I should confess right up front that this blog posting is part of my New Year’s resolution to write more frequently. I had a great excuse last year, as I was courting the lovely and gracious Micki, whom I was able to convince that being Mrs. Damato and moving to Atlanta was a good idea. We closed the deal in September, ending a courtship that bumped my frequent-flyer status up two notches.
So no more excuses. There is time to do this.
I am certain that one of the toughest things about being a roofing contractor is your role as a soothsayer. You must be able to accurately see the future in terms of product price and availability, weather, the health of your crews, and sometimes the traffic patterns in your city. You call it estimating, but I think when it comes out right it is more akin to magic (or at least good luck).
The point here is brief. Always, whenever the situation will allow, under-promise so you have a better shot at over-delivering.
What brings this to top of mind is the example the leader of the free world recently displayed for all to see.
I am not getting all political on you; this is not about Obamacare. It is, however, about Obama and how he presented and delivered on promises related to the Affordable Care Act.
As with any competitive or sales situation, you must put the best face possible on your product and services or you will never sell anything. But in the heat of the battle you really must constantly remind yourself that the things you promise, whether on the contract or in casual conversation with an owner, will be remembered and there will be an expectation that you will deliver.
It is this “setting expectations” thing that got our president in trouble. Rather than beat him up about it (like I could do that), I just present it to you as a great example of what not to do. If you stop and think about it, you can often set lower expectations that will make you look great at the end of the job. And what matters most is the way your customer feels on that last day at that last minute when they write you that last check.
And there is nothing, at that point, that you can do to adjust their expectations. You must have done that back when you were trying to win their business.
So Obama is dealing with a gap in expectations. If he had told people in the beginning, “This is a new thing and we may have to make some adjustments when it first begins,” then what happened with the website would have simply been a promise kept. He would have delivered the same result, but would have garnered a way different perception on the part of his constituents (customers).
Could he have gotten the votes to pass the ACA being 100 percent transparent and not selling it too hard? I don’t know, but I do know that the one thing presidents all guard closely, their legacy, would have been much better off if he had tried it.