Setting Boundaries in Business




Fences are really important in our day to day lives. Not only do they keep things out and away, fences all keep things in. Fences help establish boundaries which matter. Boundaries in our business lives matter as well.

I have a friend I will call Tom. Tom always likes to book meetings at the last minute. He is busy chasing new clients but he forgets to take care of his old clients.He also forgets to take care of people he partners with. Tom just continues to motor on and loves the chase. The problem is Tom is extremely disorganized.

On Friday Tom asked me if I had something for Monday. I emailed what I had on the weekend. I knew I would be busy all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tom had all day on Monday to call me. Not one word. No emails , no phone calls and at least no txt messages(which I have made clear today I do not like in business).

Today I received a phone call and was extremely tied up at the time. I answered with an email after 5pm because I had an extremely busy day and did not want Tom to feel like I was ignoring him. I explained I had set him what he asked for and could meet Friday. He said I thought we were going to meet with Mark this week. I said we can I had Monday free and did not hear from you so my next free day is Friday.

They were not happy. This is not the first time Tom has done this and frankly I tend to book my week up. Many times it is booked well in advance like Tuesday and Wednesday were. I could not have changed my week around and If if I could have I would not have because of boundaries.

Tom needs to learn to schedule his week better. If he wanted to book time he should have said so last Friday. For me to assume that is what Tom wanted would have been wrong for me to determine that he wanted to book on a specific day because if Tom had asked I would have informed him that I was already booked. His emergency is not my emergency.

The issue is I had to establish a boundary and this is why:

  1. I have been trying to get Tom more organized and focused.
  2. Tom’s error on not booking a meeting would have played havoc with my schedule.
  3. True emergencies are valid but bad planning is not.
  4. Tom needs to respect my boundaries as much as I respect his.
  5. I have asked for all business communication to be in email phone or face to face yet I continue to deal with receiving txt messages. They do not work for me.
  6. Multiple times I have received files in formats I have not specified in writing and I continue to receive them.

I have bent over backwards on many occasions but boundaries are important.. I have now gone back to them to try and get things back on track. The other problem is when Tom’s priorities get away it impacts my other work. This problem is if I do not set boundaries Tom will continue to take advantage of them due to his lack of organizational skills.

I have told Tom of the boundaries on the phone and in writing. Now when he breaks a boundary, I reminded him of the boundaries he agreed to. He does not like that but the reality is the boundaries matter.

This is one example of why boundaries matter. Accepting boundaries is a sign of respect.

I really believe boundaries are necessary in your personal life and your business life. They help life run a little smoother. How do you treat boundaries. Share a comment in the box below.

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