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« Things that are given away are never lost. (FR Through the years) | Main | Managing a Diaper Change. The Lessons in Leadership: Part 1 »

August 04, 2016


Reader comments (Posted by FR Team)

Readers Comments in the previous posting (2/26/2011) of this reflection

Yes, customers give you business to solve their problems. They do not want to pay you for your explanations. Same goes for companies.

Posted by: Customer and a Supplier | February 27, 2011 at 07:18 PM

Venkatraman C

Title is very good:
Tough customers push our thinking beyond our limits. We need to or we loose customers. Almost every instance in my 20 years career, tough people and "unreasonable demands" have helped me in innovating many new products and procedures. To be honest, for first few years, I used to call those people Pain in the.....

Now I own a business.

Posted by: Venkatraman C | February 27, 2011 at 07:48 PM

East Coast

There are some decent people out there and then there are the “other” people. Now some believe you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but I also know people who believe, “If you rip the wings off the fly, they’ll pretty much eat anything you put in front of them.” I have met such people and they push and keep on pushing until they back you right in to a corner, however, once this happens, the decisions are quite easy to make (no alternatives) and it was likely the decision you knew you would have to make much earlier, but procrastinated because of “hope”. According to Graham Greene, “Hope is an instinct only a reasoning human mind can destroy.” , but there are some people where it seems, at least from my perspective, there is no hope. St. Monica would disagree, but then she was a Saint.

Posted by: East Coast | February 27, 2011 at 07:58 PM

Comments received by emails(Posted by FR team)

I did enjoy the story, it made me feel good, like there is always hope. As a salesman, I am a paid optimist. MD

Couldn’t agree more to it… From Malaysia

Thanks for sharing the reflection. It reflected the similar situation on our biz and enabling new product in short TTM. Fred trip to airport also reflected my one day trip to Singapore just to meet a customer. Thanks again for the coaching and learning…I had a similar reflection and discussion with my colleague too. BT

Posted by: Comments received by emails(Posted by FR team) | February 28, 2011 at 09:41 AM

East Coast (additional comment)

Last U.S. World War I Veteran Dies at 110 ( Short clip from his life)
He was repeatedly rejected by military recruiters and got into uniform at 16 after lying about his age. But Frank Buckles would later become the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I.
In spring 2007, Buckles told the Associated Press of the trouble he went through to get into the military.
"I went to the state fair up in Wichita, Kansas, and while there, went to the recruiting station for the Marine Corps," he said. "The nice Marine sergeant said I was too young when I gave my age as 18, said I had to be 21."
Buckles returned a week later.
"I went back to the recruiting sergeant, and this time I was 21," he said with a grin. "I passed the inspection ... but he told me I just wasn't heavy enough."
Then he tried the Navy, whose recruiter told Buckles he was flat-footed.
Buckles wouldn't quit. In Oklahoma City, an Army captain demanded a birth certificate.
"I told him birth certificates were not made in Missouri when I was born, that the record was in a family Bible. I said, 'You don't want me to bring the family Bible down, do you?'" Buckles said with a laugh. "He said, 'OK, we'll take you.'"
He enlisted Aug. 14, 1917, serial number 15577.

Posted by: East Coast (additional comment) | February 28, 2011 at 09:44 AM

SC friend

This reminds me very much of a book I’m reading—which I think you’d enjoy a lot.

I recently went to 1 of the “Beyond the Cube” talks, this one on negotiation. I then followed up and got a copy of the speaker’s book, and am reading it now:
Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World
By Stuart Diamond

He speaks of the need to “understand the pictures in their head,” and to build a common ground—very similar to the situation in this Friday Reflections.

I recommend the book to you.

Posted by: SC friend | February 28, 2011 at 03:57 PM


I like the advice of "Being able to work with people was the most important thing for my success."
Exactly true, good at working with people, help people and getting help from people are critical in our work, especially in global companies.... Recently there is a saying in Chinese, "High intellectual quotient helps you only to enter a good college, high sentimental quotient helps you succeed in work"See More
16 hours ago

Posted by: Zhicong | February 28, 2011 at 05:50 PM


One of ex-bosses like to say this...
How to carry out your work is a simple task,
The challenge is how to being able to work with others.

Thanks for the great sharing!


I can still remember one of the most ugly events I have ever had with a customer. It was over dinner, the guy was obnoxious. I did not eat my meal, only some of the salad (The buyer, who was also there, said I was rude because I did no finish my meal). It was a constant fight, right from the start and that is how it ended. How I disliked that guy, although later on, we seemed to get along. Perhaps he thought his technique was not effective (and he was right!).


Good story… we can learn a lot from each one of these.

Thank you and take care


Re-stating the title of this FR: you can't control what happens to you, you can only control how you respond to what happens to you.
There aren't that many different lessons in life; the same ones get repeated over and over because we're so slow to learn them.


I have been in the position of both the angry customer and the humiliated subcon (or even family member), trying to make corrections for my own careless errors.

One thing that is clear to me is that, aside from simple emotional venting, the tough language and angry scolding is often intended as a plea for more mindful attention and more responsibility and accountability. To demonstrate this should be done with more listening and less talking, followed by a restating of expectations, and then following up with demonstrable actions.
It is not a difficult equation, but it is easy to get swept up in the emotional tides of name calling and hurt feelings.

It is necessary to recognize the difference between "yelling at" and "yelling toward".

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