My pleasure at
seeing how some people turn adversity into opportunity was sated during the
recent freeze across the
Subject: Adverse Weather - Offer of help!
To all our
Over the last week we have managed to increase our fleet of Honda CR-V’s. (4 wheel drives).
If anyone needs help today/tomorrow in running an urgent errand or making an
important appointment, please call us and we will try and assist you by sending a
driver with a car.
In the meantime, drive carefully and we look forward to seeing you soon.
How brilliant is this? What an opportunity to show off the ability of the 4 wheel drive and doing a good turn for your customers while you’re at it – and even if they don’t take up the offer they will remember the gesture – as Carl W Buechner put it “they may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
That same week Romans estate agents of Berkshire, who I’ve commented on in previous articles, reported that all their offices were open for business whilst nearly every competitor was closed – impressive in itself but they went a step further. Realising that many home owners would be stuck at home they donned snow gear and boots and went on foot to visit those contacts they hadn’t been able to get hold of for a while and by midday received instructions to sell seven new properties. That’s around £28,000 of business on a morning when the competition was making snowmen. The press was full of stories of the cost to industry lost to the weather but there was a flipside to the coin as Romans demonstrates.
In equal measure my frustration was added to during the same period, as the New Year forecasters came out with their usual gusto. And what a miserable ragbag of predictions these people offer - “It’s a W” says one, “watch out for another dip”, “its worse” says another, “a V W is on the cards” and then there’s what will/won’t happen at the election, “Labour are finished”, “the Tories are too weak”, “a hung parliament is on the cards” – and they make these forecasts so earnestly as if everything they’ve said before has come to pass; if only.
Talking of politics, I read an article about Ronald Reagan, a glass half full man if ever there was one, who said to his bodyguard during their period of recovery following the assassination attempt, when four members of the entourage were shot: “Listen, it was McCarthy, Reagan, Delahanty, Brady, what the hell did this guy have against the Irish?” James Brady, who Reagan referred to, was Presidential Press Secretary and his head wound left him permanently disabled – he later commented: “You gotta play the hand that’s dealt you. There may be pain in that hand, but you play it. And I’ve played it.”
I first heard Brady’s quote when qualifying as a facilitator of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It was used as an example of how important it is to focus on the things you can do something about as opposed to worrying about stuff out of your control which is debilitating as well as pointless. Stephen drew a huge circle on a flipchart with a smaller one in the middle. In the outside circle he wrote all the things that we said were concerning us and then in the smaller circle he wrote all the things we could actually influence – the lesson was cathartic; by focussing on our circle of influence our concerns diminished if not vanished.
Another quote from the Covey course comes from Francis Bacon, “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds” and this sentiment resonates strongly with me at the moment. I believe that following a period of recession, cutbacks and battening down the hatches people’s appetite for new initiatives, ideas and innovation is greater than ever before. Indeed, in twenty years of running my own businesses I don’t recall a single period where there appears so much opportunity - the circle of influence is growing.