I listened to a friend, yesterday, talking about how much things had changed in her career.
She’s been providing the same service for people for quite a number of years, but what began as a pretty straightforward process has become intricate, complicated and even convoluted, bordering on the ridiculous. The whole thing is a completely different animal from when she began. It seems that “x + y” no longer equals “z,” making it very difficult to keep track of her commissions, and causing her to be hesitant in what she’s promising clients, because it could be wrong, or even change within the week.
As much as I hate it for her, and certainly understand her frustration, I’m pretty sure she’s not alone. I think what she’s experiencing is spreading like a pandemic. There is a shift from being about people and for people, to a numbers-driven frenzy laced with copious disclaimers to cover us in case of a suit. It seems that, across the board, regardless of what type of business or industry, we are strangling ourselves with legal jargon and the lines of the Excel spreadsheet. We are forgetting what we do, and more importantly, why we do it.
We are forgetting the basics.
Businesses could stand to take a minute and remember why they formed in the first place. My guess is that they saw their fellow man with a need, and set about filling it. At that time, it had nothing at all to do with slick technology, or driving the numbers, although they certainly wanted to turn a profit and be solvent. More, however, it was about providing excellent service, gaining returning clients instead of one-time customers and building an excellent reputation of caring about them. They weren’t concerned about adding disclaimers, but instead, conducted business above reproach, making suits a rarity. Client satisfaction was always the goal, because if that goal was reached, the numbers would naturally fall into place.
We’d do well to take a lesson from this in our own lives. We may not run a corporation, but we are still supposed to be service-minded. It’s still all about seeing a need and filling it. If we get our eye off the ball and get caught up in extraneous things that don’t really matter, life can become pretty convoluted, and can feel pretty ridiculous when you finally realize how far away you are from the basics. I’m thankful that there’s a pretty straightforward reminder on how to return to them right here…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27 NIV