Timing is everything. You have heard that before because it is true. As we turned 60 this year at Len’s Cove, we realize that we are judged far more on what we did yesterday than the accumulation of many great boating, boat sales, friendships and relationships that have happened over the years. We are blessed to have an amazing team that cares and reviews that are almost always 5 Star. However, we need to think about those few that aren't 5/5 if we are going to make it another 60 years. We reflect on that here.
Think about your typical experience with a business. Most of the time (not always), when you are starting out working with a company, there is a flurry of activity right at the beginning. Many phones calls, emails, meetings, discussions ensue and you are service heavily in the start. That is similar in all relationships (business and personal). Those first few dates with a new girl or boyfriend are intense and full of effort. You could call it the “courting” stage of business.
After you decide to proceed with any company, the activity level and service attention drops a level. This middle period where you are working with each other, and there is service, yet not to the same level as the beginning phase. We are used to it, and in many ways accept it as the normal. We see it personally as well. After you have been friends for a while, or after you have been with a significant other, you give less effort or “service” to that relationship. This is dangerous, and what we need to focus on here as it is not acceptable at all.
It works out ok for a while, until there is a bump in the road. If something goes wrong in the service, or there is a period of time you feel neglected, you look back and reflect on the beginning and think to yourself, “they sure don’t treat me like they did at the start of this relationship”. Then bitterness can grow if it isn’t corrected, and in some cases, you may decide to end the relationship (either business or personal). If the other party doesn’t want that, then all of the sudden the activity and service rises to win you back, and convince you to stay. It happens all the time in friends, lovers, business relationships, etc. Ever notice that reviews of restaurants, hotels, etc., are often over represented by things that happened at the end of the service (both good and bad).
We see this in death as well. When the end is near, we reach out to love ones, we make an effort, we try and finish off loose ends and increase the service level. This happens both to the person dying and the people left behind. We look back at “the middle” and think to ourselves, “I could have done better”. Whether you could have been a better friend, parent, partner, or business associate, we see the loss ahead as a call to action to right the wrongs of the past.
This happens so often, I expect you know what I am talking about, and have probably been at both the receiving and giving end of being too lax in the middle. I know I have personally, and we have as an organization do from time to time.
The big question is, how do we break that cycle? How do we find the awareness to give more attention to the middle times…..the longest and arguably the most important time in a relationship, so we aren’t faced with over compensating towards the end? I don’t know that I have any concrete solutions to this conundrum and we are working on it daily. I do have the awareness that it is important, if not critical to our flourishing for another 60 years. We also have a depth of great people that I can challenge to help find creative solutions.
Lastly, as we progress towards a slightly quieter time in the marine business, we have some time to work at. My commitment to you our very valuable customer, and personally to those I care about, is to make that our focus. We will make the middle an even more enjoyable experience so that we never have to worry about scrambling at the end.