September 2013

The Fencing was Free, and the Character was Exalted

It shouldn’t be this hard to give something away. I posted free fencing on Craigslist and got several responses. The first responder came up that evening but his car couldn’t handle everything. This was Friday. He said he’d get it on Monday. I sensed a bit of hesitation and asked if he was committed, since that meant holding it for three days. He said he was. I asked him to please let me know if anything changed. He assured me he would and I took him at his word.

Monday 3 PM  – no call or word from him. So I called him, and he said he would come at 6 PM.

Fence gates 27 PM – no show, no call. I could have gone for a hike in the lovely evening air. He didn’t answer the phone.

That’s the bad news. I don’t understand people who don’t show the courtesy of a call in situations like that. But there is good news. I posted the fencing on Craigslist again. I mentioned previous experience and said I didn’t want to do a curb alert because I didn’t want anyone to drive up and arrive just after someone else got it. So I implored anyone who was interested to be attentive to follow-up. I received about ten responses in about five minutes.

The people I offered it to were incredibly gracious. They wanted it for a free dog care service they have for active military. You would have thought I had given them something worth thousands.

But the really good news is, they emailed me the next day to reiterate how much they appreciated it. I told Bob, and the two of us started wondering what else we have that they might want.

There are too many people who end follow-up the minute they decide there’s nothing in it for them. The irony is, you never know what your courtesy might inspire. The dog care people took an extra step to let me know they appreciated it, and I appreciated that.

The first fellow was military, and he yes and no ma’amed me up, down and inside out when he came up. The people who took the fence home didn’t ma’am me at all, but they did show fabulous character in their follow-up.

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A Lean Language Makeover for Speaking with Managers

Toyota Kata author Mike Rother is highly tuned in to language that peaks manager interest and language that dampens it. He gives examples that illustrate the difference succinctly in this recent SlideShare. (See the slide below.)

The terms on the left aren’t wrong – they just don’t connect the message to tangible results.

Even if Lean isn’t your world at all, I expect you’ll see ways you will want to change your own language in this.

theleanarmy Page 18

Great tips from Rother’s decades of experience.

Here’s another Lean language makeover. One of my LinkedIn groups posted this question, “Why is it so hard to push strategic thinking down in an organization? Give only one reason.” I replied, ” I think the word ‘push’ says it all.” Someone else noted, “the word ‘down’ doesn’t help either.” 


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