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People, not products, make a difference

Mar 15, 2023 | Insights

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People, not products, make a difference, as the compassion of those who live for others and helped us over a difficult time shows.
Two weeks ago, our local hospital admitted C, my wife, for a replacement hip operation. Although it’s a “routine” operation, C was in considerable pain and confined to bed and a tall chair when she returned home.

At the same time, the health of our elderly dog, Augusta, went downhill rapidly. She faded fast, and on Saturday, after two visits to the vets and long discussions, we decided that there was nothing more to do. So the vets, at our request, came to the house to put her to sleep.

However, a brutal and sad couple of weeks for our household has been made much less painful by the people we dealt with at the hospital, the vet’s surgery and the many friends who contacted and visited us with practical help and compassionate support.

People make an experience good or bad.

Like many, we have sometimes sought professional help, only to be treated as a nuisance and dismissed or belittled without friendliness or compassion, a massive contrast to our experiences of the last two weeks.

However, the common factor in each scenario is people. The product or service you are buying does not matter that much. It’s the people who deliver who make a difference.

We spoke to several consultants about C’s hip, and unsurprisingly each had a slightly different take on the procedure, its efficacy and the aftermath. However, it usually came down to the same procedure, replacement hip, post-op treatment, etc.

So, when presented with options of which hospital to go to, C went to the one that had provided the most compassionate and efficient service in the past. And it was a good decision. The surgeon, the staff and the helpful and compassionate ethos of the hospital were exemplary, making the procedure so much easier.

We did not have to choose with our vets. They have looked after Gussie for all fourteen years of her life (and our other pets). Although any vet around here would probably offer the same solution to a problem, whether cat flu or Cushing’s disease, our vets would always treat our pets (and us) with professionalism, compassion and care.

And the attention we have received from friends and family has been as incredible as that we received from our professional connections.

Focus on how, not what, you deliver.

So, these two sad and challenging weeks have strengthened my opinion that people make a difference, not products or services. However, what truly speaks truth to this viewpoint is the sense of purpose and fulfilment that I have seen in all those who were there for us, as they make a real difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I wonder how these stories speak to you. You have probably been on the receiving end of good and bad experiences. But have you noticed the difference in the underlying attitudes of those who deliver to you? It’s always worth digging to discover how people think and feel. Are they calm, fulfilled, happy, or stressed, ground down and unfulfilled?

What does that tell you when you deliver rather than receive? I would suggest that being helpful, compassionate and empathic is much more favourable for you and your recipient than the other way around.

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Other attributions and references

Read a tribute to Augusta at

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