$28,000 Worth of Education only Taught Me the P-Factor

A couple of weeks ago we moved and as always with the process, I found items I had forgotten about. One of these was a stack of notebooks from some of my college courses. Of course, this began a trip down memory lane of my college years. I had a number of extraordinary professors throughout my college career, however, I had one who taught me a lesson not in the text books that I have lived by since he shared it with me.

Dr. Davis was the dean of the marketing department and served as my advisor the last two years of college. He was an older gentleman with a pretty rough front but once you got to know him, he was a great guy to shoot the breeze with. He taught the more complicated marketing classes and was one always willing to challenge you if you decided to answer one of his questions. Another important fact, he loved precision; this is where the lesson came in.

Throughout college, I worked full time and went to school full time as well as serving in a couple of volunteer positions in my “free time”. So needless to say, I remained running from one place to the next, but I usually managed to get my assignments done on time and usually made A’s or high B’s.

There was one particular week when it seemed like the perfect storm had occurred. I had an audit at work which caught me off guard, two exams on the same day, as well as a paper due to Dr. Davis. At first, I thought I had it all together and would be able to remember that week as one of my triumphs. High on the endorphin known as adrenaline, I raced from task to task and ultimately found myself in Dr. Davis’s class on the day the paper was due with one major problem. I had forgotten my paper at my office. After explaining my week, Dr. Davis said I could get my paper to him the next day, no worries.

The following week, I was excited to get my paper back to see how well I had done. My best grades were always on papers and I seemed to retain more from those types of exercises than studying for tests. When I received my paper, I was devastated to see I had gotten a 68% on it. I flipped through the pages and only found one red mark where I failed to notate something. Next to the red circle was a -2 points. Other than that, I did not see anything else indicating where the 30% deficit originated. After class, Dr. Davis introduced me to the P-Factor and explained the paper was still late so it was at best going to be a 70%. I explained my reasons and his words still stick with me, “Son, in the real world, there’s the p-factor, and this time, it screwed you.”


Proper planning prevents potential and preventable problems!

This phrase has stuck with me since that day; so much so, one team I managed got it engraved on a plaque for my birthday because I always quoted it to them when they brought me one of those “stop drop and roll” requests.

Think about the last crisis you had. How much of it could have been avoided by some diligent planning? In the next post, we will pick this apart a bit more. Between now and then, be thinking of some of your more recent crises and how some good planning could have helped mitigate the magnitude.

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help organizations incorporate best practices into their business to help them succeed. In his free time, he also writes a lot on his other blog, Christian Men, Christian Warrior.

For my professional resume, click here.

One thought on “$28,000 Worth of Education only Taught Me the P-Factor

  1. I really like your comments about the P Factor
    I can think of many times in my life if I had only planned for the obvious instead of worrying about people and situations that I had no influence on. I wish I had known you when I was still a BBVA Compass employee.

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