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Ron Clark: Everything we do is personal


As some of you know, my wife is a junior high school teacher.

6th grade to be specific.

Know what that means? Hormones. Drama. Lots of change. Who knows what else.

People think it’s amazing that I’m a Scoutmaster for a Scout troop, but that’s easy compared to being a teacher.

Instead of having to be on my game 5 days a week with 25 6th graders (not all of whom want to be there), I spend 90 minutes a week with boys who want to be in Scouts. Once a month, we go camping for a weekend (and I don’t try to teach them math and history).

Back on topic – Having a teacher in the family also means something else: We watch every teacher movie ever made.

Last night, The Ron Clark Story was on. It’s a true story about a teacher who takes on an inner-city elementary class in Harlem and turns it into a high-performance environment (you knew that, since they don’t make movies about crappy teachers).

Just before the big standardized tests are taken, the kids are trying to explain why they didn’t do well on a test they took while Mr. Clark was out sick with pneumonia.

“It’s nothing personal”

One of the students says “Hey man, it’s nothing personal about you, we just cant pass these tests.”

Clark comes back and tells them “Everything that happens in this room is personal. Everything we say to one another is personal.” (and he goes on from there)

It works the same way in your business.

Everything you do for (or to) your clients.

Everything you say to (or about) your clients.

Shipping is personal

Yesterday, I had a conversation with some folks about shipping.

Like Coke vs. Pepsi and Ford vs. Chevy, this one was one of rivalries.

This time is was about Fedex vs. UPS.

During the conversation, I reflected about the service my company received from a Fedex driver who has been the only driver in Columbia Falls for 10 years.

We used them because their shipping quality was a reflection upon us. We didn’t want the very first thing we shipped to be reflection of our service.

Fedex vs. the post office or other services is always a no brainer, in my experience.

Tim our CFalls Fedex dude picked up almost every one of those packages. He still picks them up for the folks who own the business now.

These days when I have a package or I see him in a store around the Valley, he calls me by name.

If you think about it, it’s not that big a deal. After all, during a delivery, my name is on the package.

Kinda obvious, don’t you think?

Yet not one UPS driver has ever called me by name.

7 replies on “Ron Clark: Everything we do is personal”

As far as I can tell, it was Adrian Savage (The Coyote Within, now defunct) who popularized the idea that business is personal. This quote of his has stayed with me over the years:

But it is personal. Itâ??s all personal. Every choice you make is personal, because youâ??re a person doing it. Nobody can walk away from responsibility in that way.

He had a lot of great content, tragic his site is no longer published. Accountability and responsibility of business leadership were his hallmarks.

Thanks Kathleen, Ill have to see if I can chase down his material.

It first came to me from two people saying “It’s not personal, it’s just business”.

First, Trump. What he means is that he makes decisions for strategic reasons, not personal ones – but it just doesn’t come out that way.

Second, someone actually said it to my face during a business conversation – and they meant it exactly as stated.

Imagine someone saying “You suck, but hey, it’s not personal”

Really, I think you are talking about customer service and customer relations. Maybe it’s my generation, but I prefer to deal with people in a business environment informally. First names are always prefered. I don’t mind paying a little more (or dealing with a problem as a customer) if I feel I am valuable to someone else’s business. If their employees couldn’t give a rat’s arse, then they don’t get my business.

DS Trout Fly Patternss last blog post..The Pheasant Tail Nymph

First of all I could never imagine myself being a teacher and I respect those that put in the effort day after day educating our children. Secondly, well put, relationship development is what its all about these days. Although, I still see many companies still giving the effort to build relationships with their customers and all I can do it shake my head.

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