The publishing industry might be steeped in old traditions, but I have to admit that they do one thing right: You get one shot at submitting and if you don’t follow the instructions to the letter, you’re outta there. It started with mainstream publishing and it’s a standard that the epublishers and self publishers continue to carry forward as books go digital. They won’t even read your submission. And there are no “do overs,” either. If you clean it up and resubmit, you’re going to get ignored at best and a note saying “we already rejected this” at best. You have one shot and if you get cheeky and decide to do it your own way, you’re done.
It used to be the way it was in more industries than that. I remember filling out my college application with extreme caution because it had to be “just right” and scratch outs weren’t allowed. In fact, I did it right and my parents and I were still concerned that there might be some chance things would go awry despite our best efforts to get it right. The University was so strict on adherence to the rules that I was paranoid I might have missed something. Like the publishing industry, following the instructions was their first screening process. If you couldn’t do that, then it was clear to them that you didn’t belong there, and they didn’t waste any more time on you.
Somewhere along the line that changed, and I’m not sure how or why. No doubt, enough people crying “everybody makes mistakes and needs a second chance!” probably had something to do with it. The problem is that too many places have become patient to these indiscretions, and the standard is dropping. In fact, people are now blatantly ignoring the parts of the instructions they don’t like based on the “oops” argument (oops, was that there? Didn’t think you’d notice that I just skipped it. I mean, honest mistake. I’ll do over and it’s alright).
Now don’t get me wrong. God knows people are perfect and we all need second chances. The problem is that people are taking advantage of those second chances by trying to manipulate them into what they want things to be instead of what they are, and that’s not excusable under any circumstances. Here’s an example: Over the past month, I’ve returned an average of three things per week due to failure to follow instructions. The problem is, in every case I know they did read the directions. They followed every one of them; except the ones they didn’t like. The “oops” argument was applied to the more detailed parts that people were just too lazy to do it right the first time, and they thought I wouldn’t notice. They didn’t realize that if it’s a top requirement in bold red print, then I will notice. And furthermore, it’s my duty as the gatekeeper to pick it apart before it’s allowed to go any further. Those instructions are based on what the people actually making the decisions need in order to do things right. If you skip things, then it can go no further. They delayed themselves because the request for further action means that things won’t be able to move anywhere from here until they do it right, and in some cases that’s going to mean a potential delay of months due to schedules and upcoming deadlines for other things that will have to take precedence. That’s sad too, because it’s not necessary. That time could have been better spent doing it right the first time. And, of course, it casts doubt in my mind because if they want to cut corners here, then are they serious in doing what they’re applying to do right? It causes question to their standards in places where that attentiveness could be critical to the safety of a lot of people.
I’m not saying this is a model that needs to be applied everywhere, but I certainly believe it should be applied more places, and it needs to be taught early, while children are in school. Because when you know that you’ve got one shot to get what you want, you tend to take more time and care in doing things right. It might take more time, but in the long run it pays off because doing things right the first time saves you time and gains the respect of the people you’re working with by demonstrating that you care about the process and not wasting their time with excuses or shenanagins. It’s like me with the college application. My fastidiousness with that paid off. I was accepted to the college of my choice on the first round and graduated with honors four years later, because I knew they wouldn’t put up with nonsense or excuses out of their students.
So yes, the publishing industry still does one thing right. They know they’re the royality of their kingdom and expect to be respected as such. In this industry, you can run but you can’t hide. There’s no place in the publishing industry, mainstream, epublishing or self publishing, where you’re instantly rejected if you don’t follow the rules to the letter. That’s why only the strong, persistent people that are willing to learn,grow, and respect the system survive.
If only more places held to that standard. Oh, how the ranks at the middle and high levels would be culled because only the ones with respect for the system and dedication to doing things right would survive.
That’s all today. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a great weekend.
I remember a day last summer when the members of our Sunday School class that attended early service came in late. It turns out that a lady passed out as the pastors and choir were processing out at the end of the service.
"She was lying there on the floor and everybody was staring at her," one man said. "I suggested that we call 911 , but everybody ignored me. Then another man walked in, saw her on the floor, said 'gee, someone should call an ambulance' and all of a sudden every cell phone came out." He chuckled. "I'd said that two or three times, but it took ten minutes and a remark from somebody they were willing to listen to before anybody helped the poor woman."
The lady was alright, but that comment made me think. It seems that all of us have either the Power of Knowledge of the Power of Authority. The key to making life easier is finding out which one you're gifted with and rolling with it.
Let me explain. Have you noticed that there are some people that everyone will follow to the end of the earth? Every word they say is gospel truth and nobody questions then (even in circumstances when they're dead wrong and people should know better). Most people call them "natural leaders" but the truth is that they have what I call the "Power of Authority." There's something about them that causes people to listen to and follow them. People with the power of authority seem to excel in positions like business, medicine, mental health, law, teaching and politics because people are drawn to them and to believing that what they say is truth. They may or may not really know their head from a hole in the ground, but there's something about their demeanor that attracts people to listen to them and do what they say. These are the ones that everybody asks for advice from. They lead and others follow, but you don't dare bring them down to the masses.
On the other hand, there are people like me. I get asked for information and directions more than any person I know. In fact, there were two occasions recently where a total stranger blew right past 10 people and came straight to me to ask for directions. The people with me even commented that they passed several others that could have helped them, but they seemed to target me. It's not just directions either - I get asked all manner of questions all the time. I even put something on my Twitter feed last night saying I had to find out what it was about me that inspired the inquisitiveness in people because I get pounded with questions more than anybody I know. I definitely have the Power of Knowledge, because people seem to target me as their source of information. Ah, but there is a line I better not cross. For example, if someone asks for directions and I say "here's the most direct route, but I know a better way that will bypass traffic," they'll hold up a hand and say "no, no. That's ok. I just want to know how to get there." (Obviously, it's happened many times.) They make it very clear that I'm not the boss of them. They just want information, thank you very much. They'll process and apply the information I provide the way THEY choose. People with the power of knowledge tend to excel in areas like administration, the arts, entertainment, managing money (accounting), and assistant positions where they're the brains behind the people with the Power of Authority to keep them in check while the world follows them. These are the people with the brains and insight that you want to collaborate with on your teams.
I'm not sure what elusive thing it is that determines whether you have the Power of Authority or the Power of Knowledge, but I do know that it's best to know which you have and to go with it. Because you aren't going to get the other no matter how hard you try. Trust me, I've never won an elected position - hell, I've never even been nominated. But I've slapped away so many invitations to serve on committees and in organizations that I've lost count. See, I'm invited, not elected. And that's a good way to know which you have.
There are other ways too. What happens when people ask you for advice? If they don't do it or if they immediately disregard it and do something completely different, you're a Power of Knowledge person (they were asking to collect information). If they do it, you're a Power of Authority.
Here's another one. What kinds of questions do people ask you? Do they ask you for advice and how to do things? You're a Power of Authority. Do they ask for general information or "do you know" or "have you heard of" type of questions? You're a Power of Knowledge.
And here's the best indicator: How often do people ask you for directions? If never or rarely (and they're so befuddled when you're done that they ask someone else), you're a Power of Authority. If your like me and you become the world's personal GPS the minute you leave your driveway, well, I think you get it.
It amazes me that personality tests seem to miss this critical component of personality, because it is important. It's a good indicator of how your personality meshes with your place in the world.
So, which type are you? Think it over. You might be surprised.
That's all today. More later.