Make the F#@!ing Call

Some actual wisdom from Tom Peters over on his blog today:

[A] 5-minute call made right now to deal with a “slightly bruised” ego or a “minor” misunderstanding can avoid a situation tomorrow that leads to divorce court, a lost (major) client, an employee law suit, etc.
I’ve learned that invariably “there was a moment” when the situation (DAMN NEAR ANY “SITUATION”) was reversible. In fact, easily reversible. But pride or embarrassment or unwillingness to further mess up an already nasty day led to “just one more day’s” evasion & delay … and that day becomes a second day …

This has been one of the hardest things for me to learn to do as a PM: pick up the phone pre-emptively and head things off at the pass.

When you know a call is going to be unpleasant, there are strong forces inside you pushing you not to make it — to practice Ostrich Management and stick your head in the sand. There’s always something else that needs doing, after all, so it’s easy to put off making the call.

But Peters is right — putting it off never, never, NEVER makes it better. It only makes things worse — which makes it harder to make the call — which makes things worse… and so on.

Learning how to suck it up, admit your mistakes, and face them early is something that anyone who wants to lead people would do well to do.