Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 195, November 2015)
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I've had to place a warning on my site that any cancellations within 48 hours of an event will result in a forfeit of the fees. I used to provide a 100 percent credit without time limit.
People took advantage. They just wouldn't show up. Or 24 hours prior, they'd tell me an "unexpected conflict" arose. They hadn't planned well or were afraid to tell a client or someone else that the date was unavailable, yet I was committed with the hotel or facility.
When I announce that a workshop is about to begin—no matter how high level or sophisticated—a dozen people rise and go seek coffee or head for the restrooms. Another dozen simply continue their conversations in the aisles.
I've had it. I now make fun of all of them, going and coming.
In a recent assignment with strict rules, one woman decided not to follow the rules. She simply did something else. I refused to consider it. Her money was paid, and I had established what my rules were.
These are examples of the Great Haphazard, those who vacillate, fluctuate, and oscillate because they never think five minutes in advance. (And many of them are consulting in planning and strategy!) The are enabled when their own lack of discipline is forgiven, or even rewarded, by others. If a program begins at 9, shouldn't all bodily functions be tended to prior? If there's a deadline at 5 pm on Monday which requires two hours of work, shouldn't that word be begun before 4:45? If you've made a commitment to attend an event, shouldn't it be on your calendar and take priority over later requests that can be scheduled at other times?
If the planes and trains ran haphazardly, we'd never get anywhere. If TV programming were haphazard, there would be no continuing audiences. If an orchestra were haphazard, people would run out of the concert hall. If football were haphazard, it would be rugby.
I'm done with this column, and now you're done reading it. Feel free to grab some coffee.
The human condition: Blame game
In the presidential candidate debates, I've noted a substantial amount of blame cast, hurled, chucked, thrown, and otherwise catapulted all over the landscape. The "blamees" include:
Well, you get the idea. Darn it, it's someone's fault and that's what we have to condemn and explore.
This type of blame game is found in great abundance in business, where marketing blames sales, sales blames finance, and finance blames the regulators. Someone is always pointing a finger. I think that most Congressional committees are trying to find blame so that the various rascals can be thrown out, and most attorneys are trying to find blame so that someone can be sued.
We're so busy seeking blame, like hounds on a scent, that we fail to find cause, which is often staring us in the face. If a position has responsibility but no authority, for example, the person in it won't succeed, no matter who is in it. The cause is the bad structure, though we take more relish in blaming the occupant.
We're so busy seeking blame, like a heat-seeking missile, that we fail to come up with new ideas, because we are obsessed with demonstrating that someone was at fault with the old ones. I've not heard 20 minutes of new, sound ideas from any candidate in any debate at any time. If current college tuition prices are too high, and the point is to lower them, then what, exactly, is the idea that will accomplish that without raising taxes through the roof and creating an even worse burden for people?
You can blame United Airlines all you want for the mechanical delay in Phoenix, but that won't get you home. Only your accountability to call Amex and have them place you on an alternative flight as soon as possible will get you home. Blaming United doesn't create movement.
Getting up off your seat and doing something creates movement. And blaming others isn't doing anything useful.
I was forming a new venture and incorporating. My lawyer wrote, "I'll need three names for the company," and I gave him my wife's, son's, an daughter's names. He then called me.
"I need three names you want your company to be called," he said, exasperated, "in case any one is already taken. Or do you want to call your company Danielle?"
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