Two parts of professional reputation.

I was in regular trouble with all the receipts that my accountant required. I used to be able to bathe in their sheer number every few months.

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But wait. There’s an app for that.’ a friend told me. And there was. I was saved. Almost.

Now, I’m in trouble only with the receipts that I forgot to document with the app.

Just recently I had to call the customer service of Finnair, my airline. There was once receipt that I could not find from my inbox. The customer service was polite and found the missing receipts in a minute.

I do see the invoice event here.’ the guy told me. ‘Or there are actually two receipts that I found. I should charge you a 10€ service fee for each I send you. How should we go about this?

I balanced on the verge of frustration for a second that seemed to stretch for eternity. I was just about to rush through the telephone lines to teach the customer service a lesson when the fellow took me by the collar and us.

Hey… Are you by any chance looking at your email right now?’ he asked. ‘The receipts are sent from another address. The domain is and not Could you do a quick search?

Half an hour and two cups of coffee later I was feeling pretty damn good. Wow! That fellow knew what he was doing!

A weak service process almost ruined the day, but the customer service guy kept the game. The experience made me think. It seems there are always two key components to a success story. Think about these for a moment:

  1. Logistics and a driver
  2. Cleaning and a cleaner
  3. Expertise and an expert
  4. Testing and a tester

I’m an engineer. For me, it has always seemed enough that we did the testing, that someone wrote the code, or that I got the lunch I ordered.

And it truly is sufficient if we feel like being ok with average stories. But if we want more, doing the deed is not enough. Playing out the process is only half of the story.

A true success story is born when we manage to raise our standard in two vital areas at the same time: In WHAT we do and in WHO does it.

To simplify it: Up the level in both PROCESS and PEOPLE to create a real story of success.

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