Today was not an easy day. Good things happened today, but it was not easy. Here’s the story:
About a year-and-a-half ago, we started taking on a few individual clients in addition to our corporate clients. For the first several months, we had 3-4 clients that were paying us monthly to work one-on-one with them. With these handful of clients, we hit it out of the park from a customer service, contracting, and invoicing standpoint. We now have almost 30 individual clients and I am happy to report that our customer service and contracting of those 30 clients is really great. I mean, things are humming along nicely. They love us, we love them, and they tell us that we are adding significant value to their personal and business lives. Sweet, right? Well, just wait…..
While on the phone with a client last week, he tells me that it took us almost 3 weeks to deposit the check he made out to us.
Chink in the armor. Dangit!
And then this week, we uncovered the fact that we had not invoiced a particular client for a couple of months.
That chink has turned into a full-on crack. Double dangit!**
Because we work with clients every day on improving their systems for things like sales, teamwork and culture, I recognized that we needed to have an on-the-spot authentic and transparent meeting with the people at Rewire directly involved with our invoicing and collecting. We needed to identify why these cracks were happening and develop a new system that would be more suited to a higher volume of clients.
This is important: we did not focus on “who messed up” nor did we point any fingers at any guilty party for any infraction. Instead, we focused on why our current systems were failing us and how we might develop a better system that would include improved checks and balances for the higher volume.
I’m simplifying the rest of the story here, but we came up with solutions for our billing problems and started implementing them today. No more three-week waits to deposit client checks and certainly no more not knowing that we hadn’t invoiced a client! Is the new system perfect? Probably not. But when needed, I’m confident that we will create an even better system that moves us towards excellence.
So, to close today’s article, I wanted to share why I told this story and a couple take-aways from this process. First, the why:
- Being real. There’s a cultural push in business and consulting towards never showing any weakness or failure. Giving in to this push leads people and companies to be inauthentic. And we think this works against real growth on a number of levels. So, we’re choosing to be countercultural and real with our readers on The Wireboard. This story really happened. Today.
- Walking your talk. One of our core values at Rewire is to “put into practice daily the concepts we teach others in our programs.” In its simplest form, every day we hold ourselves accountable to practice what we preach. So, sharing this story seems like a good way to model that value.
- Teachable moments. I think there are some great lessons to be learned about growth from what our company went through today, and I’m hoping they’ll help you in your work.
A couple take-a-ways from this experience:
- We were habituated to the way we were billing and collecting over the last year and a half. It was not easy or comfortable to have that impromptu internal meeting today. It threw off all of our schedules and because of our Lizard Brains, even talking about changing systems was extremely hard. We did it anyway because we are committed to one another internally and we are committed to our core values. What are you committed to?
- Sometimes we need to Start Now. Don’t over-think; don’t procrastinate (even though our subconscious will give us a million reasons to put “it” off), but just start something even if it’s small or maybe not even perfectly right just yet. Start anyway.
- Tell others about the new systems you are attempting to implement. The more we study how community effects what we do and don’t do, the more we are convinced that our community helps to shape us and they want to help us. Tell them so they can help you. (See what I just did there?)
What new systems are you starting and how is it going? Tell us in the comments section as we would love to know about them and help you in any way we can.