Posts Tagged ‘initiative’

On Wed night my daughter’s car was burglarized. She had just finished serving as a counselor for a pretty awesome four-day local Junior High mission event with our church for about eighty kids. After the students left, the counselors went out to eat for debriefing and closure. While they were inside the restaurant, her passenger side window was smashed and her bags stolen.

You probably have thoughts about that. Here you go: Her vehicle was under a light, her vehicle has no trunk, her belongings were under a blanket and pillow, she had come straight from college…but this post is not about the theft. It’s about leadership. I think you will see what I mean.

On Thursday morning insurance and I talked. Since we only have liability coverage, they wouldn’t pay, but they connected me to their preferred glass company who promised to have the window fixed onsite by Friday noon. I covered the hole with plastic and waited for Friday.

At 8:30 Friday morning, the tech called to say the window was supposed to arrive at 8:00 and it hadn’t, but he would get out there and repair the window just as soon as possible. At 11:45 AM I called him back to see what he had learned. “All I know is it hasn’t arrived. If it doesn’t arrive by 2:00, it might be Monday before I can do your window.”

Me: “Well, I understand. But that won’t work for a final answer. My daughter will be going back to college. I would like to have this fixed.”

“Probably someone would have to call around Tulsa and see if someone had it in stock.

Me: “Okay, are you going to do that?”

“Um, call the home office. I can give you their number”

So I did. And explained the situation. “I’m sorry, sir. All I can tell you is that it hasn’t arrived yet. There is nothing we can really do. We just have to wait for it to arrive.”

Me: “That is a pretty passive position. I am looking to be proactive and do some problem solving. Is there someone in your office who can do that?”

“Sir, I understand your frustration. You could talk with my manager when he gets done with another customer.”

Me: “That will be great….”.

“Okay, goodbye…”

Me: “Wait, he can call my cell @ Thank you.”

Manager does not call. I call insurance company. They call the manager. He is “out of office” but will call me when he returns.

Manager finally does call. “Hi, I was told to call this number?” I explain situation. He responds: “All I can say is that it didn’t show up. It’s probably xxxx’s (the national delivery company’s) fault. It happens all the time. We never know why it happened. It’ll be Monday or Tuesday before we can do anything!”

Me: “Thank you. That is not satisfactory. I will look for another solution.” I call insurance company back to let them know what has happened. I speak to a new person who decides to call the first company to see what problem was and when they would have the part. Manager tells him there is no problem, that I decided to cancel the order so they were no longer waiting on a part. I tell insurance lady that this happened five minutes ago. She connects me to Glassmasters at 8504 Admiral Place. Sxxx answers and tells me if I can get there within the next hour she will fit me in. Quote is only $20 more. I tell her I’m on my way.

S. calls me enroute to double-check order. Insurance company had said windshield, but paperwork they faxed to her says side window. She wants to clarify. I tell her window. She asks me to hold while she checks with supplier. Comes back on line to say we are still good. Local supplier has window in stock.

While sitting in waiting room I hear three separate people thank cashier for fitting them in. Fresh coffee is being made. There is a table for checkers. Sherlock Holmes movie playing.

S. comes out again and apologizes. Supplier sent wrong window, she sent it back. We discuss and I apologize. I said car was 2 door when it was 4. Mixup is my fault. Not sure what I was thinking. S. says it will only add about fifteen minutes to the job. I commend her for her customer service. She thanks me and says it is important to her to get it right, to do it quickly and to meet people’s needs.

After less time than I expect, the car is done. I pay and go out to the car to discover they have also cleaned up all the excess glass. As I drive home, I decide to blog on leadership.

I think there are a lot of lessons embedded in this story. But you can go first…what do you see?