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Winning the Battle but Losing the War

JW Way Fundamental #9: Leave Your Ego at the Door 
“At all times, stay focused on serving the needs of our client and our firm, rather than on serving your ego. Remember – it’s about the client and our firm, not you!”

My parents were in town a few weeks ago so I invited them to meet me for lunch.

My Mom, Dixie ordered.  My Dad, Phil ordered.  I ordered

Yes, my parents’ names are Phil and Dixie.  Imagine my teenage sisters wincing when they had friends over and—despite countless pleas the night before—my Dad inevitably and eventually referred to Mom as his preferred shorthand for her, “Dix.”  But I digress.

Our food came.  My Mom ordered two tacos and a salad, but the waitress served her three tacos.  My Dad ordered three tacos, but the waitress served him two tacos and an order of “street corn.”  (Apparently it has a lot of cred.) My order was correct.

I said, “This all looks great, but this is not what my parents ordered.”  To my surprise, the waitress responded, “No, this is exactly what they ordered.”  I politely responded, “No, my Mom ordered two tacos and a salad and my Dad ordered three tacos.”  The waitress took out her notepad, reviewed it, and said again, “No, this is exactly what they ordered.”  In the waitress’s presence, my Mom said, “Nathan it’s fine.”

As soon as the waitress walked away from the table, however, my Mom—the sweetest Midwestern woman you will ever meet (her name is Dixie for crying out loud)—said, “So much for the customer always being right.  I won’t be coming here again.”

The food was delicious, but my Mom will never go back. 

The waitress—and her ego—cared more about “being right” than “making it right.”  She won the battle but lost the war.  She lost a customer for life.

As for Dad, he was never going back regardless, I heard him mutter something about “yuppie tacos”…

Don’t worry about being right.  Worry about making it right.  For the client, for your co-worker, for your significant other, for your kid.

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