the dog ate my homework

Confused_smiley This post was inspired by my recent frustrations over getting some marketing work done.  I wanted to brand and rebrand some of my programs and I had a great marketing guy referred to me.  Great at least when it comes to design work, not so great when it comes to getting his deliverables out on time….

Once John was hired (and yes, the names have been changed to protect the innocent) and we were in the middle of branding, I would email or call him about a certain aspect of the project and it would literally take him 4 or 5 DAYS (yes, D-A-Y-S) to get back to me. BUT here's the rub: He would always have what he thought was a good story about why it took him so long.

Don't get it twisted…

A good story does NOT equal getting something done.

It's like the joke about the dog eating my homework.  We always laugh at it because we know that as ludicrous and unrealistic as the story sounds, the deliverer (the student) THINKS it's a great story that EQUALS getting the homework done and thereby lets them off the hook.  And as much as we smile or laugh, WE DO THE EQUIVALENT EVERYDAY.

I know I promised to call you back but my boss called me in the office.
I know I promised to take you to the mall but I had a busy week and I'm really tired.

I know I promised to ________________  BUT __________________. (fill in the blanks with your favorite story).

So everytime you want to back out of something or it becomes inconvenient to meet your deadline because the dog ate your homework, remember that a good story does not equal getting something done.

I know life happens and occasionally, there really are extenuating circumstances (but not every day).  Here's a tip:  If you KNOW that you won't meet your commitment then simply renegotiate the deadline up front.  Much of my angst would have been alleviated if John had given me the story on the front end and rescheduled his deadline as opposed to missing the deadline and disappearing.  THAT is not a good strategy in work or in life. 

And John?  Well, he is now my EX-marketing guy.  We finished the project for which he was hired and I LOVE the result BUT I would never refer him out.  His inconsistencies overshadowed his design brilliance.

It's a sad thing really….

By the way, how do YOU show up?

You were born to be great.

YES, you can!

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