Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Past Performance IS a Predictor of Future Actions

Do you want to know something very simple you can do to reduce stress during an unexpected "emergency?" It's surprisingly simple: Be a good partner who is good to work with.

Here's a recent example from my own company. We recently experienced a concerted attack on one of our web sites. This is a site that generates revenue, and which people rely on daily. In the middle of upgrading WordPress from 5.4.x to 5.5 and then 5.5.1, a new malware hit the systems. 

My primary web developer did a great job of tackling problems with a combination updated security programs, patching and re-patching, and tracking down the "real" problems. With the primary system upgrade, plus patches, plus reboots and clearing various layers of caching, it was quite a job to make sure you are addressing the real problem and moving things forward.

As you can imagine, it was very stressful for my developer. 

. . . and she was in the middle of a move.

On Friday, I told her to focus on her move. After all, she'd scheduled the days off. There is no need for this issue (series of issues) to interfere.

Why? Because we have a very understanding audience. They know us, they trust us. They will forgive us. And I have ways of helping everyone get what they are looking for, no matter how finicky the web site is.

I know you've heard the concept of a "bank" of goodwill. Well, it's true. You make deposits with every single interaction you have. That includes interactions with clients, employees, vendors, and strangers. Over time, people know whether or not you are good to deal with, and whether you fulfill your commitments and keep your promises.

If you do all those things, people notice. And when things go sideways, they forgive you - quickly and easily. 

It also helps a great deal if you are honest, open, and even a little vulnerable. When people know that you're a real person, working hard and doing your best, they give you a little slack. And that goes a long ways.

To be honest, this is much easier in a small business than in a large business. We have a closer relationship with our clients. We also have easy ways to fix problems and get people what they need. So, we can manually perform every task that should be automated in a perfect world.

In this case, we're experiencing the first real problem with this web site in almost three years. Everyone knows we'll fix it and fulfill all of our commitments. And that faith in our past performance goes a long ways.

As I texted to my web developer: Relax Focus Succeed. :-)


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