Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Time Management: Shows a Lack of Respect If Not Respected

What does it mean when someone reply’s to a message to you or said to you in person, “I don’t have the time right now….”?  How about when someone does not return their call or reply to an email asking them a questions?   What are they really saying?

They may not really mean it, but they are telling you that you are not worthy. 

It is a growing problem.  And too many business people today are just taking it as the way business is done now days. 

NO! It is not.  Or at least it should not be the way business is done.  And if you feel it is, then you are probably not returning your calls and answering your emails because you are going out of business.

It can be done and I am a prime example.  I make it my mission to answer every call or voice mail message from every person I know who calls me and a few that don’t know who have convinced me they are not telemarketing.  I answer every one of the hundreds of emails I get (and the number is growing everyday) before I go to sleep each evening (which is about 9PM since my day starts at 5:30AM).

Some are saying I am a freak.  And say ‘There is no way I could do this with what I have to do each day’.  And my rebuttal is, Yes You Can!

I am not the only one who thinks enough of people to treat them with respect and more importantly treat their time with respect.   There a number of people I have business and personal relationships with that manage their business and personal time much better than I do.

I have a close friend and business associate who is an executive of the PGA who demonstrates through his actions with everyone everyday his respect for other people’s time as well as his own.  The PGA should be, and probably are, proud of the example that his setting to the thousands of members of that professional association.   And he is the best example since he does it so well.  When he replies to a message it makes you feel good that he missed your call or did not get back to you immediately to your email.  He has true concern in his voice as well as his actions.  That is why I cherish is friendship and wisdom of business. 

Friends’, knowing what he has to deal with everyday, in his professional life and his personal and family life, my message to you is, that if he can do it, there is absolutely no excuse why you can’t do it.

He gets more message and calls than anyone I know and I come from an environment where the calls are measured in ‘units’ representing thousands of calls per second.  Now I know he does not get a ‘unit’ worth of calls, but none the less, he gets enough that would be above the average that you get.  And some of which I would deem from some very important people.   And he makes contact, either by phone or by email, to each of them letting you know he values your friendship and I will get back with you at …(the specific date and time).  I know because I have opened up my emails many times at 5:30AM and see his reply to me at 1AM.  Here is a person that knows the absolute value of a solid business or personal relationship.

Like my friend, I think enough of the time anyone and everyone takes to contact me for a business issue or personal visit to let them know straight up I have the time for them.  Now as far as telemarketers and other none human responses, that is another story.  The bottomline is that if I am going to be in business, or want to have friends to play golf with, I need to respect the time and effort they took to contact me and return the favor respectfully.

Naysayers say I am wasting time and that I will never be successful in what I am doing if I don’t focus every minute I am awake to making a profit.

My reply to them all is based on not how I do business but on others who are much more successful than I am and the way they do business.  My friend in the PGA did not become an executive and hold that position by not returning phone calls or replying to contacts that he ‘does not have time right now’.  Nor will you if you make this your practice.

The other way business people feel they are managing their time effectively is that they have someone else monitor their emails and phone calls.  This is helpful and does goes along with my philosophy of managing your business instead of working at doing it.  But to have your ‘filters’ strain the message to a point that you do not get them, or even worst reply on your behalf that you do not have the time to reply right now, is even worst that if you just did not reply at all.

What is causing all of this lack of respect? Well, it is Lack of knowledge on the most part.

Most of new business people and managers of businesses today have never known or been shown how to manage their time.  Or, have their time managed by someone who does not know how to manage his/her own time. 

Most will quickly jump to the lame excuse that ‘I have too many demands on my workday to effectively get back to all of my calls and emails the same day’.  I say that if this is the case then you have more fundamental problems than the lack of the ability to manage your time.  You have operational problems that again need to be corrected before you go out of business. 

If you are being pulled in too many ways to be able to focus on the most important assets to your business and life, your customers and your friends, then you need to look to finding help to take on some of those demands or get out of that business before it goes out of business.  Tough Love Talk for those who believe what they are doing, not returning calls or emails, is doing business.

Even if not returning a call or message happened just once, you need to take time (even during a call back to your friends or customers) to review that incident and how to deal with it if it happens again.  Does it warrant hiring someone to put out fires while you manage the business?  Probably.   Can you afford it?  If not, you need to find a way to afford it. 

So, you see that you need to make a change and heed my warnings that if you do not have time to communicate to the people who are communicating to you then you have no time to do business.  And if you do not have time to do business by taking the time to personally communicate with your customers, clients and friends then you are going into the business of going out of business. 

No matter how big your business is, or how big you want your business to seem to your customers, if you do not have a solid line of personal communications to the most value asset of your business, your customers and clients, you are going to go out of business.  For these are the people who keep you in business.

Can I do business with someone who thinks nothing about me to return a call or message?  No I can’t.  And it is not totally because they did not return my call or replied with a disrespectful reply to an email.  It pertains to I cannot I trust them so why do business with someone you cannot trust.

Am I being insensitive to the realities of business today?  Am I out of touch for the way business is run today?  Am I being too sensitive to getting my feeling hurt because someone does not take the time to return a call or reply to an email with the information I asked for.   Simple answer to all of that; NO!

Now, my thinking is like most of yours, if someone does not have a solution to a problem they have address then all they are doing is whining.  So, as it is in my business to not address an issue, or problem, unless I have a solution here is what I have to offer those who feel they do not have the time to return calls or reply to emails;

  • If I am going to take my time to type an email to you at least respect my time and reply to the email with the answer to my questions or with a date and time to when you can get me the information.  Do this to everyone and you are starting to build your business.  No only will I refer more business to you, so will everyone else you treat this way.
  • Each time I pick up the phone and dial your number (even if it is on speed dial) I take it that I will have a 50% chance of getting you or your message service.  To respect the time I took to reach out to you, you should at least personally acknowledge the call immediately and personally let me know when I can expect to hear from you.  Doing this builds trust and when I and others can trust you then the business will be continuous and referrals start to flow.


RESPECT.  It does not cost a thing to use, but could cost you your business if not used.


Scot Duke


Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.


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