I’ll never forget the time when the concierge at my hotel recommended going for a hike on their property’s private trail.
Sounded fun and scenic to me, so off I went.
But with one foot out the door, she gave me a warning.
Just watch out for mountain lions, they’re native to this region. Have fun!
Well okay then. Appreciate the warning.
Suffice it to say, my hike was short and careful. Kept my eyes peeled at every turn, running survival scenarios about what to do when encountering a predator in the wild.
Thankfully, nothing attacked me. Made it back to the hotel in one piece.
Upon my arrival, the same woman from the concierge welcomed me back and asked how the hike was.
It was tremendous. Didn’t see any mountain lions either!
To which she replied:
Oh, you’ll never see them. If you see one, it’s too late.
That story always makes me laugh for so many reasons.
One of which is around the concept of, too little, too late.
Have you ever felt that way before? When somebody didn’t act soon enough to make a difference, and when they finally did, it kind of felt like a slap in the face?
Happens in the business world all the time. Particularly around employee relations and company culture.
One incident comes to mind. Year ago at my old agency, one of my coworkers, an extraordinary business strategist and leader, continually pleaded with the executives to make some long overdue operational changes. Kelly made several lucid, intelligent arguments about how our team needed to be structured differently for better client performance, and the rest of us agreed.
But for some reason, the founders weren’t willing to compromise. They basically ignored her requests and went on with business as usual.
A few months later, she announced to the team that she had taken a job with another company. Everyone was devastated. Kelly was arguably the most valuable employee we had, and we just could’t hold onto her.
Fast forward to the week after she left, our founders went on a communication crusade. Trying to make up for lost time and right the course, they started hosting weekly these leadership meetings to discuss ongoing company challenges.
Which is actually a brilliant idea. So glad we started doing that.
But in the words of the great wedding singer, information that could have been useful to me yesterday!
Turns out, it’s easy to care about things like company culture after your best person quits to work for a competitor. People should always try to make improvements, but they should be careful it’s not another case of, too little, too late.
The quick fix of doom. Take it from someone who has made this very mistake, multiple times in romantic relationship.
If you see the mountain lion, it’s too late. When it comes to communication, aim for too much, too early.
Communicate both proactively and prolifically with the people you serve.
Because the conversation you have today could be the relationship we save tomorrow.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What important conversations are you avoiding right now?