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Lessons from delays and detours

I returned from Port Elizabeth where I facilitated the final regional event for Pitch and Polish. (Pitch and Polish is a one day event aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs learn to better pitch their business to investors.)

The final will be conducted in JHBG in November, and it will be interesting to see which regional winners progress to the final.

It was a privilege to facilitate three events in this, the 7th year of operating.

Travelling to and from a city does come with a few uncertainties. As example, both flights going to and from Port Elizabeth were delayed and required adjustment to new times and even new routes.

So a rather frustrating time…., but can one learn lessons in delays and detours?

I think the person who is either intra or entre-preneurially inclined can and should learn all the time.

Here are three things I learnt…

Detours are not necessarily bad

It seemed counter intuitive to travel 2500 km’s when we needed to travel 700 km’s. Yet the option of waiting at PE airport for the later flight (arriving in CT near 7pm) also carried a higher degree of uncertainty that it would leave on time. By rerouting with larger planes, we actually got to CT about an hour earlier than if we had waited at PE. My wife and I decided to see it as part of the journey, and that made quite a difference. Perhaps you are faced with a detour in your destination.  Detours are not necessarily fatal. Consider this apt quote by Winston Churchill- Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Decisiveness is an asset

The airport check in offices where we were to check in were manned by 6-7 people. There was an obvious problem with the flight, yet there was no communication by the staff with the growing line of passengers waiting to check in. Consequently, by the time passengers got to the counter and were informed of the downgrade of the aircraft (to a smaller aircraft), tempers were frazzled, frustration was heightened and interaction appeared inept. I wandered at the lack of decisiveness to communicate with the passengers; either through an announcement, or with one of the seven walking across to the line and speaking. There will be times when you need to respond to the curveball thrown to you. It is important to act with decisiveness and clarity, considering your customers/clients…..first.

Delays (and other obstacles) are part of the journey

Stephen Covey writes about the 90/10 principle. That is, life is 10 % what happens to you (like delayed flights) and 90% how you respond to what happens to you. The delay in the flight was beyond our control; but what was within my control was whether I would “throw my toys out the cot” or whether I would adjust to an unavoidable delay in a proactive way. I think we passed this test. How will you respond (not react!) to the next obstacle that comes to you as you focus on your goals and objectives?

Have a more resilient week ahead



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