The call was "great" because he showed up during a crisis. He has a new client whose office was flooded. His company is replacing all hardware - and the old IT service provider. The client is truly in the middle of a disaster recovery. And while Roy (my guy) had told him that they'd finish the job on Saturday, the client is putting a lot of pressure on them to be done as soon as possible.
Roy has always provided amazing service. He's proud of it, as are his employees. Amazing service is part of their brand.
Normally, that would mean that Roy would cancel a non-emergency appointment to take care of this client. But he also knew that he could send his lead technician over to the client and take an hour with me to work "on" his business. This commitment is new to Roy. He has always known that he needs to take time to work on his business, but he has always been tempted to stay in the trenches - working IN his business.
As he expressed to me, "There's always an urgent client issue."
It made me think of the dialog from the original Men in Black movie. Agent Jay has just shot up the street with his noisy cricket weapon. Agent Kay provides some perspective:
Kay: "We do not discharge our weapons in view of the public!"
Jay: "Man, we ain't got time for this cover-up bullshit! I don't know whether or not you've forgotten, but there's an Arquillian Battle Cruiser that's about to..."
Kay: "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!"
Just like Men in Black, your business has to look at the big picture. There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser threatening to destroy the earth. There's always a server that's having problems, or a failed update, or a bad backup, etc. There's always something going on that seems urgent - or IS urgent.
You have to rise above the urgency and set aside time to improve your business.
Nothing Happens By Itself
Working ON your business needs to be a priority. In fact, it needs to be your highest priority. Even in an emergency, you need to maintain perspective and realize that you can take an hour here and an hour there to work on the most important piece of your business.
You're never going to be able to take a week off, shut the doors, and revamp your service offerings (or tune up you service board, or revise the statuses you use in your PSA, or figure out how to clean up old time cards so you can begin tracking payroll in your PSA, etc., etc., etc.).
There are HUNDREDS of things you need to do to improve your business. You will never be "given" the time to do these things.
You have to TAKE the time.
You have to make that happen.
You have to set aside an hour to work ON your business.
... And don't let anything get in the way.
If you don't make it a priority, no one else can.
Improvement cannot happen by itself. You have to do it.
There will always be excuses.
There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser . . .