You may be all dressed up and ready for Christmas and New Year. Although Christmas is still a few weeks away, several of us were lamenting at our last Chamber event that Perth has a deferral mentality when it comes to so much of business throughout the year.

“Oh, I’ve got so much on in the lead-up to Christmas!” comes the refrain earlier and earlier.

It seems as though it starts in October now, with client and work “Christmas” events happening even in early November in order to “beat the rush.” And then there’s Australia Day, and, oh, Easter and ANZAC Day of course, and all of the kids and grandkids’ holidays in between, and then there’s stocktake and end of financial year and then tax returns and the AGM and before you know it, there’s still “no time” – just about two sets of 3-week periods per annum where anything gets done.

At this time of year, it can be like pulling teeth to get anyone to engage in business, unless they’re buying gifts and eating out, when what you need is for them to use those choppers to take the bit and run.

While I could address strategies to work with that, I’d rather note what we did at the table: This mentality is not common around the world. I’ve lived and worked in countries where they barely skip a beat, even when they have to slog through snow drifts two metres high and kilometres long, to keep on working, negotiating and “hustling” at this time of year. And that’s despite the mega-productions they make around Christmas and New Years (don’t even start with Halloween, Thanksgiving, other public holidays).

A contact was recently informing me about how they were forming business relationships in China and during discussions at a restaurant mentioned that certain parts would take up to 6 months to procure (in Australia).

“What do you mean 6 months?!” said the Chinese. They escorted my colleagues to the bar and returned to the table less than an hour later where the parts were now waiting for them. “Hungry” doesn’t begin to cover it.

I spoke with prospective clients just last week about a critical project they thought might take up to 3-4 months.

“No, I’m working on 6-8 weeks from commencement, 4-6 all going well over Christmas and New Years with staff holidays,” I replied. 4-5 months would be what they’d get with a “Set and forget” program with a disenterested set of consultants from one of the Big 4. The entire committee literally sighed with relief. “That would be fantastic”, was their reply, “What are our next steps? How do we get started?”

There are summer holidays, trips, family, religious commitments, shopping, parties, outings, relaxation, etc. etc. etc. for us all in one of the most enviable spots on the planet, but if we defer everything the world will leave us for dead like a burned-out crab at the beach on a hot summer’s day, boiled in its own cozy shell.

Get all dressed up and have somewhere to actually go.

© 2019 Peter J. McLean

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