Wake Me When There's Coffee

Let’s talk mornings. 

There’s a bunch of you out there. You know who you are. You’re the ones who greet us first thing in the morning all chipper and peppy. You walk in and tell us how you’ve already spent one hour on the treadmill; you’ve already had a hearty breakfast; you’ve already gotten the kids off to school and the spouse off to work and cleaned the house, walked the dog, shampooed the carpet, repainted the living room; you’ve already stopped on the way into work to help direct traffic around a horrible accident, get a kitten out of a tree, help an old lady across the street, change a flat tire for an old man on the side of the road; and, as soon as you walked in the door, you already said happy birthday to the 2.3% of employees who had birthdays on this date. You enter singing, whistling, smiling, dancing, grinning, and greeting the day/the sun/the clouds/the rain/the snow/the hail/the tornadoes/the thunderstorms/the tsunamis/the end of the world with a chipper “Hidey Ho” and “How ya doing.”
 
You are the morning people.
 
And the rest of us want to kill you. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that we want to personally take each and every one of you and make you choke on the bubbles of your happiness. The only thing that ever saves you is that there is not enough caffeine in the world to provide us the energy necessary to take on such a cathartic task first thing in the morning.
 
And so, with insufficient energy to properly respond, we have just one thing to say. Please go away. (Except we don’t really mean “please” and we have some other words we would like to add.)
 
Yes, I know we irritate you just as much. I know you want to hit the ground running, keep the morning from slipping away, make hay while the coffee shines, get to work at the crack of first office-light, quit burning daylight, get us slug-a-beds moving, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.   And you feel our lethargic greetings and moans of discomfort are mere distractions from tackling things head on and using every moment that has been given us.
 
And to us you want to say, “Please quit moaning and let’s get started”. (And, because you are in a better mood – it being morning and all – you are more likely to use “please” and less likely to use some of the epithets we others are fond of… but you still think them just the same.)
 
And so the world is split between the Morning People and the Not Morning People. (Yes, we could further sub-divide the Not Morning People into the Afternoon People and the Evening People and the Night People – but the real battle in the business world is between those who need a jump start and those who wake up just too dang happy.) It is a divide much greater than that of the political spectrum – it is two sets of people coming at life from different perspectives. And, it is people who, if they are paying close attention, are able to take advantage of the others because of awakeness, alertness, and awareness.
 
But we are auditors (he said in an attempt to make this relevant), and we have to come to grips with what our customers want. And so, I may not be a morning person, but if that executive with whom I’m meeting is, then I have to gear up for an alertness with which I may not normally greet the morning. And if you are a morning person trying to force a morning meeting on a customer who greets the a.m. with all the excitement of a vegetarian staring at a steak sandwich – then you are already off to a bad start. (If you insist on the early morning meeting, whatever you do, do not start it off by talking about how beautiful the morning is.)
 
Because, the customer is always right. And if we are going to deal with customers of all types, we have to be sure we’ve adapted to them – to their styles and their preferences and their wants. Because, audit charter aside, we are selling to them. And you want that customer – the sellee – to like the way you come to them. Adversarial roles have developed from far more minor considerations than one person’s opinion about the morning.
 
And, you know, while I’m at it, let me throw in another couple of points.
 
If you are on the right coast, there are a number of us who do not wake up until 6 am. So when it is 9 am for you, we are not awake yet.
 
And for those of you on the left coast – your 4 pm meeting is cutting into my nightlife
 
And let’s not even talk about trying to coordinate a nation-wide meeting around everyone’s lunch schedules.
 
And let’s not even talk about the auditor in Australia trying to talk to the auditors in Europe trying to talk to the auditors in the States.
 
The moral of the story? Pay attention to the person you are working with – know their style, know their location, and know their schedule. And remember that the audit customer is always right
 
(And, yes, this was really just an excuse to complain about Morning People. Note that this blog was completed at 10 o’clock at night.)

 

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 by Mike Jacka

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  1. So true! I would add just one more thing: know (and try to understand) cultural differences, as well...

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