Cave of Wonders (Issue 603)

In which we discuss the opportunities and dangers in calling business prospects before business hours or on weekends and holidays.

Do you remember Disney’s animated movie, “Aladdin”?

I thought not.  One of my favorites, however.

Never mind  Aladdin and virgin Princess -Whatever-Her-Name-Was and that stupid “A Whole New World”  musical number.  THIS  movie is about “the Genie” (Robin Williams at his  finest) and one of my favorite cartoon villains, Jafar.  Yes, yes, I know, he’s the standard Disney dark heart, but I like him.

But, best of all, there’s the Cave of Wonders, filled with gold and jewels, location of “the lamp” that Aladdin seeks.

The entrance to the cave appears as the mouth of an enormous black leopard (sure, you find those in the desert every day, right? The enormous ones?) who sleeps until awakened,  at which point his head rises from the sands and he growls, “Who disturbs my slumberrrr?”   (See at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTc6cBWhqvw ).  And the supplicant had better have a good answer or dark-and-scary things follow quickly.

Saturday morning is “quiet time at the desk for me,” four hours of uninterrupted thinking and writing time, a chance to put the week in perspective, plan the upcoming week, and think about strategic and operational stuff I can’t get to during normal business hours.  These Saturday hours are like gold for me.

Last Saturday, my office phone rang at 10:15 am.  I could see it wasn’t my family (who know better than to call me during this time, they send text messages).  “Who disturbs my slumberrrr?” I wondered, head rising.  I recognized the area code but not the phone number.

“Hi, Nick, it’s Roman,”  the voice said, cheerily. “Being the diligent business owner you are, I thought I might find you at your desk. Good morning!”

Two voices spoke in my head.  The first, friendly: “Hi, Roman (he’s a delightful friend and colleague), glad to hear from you.”  The second, menacing, not wanting to break the train of thought.

I went friendly:  “Hi, Roman, glad to hear from you.” We covered an important business point – a meeting that I’d invited him to – then enjoyed 10 minutes conversation about  upcoming events, etc. etc. etc.  I lowered my head and returned to work.

So, yes, I (and other business owners and leaders) frequently answer our phones when in the office on weekends and early week day mornings. No gatekeepers.  A good time, if one is a friend or sales rep, to reach us.

But, the entrance to the Cave of Wonders does not stay open very long or suffer fools gladly. Best to have a REALLY good reason to call and best to  get to it quickly.

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