I have heard it said that other people often notice our qualities before we do. The story of how the COO’s Bulldog name came about may be a case in point. When a former client of mine was giving a reference, he answered two questions about me in a curious way according to the person seeking the reference. When asked about positive aspects, the former client answered, “Kevin is a bulldog, he puts his teeth into a problem and doesn’t let go until it is fixed.” When asked if there were any downside, the former client answered, “Kevin is a bulldog, he puts his teeth into a problem and doesn’t let go until it is fixed.”
Now, I would not be honest if I did not admit that I have a certain stubborn streak as described by my former client. Honesty also has me admit that without a lot of experience and several great mentors over the years, I have honed a natural stubbornness into an attitude about business that has been very useful over the years. Here are four things that I have learned over the years of being a bulldog.
Know what is important
Whether you are taking up your personal goals and objectives or those of a large corporation, you must know what is important in order to achieve those objectives. In particular, it is important to know what your part is in achieving the objective. If you are a business owner or executive, you must also understand the proper level of involvement. Even in a small company, jumping in too low a level to micro-manage will be counter productive. A key personal response to watch out for is the temptation to “Just do it myself!” That is usually the sign that someone else has not received enough information or training.
Resist the temptation to be distracted
Novelty is enjoyable, especially when you are trying to concentrate on something that is important and perhaps difficult, or that may take a great deal of concentration. The presence of the Internet on our computers makes the challenge even greater. I have found that working at a measured pace helps to overcome distraction. In addition, when you are searching for the root cause of a problem, do not create a false finish line by saying that you must be done by a certain time. Problem solving may take longer than you originally thought and by being prepared for that you can reduce outside distraction.
Trust your experience and instinct
After a couple of years in the Real Estate profession, I developed a little voice that would say to me. “Be careful, you could have a problem with this!” It often came to me at times when I was making a decision based on the feeling best expressed as “Nah, that could never happen!” Problem was it often did. I soon learned to listen to that little voice and take it into consideration. I’d like to believe that in addition to gray hair, experience can lend a bit of wisdom.
Don’t be afraid to speak the truth plainly
This is the most difficult part of being a bulldog. Not everyone that you run into is willing to listen to the truth plainly. Some people are easily hurt or insulted when they hear the truth. This I understand. That is why I am always willing to take the blame for any upset that I cause by speaking plainly. An apology goes a long way. Also recall that the purpose of speaking the truth plainly is to improve a situation or solve a problem. You should always speak the truth with that spirit, not one of trying to get at someone for other reasons.
Not everyone is a bulldog, but for those of us that are stay focused on what is important and bulldog away!!