By the end of my first decade in professional services, I had reached a point where I was able to delineate between serious business people and time wasters. As a result, I had developed a mantra when working with practice leaders, partners, and peers, “I don’t beg; I don’t babysit.”
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Time wasters have grandiose visions, growth plans so refined the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed twice, cannot-fail product launches, world-changing thought leadership, impregnable value propositions, irresistible client events, etc. None of these initiatives ever comes to fruition and valuable sales and marketing resources are wasted sitting in meetings, following up on missed deadlines (missed for client engagements, of course), reformatting PowerPoint decks, updating CRM “lists,” and a litany of other useless activities. It’s busy work that goes nowhere. It is a reflection of The BS of PS.
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You may think that my approach seems harsh, lacks an understanding of consultant demands or inflates my self-importance—fair enough. However, I know, from spending my career surrounded by high performers, that serious business people don’t act this way. They have results to achieve. They plan. They execute. They learn. They adapt. They produce and they expect others to do the same. They don’t procrastinate. They don’t make excuses. They don’t blame others—particularly client demands—for their own shortcomings.
Production is never a function of time. It is a function of priority.
If you are nursing partners, peers or even clients for a deliverable–data, white paper, a workable business plan, a presentation, or completed phone call—you’re wasting valuable resources and enabling bad behavior. If a project or outcome is not a priority for them, it should not be a priority for you. Plan, follow-up, and then move on.
Just don’t beg or babysit. There is more important work to be done.
About the Author
Jeff’s teams and strategies have helped the world’s top professional services firms achieve industry-leading growth rates, optimize marketing investment and maximize brand value. He was the SVP of Marketing at Genworth Financial, the Global Marketing Leader at Hewitt Associates, and held senior roles at Towers Perrin and Andersen.
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