Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Business Is a Cat and Mouse Game

On a recent flight I read a wonderful article by Jay Heinrichs in Southwest's magazine. I love cats (especially my own two), and as wonderful as they are, this article made me think of a very special cat of mine, T-Shirt. T-Shirt was ever in search of a mouse. So with an ode to that enormous and beautiful tabby, here's what the article and Mr. Heinrichs said:

"Time is a mouse. It hides in its lair behind a wall, making maddening little scurrying noises, and then suddenly it dashes by you. If you happen to be a competent cat, you know that timing is more than seizing the mouse, or the moment. Great timing means being ready for that moment, knowing when it comes, so you can capture it and leave it on a loved one's bed. As a cat will teach you, half the skill of pouncing is waiting."

In business, timing is everything. And we cats rarely have the patience to wait for the right time. Our clients (the mice) entice us to win them over, giving out all kinds of signals (RFPs, RFQs, RFS "Request for Something") and then we cats do our athletic dances, madly jumping in the air, spinning in circles, and usually chasing our tails, just to make them take notice and get within our grasp. We rarely bide our time and wait for the right moment ... to pounce ... to capture them.

I have to admire the cat who sits in front of the mouse hole, staring deeply into it, for hours or sometimes even days, patiently waiting for the mouse to emerge. That is the cat that catches the mouse and is not forever dashing after it as it scurries far ahead of that bigger feline.

So, perhaps we need to really rethink strategy and the power of patience and waiting as we try to lure clients into our embrace; being ready for that moment when they are truly prepared to emerge. In human translation that means when they are sending out qualified RFPs or have a legitimate project to discuss. It takes skill as well as patience, but then again that pounce will be well worth it.

Thank you, Jay Heinrichs, for your words of wisdom.

Andrea Michaels is the president of multiple award-winning ExtraordinaryEvents. EE has won 39h Special Events magazine Gala Awards. Andrea was presented with the Steve Kemble Leadership Award during The Special Event 2015, adding to numerous personal honors, including the Pillar of the Industry Gala and the Event Solution Hall of Fame awards. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower – Lessonsin Business; Lessons in Life and co-author of a number of other business books. To learn more about EE, visit www.extraordinaryevents.net.


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