When the best is not good enough

I recently had arthroscopic  knee surgery. I was referred to a leading surgeon who does our NFL football team, colleges, and high schools. I was excited to have the best of the best and confident the surgery would go without a hitch. My expectations were not realized. First of all I never got to see the doctor, only his staff, and it was a different person each time. I was not given the doctor patient rapport that I had become accustomed to with other physicians. I felt more like being processed that being cared for.

I developed some unusual swelling which raised suspicions of a blood clot. Again, not seeing the doctor but only one of his staff, I was directed to have a ultrasound and return to the waiting room. I did as told, had the tests done and returned to the doctor’s office. Eventually a woman came out and said the tests were negative. I queried about what could be done about the swelling and the excruciating pain. She conceded that she was only a secretary. I requested to talk to someone who could answer that question. Another woman came out and simply said to keep it elevated.

Being laid-up for a week and time on my hands, I thought about the new year and how I could be better applications engineer…the best of the best. I was jolted out of my thoughts with a sharp pain from my leg. As if by inspiration, I realized that being the best of the best was not the answer as exemplified by my experience with my doctor. When customers approach me for answers to their applications they are not only seeking an answer but a degree of confidence in my being there for them. Although I have a solution that I know will work, and EXAIR backs it up with a 30 day evaluation, they need to feel confident. So my new years resolution is not to increase my technical skills but my “bedside manner”. Along with listening to the customers description of his application, I am going to concentrate on the tenor of their voice to discern any apprehensions they may have and do what I can to make the customer feel good about himself and confident in the decision he is about to make implementing EXAIR products.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer

2 thoughts on “When the best is not good enough

  1. Joe,

    First, get well soon! I had knee surgery a few years ago, so I can imagine some of what you’re feeling. I hope you will recover as well as I did. (Better and stronger, with only a rather ugly scar as a negative effect of my months laid up.)

    Second, thanks for the insights into what being the best *really* means. The best relationships are those where both parties feel like they are winning.

  2. Thank you for your well wishes. I sure hope that the knee comes back better and stronger as I am a fly fisherman who wades rivers strewn with rocks.

    I am really excited that I was able to reach out and touch someone. That’s what it all about – helping others.


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