Have you ever worked hard to get a relationship started and finally realized that it was never going to work?
This can happen when choosing a client, a friend, a vendor, or an employee. If there are glitches at the beginning, there will be glitches all along the way.
A few years ago, I was building my Tree House group for independent professionals. One of my members nominated a candidate for the group. I contacted the candidate and it seemed like a great fit, so we agreed to meet a few days later. The day of the meeting, I got an email from the candidate asking to reschedule. When we finally met, he told me that the reason for the reschedule was that he wanted to be at his daughter’s softball game.
I am all for supporting family events, and I admired his commitment to his daughter. But a red flag popped up. Could he have known about that game when we made the original appointment? Was this an isolated event or does he break other commitments? We had a good meeting and agreed to do some thinking and get back together to make a final decision about whether I would invite him to join the Tree House group. We set a date for that follow-up meeting.
Guess what happened. Yup, he emailed to request a reschedule.
With that second-in-a-row request for a reschedule I made up my mind. He would not be a good fit for the group due to his inability to make and keep commitments on a regular basis.
This lesson has come hard for me. There have been many times that I thought that “things would change” later. But I know now that it rarely does.
The way it begins is the way it goes.
The lesson here for independent professionals is to know what kinds of clients, vendors, or even friends will be best for you, and be selective. If you see indications of a bad fit, do not ignore those red flags. Drill down to see more. The problems that you accept at the beginning will only rub and rub against you as you go forward.
I would be interested in your comments about your own experiences with this dilemma.