Lesson learned from changing a lightbulb

My kitchen lightbulb went out today, and when the maintenance guy came to change it, I learned an important lesson about perspective – and keeping an open mind.

My kitchen lightbulb was flickering so I called maintenance to come take a look. The guy says,¬†condescendingly, “Oh, it’s probably these green tips.” When I asked what he meant by that, he said, “The green tip bulbs are more environmentally friendly, but they aren’t compatible with our light fixtures.”

He has no idea how much I love the environment.

The Lesson

He could just as easily have said, “Our light fixtures are not compatible with the green tip bulbs.” He choose to place blame on the bulbs for not being compatible. I would argue it’s the light fixture causing the issue.

If you love the environment, or even remotely care about our future, you probably agree with me. But that’s not the point.

There are two perspectives to almost every situation. Neither is right. Neither is wrong. Understanding this will help you keep an open mind, and leave the door open for possibility.

What the client really wants

While donating blood, the phlebotomist listened to what I said, and did what I asked. Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t what I really wanted. What people say and what they actually want are often 2 different things.

I had an experience today (while donating blood) that made me think about the company/client relationship. See, what happened was…

The blood donation story

Last time I donated I experienced no issues. Arm felt great the entire time. Today, I experienced some discomfort. Nothing major, but I wouldn’t exactly call it pleasant. Before I started today, I told the technician what the woman did last time to make my arm feel great. She did 1 of the 2 things I mentioned, and the bleeding commenced.

When I was finished, I told her that it wasn’t a big deal, but I did have some discomfort, and the small change she made didn’t make it subside. I explained to her again the 2 things that were done last time, and she replied, “Oh. I thought you just wanted this 1 thing done.”

No. What I really want is for my arm to be comfortable. For it not to hurt. I don’t care how you achieve it, or what you have to do. It’s your job to figure that out. Just don’t make it hurt so I want to come back in 3 weeks and donate again.

What they say ‚Ȇ What they want

If you own a creative company, what do you think your client actually wants? Do they really want the color a little darker? The font a little larger? The image moved over here? No. That’s what they tell you. But don’t let it confuse you. You need to interpret.

Results. Sales. Money.

What they really want are results. More sales. More business. More money. People buying their product, using their service. They want the world to know about what it is they offer, fall in love with it, and tell their friends.

They don’t care how you do it. They’re paying you to figure it out.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I did exactly what the client wanted, and they still weren’t happy.”? That’s because you did exactly what the client told you to do. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what they wanted.