At CSR, we talk about the importance of being patient when mistakes are made – and to try to minimize the impact of the potential mistake. Most importantly, we talk about the need to only make mistakes once. One of these critical “gotta-learn-it-but-don’t-let-it-happen-again” mistakes is that of caring too much.
Caring too much? Aww, how sweet…
Wait a minute, wait a minute – caring is a big deal.
In fact, it’s such a big deal that it is one of our core values. Caring means giving a darn versus not; it means that you think like an owner. It’s a great trait and has really served us well over the years – except when it hasn’t.
A client pops up in my head that illustrates this concept. I truly think that he just didn’t get how important his lack of engagement was. This owner approached his business almost as an inconvenience; he was burned out and wanted to just grow the business, as cheaply as possible, to a point where could unload it.
We came in and saw the amazing potential – a ripe market, eager customers, tons of opportunity to change minds and attitudes, and a favorable industry change that benefited the owner. Quickly, we got the sales area (which up until then was more order-taking than sales) outpacing production and created a six-month backlog. Turning our attention to operations, we ran into the first trace of apathy – no interest in investment, training, or taking customer feedback into account. Soon, we started noticing a trend: new clients would come on, become disillusioned and leave.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
We finally approached the client (after many meetings and alternate strategies) and announced our departure – lots of lead time, emotion-free but gone.
We just can’t afford to care more than the client.