On expectations, met and unmet

Oct. 1, 2010
Boarding a flight in the 5:00 a.m. hour at an airport not far from our offices here in New Hampshire not long ago, I was confident I'd arrive at my destination.

Boarding a flight in the 5:00 a.m. hour at an airport not far from our offices here in New Hampshire not long ago, I was confident I'd arrive at my destination–three time zones, one plane change and more than seven hours later–in plenty of time for my scheduled lunch meeting. Well, I wouldn't be telling this story if that had actually happened. Weather problems in the city in which I was to change planes, coupled with the plane I was in not having enough fuel to stay in a holding pattern for very long, resulted in a first for me. We were diverted to a different city, where the plane refueled and the crew waited for further instruction.

Eventually we got to the city in which I was making the connection. Of course I had missed the connection by hours and only by the proverbial skin of my teeth did I get onto the next flight as a standby passenger. Fortunately for me I had that lunch meeting eventually, only it was two days later and didn't include lunch. But in the time I spent not being where I had planned to be, I missed other meeting opportunities that I did not later bring to fruition.

I think there's a saying about farmers sharpening their tools on rainy days, meaning when they can't do what they intended to do at a given time, they remain productive and accomplish tasks that will pay off for them sometime in the future. And I like to think I spent the majority of that flight delay doing the equivalent of tool-sharpening. Admittedly though, I also spent a little time that day reflecting on the theme of unmet expectations. I expected to be at that lunch meeting; the other party expected me to be there too. And regardless of the extent to which we both shrugged and wrote it off as the nature of air travel, two parties went to Plan B that day because what we expected to happen, didn't.

That got me reflecting internally, specifically with respect to the information you receive from this magazine and its affiliated information products. Perhaps there's nothing I can do about the fog in Washington D.C. that wreaked havoc on my business plans last month. But there's an awful lot I can do to ensure that Cabling Installation & Maintenance is a valuable resource for you. In fact, my travel snafu provided me some "tool-sharpening" time for exactly that purpose. I hope you'll take the opportunity to let me know anything specific I can do to ensure this magazine remains one of your useful tools.

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