She was supposed to hand me a single flier. But as I rolled down my window beside the mall’s ticket machine, the young promoter – of varsity age, but with lifeless, disinterested eyes – stuffed twenty of them into my hand, along with my parking ticket.
She could not have cared less about what her employer was trying to achieve. Her level of responsibility extended only as far as, ‘I’ve been given a task,’ and her logic said that once the fliers ran out, she could simply go home. The pay would be the same either way.
But would it really?
Once I’d parked, I encountered the second young lady, doing the same promotions, but with a different approach. She greeted me, handed me a single flier and with an engaging smile told me that it was for a new store in the mall, pointed out which direction I could go to find it, and mentioned one of the offers they had available that day. She wished me an excellent day further.
Now picture the follow-up calls from the employer. In the first instance, it might sound like this:
‘How did it go?’
‘Did people take the fliers?’
‘And did they say anything?’
‘Anything else happen?’
The follow-up call to the second young lady will sound very different:
‘How did it go?’
‘Fine, thanks. At first people were walking around me, but then I realized that if I stood directly in the entrance and smiled when I greeted them, they were more willing to take the fliers.’
‘So they took them?’
‘Yes. Particularly young families. I noticed that they were more receptive, so I started to focus on them.’
‘And did they say anything?’
‘Well, a few people asked for more info on the store, like when it had opened and things like that. I didn’t know, so I popped down to the store and asked. That way I knew how to answer the next time. I also started including that info in what I was saying to new people, because that was obviously what they wanted to know about.’
One of these young ladies can be entrusted with more work, higher pay and greater responsibility. The other cannot. One is a Joseph, who can rise to the head of the household, and maybe, ultimately, the head of Pharaoh’s Court. The other isn’t.
At the core of this dynamic – can the universe entrust you with more success? – is this utterly basic principle: Do you care enough? If you do, you can go the next level. If you don’t, you can’t. It’s self-sifting. The principle comes with its own built-in attrition for the disinterested, disqualifying and discarding the unworthy.
Scale it up and the principle continues to work. As a new business owner, if you clearly care about what you provide, and you take the end result seriously, your work will be different. Your quality will be higher, your fundamental attitude will be noticed, and it will generate more business for you.
Contrarily, see your work as a collection of ‘tasks,’ not as a means to results, and a shift occurs. Your customers will to feel like intrusions and annoyances, and they can tell when you feel that way about them. Projects become works of system and process, rather than works of heart. Process will only take you so far in the universe’s success-hierarchy. Graduation to greater levels requires heart. You have to actually care.
This principle also weeds out the industry toe-dippers from the industry greats. With the passage of time, the people who care deeply will always out-perform those who do not.
Why? Because care more, and you will constantly update your own knowledge. Care more, and you will seek out the best tools. Care more, and you will go where the energy is and keep your thinking fresh.
You will also do very practical things, like taking care of the periphery; for instance, you’ll build a brilliant car-port for your customer as well as not destroying their lawn at the same time. Why? Because you understand that building a car-port is only the process. Beautifying their home is the goal; and you care about goals.
You use your imagination more. You think more deeply about what you provide.
Perhaps the universe knows what it’s doing after all. Perhaps the industry success stories are not there by luck, chance, or the roll of the ‘right place, right time’ dice. Perhaps they’re there because they earned it. Perhaps they are at the pinnacle because the universe dared them to care, and they rose to the challenge, over and over again.
Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and author who encourages people to think. He speaks on Expert Positioning and the misunderstood link between work and wealth. He is a 5x winner of the SA Championships for Public Speaking and the author of three books. See him in action or read more of his articles at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter: @douglaskruger.