Europa was distraught. “The customer never called me back to place an order. Now I’ll never meet my quarterly numbers!” She’s working in the outbound sales division of Green Growing Things, selling Ficus trees to local businesses to help spruce up their environment. (Get it? Ficus trees? Spruce? Sometimes I’m so funny I can hardly stand it.)
She’s doing great on her outbound call volume. With the help of her cybernetic son, Thomas, she’s managing over 100 phone calls per hour. But customers aren’t calling back to place orders.
This happens all the time. A co-worker promises to get you information you need. A significant shmoopie promises to drop off the leather-and-lace feather duster assortment you ordered from Restoration Hardware. Then they don’t deliver, and you’re left with a dusty living room..
We could get so much done in life if it weren’t for those pesky people who don’t get stuff done. Sure, in an ideal world, we would have a device that lets us take over their minds and turn them into mere instruments for carrying out our will, but as I lament more and more often these days, this isn’t an ideal world.
If they won’t move things forward, there’s only one person left to do it: you. You’re going to start taking matters into your own hands because, seriously, who wants to spend a lifetime waiting for other people to stand up and deliver?
Take Control of the Conversation
Whenever you’re dealing with another human being, mentally take control of the relationship. I don’t mean in the stiletto-heels-and-whips sort of way (how does anyone walk in stilettos, anyway?), but in the keep-things-moving-along way. Eliminate any expectations you have that they’ll pull their own weight in moving things along. That way, they won’t have the chance to cruelly reject you.
I was a popular child. The other kids always invited me to play with them (if by “invited,” you mean they ran in the other direction, called me names, threw rocks at me, and cruelly rejected me). I quickly learned that if I waited in my bedroom for the phone to ring it never would — this was back when phones were still physically attached to the wall. So I had to resort to picking it up and inviting them to my social events.