December 7; Too Little Too Late
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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December 7

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps
and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps
but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along
with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming,
and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out:
‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you.
Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived.
The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.
And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said,
‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Matthew 25:1-13

Too Little Too Late

Infamy

“Find out what’s on the boss’s report card.” Joe had a simple answer to my question. I was having some trouble so I went to visit Good Ol’ Joe, another manager laterally on the organization chart. I wanted to see how he got things done.

Let’s call it “research” not “theft of intellectual property” because, well, Joe, you know, was no intellectual…

So I asked him how he did it. Ordinarily people are slow to give secrets to a ‘competitor’ inside or outside an organization. But Slow Joe was an open book and maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed. But—

He was hitting his numbers.

I was not.

So we walked and talked up and down his business silo. Suddenly a hand grenade came rolling down the hall and some insignificant nobody staffer leaped out of his cubicle and jumped on the bomb protecting Joe from the blast.

We didn’t see it coming. His staff did.

The dust settled and we turned a corner and bumped into Mable, his junior sales assistant. She was smiling. “Acme Industries just re-ordered twenty five cases of our premium widgets.” Joe would hit his numbers.

Again.

I pulled her aside. “How did that happen?” I asked.

“The Acme buyer tries to get his purchase orders in before the end of the quarter,” she said. “This order was a little larger.”

“Why would he do that for us?”

Mable gives me a blank stare. “To help Joe…”

I stand perplexed as Mable scurries off and I hear Joe talking on his cell phone to Jonathan, a business reporter with the Widget Insider. Jonathan, as everyone knows, is a jerk, who couldn’t get a real job so he makes a living in libel and slander. He wrote an article about my numbers from last year and that troubled product launch – but it wasn’t my fault (you know how hard it is to get good people). I hate him.

But Joe is laughing about some inside joke about the Rotary Club potluck. Who’s got time for that nonsense anyway?

We walk past those paper-work weasels in the purchasing department. One of the varmints sees Joe and rudely bellows to his superior, “Yo Joe, we just received the new monitors.”

“Thanks,” says Joe, “You’re the best.”

“No problem” the boot-licker replies. “But I’ll need the DD 214 request and routing numbers by next month.”

I stop. I’ve been trying for weeks to get those monitors. Every time I order something from those slackers, they need the forms completely filled out with signatures and numbers in triplicate hard-copy with a six-week lead time. Some times I might leave a box or two empty but that’s no reason to bounce the form back to me. And sometimes I wonder why I even bother; those dolts lose my paperwork half the time anyway.

“Joe,” I ask, “Does purchasing process your requests even before you do the paperwork?”

“Sure,” He says. “Why do you ask…?”

We walk into Joe’s office and in walks Bob Big Boss. (This is odd; he has never been to my office.) Any way I’m excited to corner him, “Bob, we need to talk –those people in purchas—“

“Later,” Bob cuts me off and says to Joe, “I talked to the board and they approved the new budget and OK’ed your capital request.”

I was ignored. And then I wondered where the board was going to take the funds for Joe’s project. Especially since I can’t get anything done unless I get that 25% increase I demanded. This wasn’t fair.

Bob smiles at Joe slaps him on the back and exits.

I ask Joe, “Budget? How did that all happen?”

Joe shrugs his shoulders, “Anticipation, I guess. I thought maybe the project would make Bob look good.”

Lord Almighty. What a simpleton. I wasted a morning (and you know my staff were goofing off the whole time I was gone).

Mable walks into Joe’s office looking at her tablet as I make my leave. There was no interruption—there wasn’t much real work that he was actually doing.

“Congratulations, Joe” I heard Mable say as I walked down the hall. “Great quote in the Insider… “

***

Historian William Manchester writes about General Douglas MacArthur on the years shortly before the outbreak of World War II,

Despairing, the General wrote William Allen White [a news paper editor who understood the threat of what was to be WWII]: “The history of failure in war can be summed up in two words: Too Late.

Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy; too late in realizing the mortal danger; too late in preparedness; too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance; too late in standing with one’s friends.”

[MacArthur] blamed Washington as much as Manila. In 1938 he sent Eisenhower to the States to drum up support. (Manchester, 2008).

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:1-13

###

Manchester, William (2008-05-12). American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 – 1964 (Kindle Locations 3450-3453). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

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