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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Art of Complaining

I'm a huge complainer - I mean, a real professional. I complain all day long, every day, about something. Paint neater, build faster, organize better, - everyday I am complaining big time about something - so much so that I probably am one of the most effective complainers out there. I complain with a goal in mind, and a strategy to get there. In the end, I have nothing against complaining - it's the way things get done and remedied. Why do we complain and remain a royal pain to most of our suppliers? Simply, So we can provide a constantly better product to our customers.

For instance, I already know of 5 people/businesses that need to be complained to today - the appliance guy for setting off 2 alarms in 2 separate houses (the yell, I'm going somewhere else strategy), the employee for copying the wrong person on an email (the sympathetic 'we try to keep the dufusness to a minimal' spiel), the excavator (can it take you any longer?) and a few others to unexciting to mention.

But we have engaged in a 5 year improvement process, where everyday we try to get better - which is saying something since we are pretty good now. We try to get better, faster, more efficient, less wasted time and materials. We have probably hired 75% of all contractors in the area, and fired 99% of them for one reason or another. Achieving quality - it's a lot harder than you think, and it's a constantly moving target. Get better today, get better tomorrow, get better next month.

What I don't understand about the previous guys I was posting about was, in the end, upon resolution/non-resolution/satisfaction/dis-satisfaction - life goes on, and something new comes up that needs to be complained about, resolved, gotten over. I think that's what I think is impressive about Steve Carr's 16 month complaint odyssey - he never loses focus, he never has anything new come up in his life that trumps this Catskill Farms complaint motif.

I mean, most people just get over it and move on, even if they didn't get what they wanted.

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