Do Not Be A Clog

Sending proposals, making calls, having new visitors at your work place or visiting someone’s office, making follow up calls and training your sales team on this is an essential part of any entrepreneurship venture. Every consultant and entrepreneur knows that. And it is this exercise of communicating and meeting  new people that we gain experience.

It happened on a warm sunny afternoon, when the person walked in for an interview at my organization was the same person, who almost 5 years back had rejected our proposal.

Rejection is an important part of any business development and sales activity. Out of ten businesses proposed, offers made, proposals sent, only ONE is accepted.That is a global sales ratio.  And every mature person who has to develop his business understands this. I have never gotten depressed or felt down just because a proposal sent out by me was not accepted. It is the inherent part of business, but it is the way your proposal is handled (rejected or accepted) that makes it a memorable event.

The interview triggered a series of events in my head, which I am sharing here.

Five years from now we had sent a proposal to an organization to be viewed and decided upon by CEO. We were experiencing a financial low and were quite desperate to straighten out ourselves. We really needed that business since we exactly fulfilled the requirements stated in the TORs and we had the capacity to perform as well. The proposal some how had to pass the desk of Senior Manager HR, before it had to reach the CEO.

After emailing the proposal, two days passed by and we did not hear from them. We did not even receive an acknowledgement. We touched them to find out if they had received it. We were informed that yes, they had, but being work loaded, they could not inform us. Another four days passed and we called for a follow up. We were informed by the same manager that they were yet into the process of receiving proposals from several organizations.

Another week passed by and we called back again. We were informed that an audit had been initiated owing to which they could not allocate time to view our proposal and it will take a week for the audit to close.

Another 2 weeks passed and we followed up. This time we were told that the CEO was travelling abroad and we could come back after 2 weeks.

Another follow up and we were informed that they had a visit from their QMS auditors this time and management will be busy. This will take another week.

After a week, we touched them again to find out that they will now advertise in the newspaper, since they had received not enough response from the market previously.

This continued on for about 4 months and we finally decided to not give further efforts to the organization.

A few months later I met the CEO of the same organization by chance at a professional event. We exchanged cards and after some minutes, it dawned on me that the CEO never knew about our proposal, though they wanted productivity and performance improvement analysis and work to be done at their factory, yet, he never found out that we had been following up so extensively for that.

By that time the senior manager had already left the organization or else the CEO would have asked him the reasons for not allowing our message to get through the desk. Later from several other sources, we came to know that the Senior Manager’s drawer was filled up with pending things, which were never acted upon.

And the same senior manager was standing at the door ready for the interview. Of course, being honest I did not select him, not for the reasons of any personal grievance, since I had quite forgotten him during the years passed and my resentment and anger had calmed down. I did not hire him for the reason that what if he acted like the same CLOG at our organization, that he acted some years back at his previous organization.

A few similar events occurred another 2-3 times again, which made me write this post.

Do we recognize this CLOG pattern?What is the psychology behind this?  A clog is a sticky or thick matter, that chokes up a drain, a path, a process.

Those who have worked with public sector organizations in Pakistan have experienced CLOG patterns repeatedly from executives holding offices.

Most of us have experienced this or suffered from this at some point of life or the other.

Facing a problem owing to which one cannot perform a task diligently is one thing and a habitual pattern of delaying things and procrastinating actions is another.

I will write in detail about the reasons and psychology behind the CLOG pattern as well as the “fruits” reaped from it in my next post, but here I will ask only ONE question. 

Before I ask that question, let me share an insight. We all have acted clogs at one time or the other. We are a nation deprived of training and nation building process. We are a society that has not had enough lessons learnt from its own mistakes. We are not raised as individuals to develop enough awareness about how our actions can impact on the lives of others? We are a nation that is not used to admit its mistakes. We are people who like to remain adamant on their faults and wrong behaviors. 

Before I ask that question, let me share another fact: till we learn to speak the truth about ourselves, with our own selves, we cannot rectify our errors, we cannot improve, we cannot grow. We die. 

And another fact: real development takes place when we speak the truth to ourselves and that one of the most difficult task we can undertake is to score our own selves. 

Now I challenge to ask yourself a question and rate yourself as honestly as you can from a scale of 0 to 5 (0 being lowest and 5 being the top or best score) on the five important questions. 

  1. Have you ever acted like a clog in a process?
  2. Have you ever acted out of sheer laziness or never acted at all?
  3. Have you ever delayed a necessary action without realizing how much important it could be for someone else’s life?
  4. When deciding upon things like proposals, documents to forward, emails to reply, queries to answer, do you regularly and habitually think that how much important this could be for the lives of people associated with that document?
  5. Do you practice empathy at daily decision making at work? (empathy is to think and feel how you would have acted or behaved, if something had happened to you. It is to place yourself and someone else’s and then try to know how the other person would have felt like). 

Hint: ( even some answers are asked in negative connotation, rate  high score for positive answers and low for negative)

A total score of  0 to 5 shows you have acted like a CLOG.

A total score of  10 and below shows  your require serious self improvement in this area, though still in the clog category.  

A total score of  15 shows you are doing OK.

A total score of 20 and above shows you have acted a catalyst in the process of growth and support towards others. Blessings flow towards you in return and they will keep on flowing. Even if life appears to be still, your tasks will never stop.