In many industries, you hear the mantra, “The customer is always right.” This simple quip may be helpful to make a customer to feel like their needs are met, but the real question is: "Why does the customer need to be right?"
They need to be right because something is wrong, and if we are honest with ourselves we would know that “The customer is always right” really means, “The designer is always wrong.”
At engage2learn, everyone on our team is a designer working to shape and craft the amazing processes, systems, and projects that make up the whole of our organization. As such, we take our ability to create and design innovative solutions very seriously. If something is not working, if someone is not “getting it," if we are not getting the results or having the impact we or our partners want, it is because somewhere along the way we could have done better.
This is why intentional, iterative design is at the heart of everything we do.
We have a saying at e2L that we use to describe our progress on a particular project. We say that we are “fake done.” Originally, we said this in jest because things are always changing around here, but the saying has since become one of the hallmarks of our internal operations. We are “done” because we have reached agreement and are putting the wheels of the plan or design in motion; but we are really “fake done” because we know we are not ever really done.
We never are. We know ourselves well enough to know at some point along the way we will find a better way, and when we do find that way, we are honest enough to admit we were wrong and jump ship.
Personally, I have been working in this environment since 2013, and it has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life. Knowing that there is a better way keeps me humble because I know that what is considered “best” is really only a snapshot of what is “best” at that moment. Particularly refreshing is that on our team there is no room for one-upmanship. We are all striving together for that better way we know is out there, waiting to be discovered.
This is one of main reasons why we say, “We may make mistakes, but nothing is by accident.” We carefully and intentionally design everything we put our hands on. There is no system or process or project too small. Instead, every system, process, and project is given the utmost attention to be carefully crafted and refined. This is why we are constantly examining ourselves, our productivity, and our processes.
So, every day I start my work, knowing something is wrong and striving to be less wrong than yesterday.