Is He Creative?
This week I started work with a new client. I was being introduced at the morning toolbox meeting.
My introduction was very short, “Rob starts today as our Accountant”
“Welcome Rob. I hope you are creative.”
This was the response from the team leader, Ray. It was Ray’s view of what Accountant’s do. Without knowing more, I could have taken his comment to mean “be creative and make up the numbers.”
But I wanted to find out more about Ray’s view.
I waited for the meeting to finish so that I could make more of a formal introduction to the team leader Ray.
“I didn’t mean to put you on the spot when I said you needed to be creative.”
I smiled and told him that was okay. Then I paused as it felt like he wanted to explain himself further.
Then Ray continued the conversation. “We have quite a few challenges with our budget. Our cleaning costs are going through the roof. We don’t really know how much an individual job costs us. I wish more people would come out and actually see for themselves why the work needs to be done, instead of saying why did you blow your budget.”
I then realised what Ray meant when he asked “Is he creative?”. He wanted to know if I could create a solution. He wanted to know if I could help them tell the story behind the numbers. And communicate this story to others so that they could better understand what was driving maintenance spend. Without this bit of information, I could’ve misunderstood his comment to mean “be creative and make the numbers look better.”
It helps when you start with empathy.
Image by gimono