If you find yourself in a difficult position, make an unreasonable request – you might be surprised by the result.
On Friday, April 13 I received an unreasonable request from a colleague at Benedictine University. He asked if I would come to Benedictine and teach an Executive Ph.D. course on organization change the following Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. He apologized for the lateness of the request, but explained that due to an accident, the person scheduled to lead the class could not come.
Initially I was surprised at the request given the short notice. But, after checking my schedule, I realized I could do it and let him know. And it turned out to be a fabulous time with some really great people.
I share this because I have found there are times such as these when people are faced with making an unreasonable request or giving an apology, and they don’t make the request. My colleague could have decided there was no real point in asking someone to come since it was unlikely they could on such short notice anyway. Instead, he could have apologized to the class, explained what happened and, given the short notice, it was not practical to find a substitute; they would have been disappointed, but they would have understood.
But he didn’t do that; he made an unreasonable request. He asked for a large result in a very short period of time from someone he knows is busy. He didn’t let his considerations about whether the request would be accepted or not stop him from making it. And, as it turns out, he got want he wanted.