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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The cost of carelessness and haste

This morning, I distributed the Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter in haste.

This has proven costly and embarrassing, with my announcing an ill-designed "course" in construction marketing before it really is ready for prime time, and (worse) my decision to post a link to someone else's worthy contribution without giving the contributor a heads up and verifying it would be okay to publicize the news. (I won't add to the problem here by identifying this person, whose intents are honorable and who I will do my best to make up the damage in the days ahead.)

The newsletter had other stylistic and systematic problems, which I burdened on 5,000 or so readers. I could have avoided these problems by simply allowing an extra day to review the newsletter, "sleep on it" and verify essential information.

The less-than-perfect newsletter, not surprisingly, attracted several "please remove from list" notifications through Constant Contact (these readers, indeed, will not be bothered again) and the less-than-warm and fuzzy email from Arthur T. House, who succinctly wrote: "You are an idiot."

House, of course, might have thought more carefully before sending the email to someone who publishes a blog with a relatively high Google search ranking. In follow-up correspondence, I told him his posting would remain in place. It is a reminder of my own folly -- and the dangers of acting in haste. (House was right, to some extent. In rushing the newsletter to distribution, I failed the basic test of thoughtfulness and organization -- so the word "idiot" is not entirely inappropriate.)

I realize sometimes we need to make decisions quickly, and procrastination in the name of perfection is rarely wise. But there is also something to be said for allowing enough time to think about what you are doing before doing anything, to build a little extra time in your schedule so you can review and practice your presentations and copy-read your marketing materials, and (most importantly) you will almost always be wisest to wait a day (or at least a few hours) before sending any emotional-laden emails.

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