It is amazing how much things can change in a minute, in an hour, in a week. What was once so predictable can become a raging inferno within a matter of moments and this was proven yet again these past few weeks with the events as they have transpired in Egypt.
Now I am not going to spend any time debating the politics of the region or defending one side’s position over another. As we have discussed before, I am an historian, not a politician. Foreign policy, international affairs, the national debt, these are things which are far above my pay grade. Don’t hold it against me when you go to the polls on Election Day 2012, but I am at a sore disadvantage when it comes to those issues. Actually, to be blunt– I am only qualified to be President in one respect. I would do a hell of a job throwing out the first pitch.
But that is neither here nor there. What I did want to discuss, however, is the unenviable position in which President Obama finds himself; the same position in which we all find ourselves at any given time. While any one of us would love to yell at the top of our lungs that the problem was not of our creation, we still need to address it and remedy it.
The wheels of unrest in Egypt were set in motion years ago, long before President Obama had even given thought to running for public office. Just like the U.S. support for Japan in the early 1900s and for Castro in the 1950s backfired mightily, so too does the U.S. support for Egypt in the 1980s suggest that the ramifications are far from defined.
So President Obama is left holding the bag. I’ve been there, haven’t you? Clients come to you with baggage; significant others come to you with baggage; partners come to you with baggage. While we may want to do so, we just can’t run away. But man are we playing at a huge disadvantage!
No matter how much we may investigate, we will never know all of the facts and that unsteady feeling in the gut is warranted. Not only that, but the client with the baggage has animosity that was built up long before you got involved. They came to you for a reason, whether it be dissatisfaction with their prior broker, “unacceptable” losses to their portfolio, or a bitter divorce. Even though you weren’t there, had nothing to do with the previous disaster, you will be the focus of the ire. And they don’t have time for you to try to figure it out; they want answers now.
Here is an example– a client came to me after he had already been represented by three other attorneys. By the time I came on board, the litigation was in full swing and the snowball rolling downhill was unstoppable. The client was going to lose and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
I wanted to scream that it wasn’t my fault; that I hadn’t caused the problem, I didn’t set the wheels in motion. Of course I couldn’t do that. So when it went bad, as I had predicted, I was left holding the bag, and I was the one who received the full onslaught of the anger.
So what do we do about it? Do we hide our head in the sand and keep or eyes closed and hope that the bad stuff just passes by without anyone noticing? I wish I knew the answer because it happens a lot. Only those rare relationships last for years on end. Clients come and go, business partners come and go, romantic relationships come and go. There is no such thing as loyalty anymore, our clients are constantly looking for the next big thing and will jump at all opportunities, especially if they think that their service provider is failing in some way. I like to think that I am different, that the service and dedication that I provide to my clients will be enough to keep my clients loyal. It is a pipe dream. I know it; you know it. Sometimes all it takes is a little adversity and the client is out the door.
No one likes to point fingers. What was the phrase? When you point your finger, three more point right back at you? Come on, no one wants to be a tattletale, to blame someone else. But this is war, isn’t it? Business is war, life is war. We talked about trust last week. Do you trust that others are looking out for you? Do you honestly believe that when your client seeks professional service from someone else, that the someone else isn’t looking for things that you did wrong? I am looking out for #1 and that is that.
We all have to grow up and this is my growing up party. Sometimes playing fair and taking the high road does no good. Claim what is yours and call it like you see it. If someone else did a poor job before you got there, shout it out.
Of course, President Roosevelt couldn’t announce to the world that the attack by the Japanese at the start of World War II was the former President Roosevelt’s fault, but President Obama could certainly call into question the actions of his predecessors, couldn’t he?
This subject I could go on for longer, but I won’t because I may get myself too worked up about it. 😉 But I am open to suggestions. We can’t always avoid these situations, but who wants to be left holding the bag when the music stops?
Have a great week, and if you don’t have a great week, it is because of what that other guy did last week. It isn’t my fault…