Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The accidental filing system

Patsy Bates thought the deal was dead, so she could clear her files. Then her boss called...

Edited Transcript:

I was a buyer for a catalog company, actually two, run by the same person. We were not only buyers, but investors in the company, and we were also finding investors in the company - because we wanted to grow. And I remember introducing the president to one of our very good friends who was an investor. And I thought he'd be a good one to connect with Bob.

We got the meeting together, and they interacted. It was a positive meeting, I thought. But anyhow, at the end of the day, we did a lot of paperwork but it just never came together.

So, time went on, it was probably six months later, and I was working at home. My son was visiting us. It was a Saturday, a weekend. And we were sitting around, I was cleaning up my office. I cleared away a lot of papers that were no longer valuable to me. And I put them in the garbage.

Later in the day I got a call from the president of the company. He wanted to get back together with this investor; he wanted the names and he wanted to get all the paperwork I had on it, and would I please call him within an hour with all the information. Of course, this was all the information I'd just thrown in the garbage. I couldn't possibly tell him that on the phone. So I said of course it was in my file. If he would give me a minute I'd call him back, I'd get the information from my files, so we could connect these important two parties together. I went to my garbage can and pulled out all the papers I'd just thrown away. It took me a while to dig through the garbage to find it all.

I called him back with all the information. He was just so impressed with me, that I'd had it on file, and I'd got it back to him within an hour.

I got a big raise out of it. He thought I was such an incredible important part of this company because I kept such incredible files. Of course, he didn't see me pull it out of the garbage can. Which was a lesson for me. I shouldn't just say it won't connect, it's never going to work, so let's just clear out the papers and get them out of here.

It's good to hang onto papers for maybe two years, because God knows what going to happen down the line. Something might work when you think it doesn't work.