perform way above their pay grade, but one way or another, that stage often passes quickly, one way or the other.