Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

The cost of inactivity and doubt

In viewing the responses and feedback to my, “Let’s have some fun, and see who’s paying attention… post on Thursday, it has been quite an interesting and educational experience.  First, thank you to all of you for the great comments and feedback regarding the Blog, the team, etc.  I am very glad they have been helpful and we look forward to providing even more in the near and distant future.  Now for the point of this post…  I think David Schrag, who sent in his entry to the contest 7 1/2 hours after my post sums it up the best in his response, “Probably too late, but what the hell…”

For those of you who know David, he doesn’t fit neatly into either the “Glass is 1/2 empty” (pessimist) or “Glass is 1/2 full” (optimist) camp.  David often has his own camp, “The glass is 1/2 empty and the reason it is 1/2 empty is because someone intentionally drained 1/2 of it and is planning to drown me with that other 1/2 while I am distracted by looking at the glass and explaining to all of you why it is obviously 1/2 empty and not 1/2 full.” (paranoid pessimist)  (Sorry, David, couldn’t resist)  But the irony is, David is actually 100% dead on in his contest entry!  By all practical purposes, based on the number of times the post had been read at that time, there is no way David should have made it into the to 50 with a submission 7 1/2 hours after the post.  In fact, he shouldn’t have been in the top 500 or even top 1,000 entries.  But guess what?  David came in at number 49.  Know why?  Because he did something many people did not.  He acted in a situation of doubt.

I know, we’re talking about a simple contest here and it’s only a small prize as a token of appreciation, but how many times do people look at something and say to themselves, “I’m sure it’s too late,” or “I’m sure it’s been tried,” and then they do nothing?  How many of you are reading this, knowing that you read the post on Thursday far earlier than David but you said to yourself, “I’m sure it’s too late,” and didn’t submit your entry?  How many times in business or your daily life do you hear yourself or others say the same thing, “I’m sure it’s too late,” or “I’m sure it’s been tried,” and then they do nothing?  That’s my point.  Sometimes giving something a try, even though it might be too late or might have been tried can pay off.

I know when I started my business and started calling on clients, do you think I was the first one to offer them Microsoft, Lotus, or Novell software?  No.  What would that have cost me if I hadn’t tried anyway?  Several years ago when we started the Small Business pilot program in our Midwest Area, Microsoft had already been in business for over 25 years.  Don’t you think someone said, “I’m sure it’s been done before,” or “It’s too late to start that now,” after all that time?  What would that have cost Microsoft if they hadn’t tried anyway?  How many of you are sports fans and seen a game or event where everyone was sure the game was over and it was too late for the other team, only to find out that after you turned the game off or left the stadium that you missed “one of the greatest comebacks of all time?”  What would it have cost you to watch the end?  How many great things have been invented after everyone other than the inventor wrote off the idea as ludicrous or a waste of time?  What would this have cost mankind if they hadn’t tried anyway?

So I offer this thought to all…  Next time you catch yourself or someone else saying, “There’s no point in trying since I’m sure it’s too late,” or something similar, ask yourself, are you really “SURE” it’s too late or is it that it “MIGHT” be too late and you simply need to make a choice whether to try or not?  If it is the latter, ask yourself, what would it really cost you to try and conversely, what might it cost you if you don’t?  Maybe, instead of just saying, “Probably too late,” and quitting, take that extra step like David and say, “Probably too late, but what the hell…” and give it a shot.  Just some food for thought…

Kudos to David for his decision to give it a shot anyway and congratulations to all of you, including David, who made the decision to actually take the extra minute to submit your entry and were included in the first 50 respondents.  Also, thank you to everyone who submitted an entry, I truly appreciate your continued participation in the Community and have enjoyed reading the comments and feedback you have been including with your entries.  Who knows, maybe we’ll have to try something like this again in the future.  🙂

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights

Digg ThisStumble This Add to Technorati Favorites