June 10; Western Civilization Insists On (And Is Protected By) Better Products And Services
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Six: Correction; 10 June

…One thing I do know.

I was blind but now I see!

John 9:25b

Western Civilization Insists On (And Is Protected By) Better Products And Services


Your Business Professor used to be in the business of mattress manufacturing. Our customers were public universities and prisons and the military. We saw our market as government personnel warehouses. It was a captive market, so to say.

There were problems. It may have been less a question of the clients complaining than that we, the supplier, may not have listened.

We didn’t have to listen.

The customers were government.

The manufacturing was government.

The government-issue mattresses were assembled through the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The assemblers did outstanding work. The government managers would manage to the specifications (of our captive customers). The specs were, shall we say, a bit thin. Customer satisfaction and responsiveness was not a driver in that business. Providing an opportunity and jobs was.

The product was close enough for government work and all that.

Then something happened. The Navy got thicker mattresses. (This would happen soon after Your Business Professor left government service…)

Morton Blackwell at the Leadership Institute reminds us that “Nothing moves in politics unless it’s pushed.” So. How did the Navy start getting a better product?

The customer demanded better. It may have started with USS Benfold and a complaining sailor.

Now, a sailor who complains is merely fitting the job description of all service personnel. However, this was different.

The sailor was right: the mattress-product could have been much better. The ship got thicker mattresses and more satisfied sailors. Better sleep can enable greater efficiencies. The rest of the Navy soon got the mattress upgrade. It stared because of one sailor’s suggestion. And a receptive chain of command that listened from below the org chart and pushed above.


A story is told of Lord Nelson, the victor over the French at Trafalgar in the Napoleonic Wars. The legend, I believe, tells of the admiral’s concern for his sailors as the men climbed up the rat lines to work the heavy canvas sails. The effort involved the sailor bending over a horizontal spar to grab the canvas. The bending over would expose the sailors’ lower back to cold and wind. Nelson considered comfort and ordered shirts with extra-long tails for protection. Nelson had—literally—his men’s backs. It was a concern Nelson addressed and that his men could see, feel and appreciate.

…One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see! John 9:25b



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