What do you do if you purchase a product and it breaks after you use it three times? Or the finish wears off much sooner than it should? Or it simply doesn’t perform the way the packaging, website, or advertising promised it would?
You’d expect to get the product replaced or your money back, yes?
Companies often promote a guarantee to back up the quality of their product. The product might be an item, a service, or even an experience. As a consumer or user of the product, when we see that guarantee – and it seems genuine – it gives us confidence about the product and even takes away the feelings of risk we feel whenever we fork over our hard-earned cash.
Guarantees tend to mean more on a high ticket item than they do on a low ticket item. If I buy a pack of gum that tastes like skunk, I very likely won’t take the time to write the company. But if I buy an 80-inch flat screen HDTV and it only plays black and white, I’m instantly flipping to the last page of the manual and looking for who/what/where/when/how to contact immediately about a replacement or a refund.
YOU Are The Product!
When somebody hires you, YOU are the product they’re buying — your skills, experience, creativity, integrity, work ethic, and all the other things that make up the awesomeness known as you.
At least that’s what they THINK they’re buying. I know I’ve hired people I thought were total rockstars, but turned out to be more like lazy roadies. Lots of people interview well (“Let’s see, my strengths are that I’m a hard worker, I’m really organized, and I’m a people person“), but when it comes time to deliver, what shines through instead is their extreme mediocrity, or worse.
Are You Bringin’ It?
Look at your job right now. Forget that it’s YOU in the role for a minute. If you had to describe what that role would look like if it was performed at the absolute highest level, the most productive output, and the best quality, what would that look like?
Is that what you’re bringin’?
I know most of you said “yes” in your head.
Really? Would you GUARANTEE that? Like, if you don’t perform at that level (which is what you told me you would do during your interview) will you give me my money back? Or replace yourself with somebody that can do the job I hired you to do…at your expense?
Do you know what the highest ticket item is for any company to purchase? It’s YOU. Yeah, I know you might not be the highest paid employee, but I’m tellin’ you, no matter how much you make or what level you are within an organization, YOU’RE EXPENSIVE. And your company expects you to perform the way you promised you would in your interview.
So, are you? Could you, WOULD you guarantee that?
You’ve Got Time (Probably)
The great news is that most companies are way more forgiving than we are as consumers. If a single box of cereal is stale, we’ll start a grassroots boycott of the entire cereal industry. Fortunately, if you aren’t delivering what your employer expects, you usually have a fair amount of time and space to correct the problem and live up to your promise.
Most companies are very slow to exert any kind of discipline, even for major breeches of integrity. And contrary to popular belief, the majority of corporate ills are not caused by evil-intentioned embezzlers or document-burying paper shredders. They’re caused by mediocre employees delivering mediocre results. Sure, blame leadership all you want, but that’s kind of hard to do once you wake up the the fact that you – and only you – are responsible for your performance.
Don’t just work like your job depends on it. Work like you guarantee your job depends on it.