Wednesday 16 November 2011

Who/what are you waiting for?

This article was the second of my Changing What's Normal newsletter this month.
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For the past two weeks I have been working in a somewhat isolated place in remote Australia. In many ways it has been a waiting game.

Part of my project has meant I have had to call many Government departments meaning many long waits. Typical recorded messages have been “we are experiencing greater than normal call volume ... and my favourite “your call is important to us ...

When I suggested in a light tone to one operator that if call volume was greater than normal perhaps it was time to change what’s normal and put more people on to take calls, I received silence on the other end, not a word! Maybe I wasn’t speaking with a human!

My average waiting time has been 15 minutes. I have calculated that in the 140 hours I have worked in the past two weeks, 30 hours have been spent waiting.

I have made great use of the time, writing this for example. Before making each call I decide what I am going to do that is productive while I am waiting.

I suspect more than 20% of your life is also spent waiting.
What do you do that is productive while you wait?

And what are you doing about people who make you wait?

I made a decision some time ago to not have relationships with people who make me wait.

I am very careful who I have relationships with. I am very careful to respect other people’s time and energy and never waste it. As a general rule other people treat me as I expect to be treated (Government departments are the exception).

When it comes to business relationships my aim is to always be collaborative.

Sparkenation 28 of my Changing What’s Normal book is titled “Only collaborate with people when you have achieved a shared view.” I put forward there 7 steps to collaborating successfully:

1. Establish that there is agreement concerning the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s. Don’t move on until you are absolutely certain there is agreement.

2. State what you can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

3. Ask the other person or people involved to state what they can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

4. State what you feel are the milestones or measurements that will indicate that you are on on track to achieve what you say you will in 2.

5. Ask the other person or people involved to state what they feel are the milestones or measurements that will indicate that they are on on track to achieve what they say they will in 3.

6. Agree on the dates and times that you will be in touch with each other to discuss progress and celebrate achievements.

7. Confirm in writing via email or letter your agreements in 2. through 6. and ask for a confirmation response from the other person or people involved.

I make sure that in all my collaborative agreements there is absolute clarity around deadlines and what happens if unforeseen circumstances mean they cannot be met.
I have considerably reduced my waiting time as a result.

What kind of collaborative agreements do you have in place and what do they mean for your waiting time?

The most useless waiting time is when we don’t do what we know we should. Call it procrastination if you will. I call it wasting our lives.

In this weeks short sparkenation I said:
“This blog post "Will We Cry When You Die? An Open Letter" by Author of Start With Why Simon Sinek, stirred my heart and got me thinking. The great legacy we leave is the one others are acting on while we are alive.

What’s your living legacy? And is it making waves?

As Seth Godin says: “In a world of surfers, all you can do is work to make the best wave you can. The real revolution is that you get to make waves, not just ride them.”

I find that when I am focused on making waves and making my mark I spend less time waiting and I don’t have time to procrastinate.

What will you do today that you haven’t, that you know you should?

Do it now. Life’s too short to spend time waiting unproductively.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.


I am excited to announce a Changing What’s Normal webinar series:
December 1st webinar  - Change Yourself
December 8th webinar - Change Your Relationships
December 15th webinar - Change Your Organisation

Details are here.

And I am very excited to announce that the first ever Changing What’s Normal 1 day workshop is being held in 10 cities and 6 countries in early 2012. There are save great savings to be made when you take up the super early bird offer. Details are here.

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