What's Holding You Back From Reaching Your Goals
William*, a business leader, came to me frustrated. “We’ve given this guy at least five chances to get it right, and every time he promises to deliver, he never does! It’s been almost six months for something that was supposed to take two weeks!” [William is not his real name.]
“Do you want me to talk to him?” I asked, certain he would refuse.
“No, I just want to talk it out with you. Figure out my options,” he continued.
Over the course of the meeting, we talked about his options. Everything from threats to lawsuits to shaming him to doing nothing; it was all on the table.
In the end, William decided to give the contractor one more chance to make things right. If he failed, William planned to walk away from the contract and cut his losses. It just wasn’t worth filing a lawsuit. The one thing he knew he would do, however, was make sure that no one William knew would ever do business with this particular contractor.
I left William’s office knowing he had a plan and a reasonable amount of peace about the next few steps he would take. Despite our meeting, I wasn’t surprised to hear from him only two weeks later.
“Brock, you need to talk some sense into this guy,” he pleaded.
“What happened?” I pried.
“I gave him a final chance to make things right and he promised to do it. Of course he didn’t, and now I just feel like I need to understand what the heck is wrong with him,” he explained. “I don’t even want him to finish the job now. I just want to know what his problem is.”
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I’ve been in this situation countless times: A frustrated client approaches me for options in dealing with a vendor, supplier, customer, _____ [you fill in the blank], who can’t or won’t perform on a deal. The client is at the end of his or her rope, prepared to take drastic measures to address the situation.
In response to William’s request, I agreed to reach out to the contractor and investigate.
After a few attempts, I finally reached him by telephone. Rather than threaten him (which is exactly what he was expecting), I made him an offer. I promised him that if he would be honest with me and tell me why he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) finish the job for William, I would let him walk away with the fees already paid without any threat of a lawsuit. NOTE: I was authorized for this tactic.
He didn’t believe me at first, but he eventually came clean.
Bottom line was that the contractor systematically took on more work than he could ever handle because at least half of his clients never paid him. He was basically stuck in an endless cycle of unfinished jobs because he saw no other option.
I know he is not the only one faced with this set of circumstances. This is something that happens when we don’t finish things: we lose clients, customers, contracts, and money.
In the situation I just described, it was much worse than the contractor ever realized. After parting ways with him, William went on to hire another contractor who completed at least six jobs for him in just a few months. More importantly, William made it a point to tell every person who expressed any level of interest in hiring the original contractor to absolutely avoid hiring that contractor.
I am estimating based on what I know, but I believe the contractor lost about $100,000 of work from clients William would have referred, had he been satisfied with the contractor’s service. That’s a pretty major loss for not finishing one job worth around $1,500.
Does this sound familiar?
THE COST OF LETTING HURDLES STOP YOU
In the process of learning how to overcome hurdles, it’s critical that we stop thinking that the consequences of failing to finish things is limited to that thing being unfinished.
While that is always one consequence, there are always other, unknown and undiscovered consequences. With William’s contractor, the guy never even realized he lost over $100,000 in potential business. He most likely just went on with business as usual, finishing half the jobs he had queued up.
Here’s another important point: who are you in this story? Are you the contractor who couldn’t finish things (because he took on too much)? Or, are you the business leader who couldn’t finish things because he hired people who couldn’t finish things? You see where I’m going with this?
You can’t even begin to understand the significance of failing to finish things if you don’t even realize when you’ve hit a stop, or that you may have been responsible for creating the stop.
For that reason, it’s imperative that you first learn to identify stops that are preventing you from finishing things. As you identify them, you will better understand the consequences of failing to finish things because of the stops and, in turn, will be better prepared to overcome those particular stops.