Thursday, September 7, 2017

Water Torture & Adapting to Change

What is valuable?

Does value change?

Should one adapt to a changing value?

These are all great questions for personal and professional introspection. Without consideration a stakeholder of a value may actual become obsolete as the value changes. Thus the story of the changing market in businesses and the work force. The lack of content and leadership regarding adaptability and change management is unfortunate.

Value is ever changing, adapting to change and value variation is more important than subject matter expertise in today’s world.

The shower in our master bathroom had become like some cruel torture device as of late. No matter what direction you turn the handle the water comes out scalding hot. A quick internet search and read through several forums answered some of the questions I had. The shower faucet cartridge was busted, which controls the mixing of hot and cold water. Simple enough directions were to remove this cartridge and replace it with a new one to end the water torture we had endured for a couple nights.

While attempting to remove this cartridge with my needle nose plyers and because I’m a man (read foolish), when it was getting difficult to remove, I pulled harder, which broke off the only piece I could grab to withdraw this cartridge. I’m not a plumber nor have the skillset to be creative enough to know where to start in this situation so I call Roto Rooter.

The nice gentleman from Roto Rooter arrives while I’m at work and my wife is at home. He is asking Dana a bunch of questions that she doesn’t know the answer to so she calls me and puts him on the phone. $492 was his quote to fix the issue.

The faucet was older so a model number could not be located. The part I thought would fit from Home Depot did not fit. I was at a crossroads. Continue being tortured, give up hopes of ever having a decent shower in my master bathroom again, or pay up. Like a capped crusader, the internet and the advancement of our society intervened and I chose neither of the three options.

After laughing at Mr. Roto Rooter for quoting me an absurd quote I decided to do some more internet searching.

I did end up having to pay $125 to have him remove the part that I had broken. I was able to find a specialty part plumbing store close to my house who were super helpful and helped me track down the actual part that the Roto Rooter guy was going to charge me $100 just to go find. The part was $12.77. It took a total of 30 minutes to drive to get the part, drive back home, and install it. My shower now works like normal and I’m no longer being tortured.

Where is the lesson in all this? I think my children will think it is crazy when I tell them stories of how we used to call out specialists to come to our house to fix things. They will probably ask, “Why didn’t you just look it up on Google?” To their point, the internet has made global knowledge easily accessible that anyone can search for anything and get those answers.  I often wonder how small stores stay open when you can order things off the internet and now even get them delivered within 2 hours of the time you place the order. How does a plumbing company continue to bring in revenue when the supplies are available, the step by step directions are available, and even renting the specialty tools can happen? What happens to an industry or company or person when what they relied upon to define their value is no longer unattainable to the general public? Typewriters are no longer a thing because we have personal computers.

Change is the only constant. If this statement is true, why would businesses and schools not train their employees and students on managing change or adapting to change more so than any specialty trade? Knowledge is no longer exclusive. Outside of proprietary information or data that is protected with a security clearance, the general public all has the same access to knowledge. The internet and globalization has flattened the earth and made it small. The global marketplace is the new marketplace.

How do you value yourself or your work product? What sets you apart in a way that supports your salary or position? Value is ever changing, adapting to change and value variation is more important than subject matter expertise in today’s world. You can lose a lot of money not adapting to change. $492 used to be a sure thing for a company like Roto Rooter, but they only got me for $125. Think about all the small transactions like this and how quickly that adds up. It’s scary to think about relying on anything that can deflate in value that quickly. So, I ask again…

What is valuable?

Does value change?

Should one adapt to a changing value?

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