Expeditors or Procrastinators

October 26, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Hazel Speed

If one thing drives me mad it is dealing with procrastinators, yet like the story of the hare and the tortoise, they often seem to reap benefits despite laxed efforts.

If one is a person that always enjoys, or has to deal with simultaneous and diverse projects by nature, then endeavours can be jeopardised (or on rare occasions saved) by others who drag their feet.

As for myself, I am privileged to have some key people on board my own creative projects who will expedite certain matters, within their expertise and association with myself, as they realise I do not take them for granted and show my appreciation accordingly, whether it be in financial payment and/or highlighting online their services facilitating a commission, marking due copyright credits subsumed within my own projects. As the saying goes “It is best to give people bouquets when they are still around to smell them!”

Unfortunately, with regard to other people whose paths I have crossed, where I would initiate a new creative incentive starting ‘yesterday’ as it were, the procrastinators would leave a matter, along with so many other things, glued to their in-tray for weeks.

With creative projects and approaches to various Editors or Media Professionals one has to judge the speed or otherwise required – taking the lead from the new contact as either they, or you, must set the pace.

As to the person pitching any idea, then pace is crucial, i.e. push too hard and a deal can be lost, show reticence and a major contract can be lost.

 

 

Our own animation commission happened in the space of one hour from a pitch to a total stranger courtesy of a middle person – good friend and key associate team member of mine who knows the need to expedite.

We had lost contact for a few years whilst I was developing a flagship project which I had told him about previously, and I met my friend again by chance at a Business Conference Centre where he had a stand for his own Company. I updated him on the animation project and left my new business card with him.

Unbelievably, when I returned home mid afternoon there was a voicemail from him, and he also rang moments later (as he was so anxious to talk), to tell me that an hour after I left my card with him he was approached by a total stranger who was looking to make an animation film short, “did he know of a project,” and so the deal was made ‘in principle’ then confirmed that evening when the stranger rang my home.

Synchronicity – but also thanks to a fellow expeditor who made it all possible.

There were so many twists and turns that the pace thereafter had to move fast. The rest is history as they say.

We secured our stage show at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury after I saw an enquiry via an online circulation for creatives.

A posting stated in one brief paragraph that the Theatre Youth Company were thinking of producing a famous musical but they stated that they welcomed chatting to anyone about this.

I rang the number straight away, (I believe I was the first person to call), and five minutes later our stage show replaced the original one being planned. Just right timing, right place but I was an expeditor and also very, very lucky. If I had been a procrastinator then the result would have been zilch.

It is conceded, however, that on occasions a deal just cannot be made regardless of how fast or slowly one acts. It is not meant to be and one should never force a deal through as it will not work well. It is like that when trying to introduce two good friends, it often does not work. That could be a study in itself.

Business is like military strategy. One cannot charge at the enemy if the chain of command has an Officer who procrastinates which men he should in turn utilise to obey any given command, contingent on a situation which changes by the second, though hopefully the military training centres notice such things, as the lives of service personnel are paramount.

Socially, procrastinators are people who can spoil an event, or be embarrassing at certain times, i.e. “So do you want to go with us all, as we will have to leave in 15 minutes because the show at the theatre commences in two hours, and by the time we get there, etc.” Then the reply could be something like “I don’t know, I haven’t made my mind up yet!”

Some procrastinators are not always just dithering to make their minds up in a situation, but rather are utilising a delaying tactic. I have seen this done. A question could be asked of them and the reply may not be verbal but a mere shrug. If there is a difficult issue being discussed, their shrug may be a ploy hoping someone else will answer on their behalf so they do not have to say a word, especially if the circumstances are delicate and they do not want to commit themselves either way. It is quite amusing to see how others jump in thereby precluding the need for a procrastinator to say a word. I am different, and if the need calls for it, will speak my mind as I am a fair, but forthright person. Expeditors also have to bear in mind that most people rarely like to hear the truth uttered about anything whether business, political, social or personal. Invariably therefore, the first person to refer to the ‘elephant in the room’, is the first messenger to be shot (excusing herein the mixed metaphor). So prudence can sometimes prevail whereby that same elephant is left to hide in the long grass as they say.

 

 

I am sure we have all had visitors in our homes when one person never says a word or just offers monosyllabic responses.

Such a couple who fell into that category visited our home but on one occasion we decided on utilising the same tactic and were not deterred, by what to us, would have been long silences between socially acceptable comments and the next comment. Such was our determination to show others what effect they had on others by creating uncomfortable situations in another person’s home, especially so as it was ‘they’ who thought a visit to us would be nice.

We made a noble commencement to the proceedings…

 

“Have you had a good day?”

“Yes”

 

“Any news?”

“No”

 

“This is where we went this morning, etc”

“Oh”

 

So we merely reversed the process in our favour from thereon, and it worked!

We could not believe how quickly that couple initiated conversation. It was a truly amazing experiment.

Subsequently, when they made future home visits they engaged in normally paced and mutual dialogue. Then again, we often mistake psychology with the old term for difficult mindedness (there is an old term, simile for that!).

To be honest, I believe most people will be either an expeditor or procrastinator for life. It is inherent.

Some may think one attitude shows rashness and the other contributes a more considered approach and thereby tempers the undue or unwise hastiness of the other. That is fine for a team of horses.

If one has to consult a procrastinator seeking a deal then sometimes it works if one strives to out-procrastinate them, which is a painful, yet effective way of saying I can go slower than you. This can on the odd occasion secure a deal as the other side then start thinking you may wander away from a contract they really want to make with you. Though one may have to also watch paint dry whilst waiting for time to pass.

In modern society I think it is rare to see anyone dealing expeditiously in certain contingencies as the business world has changed because the internet is the element of pace so the person writing the email has a false impression someone can wait because technology is fast but they overlook it may be sent/received too late and that, in turn, betrays the person’s character along with their usage of phraseology, font size and colour within an email, when they actually do send it.

I get irritated with mini attachments of Company logo or PR symbols which provide signs for Facebook, Twitter logo, etc, which always require deletion and/or waste my time reading (especially the first time of receipt) just in case I miss an important document as an attachment which may be mistaken as a logo deletion by accident if I do not check.

Many people discard a contact through lack of duty of care as, if they do not nurture exchanges, then why should we? Time wasters.

Years ago I worked with someone for a brief time and one day they were getting ready to interview a potential employee.

The Resume/CV of the new candidate was excellent but she was late by about two minutes initially. My colleague had decided she was no good so I persuaded him to allow for the fact she could have been held up on public transport or might not be too well that day so I advised him not to be so rash as she seemed to be, on paper at least, a good person to hire if he liked her. He agreed.

The poor young lady arrived 5 minutes late and as he went down the stairs to meet her I heard him say “I’m so sorry, someone just got the job”! Completely untrue of course. The poor girl was about to explain why she was late and was apologising when he cut her off. She accepted his rebuff with great dignity I thought, yet another indicator he should have hired her, but in essence he was firing her first! He was petulant, never mind an over expeditor.

How he had his own thriving company astounded me as he was completely disorganised with vague objectives but had charisma and some inherited wealth. He was also distantly related to a famous historical artist, hence a humorous spoofed print of a famous painting which was so clever I have never forgotten working in that environment generally as it summed up the whole experience.

I know that young potential employee will probably be a CEO somewhere by now. Just wish I remembered her name but then again perhaps it is best I did not for all concerned.

He agreed with me that his decision about the interviewee was unfair and she sounded so disappointed. I tried to convince him to ring her and say the one he thought had accepted the job could not start immediately so the job was still available if she wanted to return another time and have an interview. He would not do that but did procrastinate over its merits. I think if he had thought of that idea he would have expedited it! So that was another of his “issues”. Freud would have loved analysing this neurosis.

The young lady may have been better off in the long run not working for that person but then again, she could have been the making of him in business and socially as a friend or even Wife No 2 as surprise, surprise, he was now divorced from Wife No 1.

He must have been a nightmare as a husband.

The political arena is quite a dangerous one for such considerations of those who expedite or procrastinate – thinking here of both the nuclear button and conventional military forces so we must trust that there are fail-safe systems to accommodate these differences of pace regarding such serious decisions.

That said, I recently saw a documentary with the Russian missile operative who, in the 1980s saved a nuclear attack from being initiated as he deduced something on their computer screens was a false alarm/situation.

Rather chillingly, apparently he did state that one day it is inevitable that someone, somewhere, will press a nuclear button against one part of the world, and I tend to agree with him there, sad to say.

In daily living, generally, I find that being an expeditor makes for a more exciting and fulfilling life for me personally as one needs the incentive of a new project, more contacts and potential friends.

A song by Liza Minnelli sums it up for me admirably, the title being ‘Say Yes‘. The lyrics refer to invitations that come one’s way – say Yes! That is a lot better than saying “I don’t know, let me think about it for three weeks”  – Aaargh/scream! (grin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com. She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk.

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