Before every Producers Club meeting, we poll the Members to see what topics they want me to cover. For the last 3 meetings the #1 content request was, in some shape or form, about getting things done (specifically marketing) and time management. This is, admittedly, perplexing to me since once I’ve covered it, the strategies don’t change, so I’m left trying to spin up a new chicken dish that’s interesting and fresh, working with the same basic, somewhat boring foundation. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can get the Members to pay me $1,100 a month to leave their business for 3 days and fly to Nashville to watch a video of the LAST time-management presentation I did. Maybe I ought to test that…
Point is, I’m seeing increasing angst about getting things done, even though we have more software, conveniences and shortcuts than ever before. There are several reasons for this, but I think one of the big ones is the HABIT of constantly, consistently breaking commitments you make to yourself and others. In fact, most people start the day breaking the first commitment they made the night before: to get up on time. Why bother setting your alarm clock if you’re just going to hit the snooze button every morning? But this habit of hitting the snooze button is not just a funny anecdote; it’s a sad example of the way many people live their lives.
At a recent event we were preparing for, I asked all the speakers to get their presentations in to me on time, which was just 8 work days prior to the actual event. Not one did. One of the speakers even asked why we need their presentations “so far in advance.” The reason simply is so WE can fulfill on OUR commitments to our clients. When you miss deadlines like this to anyone—be it a client, vendor, employee or to yourself—you’re essentially saying your commitment and your word mean nothing. Do things happen? Yep. All the time. But that’s not an excuse. Like the t-shirt says, “Shit Happens.” Well, actually, it doesn’t “just happen.” You choose. And in a world where it’s becoming progressively okay to miss deadlines, fall down on commitments and come up short, it’s increasingly important that YOU hold yourself to a higher standard and not sink to this level, no matter how little or insignificant the commitment is—to quote Harv Ecker, how you do anything is how you do everything. Someone who is disorganized with their personal finances will be disorganized with their business. Someone who is chronically late for dinner with friends will be chronically late in meeting with clients and key people. If you fail to keep promises to yourself, you train yourself to never follow through, which is a dangerous, slippery slope, particularly if you want to grow a successful business.
I recently spent $50,000 in renovations to the office as part of our “Operation Godiva” strategy (those who know Nido from Boot Camp will know what I mean by that). The designer I hired recently shared with me she has no date for when the high-end, custom front desk I ordered will be completed and delivered. No apology, no embarrassment. Just hit the snooze button until our “guy” gets around to doing it. After all, that’s how life is, right? Deadline comes up and we just hit the snooze button to buy us a few extra hours, days, weeks or months. No big deal. It gets done when it gets done. My thought: it must be nice to be so flooded with new clients and business that you can essentially flip off your clients with this type of response.
So when someone tells me they are struggling to get marketing done, my new (first) question to them is going to be, “Do you get up every morning, on time, without hitting the snooze button?” If they say, “No,” that’s where we’re starting: training them to consistently, habitually and religiously keep the smallest commitments they make to themselves and others. And getting up an hour earlier to “find” the time to get things done.