6-16-12 Hodgepodge

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Following Through Can Matter

It's easy to come up with examples of mistakes that seemed small when they were made, but whose consequences were much worse than imaginable at the time, but what of the opposite type of situation? One entrepreneur relates the tale of how a single problem customer he went through great lengths to help -- and then suddenly stopped hearing from -- eventually helped him land a major contract.

One situation was about to solve the other. Almost six months to the day after I'd hung up the phone with Bob, I received another call. The chief of engineering of a major media company informed me the company had decided to standardize on our software across its entire chain of more than 300 radio stations. It would be the biggest order in our history--more than $4 million--and would easily provide the capital we'd been needing.

The call was a complete surprise. We'd not pursued their business. In fact, it had been public knowledge that they were selecting one of our competitors. As it turned out, the reason for their mid-course change was ... Bob.
Read the whole thing to find out how this happened. In addition to this being an interesting story, I like the fact that it provides a positive example of the potential ramifications of good follow-through to keep in mind regarding business (and other) relationships.

Weekend Reading

"'[T]raders' anxious to make transactions tend to give away the higher probability positions with peanut sized-profits while seeking out untested ideas with much less chances for success" -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Why Active Traders Make Bad Traders" at SmartMoney

"Force doesn't tell your child why something is wrong; it only tells him that he should be mindlessly afraid of doing something you arbitrarily deem 'wrong.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "Does Spanking Work?" at Dr. Hurd.com

Contextual Absolutism

I like the fact that Michael Hurd does as he says in his spanking article. His is not some mindless, pacifistic prohibition against ever using force on a child under any circumstances (that would lead to disaster or have to be selectively ignored). Rather, Hurd considers what physical force is and whether (and if so, how) it pertains to the purpose of child-rearing. These considerations lead one to understand both that one should rarely use it and under what circumstances one should.

Thank You, Ms. Breslin!

As someone who hates gratuitous verbal question marks, I appreciate Susannah Breslin for advising people who use them that it makes them sound unprofessional:
I've noticed? This habit? Among women? In the workplace? Over the last few years? To make everything they say? Sound like it's a question?

This is particularly prevalent among young women.

Talking like this does you a terrible disservice. It makes you come across as if you have no idea what you're talking about, like you rely upon others for approval, like you're not sure enough in what you think to dare to make a statement.
Good. Maybe this trendy habit will start dying down now.



Jenn Casey said...

Hi Gus! Thought you might be interested in my response to Dr. Hurd's article about spanking.

I agree with you (and him) that force must be used, and it's imperative that a parent consider the principles under which it must be used and why. And always give the child their reasons for it.

However, I disagree, as you might know, that spanking should EVER be used, as well as behavior-modification discipline techniques such as punishments (time out chairs, etc) and reward systems (sticker charts, etc).

Anyway, here is my response: http://rationaljenn.blogspot.com/2012/06/recent-facebook-thread-and-this-post.html


Jim May said...

Let "vocal fry" follow the non-questioning question into the dustbin of stupid verbal fads.

Gus Van Horn said...

Hi Jenn,

Thanks for bringing my attention to your post. I'll read it later on: I'm just taking a quick break from dealing with a potential new client at the moment.


Gus Van Horn said...

Speaking of verbal fads, I bet that some Hollywood floozy somewhere and some time has given a conditional apology "punctuated" with a verbal question mark.

Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you write: "As someone who hates gratuitous verbal question marks..." There's an article at Wiki about that intonation pattern. The facts about it should interest you, even though they shouldn't lessen your irritation at it.

Gus Van Horn said...

The article mentioned that that "leaders of the peer group" were found to do this more often than others, and that there is often an implication like, "I'm not finished yet." I thankfully don't have to listen to this much, but I've heard it before, and remember having the distinctive bad taste in my mouth that whatever was being said wasn't open to question.

Interesting, and no less irritating, yes. Thanks for pointing that out.