September 13 , 2019 /


I was trying to get information for a national organization’s conference coming up in February, 2020.   Frustrated with the lack of up to date information on their web site, I thought about what I wanted to say and why and then picked up my phone to call.  The response was that they were too busy to answer and to leave a message.  Instead, I hung up and thought about it some more.  Then I called again, and Nick answered.   I shared my frustration with him in some detail in clear and certain terms, said I wanted to be helpful, not just critical, and he said what I was glad to hear.

Nick said that this was good feedback and he would take it to the next meeting and that the “engineers” of the web site needed to step it up.  We talked a little more about a couple of other issues that I perceived where this organization could be more responsive and he took my name and number in case someone wanted to talk further..  Whether or not I hear back at this point is immaterial.  What is important is that I made a connection, felt like he heard what I was saying and understood. He said to me in closing, “You get it.”   My hope is that they too might “get it” and get on with it.  The it in this case is getting their act together to serve their members more effectively and more efficiently.

I like making a personal connection with people that I talk to and I asked Nick what his job was besides answering the phone.  He said, “I am a trouble shooter.”  We know that generally means he communicates problems to where they need to go and I trust he will do that after our conversation and I may follow up if I don’t get a call and see if anyone was really listening.  I told Nick that I have been causing trouble most of my career and that I am generally a trouble maker in that regard.  I was an early disruptor of the status quo and in many quarters, I still am.  I forgot to tell Nick that my first phone call resulted in my hanging up. One of my pet peeves is a phone call not being answered by a person and even worse than being asked to leave a message is a menu of choices resulting in a second menu of other choices.  Too big, too busy, no thanks.  How about outsourcing busy calls to a stay at home mom who can take a message in person and pass it back to the right source?  Some doctors’ offices do that with their answering service.  Service!

One of my early mantras was “Be content but never be satisfied.”  Then I shifted to finding ways to be content when something was good enough so that I didn’t have to feel frustrated because of getting caught on in the continuous improvement treadmill.  In that regard, you might have a. look back at

In the case of the national organization’s web site and some of their other issues, it is, in my humble opinion, not yet quite good enough.  That said, for now, I am content, having made just one phone call.  Is there one phone call you could make right now that would make you feel better?  Go ahead, just do it.


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