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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Talking Too Much and Not Achieving Enough? Elvis Got It Right!

In 1968 (and that is 47 years ago) a certain Elvis Presley recorded a song that said:

"A little less conversation, a little more action"

I can't really believe that he recorded this epic as an exhortation to those of us in business but the result is the same.

With some signs of despair knowing that the General Election isn't until May, I hear politicians of all shades ignoring the question asked of them and giving a totally irrelevant answer.

Remember those excellent training videos featuring John Cleese and "Meetings, Bloody Meetings" in particular?

There are meetings with people in business for whom the Elvis song has or certainly should have some resonance.

It used to be called waffle, which meant that it involved vast tracts of epic prose that was both totally meaningless and/ completely irrelevant.

Sadly it hasn't gone away and is still to be found, living happily in many a meeting or discussion in business.

I had a consultancy client who committed the basic error of encouraging his PA to run his diary for him.

With great enthusiasm she booked him into just about every meeting that was scheduled with the result that he was completely overloaded with useless information and didn't have time for anything else.

Listening to some people we can wonder how on earth they can ever achieve anything as most of their waking hours are taken up with "stuff" rather than information leading to action.

And that is the key to the problem.

Talk is cheap and there are people who live by talking. Sadly we seem to employ some if them.

Another of my clients in a professional practice constantly had problems with a very senior member of his team.

He was a ferocious networker and seemed to spend all his waking hours "building relationships".    All very admirable but very little business resulted from all the effort.

I am constantly surprised by the number of times I have heard the complaint that the sales people are great at the relationships but they don't seem to be able to close the business.

It's quite simple really. It us just a matter of asking for the order.  Simple it may be but it is the key to success in any business.

It is all very well talking the talk but in the end the measure of success in business is what action can be or has been implemented.

Many years ago I was involved in a business, fashionable at the time, which operated by stripping the assets out an acquired business and then using them to fund further acquisitions.

I well remember my first experience of a board meeting where there was a minimum of discussion followed by the minutes which laid down the action to be taken, by whom and by when.

Make no mistake, everyone listed for action had to report results at the next meeting and that was a daunting prospect for some.

There is an old joke about a woman who married three times and remained a virgin.

The first time, she and her new husband retired to the bedroom when the police arrived, charged him with murder and she never saw him again

The second time she and her husband went to the bedroom where he took his clothes off, she took her clothes off, he put her clothes on and disappeared for ever.

The third time she married an advertising executive who just sat on the edge of the bed all night and told her how wonderful it was going to be.

It's always the measurable actions that count and lead on to success.

Elvis got it right:

      "A little less conversation, a little more action"

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