I’m going to take a break from the string of Edward Deming posts in order to tell you about an experience I had recently.
I was riding home from my day job when I saw a sign on a neighbor’s lawn that read, “Want a painter that shows up? Call xxx-xxx-xxxx.”
That’s it. That’s all it said. It didn’t even have a company name. At first I thought, “How does that person expect to find work advertising with a tag line like that?” After further consideration, though, I came to the conclusion that it’s probably very effective.
We’ve all had our share of contractor and customer service horror stories. These experiences have trained us to set the bar for performance so low that simply showing up for the job makes service people stand-out. It separates them from the pack.
Unfortunately, this is not isolated to contractors and customer service personnel. It’s all over, including corporate America and more specifically – management. Although this may come across as somewhat depressing, there is a silver lining. The good news is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to distinguish oneself.
So, let’s make a commitment to start doing the little things better. Not sure what those little things are? Pick up a copy of Lead Well and Prosper to find out. Let’s break away from the pack. We can do better. We should do better. Let’s do better!
But how about the others that surround us? How do we get them to “show up and then some?” How about the Pygmalion Effect? Will that work? If we expect more will we get more? Any suggestions?
Joe Kerr: I’m not sure those little people have to do with any of this. I say you’re just screwed if you don’t have any leverage. With my people, for instance, I hold their livelihoods in the palm of my hand. There’s power in that. With contractors, you’ve got nothing. I suppose I could get my team members to paint my house, but I’ve heard about people getting in trouble for that sort of thing.
Wanda B. Goode: I’m a believer in the Pygmalion Effect. I do think we project our expectations, and that results frequently match them. I have seen people turn around and rise to the occasion when higher expectations have been set by a trusting manager who believes in them. Not sure how it would work with contractors, though. I would think some time would need to be spent building a relationship first. That’s not always an option when choosing a contractor. I’d like to hear others’ opinions though.
Check out the following for more on the Pygmalion effect. Post 1, Post 2
Check this one out for more on Pygmies!!!