Captain’s log, stardate 20170430
Sent by Jonathan Stark on April 30th, 2017
Earlier this year, I repositioned my mobile consulting business to focus specifically on a particular vertical market: credit unions.
On Friday, I had a two hour onsite meeting at the headquarters of one of the largest credit unions in the nation. Actually, it was longer than two hours. We were having so much fun chatting that we went about 15 minutes over.
We’re under NDA now, so I can’t say anything about what was discussed. What I can say is that I’m very excited about the fit and I will be submitting a proposal this week.
As I review how it went down, here’s the bit you need to know:
Too much ground was covered in the meeting to have a typical Why Conversation. The braindump lasted probably 90 minutes, and with good reason. We covered at least three projects worth of material.
I did get the answers to “Why This?” and “Why Now?” and “Why Me?” but as we were nearing the end of our time together, I knew there was no way I could wrangle the conversation back down to a clinical discussion of metrics, outcomes, and value... it would have been a huge buzzkill. So rather than destroy the mood, I laid the groundwork for a followup email or two by saying:
“This has been amazing and I’m excited by at least three opportunities here. I can get a proposal to you next week for at least one of them, but I’m sure I’m going to have more questions. Would it be okay for me to follow-up via email early in the week with maybe a dozen more specific questions?”
My contact said, “Yes, of course!” and apologized repeatedly for burying me in so much data.
What’s the takeaway?
I think Ike said it best: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
What we’re doing here on this mailing list is planning. Setting perspective, strategy, and guidelines. And yes, it is indispensable.
But sometimes, you have to improvise. Don’t adhere to tactics when they threaten the strategy.
Go with the flow but keep your eyes on the prize.