Yellow How to create a culture of service and stand up for the customers. A business parable inspired by real-life events. STOP COMPLAINING AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN Companies make great efforts to win a client, only to lose it later because of a poor service attitude. Different areas work internally like silos, disconnected from reality and the needs of the people they claim to serve. But, what if after an exhausting day, you take a taxi and what happens inside the vehicle transforms the way you see your job? What if somebody showed you that it's possible to change your reality if you change your attitude? What if reality is not a cause, but a consequence? What if we got up every morning happy to do our jobs because it's not merely a monotonous task, but it fulfills a higher purpose? What then? What if a humble cab driver became our greatest teacher? Welcome to Yellow, a journey through our own reality. Yellow is based on a real experience, with a real taxi driver; someone who despite all the adversities decided to make the difference for his passengers and make his work meaningful. This is the story of Miguel Gonzalez, a driver whose teachings transformed the lives of Neptune Packaging employees, a business like any other that needed desperately to connect with and get passionate about that weird specimen called the customer.
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How to create a culture of service and stand up for the customers
A business parable inspired by real-life events
© David Gomez, 2018 All rights reserved.
Author: David [email protected]
1st edition in English: August 2018
Cover design by Bien Pensado
Drawings by David Garcia
Translated into English by Paul Jaramillo Birmaher
Edited in English by Sandra Beckwith
Original title in Spanish: Yellow
While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising here from. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, business, sales, marketing, or other professional service. If expert assistance is required, the service of a competent professional person should be sought. All trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. The author uses names in an editorial way only, and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention infringement of the trademark. While the author has made every effort to provide accurate information and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third party websites or their content. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise. Sharing or distributing any part of this book without permission of the publisher, constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.
This isn’t a biographical story. Therefore, it doesn’t depict in whole or in part the lives of characters in the real world. It has been inspired by a personal experience of the author and expressed from his perspective, which has been used as a starting point for this fictional story.
* * *
Enjoy Yellow original soundtrack: yellowattitude.net/soundtrack
Table of Contents
Necessity is the mother of creativityA few months later
Higher purposeDifferent purposesFinding purpose at workWhat’s needed is a firm handBack with the logistics teamLisa’s purposeIsabel’s purposeJames’ purposeGeorge’s purposePersonal Impact Pyramid
The sweet smell of success
At any given business
The 5 lessons
How to implement the 5 lessons
Do a job you can feel proud ofIt is possible
Someone who made a difference
About the author
What if after an exhausting day, you take a taxi and what happens inside the vehicle transforms the way you see your job? What if somebody showed you that it’s possible to change your reality if you change your attitude? What if reality is not a cause, but a consequence? What if we got up every morning happy to do our jobs?
What if a humble cab driver became our greatest teacher? Welcome to Yellow, a journey through our own reality.
Necessity is the mother of creativity
It’s pouring rain. Night is falling and Louis roams the eastern area of the city looking for his last passenger before he calls it a day. The fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror sway from side to side while he listens to music at full volume and keeps the rhythm, tapping the steering wheel with his hands.
He speeds up to get through a yellow light and spots a man with a rickety umbrella waving his hand from a distance, trying to get his attention. Louis brakes in front of the man, splashing him a bit, and while lowering the passenger window a couple of inches, he asks:
“Founders neighborhood,” answers the rain-soaked man.
“I’m not headed that way,” says Louis, pulling away as he turns the music back up.
It was a day like any other.
* * *
As the sun breaks, in another part of the city is Miguel.
In all the years he’s been a cab driver, he’s never faced a situation as tough as this one. He doesn’t own the cab he drives, so he has to pay a daily rental. After covering the cost of gas, keeping the vehicle clean, and the taxi company’s fee, the money left after working more than 12 hours a day is minimal.
When his wife Mary gets up to wake their son and take him to daycare, she sees Miguel in the living room watching the news.
“Why haven’t you gone out to work?” she asks, surprised.
“There’s a strike again,” he answers as he points to the TV with a resigned expression.
“It can’t be,” replies Mary sadly.
Seconds of deafening silence go by. Mary sits down and with tear-filled eyes, adds:
“We don’t have enough money. They won’t give me any more credit at the store and the rent is overdue. Things can’t go on like this, Miguel. You’ve got to go out and make money today, even if there’s a strike, or they’re burning tires, or spreading tacks on the road . . . I don’t care what’s happening; you can’t just stay here, doing nothing.”
Miguel remains silent, awaiting the inevitable. Mary goes on, laying her hands on her belly.
“Our baby girl is due in two months, and if we don’t have enough for ourselves right now, what are we going to do then? Are we going to ask our neighbors to give us milk and diapers?!”
“And just what do you want me to do?” replies Miguel, trying to justify himself, adding, “Look at how things are out there in the street. Strikes are just a part of the problem, and you know it very well. People aren’t taking taxis like they used to and there’s more competition. You see me go to work every day from early in the morning until late at night, and for what? To earn a pittance!”
“Then find something else to do!” answers Mary, raising her voice.
“I can’t do anything else, Mary. This is what I’ve done all my life. Besides, I like my job,” Miguel replies, frustrated.
“Then go get some customers!”
Mary pauses, takes a deep breath, and continues, in a low voice, “Miguel, I’ve always supported you, but we really need to get more money. When we add what I earn, we hardly make enough to live from day to day.”
Mary works part-time as a cashier in a supermarket in the neighborhood, and given her husband’s situation, what she earns is now their only steady income.
It’s not the first time they’ve had this discussion. Their financial situation is getting worse and their concern has reached unbearable levels.
“Mary, I’m aware that this is a very complicated situation, but I really don’t know what to do,” says Miguel as he sighs deeply. “I need to think. I’m going out for a while to clear my mind. I’ll be back in a while.”
Weighed down by a sense of powerlessness in the face of his family’s situation, Miguel walks slowly to the park, hands in his pockets and as he stares off into the distance. He sits on a bench and looks at the sky, as if waiting for a message that will ease his pain.
He thinks of his childhood with his mother in the country. It was hard for him to get up when it was still dark, but after a cup of hot chocolate, he was ready to help her. “God helps he who gets up early,” she used to say with a loving smile. Thinking of his mother always brought him peace and tranquility. How he wishes she were still alive so he could ask her for advice.
His mother was a kind and hard-working woman who always radiated joy and never lost her optimism or sense of humor, no matter how difficult the situation was. Mrs. Lucy, as she was known, was appreciated and respected by everyone in town. She always greeted everyone she met on her way by name.
Every single day, while they walked to school, she told him wonderful stories that gave a joyful start to his day. Each one included a lesson. It was her intuitive way of teaching her child the principles and values that would make him a good, respectable man.
Miguel recalls a time when his mother leaned toward him, put her hands on his shoulders, looked directly into his eyes, and with the sweetest voice he has ever heard, said, “Son, never ever give up. Things are not always the way we want them to be, but we can always choose our path. It’s in you; inside of you. Don’t expect things to change, make them change. You can have the life you want if you wish hard enough and work with love and perseverance.”
His mother’s words reverberate in his mind. Make things happen. A woman who never complained, who supported and looked after him no matter what difficulties she had to deal with, and who was always an example of tenacity, discipline, and compassion. He gets filled with courage and thinks: I can’t fail her! Miguel, please, change your attitude and make things happen!
He springs up from the park bench and as he rushes home, he thinks again:
I’ll be a different kind of taxi driver. I’ll provide such an amazing service that the customers will come looking for me. They won’t accept any other option.
He’s excited about his idea. He still doesn’t know how he’s going to make it happen, least of all with what money, but he knows that’s the path. He is willing to go all in.
When he walks into the house, he finds that Mary is home, as well. She looks worried.
“I couldn’t leave Nicholas at daycare. They say that they can’t take care of him again until we pay for the months we owe. I’m going to call my mom and ask her if she can come and take care of him,” she says.
“Don’t worry, Mary, everything’s going to be fine,” says Miguel with renewed optimism. “You go to work – I’ll take care of him today. When you’re back, I’ll tell you about this idea I’m thinking about,” he adds affectionately.
In the middle of the morning, while Nicholas sleeps, Miguel continues to work on his idea.
Everybody will recognize me for my amazing service! He thinks. I’ll buy my own taxi – a used one, but newer, with air conditioning and everything, where passengers feel comfortable. I’ll make the day of every person who gets in it. I’ll make a difference!
But he also has a lot of doubts.
What if it doesn’t work? What if the people don’t care about it? What if they don’t appreciate the service? What if I don’t get more customers? Where am I going to get the money to buy the taxi and pay for everything else? If I don’t do well, I would only make things worse. No, no, no. This isn’t the moment to take that kind of risk, least of all with my baby daughter on her way . . . But then, what other options do I have?
Miguel is happy and at the same time, a little worried. He can’t wait for Mary to come back and tell her all about his plans. She’s always been his confidant and he knows she’s a lot more objective than he is. She helps ground him when making these types of decisions.
As soon as he hears the apartment door open, he greets his wife with excitement. After kissing her hello, he takes her to the living room, where Nicholas is playing.
“Sit down,” he says to her, practically glowing. “Let me tell you what I’ve been thinking about doing.”
Mary opens her eyes, surprised by the evident change of attitude.
“I’m happy to see you like that,” she says with a smile.
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