Social Media has enabled us to open our mouths extra wide in order to stick the maximum number of feet inside. I’ve strangely grown a certain taste for shoe leather… which explains why I’m writing this post.
Two days, two conversations. In both cases, the persons speaking with me said that they were “on board” with my thinking.
This isn’t a post about me being right and everyone else being wrong – my wife is writing THAT post (rim shot). Rather, this is simply an observation that people say one thing, but their commitment to action belie their true interest and intent.
In one case, the parties on the other end of our conversation had talked with my past business partners, had read (and spoke directly and pointedly) about my blog, and quoted specific twitter posts I had written to bolster their claim of moving in the same direction.
In the other case, a lot of lip service was paid to being on the same page about a new project… but in truth, we were operating on different planes of reality. There is no blame to bear, other than the classic pitfall of being approachable, and people mistaking that for gullability.
As someone keenly attuned to bringing in more money than I spend, it’s always instructive to note how people value (or not) other people’s time. Seth Godin had a great short post about this very thing a couple of days ago.
In the first conversation that I mentioned, said value was mentioned, and at the end of the allotted time we adjourned to continue later – on time, on task, and with a conscious effort to respect each other’s time.
In the second conversation, we talked about this respect, while discussing why our regularly scheduled meeting was being postponed for yet another week in a line of missed meetings.
One of these conversations is going to lead to a great relationship. And one of these is leading no where, fast.
I wish there was some magic one could use to sniff out those time wasting endeavors ahead of time, before time, talent, and treasure are spent drilling empty holes in the ground.
But there is no magic to be had for building relationships – virtually or in the flesh – one fulfilled commitment at a time.
All we can really do is to try and “lower the water level to see where the rocks are” as quickly as we can, qualify what if any upside is to be had ongoing with our relationships, and then commit – and not only commit, execute upon – promises made to our partners with our full attention and talent.