A few years ago, I had a presentation that I gave to a client about the future of their major soft drink brand. It was a bells-and-whistles presentation. We pulled out all the stops. We selected a posh hotel resort. We catered the meeting. We kept it under an hour so that no one would get bored. We thought of everything under the sun. We even did it on a Friday so that the client would be in a more relaxed mood with the incoming weekend. Everything that we could think of doing we did. Except for one thing…
We ignored the timing.
You see, timing is indeed everything. There is no amount of work that can be done, no amount of effort that can be spent that will ever change that equation: Timing is everything. This client was coming off record growth, new markets to expand to, bigger distribution footprint. We thought that this was the right time to present to them an ambitious new strategy that would continue this line of growth.
But, we were wrong.
The timing just wasn’t right. The situation at the time with this beverage company was to focus on what had gotten them this newfound growth and nothing else. They had found a bit of a rhythm and decided to stay the course with no alterations. They were in an “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” mentality. The timing was not right for them to accept a departure from what had worked.
So, needless to say, we lost the pitch. And that made me think a lot about timing. Now, it’s easy to think that maybe we had done something wrong. Maybe the presentation wasn’t as solid as we had thought. Maybe the hotel wasn’t the right move – maybe we should have done the meeting at the client site. The “maybes” stack up as high as the sky. But when the timing is off, nothing can save it.
Failure is a blessing. It really is. But, oftentimes we don’t see it that way. Why? Because we choose not to.
The Creator Mindset is a way of thinking creatively. In that creative thinking, it looks for opportunity in misery. It finds the blessing in adversity.
The amount of time and effort we spent on something we thought would be great ended up in the trash. I wonder how many times in your career this has happened to you. And perhaps what you ended up doing is blaming yourself. I know I have. But, in these times of despair, there is a creative opportunity to learn something. I am sure that you have spent time and effort on something that did not turn out the way you had planned. But, simply brooding about it and choosing not to learn from it is a surefire way of having it repeat.
Sometimes, the unplanned routes are the ones we need to take. And when the timing is wrong for one thing, it might be right for another. I took that same presentation and recycled it for another client years later. And it worked. Sure, it was different than the first presentation, but the thing is that it used elements that I thought would be lost forever, elements that I thought were wasted. However, it turns out that indeed they were not a waste and came in handy somewhere down the road.
I see the same mistakes being made by the same people over and over again because they refuse to learn from them. But, ultimately, this is a choice that we all have to make. Because sometimes, no matter what, our timing is off. And the only thing left to do is to get up, brush aside the failure, and try again.