Eric, Safety Director at MEI Group, one of the largest excavation and heavy civil contractors in the Portland area, told Session 3B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"In the winter of 2015, I was only a few months into my new job with a local shoring, trench, and safety equipment rental company. My boss asked me to cover his territory while he was on vacation. It was your typical Oregon winter day: cold, wet, and muddy . . . Did I mention wet?
"I spent the day in the Salem area visiting customer's offices and project sites. I had the mud on my boots to prove it. Overall, it was a successful day. The time had come, and I was ready to hit the freeway back north to Portland. My route took me by one last Salem contractor's office. I considered stopping, but didn't because I remembered my boss telling me, ‘Don't bother with them, we will never get their business.' Initially I listened.
"Then I thought, 'Heck with it,' made a U-turn, went back, and pulled into their parking lot. My timing couldn't have been more perfect, their top decision maker happened to be in the office. I introduced myself. When he told me his name, it sounded familiar, but I'd never met him before. I said, ‘I have a really good friend with the same last name as yours.'
It turned out he was the brother of one of my closest friends! I made the connection, and we had a quick conversation. I left my card and in the coming weeks, I managed to turn 100% of their business away from our competition and over to us.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is not to be too comfortable when I have every excuse to take the path of least resistance.
"The action I call you to take is embrace one more time the last-minute risk. Knock on the door and ask one more time.
"The benefit you will gain is your own personal growth that taking risks brings. Doors will swing open wide and you will win."
Can you think of a time in your life when you didn't ask, didn't "knock on one more door" because someone had told you, "That's hopeless, don't bother?" Truth be told, most of us have passed by countless doors to opportunity because someone told us it couldn't be done. Today is your day to make a U-turn, knock on one more door. Ask once again. Be curious and persistent in your pursuit of better ways to be of service.
Larry W. Dennis, Sr. is available for private, in-company leadership development programs.
Please contact Larry at 503-329-4519 or Larry@turbols.com for more information.
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems