Procrastination Hurt Me And My Team

Overcoming Procrastination

It was shaping up to be a nice Friday. I didn’t have any emergency work calls and was looking forward to the weekend. Late in the afternoon, my manager calls me. “You got a low customer survey score.” “What?” I couldn’t believe my ears. I pride myself in providing great customer service. I had won a service award recognizing just that. “How is this possible?” “Do you remember helping Mr. Donovan?” Then it hit me like a shot to the solar plexus.

A week and a half ago, I got a request from Mr. Donovan. “Please help me download and install a free Halloween screensaver.” I had more pressing issues to deal with so I blew it off. I had a bad feeling about helping someone install a customized screensaver. I kept putting this request on the backburner. A few days ago, I was in his area and helped him download the screensaver installer. A few hours later, he emailed saying that he did not have enough rights to install. A day later, I remotely helped him install it. There were many warning signs. I convinced myself that if I go out of my way to help him, nothing bad will come out of this. How wrong I was.

My manager reminded me that it was against company policy to install custom screensavers. In hindsight, if I had just pushed back and told Mr. Donovan that, the low survey score would not have happened. I wasn’t 100% sure, but I could have discussed the request with my manager which would have led to the same alternate ending. I mistakenly thought, if I jump through hoops for this very minor request, Mr. Donovan would appreciate my effort and overlook the length of time for the task. My manager added, “You’re too nice.”

I thought about it for a second. My niceness didn’t totally get me in trouble. I procrastinated rather than deny someone’s request. I didn’t call for help when I was unsure. I couldn’t say no and wanted my customer to like me. I assumed my customer has the same mindset, priorities, and reactions to delays like me. I thought my charm and going through many hoops for a request would be enough.

Here’s the kicker. After hearing my side of the story, my manager gave me more bad news. Low survey scores negatively impact my department’s merit based annual raises. I was floored. I can accept my raise taking a hit. But I felt really guilty for my entire department getting penalized for my mistake. “There’s got to be a way to appeal this. Can’t we call for a review?” My manager said it’s done. At the end of the year, the CFO uses a pre determined algorithm. My manager sensed my guilt and tried to make me feel better by mentioning that we don’t get too many low scores and it should get offset by the many positive survey scores we get. I learned a very valuable and expensive lesson today. Don’t procrastinate because it can come back to get you.

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2 Responses

  1. Interesting story. When I put off a task I usually end up really putting it off for quite a long time. However with relating to work if I delay something I usually try to delay something regarding my tasks and not something related to my employees or customers. It’s interesting how everyone has their own timeline as to how things should be done and at what time. Sometimes it is okay to say no or to delay things because the most important things need to be done first, not what we think needs to be done first. Thanks for sharing.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Thanks for sharing and the advice Lance! I have a hard time saying no, but I need to better manage blowing off customers for what I think is non-critical requests. A good reminder to better communicate. Thanks again!

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