July 17, 2022

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by: tguerry

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Categories: Current Culture

What’s In Your Toolbox

What's In Your Toolbox

What’s In Your Toolbox?

Most of you have heard me whining for the last couple weeks about the inconveniences related to my bathroom remodeling. Having participated in my fair share of remodeling projects over the past fifty years, I was confident I fully understood the parameters of this one ahead of time. That whole thing about “Pride goeth before a fall”? Well, maybe I should have paid closer attention.

I convinced my wife that we should spring for the cost of our professional carpenter, son-in-law to come down from Nashville for two weeks and bring one of his building crew along to help. Initially, I assumed she jumped at the idea because it also entailed our daughter and grandkids coming along for that timeframe. Now it appears she may have recognized that I was too old to complete a project of that magnitude but not old enough to admit it.

Back to the story: Jacob (that’s my son-in-law) showed up towing a ten-foot trailer loaded with tools. I thought that was a colossal waste because few people on Earth own as many tools as I do. I was wrong. I ended up being impressed with both the latest job-specific tools he brought as well as his up-to-date knowledge of the newest materials available. I also recorded a list of new toys (um, er, tools) which I need to purchase. If you missed my birthday or Christmas and want to make up for it with a belated gift, just email me and I’ll send you the comprehensive list.

The point is that even with fifty years of experience, I would have tackled this job with ten-year-old tools and ten-year-out-of-date knowledge. Maybe there’s a good reason doctors and lawyers are required to amass continuing education hours every year. I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know. What cutting edge tools and training are we providing our employees and ourselves? If we’re counting on our outdated experience, we might be disappointed.

Now What?

Perhaps you missed my complaints about the remodeling project but I bet you didn’t miss my bragging about my new, electric recliner. This chair has a remote control with every adjustment imaginable. It raises your legs, reclines, adjusts your lower back support, adjusts your neck support, and even raises you up to a near vertical position when you want to get out of it — all this from a simple remote.

This beauty was the dream of my life for two months. Then, a couple weeks ago, the remote quit working, leaving the chair stuck in an awkward position. Not to worry; we’d purchased the extended warranty. I called Rooms-To-go and said, “My remote is no longer working and it’s under warranty.” They replied, “No problem, we’ll be out … in seven days.” I waited, and waited, and waited. During that time, I received no less than a dozen email reminders and updates about my upcoming service call, ostensibly to keep me aware of their terrific customer service but, in reality, to make certain I’d be at home when they arrived.

At 8:05 on a bright Wednesday morning, their cheery repairman showed up driving a shiny new van with colorful Rooms-To-Go logo tattooed across the side. He spent fifteen minutes thoroughly inspecting my chair and exclaimed, “Your remote is broken.” With my hands buried in my pockets to prevent punching his lights out, I replied in my most gentle and empathetic voice, “Great observation. I assume you have another one in your truck.” His answer: “Nope. We’re not allowed to carry parts in the van. They will mail you a new remote in eight to ten days.” Then he left, quickly, before I could get my hands out of my pockets.

The moral of the story: If you’re going to spend forty-thousand dollars on a company van and pay a technician to drive it around, you might want to give him the right tools (like a $20 remote!) and empower him to do his job. The upside was that within five minutes of his departure, I received an email survey about my Rooms-To-Go experience. Perhaps you noticed the lack of any profanity in this story. That’s because I used up every foul syllable in my repertoire on their survey.

Want to talk about the right tools and the empowering employees to use them? Hit that Reply button.

“Indeed, none but the Deity can tell what is good luck and what is bad before the returns are all in.”

― Mark Twain

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The Talent Code

— Daniel Coyle

If you liked “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle or “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, I think you’re gonna enjoy this book. It’s as motivating as “Grit” and it’s as fascinating as “The Culture Code”. Coyle provides impressive insights supported by interesting case studies. It’s available in print for you old-timey geizers and via Audible for the rest of us. Per Russell Duckworth’s “quantity over quality” requirement, it’s a bit more than six hours if you listen at normal speed.