Last week I learned my first valuable lesson since starting my first client-serving project in February. That lesson: No, it will not be done today.
This sounds rather pessimistic, and I try not to be pessismistic on Monday mornings, so please, indulge me by reading on for my explanation.
Last Thursday my partner and I at work felt confident we were close to completing a milestone in our rather drab project. We were so confident that we told our engagement partner that we would absolultely complete the first milestone by the end of the day. Wrong move.
When we got back to our desk we had received the email which we anticipated would cement our progress. And it contained zero relevant information to the task at hand. No big deal, we will reply quickly and get to the bottom of the issue. After all, the glory of the global economy is that we are no longer limited by borders… But that doesn’t change the fact that by 11:00 or noon our time, most of our working counterparts are no longer working, but rather at home enjoying a nice meal and playing with their children. Indeed, our contact was doing just that at a time when we he was badly needed if we were to live up to our words.
To cut the story to the point, we did not have our task complete by the end of the day Thursday, and it was not, technically, our fault. Here is what I did wrong, and what I readily admit to and share with you for future reference: I should not have made an unequivocal statement which insured our demise should anything have gone wrong.
And yet I did. Hello, real world.
Today I am sure I will deal with the consequences – after all, this is business, and I made a mistake.
So, great, I failed. It happens. But I’ve said a million times that the whole point and upside of failure is the resulting lesson(s). The lesson here is not to avoid making confident statements. The point is to know that things do not always go as planned. You can’t control the work of others and how your message is interpreted… or misinterpreted. So next time, my assumption (and my statement) will be: If everything goes as planned, we will be done today, but our potential hang-ups are a,b, and c.
Unless of course the ball is completely in your court and it is a matter of getting motivated. Then it’s a whole new ball game, and you should make affirmative statements all day long. And if you need some help with the personal motivation, give me a call or shoot me an email and lets talk about why you should cherish the opportunity to act unilaterally to get something done.