In your business or career, which of these would you rather be?
“I can’t see how it’s going to fit,” said the delivery guy, looking dubiously up the staircase in my house, then glancing at the large fridge that needed to be carried up to the kitchen on the first floor.
This conversation was taking a similar turn to one earlier in the day, when another delivery crew shook their heads at both the fridge and the stairs.
We explained patiently that when we moved into the house, we’d managed to get an even bigger fridge up the stairs - but these guys weren’t having any of it. They could see only negatives; pointing out every reason why our fridge was not going to be installed that day.
They became even more adamant when we mentioned that part of delivering the new fridge involved taking the old, bigger one – now defunct – away.
Finally, they played their trump card; “There’s no way of doing this without damaging your house.”
They refused to do more than offload the fridge into our downstairs hallway, saying we would have to get it craned to the top floor. At that point I had images of food melting and decaying in my kitchen as we waited weeks for a massive industrial crane to arrive – with a corresponding huge bill that would triple what we paid for the fridge itself. Panic was setting in!
Fortunately, there was another solution.
Enter Darren, the Crane Magician (not his actual business brand but it should be!). After a quick phone call, Darren turned up in his truck with a crane mounted on the back. He set up out the front of our house, got the crane fired up, and the next thing you know our old fridge was being lifted down and the new one was going up.
It made quite a spectacle in our street, with passers-by stopping to capture the moment.
Darren was the most laid-back of operators, playing the portable crane controls strapped to his hip like a maestro on a beloved musical instrument. As he tweaked and shifted, the new fridge gently touched down on our upstairs balcony with millimetre precision.
Now that I have my new fridge installed, I can’t help comparing the approaches of the different people involved in this episode. I’m not suggesting heaving a large whitegoods item up a winding staircase is easy, but these were professional delivery people and I don’t imagine we’re the only people on the planet with an upstairs kitchen.
Regardless of their delivery expertise, they only saw the negatives and, when pressed, they dug their heels in.
Are there people like that in your organisation – who, rather than looking for possibilities, lead with all reasons why something can’t be done and push back against change?
Thank goodness there are also people like Darren, who are willing to try new ways, who’ve become experts at the process of making things happen and who approach challenges with a calm assurance that everything will work out well.
I think we’d all do well to gravitate towards the Darrens in our business - and aspire to be a Darren ourselves. What do you think?