Recently, I had a leak in the hot water tank in our house. Fortunately the hot water tank in my house is located on the basement floor. So, the damage was only modest. As one would in a situation like this I called the plumber. The company I contract with is a one man operation. he was away on vacation. But, he had arranged one of his fellow plumbers – another one man operation – to follow up on the calls. The back up plumber came to my house, checked my hot water tank, followed up with my primary contact, got all the paper work, figured out that the tank can be replaced on warranty. He had used the camera in his phone – mobile diagnostic tool – to take pictures and document the details to communicate with the manufacturer. When he informed me of all this it was time for me to travel. He said not to worry. He offered me a suggestion to turn off the water, while I was away and scheduled the hot water tank replacement work, as soon as I returned. No sooner had I returned the plumber was at my home with the replacement tank, which he had arranged to secure while I was on travel. He did all the work a plumber does – drain the system, disconnect pipes, connect where needed, solder the and seal the joints as needed, refill and test the system. He could have left right away after that. Instead he asked me to put the system to full duty cycle for nearly thirty minutes. Much to his surprise one of the solder joints, which he had not touched started leaking! As you might know a leaking solder joint can not be fixed with out starting all over again, draining the water in the system. The plumber went through the steps diligently and ensured that I had a fully functioning system – a system that met all my requirements as a user.
You might think that is what the plumber is supposed to do. But the plumber is also rated and the rating is uploaded on to a on-line data base like the Angie’s list. Only those with good ratings get calls from the tech savvy social media dominated population.
What does this have to do with you as a professional? How often do you take on an assignment where the problem is clear, well defined and the user needs clarified up front? Do you then systematically and methodically follow up on all aspects of your work and rely on all your core capabilities: your knowledge, information work and physical labor? Do you check and re-check your work so that the person who relies on your work – like the home owner reliant on the plumber – is fully satisfied with your solution. Do you operate as a single owner company whose livelihood and success are entirely of his own making? Do you have people as back ups in your work that you can rely on, when you have to be away? Do you subject yourself for constant scrutiny and review so that you have a constant pulse on user satisfaction of your work? If you do all of these you will be a successful professional, no matter where you work – may be it is a small start up, a medium sized company or a large enterprise.