Pinnacleceo's Take

Experiences put to paper…

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

An “Extra Mile” Forward From A Few Small Steps!

I am constantly reminded in my daily business activities of how taking small steps above and beyond the “status-quo” can catapult you the proverbial “extra mile”. Many times we have to go the extra mile to gain the extra mile. Sometimes, however we can achieve it with just a few small steps!

I received an email from an end user of one of my software products. This elderly gentleman was not computer “savvy” and he indicated this in his email to me. He asked if there was a remedy for his dilemma and he suggested that one option was to send him a blank printed copy of the program.

The “status-quo” response from me could have been to comply with his request and be done with this, but having the time available (more on this in a moment), I chose to take this opportunity to take a couple of small steps outside “status-quo” and provide some good ole’ personal customer service.

I emailed this gentleman, that I would be happy to personally help him install the software program on his computer. I asked him to reply with a good time and phone number to reach him. His reply email to me was very interesting. First he said thank you for such a quick response and secondly he asked me a very interesting question…ready. “Are you the owner of the company?”

When we made contact via the phone, I discovered this very nice gentleman lived in a very rural area of Minnesota. He had received our product from his local bank. After about one hour of step-by-step instructions, we had him completely taken care of and ready to go. He was most appreciative.

Here are some points I want to make.

• When we talked on the phone, I asked the gentleman about his question regarding my position at the company. I told him I was in fact the owner. His response caught me off guard for a moment. He stated it was rare to get such a quick reply and especially from someone in my position from a company that provides products and services nationally. Hmmm, great personal service from the owner of a company. Have we grown to BIG that this is becoming an obsolete protocol of business?

• I had the time to take the extra steps and chose to do so. Notice the word “chose”? It was my personal choice to take the time to help him. Now STOP! I understand there may be many times, your world is so busy, that you simply cannot find time to take any extra steps at all. The point is, when you do have the time…you choose to take the opportunity and run with it!

• The client who provided this program to the end user is not one of my larger clients regarding the amount of fee income they provide me. Looking at this scenario from a financial perspective only, the time I spent here probably cost me money. But to me, business is more than $$ only.

Here is the beauty of this. While I was not seeking any ancillary benefits from my personal service approach other than a satisfied customer, I did gain a huge one. A couple of days later I received a phone call from the vendor that provides my software program to the banks. They informed me that this gentleman I assisted had contacted his bank expressing his appreciation for providing the program because of the service he had gained from the owner of the company.

The vendor was very pleased with this result. He concluded his conversation by saying and I quote: “This is the reason we have worked so well together over the years, and the reason we will do so for many years to come…

An extra mile forward for my company, from a simple effort to take a few extra small steps.

The Unavoidable Truth of Entrepreneurship: A View of Ownership and Work From a Farmer’s Perspective.

I live in a part of the country that is heavily agriculture based. I being an avid student of entrepreneurship am always seeking ways to understand and apply this concept of “ownership of work” not only to my business but also find insights to share with others. I discovered a valuable application of this topic right in my own backyard… from the perspective of a farmer.

There may be no greater “high risk” occupation than that of a farmer. There is a lot of work and a lot of factors that have to fall into place for a successful outcome or harvest to be achieved. Case in point, farmers are dependent on the weather. The last time I checked, they had very little control of it. Sometimes it never rains, sometimes it rains too much. Sometimes it rains at the wrong time! Sometimes, severe weather brings damaging hail storms and tornadoes. I have seen many a crop wiped out entirely in just a few hours of time only to find a resilient entrepreneur back in the field pursuing livelihood once again.

There are many BIG and important decisions to make. First, the farmer determines what to plant. This is based on a variety of issues such as where he lives and what grows best, economies of scale and supply and demand, or simply just what he wants to grow! Then considerations are made for either irrigation of simply planting and relying on the rain to water the crops. More risk…yep! Once these decisions are made, the farmer does not just throw seed to the wind; he prepares the field for planting. This is not an easy undertaking…it is typically not an eight to five, five day work week! There is also a significant financial investment involved as well. Once the field is ready and the crop of choice is planted, then the work begins. Does any of this sound familiar?

A constant care of the crop is required. As mentioned earlier, a host of circumstances can deter or even destroy a favorable outcome if ignored. However, with great tenacity and commitment and yes, maybe a few breaks along the way, a result of all the efforts are culminated with a field ready for harvest. There is an unavoidable truth to the natural process that you will reap what you sow. A farmer will not grow cotton from planting wheat!

So, here are the take-away points for us. If you want more opportunities for your business or from your work, or more productivity from your people and your day, plant the seeds of seeking them, nurturing them and cultivating them. Just like the farmer, hardships may occur and the results you seek may not happen overnight. You may have to start again. You most definitely will have to WORK! But remember why you committed to what you started, or as the farmer, what was chosen to be planted and press on. Own it.

Similarly, you absolutely cannot harvest what you don’t plant! If you never seek to grow, if you never search for ways to improve and learn, you certainly will not attain them. Wayne Gretzky, the famous professional hockey player said it best, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” Amen.

The perspective of the farmer clearly demonstrates how successfully identifying, caring for and cultivating the important things in our work and our career can positively impact both individual and organization. The question then becomes: Knowing the impact of the exponential power of what we can accomplish when we truly take ownership of what we do, or perhaps what we will miss if we don’t, why would anyone not take the opportunity to dig a hole and plant a seed… Grab your shovel!

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