Good intentions are probably the most useless excuse we offer for not doing the right thing. The fact that I planned on knuckling down and getting through most of my to-do list today is worth absolutely nothing on the open market. The only thing that counts is that I have three days left to finish the rest of the list, and I have no choice, regardless of my intentions.
Another thing I get no credit for is working half a day Sunday to try to get ahead. All that got me was further behind, because the Boss found all my notes on his fax machine this morning and started generating questions, amplifications and corrections. I would have done better to save the work for today, because I was redoing a lot of it all day anyway.
I shouldn't complain, though. When the phone calls were coming one after another this afternoon, and I was answering all the questions by telling the Boss what he wanted to hear (which by sheer coincidence was also the truth), I scored some points. I even made the Boss look good by turning his compliments back on him.
It works like this. He tells me what a great job I'm doing, and how he's never had a cost reporting system as thorough and reliable as mine in all the years he's been in contracting. Then I tell him that I just refined the system he started, and that it's after thirty years he finally knows what he wants. All I do is follow orders.
That's a slight exaggeration, of course, but the more I convince him that we're doing it together, the more likely he is to think he needs me. And that, in the end, is the secret to a successful business relationship— people giving each other what they need. I think it might even be true of personal relationships, but things get a little cloudier when we move into that arena.