what are your quality expectations

Quality expectations

Two years ago, I bought a new refrigerator. The old one had been around for 13 years until a design flaw finally caught up. The repairman said he could fix it, but the problem would resurface. I’d be better off buying a new one. Then he suggested not getting one with all the bells and whistles because the more options, the more opportunities to break. So I wasn’t surprised when I started receiving notices for extended warranty plans that are pretty expensive. A signal that after two years, things will start breaking.

The situation presented an interesting question. What are the expectations of people today about how long products will last? And are businesses making products that meet those expectations? How do you make that evaluation in your business?

one size doesn't fit all

Ditch the script and resolve the issue

The trash pickup was missed. Somehow the truck just missed going through the entire subdivision. When I called, the person I spoke with explained I could just leave extra on the side the following week at no extra charge. Then proceeded to ask me if I wanted to pay the bill that wasn’t due for two weeks.

The challenge with a one size fits all script is it leaves customers confused or angry and puts the employee in an awkward situation. And it results in more time spent because all of the steps must be accomplished. Or more time is spent because the issue isn’t being resolved. The best results come when people are hired who can resolve issues and they are empowered to do so.

How are you ditching the script and resolving issues in your business?

Beauty in unexpected places

Beauty in Unexpected Places

A few days ago, I was heading down the trail when I rounded the bend and saw something that was totally unexpected. A peacock. Beautiful, iridescent blue neck and head. Flowing tail feathers. Stunning. And totally out of place in the Pacific Northwest on a 40 degree morning.

There’s beauty in many unexpected places. Sometimes, it just takes a moment to stop and observe and appreciate what is before us.

Is your message getting lost in translation?

Is your message lost in translation?

Last week, I was in San Juan. And as I was walking down the street, this rooster was standing there cock a doodle dooing away. He had a lot to say. And very loudly. The thing was, I wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to communicate. Marking his territory? Warning others of people? Something else? We spoke different languages. So, I didn’t understand his message. But that didn’t stop him from sending it.

Often times as leaders, we send messages out to others. But the people on the receiving end don’t always understand the message being sent. It’s lost in translation. And that’s the challenge we have as leaders. Making sure we are sending a message that people understand.

creating a raving fan

What impression do you want to leave?

A few weeks ago, I went to buy a few clothes for an upcoming trip. The woman checking me out was a delight! She was friendly, shared how excited she was that her mom was coming to visit and all of the amazing things coming up. We had a great conversation. My last impression leaving the store. And I left delighted with the experience.

It’s amazing how those brief experiences color our views of  who we do business with. How are you designing customer experiences? And what impression do you want to leave?

trust your gut

Trust your gut

A few weeks ago, I was playing Wordle. You’ve got 6 guesses to figure out the five letter word. After my second guess, I thought I knew the word. But, I overthought it and wanted to eliminate more letters, so I went with my standard third guess. It was the safe play. Well, turns out, I knew the word and would have solved the puzzle. So, I got it on four instead of three.

The safe bet often gets you there in the end. It may just take a little more time. But sometimes, you know the right action. Do you trust your gut or play it safe?

how are you focusing on the things that matter


For a lot of the summer, it seemed there were bugs everywhere. Which meant spiders began to show up everywhere too. And as I tried to take pictures of these quarter sized creatures that were strung across trails, plants and trees, I couldn’t get my iPhone to focus on them. I’d get up really close and zoom in. I’d tap the screen to show where to focus. I even watched YouTube tutorials. And try as I might, all I have are a series of blurs with beautifully focused foliage in the background.

Sometimes, try as we might, we aren’t able to focus on what is right in front of us. The things behind it pull focus because that small item seems overwhelmed by the breadth of the background.

That’s the challenge for leaders. Staying focused on the things that matter. And not getting distracted by all the little things going on in the background.

How are you making sure you focus on the things that matter?

inside out and backwards

Inside out and backwards

The other day I was in a hurry. And without knowing it, I put my shirt on inside out and backwards. I didn’t notice by looking because I had another long sleeve lightweight shirt on over it. It served the purpose, but wasn’t quite right. It was functional, but just not quite right.

We often have things in business that aren’t quite right. They function, but not as intended. And not at peak. They aren’t noticed because something is obscuring the view. But to function well, we need to get them back to their proper order.

How are you making sure things aren’t inside out and backwards?

blending in

Blending in

Fall is here, even though the weather seems to be telling a different story. So I decided to see if my strawberry patch was working to produce fall strawberries. Nestled in the middle of the leaves was a frog, just larger than a thumbnail, sitting on a leaf in the middle of the patch. Given its color and size, it blended in so well that it would have been easy to miss if not looking closely.

There are times blending in makes sense. When trying to avoid danger. Or in a chorus line. Or a band or orchestra. In those cases, pulling focus is a bad thing. But when selling a product or service, standing out makes the difference between getting lost in the background or having a bumper year.

Are you trying to blend in or stand out?

like vs fit

Like vs. Fit

“Which did you like best?” That was the question posed to me at the end of a wine tasting over the weekend. It’s a typical sales question that’s designed to engage in conversation that results in a sale.

But what’s best is not how I think about most things. Rather, I think about what is the best fit for this situation? And that’s how I responded. I like different wines for different occasions. Some just fit better based on preferences of the group, food or the occasion.

The same happens in business. There are people, systems, locations, etc. that are a really good fit under certain conditions and not others. So, it isn’t always about which you like best. The best decisions are focused on which is the best fit.