149: The destiny of the diligent

Imagine you are a cleaning person and you finished the job exactly on time. Actually, you are in hurry to go to the next client. Just before you leave the client’s house you spot a dusty corner you missed to clean. The cleaning person who was hired weeks and months before never cleaned that dust away because it was a lot but in a hidden spot that is hard to see.

What do you do?

  • A) Clean it properly and risk to get to the next client late who asked you to arrive on time.
  • B) Clean it superficially and risk that this client will claim you missed a spot and ask you to clean it later although all the weeks and months before the prior cleaning person left this corner dirty.

Let’s choose B) to illustrate my point.

When you uncover something dirty, something unpleasant (although you could have just left it as it is) you will be made responsible for the dirty unpleasant thing when you are not able to remove it or take care of it properly.

The problem is: If you had not pointed at this issue in the first place, nobody would have noticed – only your senses in this moment and your bad consciousness later.

Being too nice in customer service (another example)

You are working with the customer service of your company and your colleagues know that one customer likes to write a lot and is hard to please. So you better not reply “too friendly”.

This one morning you’re feeling very enthusiastic that a customer wrote and you took care of his request. It goes back and forth and you try to please him with every answer (as much as possible) because that’s what you do.

However, the email conversation has now been lasting over several days, with no end in sight although you solved the problem. Now the customer even wants to talk to you which you politely deny because of time constraints.

In the end, you didn’t make the customer happy because you uncovered the dusty corner (making him want a call because you were so nice) but didn’t clean properly (denied his wish) and left some dust.

After all, the client is not happy and you’re not happy. That’s why knowing when to say “No” is important. A late “no” doesn’t serve anybody.


This was episode 149 of the #weekdaykickoff 🌊. Every Monday to Friday.

Also published on Medium.

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