You may be right, but that doesn’t mean that people will care. Or pay attention. Or take action. Just because you’re right, doesn’t mean they’re going to listen. It takes more than being right to earn attention and action. By Seth Godin
The above blog post by Seth Godin really got me thinking. It sums up one of the biggest problems for business owners, and in particular, home inspectors. The vast majority of us who achieve a level of success in our business have something in common: we know our business inside and out. Whether we are a Realtor, an attorney, a carpenter or a home inspector, we must know our business to achieve success.
Often, there is a price to pay for attaining that level of expertise. By becoming so knowledgeable about our jobs, we run the risk of falling prey to one of the ‘seven deadly sins’ of ancient teachings: pride.
Wikipedia defines pride as a foolishly and irrationally corrupt sense of one’s personal value, status or accomplishments. This hubris is (unfortunately) on daily display in our current political arena.
Unfortunately for business owners, when pride becomes a coping strategy for dealing with any type of confrontation in your business, it’s a recipe for failure. Just because you know the underlying facts of your business and are certain that you are applying those facts correctly in a given situation, that shouldn’t give you license to act like an uncouth buffoon, to ‘show your ass’ as it were.
There are certainly many ways to get a point across without acting in an obnoxious manner. Hammering home your point while simultaneously degrading the opposing party may get you elected in today’s world, but it is a recipe for disaster for a small business owner. You may prove you’re right, but you’re certainly not going to win any new clients.
We all want to get our point across, to “defend our honor,” so to speak. We bristle when someone challenges our knowledge. We leap to prove that we know what we are talking about.
But what does all this defense of our honor get us? Satisfaction? Probably; at least for a little while. Worked up? Check. Aggravation? Certainly. High blood pressure? Quite likely. Increased stress levels? You bet.
Think of the negatives that come from putting all your energy into vengeance. Is it really worth it? Instead of stressing out over it, what if you decided to let it go? Instead of defending your point, what if you just let them have the last word?
For a home inspector, that means letting your written report stand on its own merit. Just because the seller is arguing with you at the inspection, telling you that you’re wrong, doesn’t mean that you have to defend yourself. If you are confident in your knowledge, just let it go. You’ve already written it in your report, there’s no need for you to get goaded into an argument.
Just move on.
What if you took all that energy that you put into proving that you’re right and, instead, did something productive?
What if you learned something new? Developed a new marketing strategy. Wrote some thank you notes to your clients. Got caught up on your paperwork. Improved your product. Dealt with an item on that nagging to-do list.
Never forget that the people we work with in our businesses, our clients as well as our associates, are watching us at all times. They are looking for clues that will tell them if we are someone that they want to do business with in the future. Someone that they feel they can trust. The way that we handle criticism matters. How we respond when someone challenges our authority, whether they are right or wrong in their challenge, can go a long way in developing those (future) business relationships.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make: Stress out over a perceived slight to your man/womanhood or do something productive.
Only you know what you will do, but we all know what we can do.
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