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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Live Slow And Prosper

I just got back from a week of analyzing the ocean and innovating my golf game. I had no option for internet connectivity.

Took most of Monday to get through the 600 email messages that weren’t obviously non-actionable.

What I noticed was that most projects had continued to develop without my input. Requests for information early in the week turned out to be bogus or unnecessary later in the week. There was nothing that required action.

A second observation was that by getting away and then coming back fresh, I saw a number of better solutions that I hadn’t considered before leaving.

I started considering my 24 by 7 rapid response style of working. Jack told me about Napoleon’s practice “to leave all letters unopened for three weeks, and then observed with satisfaction how large a part of the correspondence had thus disposed of itself and no longer required an answer.”

I still think responsiveness to clients and prospects is a huge asset.

So what is the solution?

During one remarkable stretch, I made the four largest sales in a forty year old multinational’s history. I was all over my customers.

The transactions generated a multitude of requests from internal staff functions for altering the standard agreement with the customers. These requests didn’t fulfill the three conditions that define value, so I ignored them. I guess they were handled within their departments.

So perhaps, the answer is (again) sometimes you do, and sometimes you don’t. The trick is developing the skill of knowing when to do each.

Live Slow And Prosper is a registered lifemark of noted Terrapin Bill “Slow” Van Dyke.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


Old story about a boilermaker called in to a building to fix the heat - looked at the boiler and twisted a valve to the left 1/3 turn, then submitted a bill for $200 for the service call.

Building manage asked why so much (told you it's an OLD story) - boilermaker said it's $5 to turn the valve and $195 to know which valve and which way to turn.

Illustrates the quest of when you do and when you don't. Clients and prospects at top of Do list; reading the entire internet down the column in the don't list.

Putting things aside allows our brain to background process and come up with some wonderful solutions, approaches, and ideas.

Thanks for sharing this lesson.