Episode: 117 |
Will Bachman:
Open When Closed:


Will Bachman

Open When Closed

Show Notes

We all have a choice.

Is your business closed when closed?

Or open when closed?

How will you choose?

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:02
Welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host Will Bachman. And today I want to share with you a very short story and ask you a question. So I’ll start with a question is your business open when closed. So on Wednesday, last week, I went to an event in lower Manhattan that started at 8am. And I figured since I was taking the subway into the city, I dropped my holiday cards off at the post office, I had a pretty big box of cards, about 150 of them, they were stamped and ready to go. So I took an Uber the few blocks from my house to the post office, since I was lazy and didn’t want to carry this big box. And when I got there, I went to go inside the post office, but the doors were locked. Now, normally the lobby area at my local post offices open at 6am. So that was strange to be closed on a weekday. There was a postal worker outside loading up a truck. And I asked him what’s going on. And he told me, it’s a national day of mourning. for president george HW Bush, it’s all over the papers. Now, I was in fact aware that President Bush had passed away. But the front page of the New York Times did not actually say that the post office would be closed. I asked the postal worker, well, I’ve got all these hard holiday cards to drop off, you know, could you carry this box inside of since the the sort of the staff inference was open. And he was in fact walking back and forth inside carrying stuff out to struck. He applied speaking very deliberately figuring I must be a slow learner, we are close today, it’s a national day of mourning, the post office is closed, you can put your cards in the drop box right there. Now, a point out wasn’t would have been any extra work for him to carry the box inside. Because he was already walking back and forth into and out of the building. He was getting a carts from a mail to put into his truck and he was walking back inside empty handed, it would not have increased the overall amount of work done by the total sum set of postal workers in the universe since if I stuffed all the envelopes into the Dropbox, some other worker was going to have to take them out and carry them inside. And they would these were already in a nice, you know, box all organized. But I realized I was not going to win that particular productivity argument. So I started putting the cards into the Dropbox. Now it turns out that this Dropbox is not, did not have that normal flap that just goes up and down and hinges back and forth, like a normal postal blue are today to kind of size Dropbox where you can fit a whole package, or big fistful of letters in there. In this case, they had welded that flap shot and put a thin slot, I guess, to deter people from putting something on a string and fishing out someone else’s outgoing mail. So I could only fit in there two or three cards at a time into this little slot. And I began stuffing them in there realizing that I’m going to be late to this event, but I couldn’t exactly, you know, run home and drop the box off at home. So sort of stuck. Now, postal worker number two walked out of the staff entrance. And I figured I’d try my luck. And I asked her if she would take my box inside. And she looked at me with some scorn and explained were closed. So I went back to stuffing more envelopes into the dropbox two or three at a time. And I began wondering, what does it exactly mean to be closed? I mean, she was at work. And the staff door was open, actually. But I didn’t really blame these two workers, they were following orders. The logic and some simple courtesy would suggest that an employee would take your box inside, but they’ve been trained to fear breaking the rules. And if the sign says we’re closed, then we’re closed. I mean, if you owned that post office, and it was your business, and you saw customer outside, I mean, you would take the box inside, right. But and so would I. But nevertheless, they perhaps if you know to be fair, if they did me a favor. It’s a slippery slope. And where would it end? What if someone else stops by, you know, asking to buy a stamp or drop off a package or pick up a crucial piece of mail. It’s being held, you know, where would it end? A bureaucracy needs to establish policies and expect that the frontline will carry them out. And then worker number three came out of the building. He saw me stuffing two or three envelopes at a time in a slot. And he said, Here, let me take that box inside for you that’s gonna take you forever. And just like that, he took my box. He carried it inside and I assume he placed The cards and the outgoing mail. Now it’s a week later. And they’ve actually, you know, some people have told me they got the card. So I believe that he actually did. As far as I could tell, he didn’t suffer any disciplinary action for that. He didn’t open a floodgate of other citizens trying to drop off letters or a package on this national day of mourning. He just made a choice to workers number one, and number two, their mindset was when we’re closed, we’re closed. And worker number three’s mindset was, we can be open even when we officially closed on my way into the city on the subway, I kept thinking about that choice, one that we all face, and how well my own practices stand up. In my business, am I open when closed? If a client calls me up after a year after a project is over and asked me to send a file that she can’t find, or to get on a call? Am I open when closed? If another consultant calls me up, asking for some advice, am I open when closed? The choice each of us can make every day. If you’re closed and closed, no one can really blame you. After all, the sign says closed, but you can also choose to be open. Hey, thanks for listening. If you found something valuable in this episode, I hope you’ll share it with a friend. And I might have mentioned this before. If you visit umbrex.com slash Unleashed, you can sign up for the weekly Unleashed email where I will send you a transcript of the week’s episodes, book recommendations, consulting tips, and more. Thanks for listening.

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