Friday, October 9, 2009

Responding to People based on Intent, not Outcomes

When I moved to my current residence, I made a phone call to receive garbage service. The nice person gave me all the information about the various services that they offered. I had just missed the service this week and there had been miscommunication about pick-up the week before. It was 100 degrees outside and I had two weeks of garbage that was going be three. So I explained my situation and asked if their was something that she could do. She went to great lengths to organize a special pick up at no extra cost. Apparently, the guys on the truck did not think I was so special, and they did not pick it up- despite her telling them to. It sat out in the sun all day and when got home I found lots of nasty garbage spread all over the driveway by the neighbor's dog.

It was my first day of my new job and when I saw the garbage I was furious. I angrily went to call and confront the lady that I had talked to. But then something inside of me said, "stop." And I thought, this lady went the extra mile for me and truly tried to solve my problem. Her intent was to help me. It seemed that she did not deserve a bunch of my anger and frustration because life happened. So I took a deep breath, got her on the phone, and thanked her for working so hard to solve my problem. The trash got taken away on the normal day which is likely what I should have done to start with.

Later I got to thinking, from now on I am going to respond to people based on their intent- rather than the outcome of what ends up happening. If someone tries their best to help me, that counts for a lot with me. So that is my new policy. What's yours?

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