Expect the Unusual

Tom Peters says, “Go to work expecting to be fired”. Hey, no problama, happens almost every day!! Well, not quite. What do you think that statement means? He is challenging us to enter our client’s world expecting the exceptional to occur. Expect wild and crazy things to happen so when they do, you are totally prepared to work “out of the box” and “go the extra mile” for your client, yourself and your team.

I offer you exhibit, “A”.

Last Saturday I did a walk through with one of my favorite Charter Oak Clients. You know what I mean. Once a month you meet with your Charter Oaks, go over that month’s plant care and ask the question, “how did we do”? I know we do that, right? While meandering through beautiful beds bearing bountiful bouquets we got to our usual out of the ordinary conversation about the old, haggard, cavity ridden silver maple in the front yard. Not only is it doing its famous silver maple disappearing act, one lead at a time, but it has become no less than a star prop for Marlin Perkins, “Wild Kingdom”. (Anyone under the age of 50 has no idea what I am talking about, at this point). Our silver maple has become a den for the third most feared thing in America, SNAKES!! Now, I think this is totally excellent, but Mrs. Charter Oak does not share my reptilian love affair, and even has a hard time looking at the tree. The conversation about this tree and those snakes comes up during every visit, but on this sunny, sultry Saturday, things were about to change, because as I looked up at tree our tree today, I saw something different, very different. The tree’s reptile population had chosen this moment to come out and sun themselves on the branches only a pole saw’s reach away. With resolute determination I looked at my clients and sprang into action. “Get me a burlap bag, a pole saw and a 6-foot step ladder. Serendipitously, my client, as if rehearsed, produced each item. I guess that’s what makes a client, Charter Oak. With cat like nimbleness and the courage of Indiana Jones we reached, poked, shook and dragged those snakes to the ground. While our client bravely held the bag open I dove stealthfully to succumb the beasts and with the grace of Curley, Moe and Larry got bitten not once but twice. Beat that accident, Joe! Just black snakes, no concern.

In our relationship training we are taught to find pain, gain and a solution. For 2 years I have heard my client tell me how uncomfortable she has been having those snakes on her property and if I could find someone to get rid of them, she would be grateful. I never really listened close enough to hear how much it bothered her, yet, I call her a Charter Oak Client. Why must her requests start and stop with plants? Is there something else I can do for my client? For yours? Sure, I got 2 new snakes but I also gave our client some peace of mind and maybe a dash more quality of life. I think she may feel better around her tree now. A small out of the ordinary act, everyone wins, and maybe two of our staunchest supporters appreciate us a little bit more. What a fun way to work! Maybe Joseph Christopher will take me with him to work at the Washington DC Zoo, take on some big cats or something! And… I promise not to tell Mary Vandermollen where I really released our new friends.

Copyright 2005 by Peter Deahl. All rights reserved.

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