tips for quality service
Be Funny and Make Money
by Carl Tompkins
CONSIDERING THAT WE WILL spend 110,000
hours of our life at work during an average career, we would be foolish
to not enjoy the journey. Reinforcing this point, I’ll never forget my
first day at work at Oregon Glass early in my career; the date was September
20, 1977. I showed up to work at 7:45 a.m., met many of the employees,
completed my necessary paperwork and then met up with my boss, Gene Miller,
at 10 a.m. My first day at work from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. was spent at
the Dandelion Pub in Portland, Ore., with Gene. After six hours of my
telling every story and life experience possible by a then 24-year-old
man, Gene asked, “Well Carl, what did you think of your first day at work?”
Having had more than my share of ale at that point of the day, I responded,
“It has been a little different than what I expected Gene. My dad taught
me to work first and play second and I think you’ve shown me just the
opposite.” Gene grinned and said, “Great, you’ve learned the most valuable
lesson in working for me: If we cannot have fun at what we do for a living,
we’re going to find something else to do!”
While I do not endorse spending six hours at the pub to get your job done
in this day and age, I do endorse Gene’s notion that people must enjoy
How to Be Funny:
A. Choice of job: First and most
important, seek your dream within your job selection. Most people chase
money within their career and, when it’s too late, learn that never can
enough be attained. It’s only when you do what you enjoy for a living
that you have any shot at fulfillment.
B. Be the best: No one enters a
race hoping for a red ribbon! Committing to be the best at what you love
to do sets the stage for learning and doing what it takes to win the blue
ribbon. People love stars—be one.
C. Live a winning attitude: I’ve
written as much about the power of choice as any other subject and this
word comes well into play when living a winning attitude. A winning attitude
is based on choice and this is a specific skill attracts people. There
are many bumps in the road of business and they are best countered with
a winning attitude that makes the discovery of solutions much easier and
the journey less jarring.
D. Live to serve: Putting others
interest ahead of your own is always the best way to serve. When this
is done through a regular, genuine effort, people respond well. Nothing
will separate you from another in business quicker than when your self-interest
is all that matters and is demonstrated through pride, boasting and selfishness.
While it may sound counterintuitive, serving others ahead of yourself
helps you out more than you’ll ever know. First off, you’ll quit thinking
about yourself and all of your own aches and pains because you’ll be concentrating
on other people and, secondly, having many people appreciative of your
attitude and efforts is the best way to earn their support in business.
I’ve always taught, “Let money be a byproduct of great service.”
E. Brighten the day: Through the
service you provide, make it your mandate to leave everyone better off
than they were prior to your encounter. No matter the situation, there
is always something positive and memorable that you can provide people.
It can be something as simple as a smile, a sincere thank you, taking
an extra action to assist them beyond the norm of business, getting them
to laugh over a story or to provide encouragement.
Now knowing how to “be funny,” I conclude with how to “make money.” Little
has to be written here because the hardest part has already been defined
within the teaching points of “Be Funny.” Making money is a byproduct
of being funny because you’ve associated a number of valuable skills toward
relationship building and that goes a long way in determining where people
desire to spend their money. What does need to be added on to the “making
money” side of this equation is that your products and services must be
reliable; they must perform as promised. Absent the factor of reliability,
great relationships can only provide the temporary patience by customers.
Companies having long term reputations of being unreliable have no hope
of making money. Run a tight ship providing reliable products and services
at a fair price and you’ll have the making money side of the equation
solved. Do remember that “Being Funny” comes ahead of “Making Money.”
If you’re going backwards in the race of business success, you merely
have these two slogans reversed!
Carl Tompkins is the global marketing resources manager for Sika
Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich., and the author of Winning at Business.
He is based in Spokane, Wash.
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