Imagine for a moment you are an entrepreneur whose business model is to help American citizens who have moved to a foreign country acquire housing. You’ve developed quite a successful practice acting on behalf of buyers during the research and transaction process.
One day, out of the blue, into your Paris, France office walks John Jones from Macon, Georgia. Mr. Jones has recently re-located to Paris for a job and he needs to secure a place to live for him and his family.
After exchanging introductions and pleasantries, Mr. Jones gets right to the point – “I need to find a place to live. How much is it going to cost me?”[NOW I WANT YOU TO STOP FOR A MOMENT AND THINK. HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO MR. JONES?]
Would you answer his question with a price? If so, what price? How did you arrive at that price?
Would you answer his question with a question of your own? If so, what question would you ask?
Obviously, you don’t have nearly enough information to be able to tell Mr. Jones what housing is going to cost him. To start with, do he and his family want to buy or rent? What area of Paris do they wish to live in? Would they rather live outside the city entirely? How many bedrooms and bathrooms are needed? Do they need to be near the Metro? Etc., etc., etc. I could go on and on.
These questions would only scratch the surface of what’s needed to properly answer Mr. Jones’ original, seemingly-simple question – “How much is it going to cost me?”
This back-and-forth question and answer session is a consultative engagement. It only results in an answer if both parties have a vested interest in participating and then participate with the attention and focus required. If either party fails to participate in the way that is required for a successful end result, the odds are good Mr. Jones won’t end up getting the best and most appropriate housing arrangement for his family.
Now that you’ve humored me by reading this fable, my question to you is – “What should you do if someone asks you to execute without preparation?”
Our company has the good fortune of having built a reputation in the marketplace which attracts interest from organizations who are seeking I.T. advice and assistance. We get a lot of “John Joneses” who know they need help. However, just like Mr. Jones in my fable, often times we’re asked to provide answers to questions before anywhere near enough information has been uncovered and discussed.
“I don’t see why you need to go through an assessment of our organization. Can’t you just tell me how much a support agreement is going to cost?”
I can’t guesstimate how many times I or one of our team members has been asked this question. It’s a tough situation to be put in for both parties. We don’t want to antagonize a prospective client by “refusing” to answer the question. The truth is, we really can’t answer the question accurately without some research and examination. And the prospective client probably doesn’t have the experience within I.T. to understand why going through the due diligence of a proper assessment is needed to arrive at what he/she ultimately cares about — the final cost of the ongoing support relationship.
You may be wondering, “What is the point of this?”
The point is everyday everyone of us is given the opportunity to execute on important tasks. It might be a decision for your business. It could be a choice for your family like Mr. Jones. Are you going to prepare before execution, or are you going to jump in headfirst and hope preparation wasn’t needed?
I’ve rarely found an important decision in business or life can be made without preparation. In fact, at Infinity Network Solutions, we believe so strongly in the tenets of “Preparation Before Execution” that it is one of our core company values. We’ve found our business partners and clients invariably develop stronger ties with us and us with them because of this value. Without this value, we would be a completely different company – one that wouldn’t be the leading I.T. services company we are today.
So what values are you committed to? Are you committed enough to walk away from potential business that violates your values? It’s not easy, but it’s necessary for any company to become great.
I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call or send me an email. Or, even better, come out and see us at our Infinity Man events series. Get registered for our upcoming events at www.WhereIsInfinityMan.com.