February  2016     Edition 121
Open the door and let'em in

Remember Paul McCartney’s  “Let’em in”

Someone's knockin' at the door
Somebody's ringin' the bell
Someone's knockin' at the door
Somebody's ringin' the bell
Do me a favor,
Open the door and let 'em in 

You may have heard the expression, “Opportunity knocks”

. Opportunity knocks all
the time, but if you’re not prepared to open the door, then you’ll miss the opportunity,
i.e. you have to be listening and be ready for it.

Did this ever happen to you?

  You’re at a restaurant with a few others.  The server person comes over and says, “Are you ready to order?”.  Someone at the table says, “please give us a few more minutes”.   Next thing you know, the server is off busy with numerous other tables, and that “few minutes” turns into ten or fifteen minutes before the server comes back.   You missed the opportunity to get your meal quickly.  Opportunity knocked (the server was there), and you didn’t open the door (you were not ready).

Opportunity exists everywhere, but it doesn’t always knock very loud

.  Sometimes it might be a subtle suggestion from a customer about a capability or service they need.  It turns out that that little suggestion might end up to be a killer capability that all your customers need and no one is addressing.   Perhaps in a meeting, someone is thinking about an idea, but might be too intimidated to suggest it … yet that idea might be just the thing that addresses a huge issue.

Open the door before the knock!

  Create and environment and process that keeps a few doors open to capture opportunity as it comes along, even before or if it doesn’t knock. 

There are many critical thinking questions

 that you can ask in your business, in your job, in your home, to prepare for and ponder, “Opportunity”.   Here are a few …

- What are the key indicators you can use to determine if opportunity is knocking at your door?
- How would you evaluate a knock as an opportunity or some doomed to fail idea, or even a scam?
- How can you seek out opportunities that are knocking very softly or on someone else’s door, or not yet knocking?
- How does the opportunity fit within or change your strategy?

-  [This is a really big one!]

Is the opportunity time dependent,

i.e. if you miss it, it won’t knock again.

- What’s the probability you can succeed in the opportunity and how would you increase the odds?
- There are more opportunities than time for them, so how would you evaluate why you would invest the time, energy, people, and money in one opportunity verses another.

- Opportunity usually introduces change. 

What might change and how will you deal with that?
- Are you prepared to endure the hard work, and invest in the time, money, and people that might be required to take advantage of an opportunity?
- What if you don’t open the door, i.e. stay the status quo?

Generate your own list of questions

 … Practice on these problems;
- Oil is down to $30 a barrel .. that’s a very hard knock.  What opportunities exist?
- You’re approached to do a little volunteer work for Food for the Hungry.
- One of your associates says they think they found a way to reduce costs by 10%.
- You sent out a survey to your customers and it generated 2,700 suggestions.
- You’re single, on a bus, talking to the person of your dreams … and the stop for your job interview is the next one.
- You get a call offering you a free 7 day cruise around Hawaii
- You get an email from a friend about a job opening that sounds pretty good, but you’re reasonably content in your current job.

The Takeaway:
  There’s always opportunity.  Sometimes it knocks hard, sometimes softly, sometimes it doesn’t knock at all.   In every case, you won’t have the opportunity unless you listening for it or seek it out,  and have a way to evaluate it.  Don’t forget the clock … opportunity doesn’t wait forever!

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