(For over 15 years Harding & Company has helped hundreds of professionals make the transition from doing and managing client worked selling it. Among our duties is helping the people we work with recognize it when they are avoiding the hard work on developing relationships and generating leads. This is the first of a series of posts on the most popular avoidance tactics.)
Time shortage is a real problem. It becomes an avoidance tactic when you book yourself so full of other activities that there is no time left make calls and having meetings. People who use this tactic never say no to additional client work or to requests for help on internal projects. They protest that it is impossible to say no and impossible for them to delegate any of their work to subordinates. Yet, others we work within the same firms do both.
If you think you may be falling into this trap, remember that if, five years from today, you are doing exactly the same type and mix of work you are doing today, your career is stalled. Selectively, you must say no and in the overwhelming majority of firms you can, if you can legitimately claim that saying yes will reduce your business development efforts. For that claim to be accepted as legitimate, you must demonstrate call and meeting discipline.
If you never delegate, you’re holding both yourself and your subordinates back. No matter how you feel about it, eventually firm management and your subordinates will recognize this fact, placing you at a vice.
At some future time, when promotion or retaining your job depends on your success at business development, your arguments that you did not have time for it will not help you.