By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to maintain a relationship if not the truth. Reading time: 2:58.
The customer is clearly wrong. Yet the savvy leader makes it right without losing his or her integrity and without losing a customer. Let’s take a lesson on walking this tightrope of customer service from Michelangelo, the sculptor turned psychologist or customer service maven.
Michelangelo’s customer—The Ruler of Florence Piero Soderini —thought the nose on David was too big. Michelangelo disagreed. After all he had carved up plenty of corpses in studying for himself the anatomy of the human body. Michelangelo knew he was right.
But Michelangelo also knew he had bills to pay. He needed this relationship with this customer to work. What could he do to save this account and his artistic integrity?
Michelangelo scraped up some marble dust in his hand, then climbed up on the 17-foot tall scaffold and pretended to chisel the nose while letting the marble dust in his hand fall to the ground as the customer smiled his approval. Michelangelo climbed down and the customer beamed his delight.
Was Michelangelo a leader or a liar?
Consider a similar situation from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life” when the dad –Jimmy Stewart–“fixes” the petals of a flower she kept on her bed-stand.
The dad surreptitiously stuffs the separated petals in his pocket and puts the flower back on the bed-stand letting his daughter, Zulu, think he magically pasted the petals back on the flower.
Was the dad a leader or a liar?
The dad was a leader. So was Michelangelo. Continue reading