Don’t count your chickens…..Making sure before you move ahead!

Life is full of cute phrases that sometimes are good bylines or references for issues as they occur.  Here are a few of my favorite:

  • Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched
  • If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have previously gotten
  • The hardest thing about being the best is that you have to prove it every day
  • Whether you think you can or cannot, you are probably correct
  • Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt

I offer these not to become more a humorist, but to offer suggestions for dealing with these as they may occur in your life.  I had one strike pretty close to home this week, the “count your chickens” and the outcome of an opportunity has ended up becoming a good learning opportunity for me, albeit a painful one.

The work we do in our firm comes from a variety of sources, but we are referred by many friends and colleagues more often than not.  We had such an occurrence recently and it ended up putting us in front of a potential client we would have really enjoyed working with.

We met with the firm and all seemed well.  I followed up in the normal fashion, first with an email and then a hand-written note thanking them for their time and asking for the opportunity to work with them.  We felt really good about our prospects, but heard that the client wanted a comparison and we thought that would be a good idea.

Competition is the hallmark of democracy and I think every client needs to look at several options prior to making a final decision.  Business development is sort of like dating.  Before you get married, you need to get to know your partner, or your client, pretty well.

We learned a few weeks ago that our prospective client chose to go in another direction.  When you lose one you thought might end up in the “win” column it can be a little aggravating.  It can rouse anger, or even frustration.  I chose to take the high road and will always take the high road unless there is a valid reason to do otherwise.  I wished the client well, and still do, and hope they get good service from their choice.  By doing so I think it casts the best possible light on me and our firm.  Life is too short to be a sore loser and there are may races, many opportunities, in life.

Counting your chickens before they are hatched can be a dangerous thing.  Making moves or investments before the signature is on the agreement can lead to hard feelings and “egg on your face” if you don’t mind the poultry pun.

Life is like baseball.  If you get a hit 1 out of 3 times in baseball there is a strong possibility you will end up in the hall of fame.  I like to think we can get 1/3 of the projects we pursue and my real hope is that we can get more than 1/2.  I fully realize that we are a great fit for many clients, a good fit for many more, and not a fit for a whole bunch of firms.

We cannot be everything to every firm.  Those who want to do everything well really don’t do much well.  As my friend Marc Fortune says so eloquently, “There are riches in niches”.  Marc is a wise man and I feel fortunate to have so many good friends who give such solid feedback to help in our journey.

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.  If you do you might not like the outcome.