As mentioned in last month’s column, leaders never advance to the point where they no longer need to prioritize, yet not every leader practices the discipline of prioritization. That being the case, this month I want to follow-up by discussing how to prioritize. However, I want to share with you a strange and humorous thing has happened as a result of a situation I shared in last month’s column. The situation I shared was:
I frequently see an organization executive at conferences where my company exhibits. In order to keep the identity of this executive anonymous, I am going to refer to the executive as Mr. Smith. Nearly every conference I attend Mr. Smith approaches me and tells me he would like for my company to perform for his organization one of the services we provide. I respond, “Okay, how do we make that happen?”
Mr. Smith always responds, “Call me next week.”
The following week, I call Mr. Smith and leave a voice message because he is so busy doing whatever it is he does. After a few days, I call again and leave another message saying that I am trying to get back with him in response to his request. After a couple of weeks, I send an email saying that I have tried to call and have left messages and since he is so busy, why didn’t he call me when he has time to talk or send me an email telling me when it would be convenient to meet. I may or not hear from him, but the project with which he is asking us to help never gets scheduled.
Later in the year at another conference at which my company exhibits we have a replay of the request for our services – me asking him how we make that happen, him responding “call me next week,” me leaving him voice messages and sending an email.
This has happened approximately 3 times per year for approximately two and one half years.
Many times he apologizes for not following through on his request and says, “I’m just so busy.”
I understand being busy. All of us are busy. However, we manage to do the things that we really want to do.
Mr. Smith manages to attend at least three or four conferences per year, yet cannot find the time to do something he says he needs for his organization. What he says he wants done does not get done because it is not a priority for him.