Inverse Grudges and Brand Burns

I am not the kind of person who thinks people should be rewarded for doing their job. That's why I surprised myself by calling an 800 number to praise the service of the guy who sold me a water heater. I look for Bill when I am at Lowes and struggling with a weekend home project because Bill gets me unstuck. When someone gets you unstuck a few times you become loyal to them.

I have a handful of “Bills” around town who I trust for certain things. I'm loyal to my banker, my mechanic, the handyman, and my dentist because they aren't just doing their job. It is more than just a transaction with these people, they genuinely care about helping me.

I also have a blacklist of places and people I will never work with again. I won't go back to the doctor who kept me in the waiting room all afternoon before canceling my appointment. I will never buy a car from the dealer who quoted me a price higher than the price advertised on the website. I am not very forgiving when it comes to transactions like this. Once I am burned by a brand I will hold a grudge indefinitely.

You probably carry around similar lists of loyalty and grudges. And like me you probably have contributed to both extremes in your professional career. I have been guilty of just punching the clock, doing what I am told, and taking justifiable shortcuts. But I have also been rewarded every time I invest myself in my work and the people I work for and with. I would like to think that these encounters resulted in people who carry inverse grudges toward me. They are loyal to me because they remember my earnest efforts on their behalf.

How many times has a clerk handed you a receipt and asked you to fill out a survey in exchange for a chance to win a prize? I tend to crumple up the receipt and forget those requests. They may have done their job just right, but the relationship was purely transactional, unworthy of comment. But every once in a while I get genuine service and seek out ways to rave about people like Bill. He is a good reminder that if we want our work to have an impact we need to transcend the checklist of our job descriptions.

Thanks for reading. I try to earn your loyalty each week by writing stories like this. When you follow me I am thankful for the opportunity to send my ideas to you every weekend. Stay creative.


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