Too Much Haste to Advocate (Issue 978)

In which we are reminded that one question isn’t a good discovery conversation, no matter what the reply.

“I feel like I am gasping for air,“ he said. He didn’t look so good on the Zoom meeting we were in.  In  his basement lighting, he looked pale and washed out. Not a good combination.

“What do you mean?”, I asked, thinking the worst.

“There’s so much, you know?”  He sighed and looked down. “Holiday gifts… of course I put that off. Performance reviews. Staffing issues. Sales plans. Budgets. Budget cuts. Office closures. Lock downs…..”

“Sounds rough…. Want an idea?”, I offered.

“Sure…” He looked down again.

“Open a spreadsheet on your computer.”

He stared into his computer camera with the glazed, far-away look I’ve seen in many a shopping mall on Christmas Eves past.  After a few seconds, he sort of croaked,  “A spreadsheet?”

“Humor me,” I said. “Column 1 –  what  you think you have to do. Column 2 –  the time each takes. Cut scope to fit the time you have available.”

He paused. “I’ve always thought you were a bit OCD and I say that with kindness in my heart.”

“You’re grumpy and you’re welcome,” I said, giving him my best Broadway show smile.

“Is that it?”

“Yup. Make a list. Check it twice.

“Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Yeah, I know the song, thank you.”

“You’re welcome and… Not everything on your list is worth doing and not everything worth doing is worth doing well. Just do SOMETHING on your most critical things.  Delegate or capitulate. Renegotiate everything else.”

Offering a faint, transitory smile, he said, “Thanks,” and reached for his mouse…… “Good chatting with you. Let’s talk again before the holidays,” and the Meeting Ended box popped up.

Yup…. (sigh) …. (Not helpful)…. Too big a jump. I’ll have to call him back in a couple of days.

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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