How do you make a decision? Big decision or small, what puts you over the edge to taking a step to move forward? Is it gut feeling, or a balance of pros and cons, or is it a specific collection of positive data? Or, is it all in finding an irresistible cause?
I am caught in a metaphorical whirlpool of inactivity. It’s a phone call that leads to an email that leads to a forward that leads to a reply that leads to an email request for more information.
I got a call today that may have sent me over the edge – it was just a sales call, someone trying to find out the contact info for a project for which I am the lead contact, which is why she had my number, but she didn’t know who I was. She called the contact she had to find out who the contact was. “And, what was your last name?” I was embarrassed for both of us.
It’s alarming because this is what I’ve been doing – trying to generate leads, uncover opportunities, convert opportunities to accounts, or maybe to generate more leads. And, it’s working. My contact management software cannot keep up. Every connection generates more. It’s AMWAY without the shampoo. I want to get back to work.
And I do have work, my inbox is full of work. But, I’m astounded by how many things I do are things I’ve already done. The emails are, “Can you send me that file again? We need it asap.” “Did you make a decision? We still don’t have the answers to your questions.”
Phone calls get things done – except when they go to voice mail, which they almost always do. What happens now is that when I can’t get a straight answer by email, I make a phone call, get voice mail, and leave a message restating everything in my email. When I get the call back, it is usually, “Oh, I’ll get back to you on that.” It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted from tracking the conversations.
Cell phones always on our persons. Cell phones that receive email. We don’t check the mail because it’s just bills and ads. I am now getting convenient phone calls from my billers in case I missed the email since I converted to e-billing.
We might be falling down off the tower of Babel.
So, how do you make decisions? How do you move forward on a project if you can’t talk to anyone? This is my new theory of why new work can’t get started. And the leaders will be the ones who don’t need any more information. Be brave, give direct answers and then act in faith. And, value the time when you’re not on the phone.
Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
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