How would you describe your approach or attitude at what you do? Are you an optimist? An achiever? An enabler? What word best describes your skills, your passion, and your work product, all in one? I wake up on most days feeling empowered to go “slay the dragon,” and am excited about the challenges put in front of me, but is that a successful perspective on the days where I may not be so optimistic?
I want to share something that changed my way of thinking and I hope it gives you perspective as well.
Infinite Green is in the process of hosting networking events over the next few weeks. As part of our brand, we bring people together and focus on what it takes to create great customer experiences. We help companies elevate their environments to obtain recognition in their verticals resulting in improved customer satisfaction, brand awareness and financial success. Well, in 6 years of “selling” our services, I just got schooled around how to be more on purpose about customer experience and what we claim to be “experts” in at Infinite Green, and personally was taught a lesson on how critical this is to being more successful every day. Let me tell you a story about something cool that happened at our office a few days ago. Here is the truth…
Around noon the other day, Dave, who owns a small local printing shop and was hired by one of our technology partners to make a few signs, knocked on our door and walked in. He came right up to where I was sitting and held out the signs he was asked to make for us. Not being one to shy away from a quick connection and possible add to my LinkedIn database, I commented on how it was a great day to be outside and he replied that it was a nice walk over from about 4 blocks away. I was immediately impressed that he took the time to hand deliver our signs when I fully assumed we would pick them up in the next day or so for our event more than a week away. The signs were done very well, he delivered them with care, and took the time to personalize his visit by shaking my hand, asking my name and thanking me for our business. Obvious, right? Simple yet value-added and effective service. Seemed legit.
I asked him for his card (which he had left back at the shop), gave him mine, and asked him to email me when he got back so I could follow up with another printing request just presented to me not more than 10 minutes before and greatly needed for the next day’s event. He made a funny comment about having no problem printing “a million color copies for me” and of course followed through over the next hour by contacting me and pricing out my rush order, giving me an ultra-competitive bid and then agreed on a 24 hour turn. I thanked him for his service, and he responded with an amazing reply. “Not ashamed at being obvious – we want to earn your business.” He had me. He earned my business and everyone else whom I could tell. But it didn’t stop there.
About 2 hours later Dave showed up with my rush order signs in hand. Obviously, this is a guy who exceeds expectations. What’s the catch? The story? You see, Dave is not just a printer. He is a connector. I had to know what his motivation is and where his drive comes from.
Dave’s message, like his work product was obvious. Dave is an architect by trade who has designed places all over the world. He got into printing because of his love of design, active pursuit of seeing his designs come to life, and through an introduction to rapid prototyping and fabrication at one of the first “Fab Lab” locations at Century College – http://www.century.edu/currentstudents/fablab . After seeing this lab, he immediately wanted to design them in schools across the country to connect in a way that the next generation learns, and at a greater level. Dave is obvious about his passion, he is deliberate about doing something about it, and fortunately doesn’t back down from a few roadblocks. Other schools would surely want this for their students, right? Well his concept and design landed in a few places, but mostly got hung up in political, budgetary, and less than progressive decision-making in many school districts. So how does Dave take these challenges and manage to stay focused through the noise? He remains obvious about his passion, and is relentless about the end game.
Dave sees 3-D printing and 2-D printing as a way for people to realize their ideas faster, test and try a concept, and then see it in practice again, and so on. He is obvious about wanting to lead the charge and institute this vision as far and wide as he can, but he also sees the bigger picture. He saw PostNet http://www.postnet.com as a way to share his idea for printing solutions in schools, to connect people to their ideas and dreams, and as a means to foster this test and try attitude with businesses. He bought a franchise and is living his dream. When I looked up PostNet’s core focus, here is what I found:
“Helping Others Succeed is Our Passion. Building Relationships that Make Business Easier is What We Do Best.
As Dave finished his story and left our office, I was brought back to my waking moment that morning and the fact that no matter what gets in my way, I am going to be obvious about my service to our clients, obvious with my relationships and passions, and obvious about removing barriers for any and every one I can help. I don’t need optimism every day to do my best, but I have found a different word to describe how I will start my day. Obvious and intentional about whatever I am doing, or whom I am doing it for, is how I focus or refocus during the day. It’s a better frame than sharing how boring my lunch was, or how someone wronged me, or how bad my favorite sports team performed last night.
What are you going to be obvious about today?