Management Tactic #33: Don’t Make Lemonade

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

I completely disagree. Case in point:

I have been planning and organizing a huge fundraiser for my job over the last 11 months. A key component of this job is the auction, for which many of the items come in at the last minute. I log these items and, with the help of a volunteer, compile them into an auction booklet that is both appealing and informative.

It’s important that this book gets into people’s hands as soon as possible so they have time to pick out their favorite auction items. Some are for large parties or vacation properties, so they require some foresight. The event is on October 23, and I work at a church, so I wanted to get these books in people’s hands two Sundays in advance of the event.

So I worked my butt off last week getting this book ready. I hoped to finish on Friday, but there wasn’t enough time, so I came in on Saturday. I had four hours to work before I had to send it to the printer I’ve always used, as they’re only open until 6:00 on Saturday and not at all on Sunday.

I finished just in time. I called the printer, asked for a rush job…and was told they couldn’t do it. Their designers were out of the office, and it simply wasn’t feasible. I’d have to wait until Monday.

This was deflating news after all the work I put into it. But I made lemonade out of those lemons–I decided that getting people the books one week in advance wasn’t too bad, and I could even mail some out this week.

Do you see what I did there? I took something negative and made it positive. But in doing so, I resigned myself to failure. Making lemonade, albeit better than eating straight lemons, leads to failure.

Fortunately, around 6:00 on Saturday, something dawned on me that you’ve probably already realized: There are other printers than the printer I had planned on using. Plenty of them! With my first call to Kinkos (which is apparently now FedEx Office–I missed that memo. Which is odd, because you’d think they’d be pretty good at printing and distributing memos), I lined up a rush job that could be ready just in time for the end of church on Sunday. It worked out perfectly.

I can’t believe how close I came to simply making lemonade instead throwing those lemons back at the lemon vendor and refusing to fail.

Sure, sometimes life gives you lemons. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept them.

Daily Quickie: Analogy aside, I’m kind of in the mood for some fresh lemonade. I always want to get it at Cardinals games on hot days, but never do. Is it actually good lemonade?