If your database is sick, your organization is unhealthy, your customers are unhappy, and your reputation suffers. Saying a sick database leads to an unhealthy organization is just an analogy. Until it isn’t.
|As the President of my company, it’s not just my job to measure and monitor what is, look around the corner, and plot the way forward, it’s also my job to celebrate victories, tell stories, and put things in a larger context.
|The most important analogy I use is this: “if your database is sick, your organization is unhealthy, your customers are unhappy, and your reputation suffers.” Now clearly databases don’t actually get sick - they don’t get the sniffles, develop a rash, or suffer from a persistent cough. Saying a sick database leads to an unhealthy organization is just an analogy.
One day not so long ago, we received a call from a major hospital in the northeast, where the patients were literally bleeding on the floor because a database problem had paralyzed the entire hospital. If you’ve had the unhappy need to set foot in a hospital recently, you know that every single thing is computerized - and not just the billing department and the diagnostic machinery, but every patient interaction - every pill that’s dispensed, every meal that’s served, every temperature that’s taken, they’re all fed into a computer and housed in a database. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that nurses and doctors practice medicine via laptop.
This hospital, like so many organizations of all kinds, had a powerful server, tons of fast memory, and a great database program - that had slowed to a crawl, which meant that every system and department in the hospital had slowed to a crawl. So new patients piled up in the waiting room unable to be admitted, current patients floundered, waiting for their next treatment, and patients ready for discharge were frozen in place, awaiting discharge papers.
I’m a capitalist - I believe in making money. But the way I make money is by leading a company obsessively committed to helpfulness. So when this hospital called, we didn’t ask for their insurance ID card and driver’s license (so to speak), we sprang into action. We diagnosed their database problem in less than 15 seconds, we solved the problem in less than two hours, and the good people at this great hospital were able to continue with their vital mission. And we received a PO from the hospital a few days later.
Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they want.” What are you doing to help your customers? Helping your customers is more than a help line or a quick response to an email query (although these are both necessary), it’s the driving ambition to understand what they really need and want, and the relentless quest and tireless effort to provide them.
What You Must Know
Helpfulness positively correlates to profitability.