Isn’t it funny that life is lived forward, but lessons are learned backwards? We learn from our mistakes and hope to get better. I had this experience in the not-so-distant past. We had a client who was just really disorganized, a little scatterbrained (too much on the individual’s plate), and really bad at follow though. We worked with her for a while and then the relationship began to deteriorate.
We were consulting and mentoring, so they were billable hours. Eventually, this person would not make a scheduled meeting with me, did not complete assignments, etc. Each time I spoke to her superior, she would shape up for a couple of weeks. Then it was back to the inability to complete the task at hand. I actually spent more time in a three-month period doing follow up and trying to get answers than I did delivering services. This was no good for my business or theirs! We resigned the account.
The lesson learned, and I should have learned it at the front end and not the back, was that when she was not responding, I needed to react more quickly and emphatically. I needed to point out the issues and concerns to her and her boss. I now do that. We need to learn from our lessons and I always try to find the “learning nuggets” in everything we do.
As a business, we are forever changing. Our core business is the same—helping brands and properties generate better ROI for their sponsorship programs—but how we do it, the tools we use, and the way we mentor changes from client to client and from week to week. If we are not flexible, if we don’t recognise the need for change or alteration, we will fail in the long run and so will our clients.
Yes, we sometimes do learn backwards. As someone pointed out to me, in school we learn the lesson first and then put it into practice, but in real life we put it into practice first, then learn the lesson—truly a little backwards!
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