Yesterday as I was leaving a management team training session for DSU down on Swan Island, Rod, the Body Shop manager, stopped me and said he had something exciting happen in the Shop just before the Fourth of July holiday.
“Tell me about it.”
“We had an owner operator come in.” Rod’s Body Shop specializes in Peterbilt 18-wheeler tractors. “He had blown out a front tire and it broke up the entire front fender and hood of his truck.”
DSU keeps loaner hoods on hand for just such emergencies so what was the problem? It was about 2pm on Thursday, July 2. Removing the damaged hood and replacing it with the loaner takes several hours. The long haul trucker wanted to get back to Indiana for the holiday. It looked like he was stuck in Portland for the long weekend.
Rod told the crew the customer’s story: “I’ve already told him it’s too late, you’re all getting ready to leave for the weekend. If one of you would like to stay and help this customer I’d appreciate it and I know he and his family would appreciate it, too.”
Rob went back upstairs; a few minutes later one of the technicians came into his office and said, “it’s only 2pm; it doesn’t take that long. I want him to be able to enjoy the Fourth of July with this family just like we are.”
Rod loved sharing this story with me as much as I loved hearing it, and as much as I love sharing it with you.
Then, Rod, who is nearing retirement, went on to say this is some distance from the way I used to do things. I might have been able to make the guys do the job before – command and control – maybe, but if I did, no one was happy. Now everyone is happy, my tech can take pride in his decision, cooperation, and commitment to help a customer in distress, and most important of all, the customer is happy. Then Rod went on, “my wife says I am a changed man.”
What a thrilling exchange this was for me and proves once more that any of us who cares enough can change. It may be true that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. So what! You’re not a dog and these aren’t tricks. You are a human being with infinite capacity to grow, change, and improve. If you don’t believe me, ask Rod’s crew; ask Rod’s wife.