I developed a SOGOP Policy for a variety of reasons. You just may want to do the same.
Early in my career, I worked on teams with, and for, other people. As a result, I was saddled by quotas, KPIs and corporate values. At the end of each fiscal quarter, everyone was consumed within a quota-attainment frenzy. Sound familiar?
With everyone chasing anything that vaguely looks, smells and sounds like an opportunity, we waste time and energy being busy. We also squander internal resources. On people who never really are an opportunity in the first place.
Not only that. Because we are busy being crazy about acquiring new business, we abandon existing customers. Paying customers. Loyal customers. Valuable customers.
Got the picture? Because there is a big difference between an opportunity and An Opportunity. Let’s explore together, shall we?
The never-ending futility of that business scenario catalyzed me to create my SOGOP Policy.
Now, you know that SOGOP is an acronym. And, I bet you have an idea of what that acronym stands for: S*@T Or Get Off The Pot! 😉 Yup. I just said that. I can see you smiling, too!
My SOGOP Policy focused me then, and still focuses me now, on assessing whether potential (and some current) clients are stringing me along with the promise of future work.
Not only are these “opportunities” engaging me in answering allegedly provocative questions. As a result, they hope I will provide equally provocative insights and give away more information than I need to. Often, many Opportunities involve specific services, with defined dates, times, locations and specific compensation. With so much defined, it becomes more difficult to determine whether there is an “opportunity” or a real, live, Opportunity.
When things start to sound too good to be true, that is my trigger to leverage my SOGOP Policy.
When we build a solid referral base, enhanced by social selling and demand generation activities, opportunities come our way. In addition, I reach out to warm Opportunities, as well.
Within short order, I assess whether the Opportunity is a good fit for me, complementing my areas of domain expertise and availability. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, I decline the opportunity and refer them (if I am able) to another, more appropriate resource in my network. Also, I wish them well. Not a lot of useless expenditure of energy. Good use of building relationships.
Then again, and far too often, the individual contacting me is not familiar with my expertise and services. In a sense, these Opportunities are window-shopping, and not just in my window, either. I spend time evaluating the context of the Opportunity. Do they only seek pro bono deliverables? Or, is the project we discuss, in fact, not well-developed and, will not evolve unless I co-develop with them, again, pro bono. Ultimately, and within a few weeks, my SOGOP Policy requires me to determine whether there is a platform of equitable exchange of expertise and Opportunity.
Then again, after a really hot start, sometimes Opportunities go dark. Vaporize into the cosmos. In spite of repeated attempts over time to re-engage, over a 90-day timeline, my SOGOP Policy continuously keeps me from second-guessing my value. Here’s why.
And this is an important quality of my SOGOP Policy.
Because, chances are, our management continues to reinforce that we have, somehow, screwed up. As a result, we become even more committed to pursuing these Opportunities, which really are “opportunities.” In fact, we should be pivoting to discover more favorable ones.
Consequently, I ask the key contact to clarify their interest in and/or commitment to my involvement with their organization. This request is legitimate. And, if the intent of the Opportunity also is legitimate, authorized, funded and sincere, they will respond to my question.
Out of professional respect and ethical business behavior.
If the Opportunity continues to be evasive in their response, or ignores my question, then perhaps they overstated the Opportunity in the first place. Or, they decided to hire someone else, or abandoned their initiative due to internal pushback and lack of support.
Either way, instead of wandering around in the dark, and squandering resources and energy pursuing these opportunities, I have the answer I am looking for. Whether I receive a response, or not.
Implementing my SOGOP Policy helps me maintain high-quality, principled, ethical and honest communications resulting in extraordinary client outcomes. Also, my SOGOP policy ensures I have time to serve existing customers, instead of becoming distracted by less-than-optimal opportunities.
You know, when you work with A-List Customers, developed from A-List Opportunities (download here), a collaborative relationship is built, continuously. Everyone gets to the finish line, together.
People remember classy, ethical, and collaborative professional relationships. Even when all anyone is doing is creating and pursuing Opportunities.
Liberate yourself from Yesterday’s professional habits. Start moving one millimeter forward, Today.
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Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™, is an innovative speaker, strategist, and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention. Babette’s playbook of collaboration tools, Do YOU Mean Business?, is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association.
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