What A Grass Trimmer Can Teach Us About Making A Bigger Impact
My first Weed Eater brand grass trimmer lasted 15 years. I got it at WalMart, nothing special, but it did the job. By the time it finally bit the dust I was living in a different house with a big yard that was my pride and joy. So I decided to go all out on the replacement. The local Ace Hardware store was now carrying Stihl brand lawn equipment, and their selection was massive! For several months I had been salivating every time I drove by.
I stood before the array of trimmers ranging from entry-level units all the way up to the powerhouse, king of the hill commercial pro trimmers. The Ace helpful hardware person came over and asked if I needed guidance on selecting the right one for my needs. Silly question! The only right one for me was the best one, the top of the line. I told him my decision and he asked, “Are you sure? That’s for commercial use, for lawn care professionals.” I felt insulted! “That’s the one I want,” I insisted. So he led me to the back of the store for the orientation session. He showed me how to start it, replace the cutting blades, and secure the shoulder and waist harnesses.
When I got home I felt so excited, anticipating the triumphant feeling I was going to have after totally dominating any grass that dare stray from the defined edges of my lawn.
I filled up the gas. I secured the harnesses, and I started it up.
I was immediately intoxicated by the sound of that two-cycle commercial grade engine and whirr of the jagged nylon cutting blades.
I revved it a few times and approached my first victim, the sidewalk leading to our front porch.
What happened next is mostly a blur. I remember what happened first and last, but nothing in between. First, the blades dug into the thick grass and instantly propelled the trimmer across the lawn, with me strapped in. The last thing that happened was me on the ground, wrestling the beast to a halt just inches away from a newly planted tree in the middle of our yard, at least 15 feet from my starting point. When I gathered myself and looked around, I saw a gash across my beautiful grass from sidewalk to sapling.
Needless to say, I was embarrassed when I returned to Ace Hardware to ask of they’d let me trade in my new top of the line professional grade trimmer for something a little more manageable. I was definitely grateful for Tim Graber, the helpful (and compassionate) owner who graciously agreed to guide me towards a saner choice.
After much deliberation and several doses of humble pie I came home with Stihl’s entry level trimmer and proceeded to accomplish the best lawn trimming of my life!
It’s been three years and I still look forward to trimming my lawn and my trusty Stihl rocks it every time.
How does this apply to making a bigger impact in the world? It’s all about engineering the right product for your customer’s needs. Tune in next time to see how we applied this lesson for developing a brand new product in four months, and how you can do the same to serve make a bigger difference in your world.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019
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I haven’t laughed so loud in a long time, what a witty story. And a great analogy of knowing your product packaging. Please more of that Nate! Best wishes, Ilona