Missing An Opportunity

Have you ever missed an opportunity because you waited too long to make up your mind?  You delayed a decision for whatever reason, and when you finally were ready to make your move the opportunity slipped by and through your fingers.

I was eying a car for sale recently online that was a great deal, and a chance to own a similar vehicle to one of my favorite cars.  I even printed it out and left it on top of my desk so the photo would catch my eye throughout the day, and when I finally went to go see it I found out it had been sold.

I’ve let smaller items slip through my fingers on eBay, because I was not actively watching the bidding process, and poof, someone else scooped up a deal.  The only thing worse than getting an email that says “you’ve been outbid” is the one that says, “you lost out on the item you were bidding on.”

Although these are small opportunities, I remember once when I was interviewing people for a job, I was fortunate enough to be talking with a lot of talented people.  Yet I failed to let the person I wanted the most know I wanted them to call me if they had another offer.  So when I finally made a decision to make an offer to this person, both of us were disappointed when I heard they had accepted another job.

Missing an opportunity is a disappointment that we need to hold ourselves accountable and not blame others for our lack of decision-making skills, or procrastination.  Yet I wonder sometimes how to react when I am the opportunity!

What happens when I am well positioned to work on two projects at the same time, and yet I cannot accept both at the same time?  I have to pursue work as a self-employed consultant when it becomes available.  I don’t always have the luxury of picking my favorite projects because they never arrive at the same day and time.  When people procrastinate in deciding, and think I will always be available when they are, they are risking a long delay before I could be free again.  I want to warn them of the possibility and yet the best I can do it notify them when I am no longer available.  By then it is too late to do anything.

So if you need to make a decision, make it as soon as possible.  Lives are often hanging in the balance waiting on you, and you never know what opportunity you could be passing up!

Leaders That Lie

By a show of hands, how many of you have ever worked for someone who lied to you?  How many of you have known a political leader you once trusted, but found out they lie all the time?  If you are like most you either raised your hand while reading this blog, or just said yes out loud to both questions.

Sad isn’t it?  Why do so many leaders find it okay to flat-out lie to us?  Why do you think that the honest leader finishes last in the race while the ones that lie the most seem to win the most?

While I can’t help but focus on politics in my own mind because right now I am self-employed, (I have a great boss) I don’t have to think back too far to come up with a long list of people who lied their pants off all the time.  They were almost proud of how many people they could fool along the way and the kicker is they cared less that some found this dishonesty repulsive.

I would much rather work for someone who I can trust.  I would much rather vote for someone I can trust.  So while we can’t always choose the people we work for, we can choose leaders that tell the truth when we go to vote.

I think that whether someone is a boss or political leader, they lie because they can get away with it.  Manners dictate that we cannot flat-out call someone a liar.  We must skirt around and drop hints and sway people with other facts rather than starting off with a more direct route.

I once worked for someone who couldn’t tell the truth unless they were in a room alone with you.  In public, everything was a spin, and the competition was fierce to match a lie with a bigger lie.  I once called him on it (of course in private) and although he did not dispute me, we walked away agreeing that we would always be honest with each other.

The first time he tried to spin something after that, I looked at him and created the most off the wall lie in response.  He laughed and said, “touche” and he never lied to me again.

So rather than live with leaders that lie, let’s demand better.  If it takes calling a liar a liar, then do it!  Get their attention, and maybe they will stop too.

Lacking Management Skills

If you ask most of the managers working today how much training they have had in basic management communications skills, you may be shocked to discover if they can even remember a single event, let alone their ability to create an appropriate list.

Heck, I ask training managers to list the management communication skills they offer/train, and I often can’t get anything.  Why?  Because over the past 10 years, we as a collective effort have done little to nothing to build management skills!

I read another learning expectations report the other day that said we are still focusing on building management and leadership skills in 2012.  That is a bunch of bull, because as a nation, if corporate America was focusing on management development like these forecasters have been predicting for the past 5 years now, we would be nearly finished.

Instead, focusing means it is still on the wish list of most organizations and management teams.  Training Managers in mid-sized and small organizations are talking the talk, but cannot seem to actually train these skills in any depth.

A fully comprehensive management training program could be reviewed, evaluated, negotiated, and implemented in 30-days start to finish.  So what is preventing companies from getting these skills developed?

I’m out of answers, any thoughts out there?

Losing An Hour

This upcoming weekend is Daylight Savings Time, and for many it is a time to reset the clocks and “Spring Forward” while at the same time “Lose” an hour of time.  I have the hardest time adjusting to this change so I trick myself into accepting it earlier than necessary.

While most will awake Sunday morning and run around resetting the clocks in their house, I choose the afternoon hours of Saturday for this task.  I choose a time when the day is slowing down and I just move the clocks ahead.  Dinner is earlier than usual, and so is bedtime.  I’ve conditioned myself to the change for hours before I need to align myself to the change.

The reason I do this is to prevent the Monday morning drag that so many will face, “with an hour’s less sleep”, and the inevitable week-long excuse for not getting much done because “I’m so tired”.

While the lack of sleep might be a reality, I don’t want it to get in my way of being as productive as usual the following week.  For all that change their clocks (and I realize some states do not) I realize that we may only lose one physical hour, for many the week becomes more that losing an hour of productivity.

While I love the extra daylight hours coming soon, I know that the transition is difficult for many.  If you find that Daylight Savings Time puts a drag on you physically, trick yourself like I do, and take responsibility for having a productive week free of excuses!