These are the four pillars of any firm’s long-term success
“Lary, give this customer a call. We’ve just received an unauthorized return, and I want these shoes sent back.
“Funny how the green shoes don’t fit and the red ones fit perfectly.”
It wasn’t uncommon for the chairman of company North (you may remember him from the 2nd article in our Culture Series, How Are You Paving the Road to Superior Performance) to stop by my office with a message like this.
I realized later he was talking in code
His remarks were actually a code:
“The red shoes sold well but the green ones the customer bought aren’t selling … so now they’re claiming they don’t fit so they can return them. We’ve had no other such complaints. Tell them we won’t accept them and refuse them at the door if they come back.”
I made a note to contact the customer, figuring I’d call them after lunch when I would be more likely to catch them three time zones away.
No e-mail back then.