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Simple Expectations

According to Statista.com, 9.3 million people read the New York Times every day.

Mary Kay has been reading its Sunday edition for 30 years; she calls it “mind candy.” She’ll devour the paper for more than four hours each Sunday. What I’ve found is that she has a wealth of miscellaneous knowledge including business, social, politics, etc.

When we moved to Waco, we IMMEDIATELY subscribed to the Waco Tribune-Herald along with the Sunday New York Times. The Waco paper kept us knowledgeable on local events while the New York Times kept Mary Kay more than knowledgeable on national and world events.

We loved our newspaper carrier. Many times when we’ve left the house at 5 a.m. for an early flight, the paper was in the yard inviting us to read it. Both papers were always delivered before 6 a.m. on Sundays – just waiting for us to awake and devour them.

This all changed about six weeks ago.

Apparently, we got a new carrier. After a few weeks, we made the decision to cancel our subscription to the Waco paper. We loved reading the paper before we left for the week … not at 6 p.m. when we got home.

Sundays were worse. Often the New York Times never got delivered. One week we got two copies of the Waco paper and no New York Times.

We called the Waco paper trying to explain our dilemma. As we would have guessed, they explained that they couldn’t control the delivery of the New York Times. They explained that the person who delivered the paper was an independent delivery carrier and for Sunday delivery that person “reported to” the New York Times – not to them, even though that person was the same person they used.

In the past six weeks, we’ve received the Sunday New York Times once. On those missing weeks, we found that it wasn’t delivered ANYWHERE in Waco. Our grocery store previously carried it – apparently no more. Missed Starbucks deliveries, too. So, when it wasn’t delivered, MK didn’t get a chance to read it.

I walked outside about 7:30 last Sunday only to find that we didn’t get a paper. MK called the New York Times and learned the paper would be delivered by 8:30. I went out at 9:15 and saw the paper in the yard. When I picked it up, I saw that the paper was the Waco paper – not the New York Times.  (Remember, we had cancelled that subscription.)  MK called the New York Times and cancelled our subscription.

One person, our alleged delivery person, motivated us to cancel our subscription to two newspapers.  Amazing. Sad. We had very simple expectations – simply deliver the papers on time. I was a paper boy in the 60s. It isn’t difficult.

My questions for you is: Which one of your techs is “cancelling your subscriptions”? Which one of your techs is making sure that the customer he or she works with, as well as all of those customers’ friends, will never do business with you again?

As leaders, we typically stop “building our bench.” We only hire people after someone is fired or quits.  We actually believe that a tech with 10 years of experience is five times better than a tech with five years of experience. We associate time on the job with experience.

Many years ago I learned, unfortunately, that someone on my team with 10 years of experience really only had one year of experience – ten years in a row. They were no better than they were as a one-year tech. They had no desire to get better. They were still using the same tools they did 10 years ago.

Sound familiar? If so, maybe it is time to either work on your training program or look at freeing up someone’s future. That is what leaders do!

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