Thought for the month - February 2012

The moment

The moment in business is extraordinarily powerful. We all are sometimes in situations where we have just the blink of an eye to decide what to think, what to do and what to say. The past may be something we look back on and the future maybe something we look forward to, but there is nothing quite like the moment we are in.

I was at a hotel leisure complex where two visitors had come for a round of golf; they asked the manager if they could have breakfast before teeing off. This was 0900 in the morning and the chef was clearly visible. But for some reason the manager knew that the chef would not, or could not prepare the food so there was silence, an awkwardness between the parties. No breakfast for the guests could have completely spoiled their day, whatever the reasons, whatever the excuses.

One of my mentors, Alan Weiss, was pitching for work with the Head of a US bank. Five minutes into the encounter the leader growled that under his watch the bank had grown by 27%, year on year. Alan had just a split second to reply. Anything but the right retort and, as he said, "I would have been outa there - meeting over!"

Alan replied "How do you know it shouldn't have been 30% growth, year on year?"

So the trick for all of us is to recognise those 'people situations' that tend to ambush us with no warning. We need to get better at dealing with these; the result is invariably a gain for our business and maybe a gain for us as well.

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