The Stapler Story

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Here is a real life story that happened and relates to Social Media. It is a tale of two maintenance men. The first maintenance man was hired by a school to empty wastepaper baskets, buff the floors of the classroom, maintain restrooms and clean up after student activities. He learned early on, without formal instruction that his job was to provide solutions for the teachers and he was servicing. He went to work every day and fulfilled his duty as a maintenance man cleaning the classrooms, bathrooms, workshop, clearing weeds, planting flowers, hooking up with the hardware store, etc. One day, he had an accident. He fell and broke his shoulder. He had to be taken to the emergency room and from that day, a lot changed for him. He was unable to do the physical demands of his job so he was suddenly and surprisingly out of work. He had a great boss who appreciated his contribution as an employee and seemed to be only concerned with helping him get through the predicament and eventually get back to work.

His boss had a problem. He just lost his maintenance man and needed to find a solution. The boss hired a man to come in on a part time basis to keep everything afloat until the maintenance man could get back into action. Two months pass and the maintenance guy spends a lot of his time partly depressed because he has fears about losing his job and the maintenance man rehabilitates. He gets the care he needs and begins to participate in physical therapy. He focuses on getting back to “normal.” He gets a clearance from his doctor and goes back to work on a beautiful warm Spring Monday.

The teachers and the principal are appreciative about his return. He is happy to return and acknowledges that the temporary replacement man, who was also on the grounds that day, had cleaned up the workshop and it appeared that he had done an excellent job! As the maintenance man and his boss were scouting around the facility, the maintenance man noticed that one of the teachers had gathered 3 broken staplers and placed them on a counter with a note that read, “Please fix these staplers.” The maintenance man picked one of them up and quickly repaired it and placed it back in its place near the note.

Approximately 20 minutes later, the teacher who had left the staplers came up to the maintenance man and gave him a big hug and thanked him for fixing the stapler! Later, he was in the workshop and heard the temporary man mumble, “I don’t have time to fix stupid staplers!”

The teachers and principal appreciated the fact that the temporary man cleaned up and did a nice job, but he missed the boat. The teachers wanted solutions for their daily woes at work. The temporary man didn’t recognize that his main job is not really about “cleaning” but offering solutions to the staff.

The moral of the story?

You can do spend a lot of energy doing frivolous activities which are pretty and look good, but if you don’t hit the target of your main purpose, people really don’t care. They don’t care if your blog is pretty, or awesome, or user friendly. Sure all of that is a nice touch, but it boils down to who you are and the type of relationship you have established with a person. Would you rather be the guy with the pretty workshop or the one that gets the hug?

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29 thoughts on “The Stapler Story

  1. Richie Lloyd says:

    ….and it absolutely is the little things that matter. My good lady and I went away for the weekend. Fantastic hotel, in beautiful picturesque surroundings. Gorgeous rooms and very smart staff. Service was awful. We won’t be going back and we won’t be recommending it either. Compare that to a tiny place we visited a while ago. A fraction of the price but the people were awesome. Nothing was too much trouble. We will definitely be going back and would definitely recommend to all. It isn’t about the presentation, it’s all about the content.

    Great story

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Richie,
      Welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by. It so nice that you had the opportunity to spend some time with your lady! What a nice compliment. She is a lucky woman! Your analogy is great by comparing the service you two received from a “gorgeous” vacation destination with a “less expensive” destination. The maintenance man who returned to work knew that repairing the stapler would solve someone’s problem. He was more in tune to what the purpose of his job. I think it was funny because a stapler is usually an easy item to repair!

    2. Shari Weiss says:

      Agree 100% that the little things do matter most. I continually tell my college business students that the Devil is in the Details. Great story!

      1. Raena Lynn
        Twitter:
        says:

        Hi Shari,
        I agree it is the little things that matter. Also focusing on what is important applies to anything. You are a college business professor? How impressive! What college?

        Raena Lynn

  2. Hi Raena:

    What a great story with a powerful message! It is so true, unless you are passionate about what you are doing and are willing to do the “little” things you will never be truly successful.

    Kevin

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Keven,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and I’m happy that you recognized the powerful message. The maintenance man who returned to work really understood what is more important and was nicely rewarded!

      Raena Lynn

  3. Paul Reimers
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for sharing this great story,

    I like the connection that you made here. At the end of the day it’s all about helping others so solve problems or to help them be better at what they are doing. There are those who focus on getting as much as possible, but it is always the ones who focus on contribution that enjoy the greatest success.

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hello Paul,
      Nice to see you again. You are right. Solving problems is the key. People want and need one thing, a solution to their problems. I love the way people are so appreciative when they get the help they are seeking.

      Raena Lynn

  4. Great post, Raena! You are so right about the importance of providing the service that people need rather than a narrowly-defined objective list. I completely agree with you about the importance of understanding the difference between quality and the bells and whistles. I’ve seen some pretty plain blogs as far as appearance, but the quality was great, and I think that is what people miss in the world of blog design.

  5. Andy Nathan
    Twitter:
    says:

    That is an amazing story, and yet something that is required from each to do something great. The small things always matter more.

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Andy,
      Thanks for stopping by. Your comment reminds me of a syaing, “The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things.”
      ~Georg Christophe Lichtenberg

      Raena Lynn

  6. Theuns says:

    Hi Raena

    Thanks for this story.

    As they say “People do not care how much you know before they know how much you care”

    And that just show that you do not need to be the mister perfect on every thing just show people you care and they will care about you to make you perfect.

    Thanks
    Theuns

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hello Theuns,

      Thank for appreciating my story. I visited your blog and I really “get” it. It’s all about gratitude and caring. I like the statement, “show people you care and they will care about you to make you perfect.” Thanks!

  7. Raena Lynn
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you for stopping by! The parallel is that the maintenance man who is the substitute focused his importance on tidying the workshop rather than accommodating the needs of the staff. A blogger can choose to focus on making their blog “pretty, or awesome, or user friendly” assuming the blog content is of mediocre value and the writer misses the point of providing benefits to its readers. In my opinion, we tend to spend more time on what we focus upon. I hope that provides clarity:)

    Raena Lynn

  8. CJ Priestley says:

    Nice story Raena.

    It is simple and to the point, and highlights that little things sometimes stand out more to some people than others.

    And it is in fact those little things that effect ones life that very well may stand out to them rather than some who may overlook it because for whatever the reason.

    It is the small things in life we take for granted and we our self take for granted but mean more to someone else.

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi CJ, can I call ya just CJ? haha
      Thanks for your comments. I stated earlier in another commentary that this is a true story. The responses have given me an idea to create a fun contest and let people guess if a story is fact or fiction. I post both, but up to this point I haven’t labeled the stories.

      It is easy to take things for granted when they are not glaring us in the face:)

      Raena Lynn

  9. Raena that is an absolutely great analogy and a lot of insight to be had there. Yes we can take care of what we feel is important but what about those to are coming to us or looking to us to help them with what they need? Really enjoyed this. ()hugs.

    Steve

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Steve! Welcome back! I’m glad you enjoyed this story. It is based on a true happening. The returning maintenance man was telling me about how is first day back was like, and he conveyed this story to me. It seemed to be something I could work with and a lot of people like it! ()hugs back:)

      Raena Lynn

  10. Raena,

    Such a simple story that explains the essential component of success. The successful person is wiling and does the things that the unsuccessful person won’t do. One of my favorite oldie songs is: Little Things Mean a Lot. Those little niceties that we do for others are remembered more than some of the big, showy things – like big gifts and money.

    I’d rather get the hug! As a matter of fact, a client I saw just today thanked me profusely for helping and gave me a big hug.

    Erica

    Erica

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Dr. Erica,
      Thank you for your comments. I agree with the hug! Life is too short to bypass what is important and so many people forget about the little things. One example that comes to my mind is when I receive a homemade card from someone. It is so simple, yet so sweet and profound. A person took the time to sit down and make a card! That doesn’t happen too often, or at least that is my experience. Anyway, I just discovered your blog a couple days ago. It is very informative and has lots of valuable content. Thank you.

      Raena Lynn

  11. Raena Lynn
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I’m glad that you liked it. It is quite surprising to note peoples reactions to this story. We all need a little inspiration sometimes:) Thank you for your compliments.

    Raena Lynn

  12. An excellent story that demonstrates having a mindset of providing solutions is an important ingredient in adding value to our brand. Having a superior product,or a great looking blog, or a so called best compensation plan is not enough. Finding and solving people problems is really the core of a network marketers business. When we begin looking for the staplers that need fixing is when our business will will increase. Thanks for the Stapler Story.

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Perry,

      Thanks for your clever response to the stapler story. “Finding and solving people problems is really the core of a network marketers business.”I liked the way you used looking for staplers that need fixing as a metaphor.

      Raena Lynn

  13. Hello Raena,
    Great message here. I love the Stapler Story. It all comes down to caring for what you do and being a person that is there to help. I get hugs everyday at my work. Hugs make a person feel so good. The little things we do for others in life means so much. Thanks for sharing!
    Barbara

  14. Loren Greig says:

    Hi Raena Lynn,

    Fun story, great message. What we do on a daily basis is very rewarding when we assist others in finding solutions for their problems; however, we still have the tasks that need to be completed to perfection… just as I think the temporary maintenance man in your story intended to do. There’s a lot of people who want to do their job to the best of their ability and hesitate to focus on the service and relationship aspect. They do a great job but miss out on the hugs and their businesses won’t necessarily build as fast because they haven’t focused on the customer.

  15. Rob Wilson says:

    It’s not so much about going the extra mile as it is about going the correct mile. Realizing what people actually want and need is far more important than whatever is on your job description. People always want to feel heard and be assisted with the stuff that makes them tear their hair out. I work part time at a restaurant as a cook and I love it. And it is in the details of meeting and hopefully exceeding what people want brings people up to comment to me or to my manager if the other staff was great. People can slam food down in front of you and it can be cooked correctly, but there’s a lot more to an ideal restaurant experience than that. – Rob

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Rob,

      I totally agree with you that people’s want’s and needs are far more important than your job description. I also think it is great that you love your job and you recognize the importance of taking care of the little things that make a difference on the job.

      Raena Lynn

  16. Lynda Cromar says:

    I love stories and they sure help us understand what really counts don’t they? Raena you hit it on the head, it we are not solution-oriented it simply doesn’t matter! In particular in network marketing are we going to have the attitude of the maintenance man or the temporary help? That is a key thing too, do we see ourselves as temporary or as the one that everyone hugs?

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Lynda,
      Thanks for stopping by. I would rather be the person that everyone hugs! This is true story from a friend of mine and it touched my heart.

      Raena Lynn

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