Steffan, HVAC foreman with Piper Mechanical, a commercial plumbing company based in Vancouver, WA told Session 10A of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
"For the past two months, we have had a rocky working relationship with one of our important equipment suppliers. They dropped the ball on one of my projects. The supplier said they'd guarantee the project and have promised to fix the faulty equipment they sold us. Their lack of performance has put tremendous pressure on us and has left us with 'egg on our face.'
"To say the least, the building owner, general contractor, and commissioning agent are not impressed with this supplier. This incident has soured my opinion on the sales manager and their company. We will inevitably work with these folks in the future, so this makes things really feel awkward and this doesn't feel good.
"Two weeks ago, we completed an equipment startup on a different project with the same equipment supplier. The communication up to this point has been flawless. The day of startup went off without a hitch. No problems and both techs were finished and out the door before noon.
"The thought came that I should send a 'thank you' note to the sales manager to let him know of the days success. I thanked him and his team for their efforts in helping us reach this milestone, even though I am still a little upset with their past actions on the other project. Before the days end, the note was in his email inbox.
"He responded by saying he really appreciated the email and how good it felt because they usually only hear the bad stuff. I was glad I followed my first instinct and sent the card. I am now hopeful things are moving in the right direction and we can patch things up.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is how important it is not to let the experience of the past keep me from seeing the good of the present. Just a few simple words on a thank you card can have such a profound, positive effect.
"The action I want you to take is don't wait until everything is perfect between you and others to give a thank you. When good things happen, put it in writing, even if things aren't perfect, even if you feel some resistance.
"The benefit you will gain is more gracious working relationships and you will feel better about yourself."
Larry W. Dennis, Sr. is available for private, in-company leadership development programs.
Please contact Larry at 503-329-4519 or Larry@turbols.com for more information.
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems