For a couple years I have been learning how to fish. The Fisherman has taught me to fish from shore, on a boat, and on the ice. I have discovered that I really love to ice fish and along with the lessons I am learning, I have also been acquiring my own set of tools...
Each fisherperson is allowed to have up to five traps on the ice. There are baskets or bags available to fit at least these five traps and the other necessary items, such as extra line and hooks. One problem with storing five traps in the same container is the tangling of the fishing lines. If you have ever had to untangle fishing line, you understand that sometimes it is so frustrating that you create new words under your breath. If you have never had to do so, then be thankful.
A couple of weeks ago The Fisherman gave me a gift. It was a set of Reel Hook Holders.
I Googled the name of the product and found that a seamstress by the name of Penny Hatch, from Penobscot, Maine, who is also an avid ice fisher person, created the simply ingenious solution to the tangled fishing lines. She heard the complaints and listened for the solution.
Why is it important to understand the concept of hearing the complaint and listening for the solution?
In my opinion, we hear the following phrases throughout our lives more often than we should: “That’s just the way it is.” “Deal with it.” “You have to take the bad with the good.” These, and countless other statements, infer that it does not matter that customers are frustrated by the products/applications/services/systems they use. They infer there is no better way. Whether for fun or for business (or both at the same time - if you love your job), we all come in contact with these frustrations every day. And, I venture to guess, that if you are in any way involved in software development, you have heard the customer complaints (directly or indirectly). The question is, are we listening for solutions?
It’s not difficult to grow apathetic or complacent about a project/product/application/system/service simply from being involved with it for a long period of time. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture where the end user is involved. In fact, it is even easy for the end user to be part of the problem because they have grown apathetic and complacent toward the very things that are causing them frustration. They expect to have problems and they expect to “deal” with them. (Think… popular operating systems…)
Some things that I have contemplated and reminded myself of during my exposure to this woman’s endeavor to make the ice fisherperson’s lives easier:
• Keep learning about what you do
• Learn things you think might interest you
• Be open to learning things you never even thought you would like
• Learn to actively listen to others, don’t just hear their words
• Teach your children to look for solutions when they complain or come across things that are difficult to deal with - ask them to try to find a better way
• Approach things like you should not have to “deal” with them
• When you have a problem with a product/application/system/service, try to understand what the real problem is and report it if you feel it would help solve the problem, or report it to make you feel better
• Don’t settle for the status quo, be the Linchpin, and expect the same in return
• Understand that quality is not just a team or corporate thing, it is a customer thing as well
• Find the lessons in day to day life, they are abundant, and incorporate them in everything you do
P.S. If you do ice fish... this solution for tangled lines is great!