Paying Attention to Detail Pays Off
A close friend of mine lives in Shanghai. He moved there over 10 years ago to do missionary work and to help change people’s lives. For about 4 years his work moved slowly and he appeared to be getting depressed. Over time he started to reach out to the homeless Chinese people who had migrated into the city from the more rural areas. Unlike homeless in the United States, many of these individuals became homeless at a very young age simply because they left home to find a job only to realize that once they reached the city they didn’t have the right paperwork for employment. So my friend Jimmy started what he calls “The Renewal Center” which is a place for homeless people to come and get hot food, wash their clothes and take a shower. The Renewal Center thrived and eventually it expanded to include an upscale cafe that featured training for individuals who wanted to go and work in other kitchens – which is apparently a pretty easy way to get employment in Shanghai. Recently the Renewal Center was forced to move and they had to shut down the cafe, but instead of giving up Jimmy and the team that he has pulled together has looked for new ways to train people to do other jobs. The most recent job involves silkscreening. Here is an excerpt from their most recent newsletter:
“Your newsletter was silkscreened! We’re always looking for new opportunities for our trainers to learn valuable job skills, and we’re always looking for more meaningful way to tell our stories to donors. So, recently the team took a trip to ShangArtelier Studio to learn how to silkscreen. Our trainees and staff carefully printed the deep red ink on this newsletter. (the newsletter had a few design elements printed in red on the front and back). … Hanson always says, ‘there is no chabuduo‘ (almost good enough). We teach with high standards here so our trainees will succeed in their jobs.”
As I was showing this article to a friend of mine who has spent considerable time in Germany he said there is no word combination for “good enough” or “close enough”. He continued to tell me that even if you are having a conversation with a German and you don’t understand what they are telling you, they won’t say, “Yes, that’s close enough to what I’m trying to say.” Instead they will keep explaining it to you until you get EXACTLY what they are trying to say.
My friend Jimmy and all of his projects have been very successful. They normally take a little longer to become successful, but then they always have longevity. He never settles for mediocrity and it is one of the things I admire about him most.
Why do people settle?
As I build my business I always push for excellence, but what do you do with the person who is happy with “good enough”? Why do people settle? I am sure the reasons are many but for most people I think it is easier to just not deal with the hassle of perfection. Accepting mediocrity is often accompanied by the fact that we don’t want to inconvenience others or seem like a nag. One of my friends recently had some videos created and he said, “We were very pleased with them, yes, we would have changed a few things, but they were good enough.” I’m sure part of the reason for settling was budget and timeline, but part of it was just hassle.
At ChemistCreative we try to make things hassle-free and we try to communicate a lot at the beginning of the project so that the client is pleased and we are happy with the outcome. There have been many times where a client hasn’t known what they have wanted until we neared the end of the project. If their requests or changes are reasonable, we don’t mind going the extra mile to make our customer’s happy. This is easy (easier) to do when there is great communication and a good working relationship.