Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Professionals Prepare, They Don't Wing It

Every engagement to meet with someone is an opportunity to build upon your own knowledge relative to that organization and the industry. More importantly it provides a forum to present your professionalism, expertise, and an opportunity to build your reputation in the marketplace. "An opportunity won or lost is a contact gained."

I was asked by a young salesman to join him in a meeting with the Chief Information Security Officer of a large healthcare organization. As a meeting progressed it quickly became evident that the salesman was not familiar with the role and responsibilities of the individual he was meeting with. Being prepared also reflects a degree of respect for the individual who has granted you time on their calendar. It was not surprising that the CISO was annoyed by broad level conversation and the "Winging It" tactics of the salesman but as a gentlemen he endured his time commitment. The salesmen never got time on the CISO's calendar again nor did his organization win any business.

Experience is sometimes the culprit in individuals assuming that they can handle any situation which is still "Winging It". Over time as they've conducted more more meetings presentations, engagements with individuals to have intelligent conversations, they feel they have the right to stop preparing. I see this when I go onsite with senior executives who are effective speakers but preparation would have made a difference in almost every meeting. The difference between good and great is a matter of inches and not leaps and bounds.

Deliberate practice of doing the right thing over and over is what separates the mediocre from the outstanding. Respect the time of others, respect your time, build contacts, and a solid reputation.

Thoughts to ponder!

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