Picture this scene: You walk up to your car parked along a New York City street and there – tucked neatly under the windshield wiper arm – sits a fresh parking ticket, compliments of New York’s Finest.
There are now a few options for you to consider.
1. Just pay it immediately and view it as a gift to The Big Apple.
2. Stash the ticket in a drawer and hope it magically disappears.
3. Post it on eBay and ask a complete stranger to pay it for you.
You probably never thought of posting a parking ticket on eBay, right?
Well, a fellow living in England did just that, hoping that his sob story would get it paid. Posting his £65 (valued at approximately $100) ticket, a man named David Fern acknowledged he was at fault, but stated his hope that someone in a better financial state could relieve him of the fine and “smile for several days knowing they did a great thing.”
His ticket was paid in full. He saved himself a couple of bucks. And his story even ended up in The Huffington Post. Talk about the amazing powers of unconventional marketing.
Sadly, one of my close business associates didn’t get that lucky. Having received a few parking tickets, he put them in a pile on his desk, made a mental note to eventually fight them the following week, and promptly forgot about it.
Until the NYPD towed his car this week.
While he quickly learned a powerful lesson about the importance of paying parking tickets promptly, I believe we can all derive an even greater insight about how most businesspeople think.
As a general rule, humans dislike having to deal with difficult situations. They’ll stall for as long as possible and try to continuously push it off, hoping the challenge will somehow go away. But it won’t. The problem will stay and fester and grow bigger by the week until it completely escalates out of control.
But it gets even worse.
When folks do get around to dealing with the problem, they almost won’t recognize it – because it completely changed. The problem has become significantly more complex. It’s now even harder to fix and will take much longer to resolve.
Just ask my business associate. He could’ve dealt with the situation swiftly and paid the tickets online in a matter of minutes. Naturally, he didn’t. So he ended up paying the ticket fines, towing fees, impound lot storage fees and vehicle release fees – at a cost that was triple the amount of the original tickets issued.
It’s obvious that there are some simple, yet valuable, Ptex Practical Pointers to be gleaned from this true tale that can be easily applied to both business and life. Here they are:
Identify First: Embrace those challenges. A challenge is a logical cause or effect which creates a specific situation. Put on your thinking cap to identify challenges – there may be many. Write down your findings on a single piece of paper and use it as a reference point when embarking on the next step.
Strategize Second: Create solutions that directly address the key challenge (e.g. “how might we…”) and the purpose (e.g. “so that…”). Plan who will implement the solution, what will be done, how it will work and why it is considered a good idea.
Act Third: Evaluate which challenges must be tackled first and apply the criteria established in the previous two steps in designated phases; create timeframes to serve as benchmarks and review progress frequently to determine whether the execution is being implemented efficiently.
The common denominator here is that you’ve got to look a challenge right in the eye and destroy it… before it attempts doing so to you.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you about one more very relevant topic. If you have unpaid New York City parking tickets, better click on the link below to pay them right now.
I promise you this much – you’ll thank me that you did.
Onward and upward,
P.S. Do you have a system in place to ensure that challenges occurring in your business don’t get swept under the rug? I’d really appreciate if you’d send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and fill me in on the details.