Why a sick child is like a blog on a business web site

Lizzie’s maternal instincts kick in when Ollie compares caring for clients to caring for their son, but understands the connection – which explains why her husband works as hard as he does.

Lizzie squeezed Ollie’s arm as they looked around the slightly open door, its chink of light spilling over the face of their peacefully-sleeping son Jack.

“It’s been a hell of a day, hasn’t it?” said Lizzie, and Ollie nodded, reflecting on their four hours in A&E, where they’d taken their son that morning, pale, pallid and obviously suffering stomach pains.

Doctors and nurses had checked him over thoroughly, during which time his colour had returned, along with his sunny disposition, and no problems had been discovered. The family had been sent home with instructions to return if the symptoms reappeared.

“Being a parent is a bit like writing a blog for a business, I suppose,” ventured Ollie, looking down at his son.

Lizzie raised her eyebrow in a gesture that always said ‘go on, but you might find I’m going to disagree with you at any second.’  Ollie pushed on with his theory. “Well, you’ve heard about pain points; the things that are causing the client problems. In business you have to identify what they are, and then do whatever’s necessary to take the pain away, in selling or delivering a product, or writing a blog about it.

“It’s been just the same today with Jack. There was obviously a problem, but he’s too little to tell us what it is. We had to work that out ourselves on his behalf, with the help of the smashing people at the hospital, and then do what we had to do to look after him.”

Lizzie was aghast. “You can’t say business clients are like Jack; he’s our son!,” she exclaimed.

“Of course he is, and that’s what we’ve had such a time today looking after him. In a few months, days even, we’ll realise he’s fine, and what we’ve done today will become just a memory. It’s the principle I’m talking about. In family life, and in business, we have to put ourselves in the position of the client – or Jack – and then work out what’s best for them. They don’t always know, but it’s our job to work it out. That’s what they rely on us for, otherwise why would they come to us in the first place?

Alternative supplier?
“Mind you, when it comes to Jack, he hasn’t got a choice, and we have a responsibility to him because we’re his mum and dad. He can’t go to an ‘alternative supplier’ – but clients can, and if they do, then that makes the business weaker. That makes us less financially secure, and that could have an impact on Jack as well; it’s a sort of ripple effect. Everything about our lives is connected to everything else. Making sure it all work is about identifying those pain points, and doing whatever we need to do to remove the pain.”

He stroked his son’s sleeping face. “Anyway that’s what we did for Jack today. It wasn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile in life ever is.”

Lizzie smiled at him. “When you put it like that, I see exactly where you’re coming from,” she said. “And I suppose that’s why you work all the hours you do, like when you were working in bed last week.”

Be more than ‘ordinary’
“It is. We can be ‘ordinary’, or we can do the very best it’s in our power to do, all the time. “Ordinary’ is easier, but that’s not what I want to be. To be the best we can be, we need to feel the pain with our clients, as well as our son, and help to take it away. None of them deserve any less.”

“You’re far from ordinary to me, Banks,” she said, smiling and squeezing his arm again.