Slow Leaks (Issue 602)

In which we are reminded to fix diversions that slowly reduce our sales time and productivity.

Returning to work after a week’s vacation away from home, office, and car, I accelerated hard to merge into the Massachusetts Interstate highway “10 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit”  early morning traffic. I felt the car pull a little to the left and thought little of it but, once at speed on level pavement, there was clear leftward drift. I had to steer a bit to the right to maintain a straight course.

“Crumbs,” I muttered, realizing that the left front tire must be a bit deflated.

Not that this was a big surprise to me. I’d recognized weeks before my vacation that the tire was losing air. From previous experience, I’d learned that the technical explanation is “corrosion on the wheel” that accumulates with time, lifting the tire bead just enough that air can escape.

The fix is easy – drop the car at a local service station, they buff the wheel, remount the tire, and voila! – but it requires an investment of time and disruption of routine that I had preferred to avoid by re-inflating the tire once a week after topping off my gasoline tank each week for several weeks.

“Crumbs,” I muttered, again, my forehead moistening a bit as I recalled all the reasons why driving at 70-plus miles an hour on a partially inflated tire is NOT a good idea, for a moment imagining the loss of time, energy, attention, comfort, and money I would, no doubt, experience if the tire failed mid-Interstate or if I had to brake HARD for some reason.

The “critical” voice in my head then delivered a brief but acutely incisive lecture on why taking the few moments to fix the tire before the vacation would have been a much better idea than taking the risk of driving at speed in the winter on a mushball slow-leaking may-pop tire. The conclusion:  fix the leaks when you first notice them…

…which I’ve now done with the investment of 30 minutes of time and short money…which led me to wonder about the analogous slow leaks of time or energy that deflate our sales effectiveness?  (Oh, are you surprised I went there?)

Sales time, like tire air, can leak slowly away in almost imperceptible amounts until there’s real concern.

Looking at my sales team’s time, I wondered, what meetings could we stop or shorten?  For what travel could we substitute web-video conferencing?  What reports could we change?  And on and on, all fixable with investments of short amounts of time and money so that we could all “maintain proper inflation.”

Today is the first Monday of the new year. A good time to check tire pressures and sales time, fix the leaks, and re-inflate to proper levels to maximize our effectiveness in the hard driving months ahead.

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