139. If you feel like you are spinning too many plates then this little tale might amuse you

In late November 2021 I had a most enjoyable day lined up with 3 meetings in the diary. Not the usual Covid fare of Zoom/Teams/Wonder but real, face to face ones.

And to complicate things they were in different locations. So the plan was this:

  • Coffee with Mike in Stroud (Sophie dropped me off)
  • Lift (with Mike) to Gloucester station to catch train to Bristol leaving only minutes to walk to …
  • Lunch in Bristol
  • Further meeting in Bristol
  • Train back to Stroud

Well, that was the plan and I thought I had lined up all ducks brilliantly. BUT I had not factored in the vagaries of the transport system and my inability to cope with more than one thing at a time.

The coffee with Mike went well (really great to catch up after such a long time) – tick!

Lift with Mike to Gloucester station – ditto and tick.

The “GWR apologise. The 11.45 to Bristol is delayed by 25 minutes” announcement was where the rot started to set in!

I resigned myself to being a bit late for that lunch – embarrassing enough to be late but hey-ho.

I was on the platform with time to burn and I decided to call an old friend who was about to have a pretty serious operation with a 2 to 3 weeks post op stay in hospital; he was unsure if he would be out of hospital in time to spend Christmas at home.

This call demanded my full attention – and I gave it (I know that because Gareth has since confirmed that he had no idea what was going on my end).

So what was going on??

Well, you will remember my train was running late and I was standing on the allocated platform. On the phone and fully engrossed I assumed that the next train to pitch up on the nominated platform would be my delayed train.

WRONG! It was a sunny day and the indicator board was at just the wrong angle from where I was standing so I just got on that next train, sat down and carried on my phone conversation.

My eyes did wander to the “next stop Cheltenham” strip at the end of the carriage – and for those of you not familiar with the area, Cheltenham is precisely the wrong way to go from Gloucester if you are aiming for Bristol!

Heart lurched, stomach went all butterflyey and the panic started to set in. Still Gareth maintains that he was none the wiser about my situation.

Well, there was not much I could do (other than to sit tight) for the next 15 minutes until the train pulled into Cheltenham.

That day there was clearly someone looking down on me and ten minutes after I had alighted at Cheltenham one of the (again delayed) trains to Bristol pulled in – this time it was the fast one with no stops; I jumped on board and actually arrived in Bristol within minutes of the time of the arrival of the train I should have originally caught from Gloucester.

So why did I even think of sharing this with you?

Three reasons:

  1. I thought you might like to draw something from someone else’s suffering (mine not Gareth’s, obviously)
  2. If you get dealt a rather poor set of cards – panicking rarely is the right reaction
  3. If you try and do too many things at once plates will break.

And since you have read this far, why not make the link between the final reason and how taking on a highly commercial part time Finance Director – Tectona’s of course – in your business can free you up to focus on the things that really matter to you. And help you avoid spinning too many plates and dropping some of them.

About Tectona

Tectona Partnership helps business owners sleep at night by embedding one of our 16 commercially minded finance directors in your management team. Very often, a part time solution is the most effective solution.

We make sure you have the necessary management information and strategic insight to make informed decisions and reduce risk; and we will absolutely tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it.

Posted in People and Leadership, Business Development.