Eddie Haskell came to my house today.
Don’t believe me? Let me explain.
I have a 15 year old son who usually comes home with one friend or another after school. So, like I usually do, I walked down from my studio to say hi and see who that someone was today.
It was Mike and so I said, “Hi – how was your day today?” Fully expecting something along the lines of “Horrible, it is a school day.” The normal teenage boy response.
Instead I was told, “Amazing thank you. How was your day?” A sheepish grin on his face.
“Amazing?” I asked. “Why, were all your classes canceled?”
“No. I just had the most delightful time learning.” (Yeah right!) His sheepish grin then turned into a devilish laugh.
“Oh boy! Eddie Haskell has arrived!” I said, laughing as well. Then came the quizzical looks that instantly transported me from laughing along to feeling way older than my 40 odd years!
You guessed it. They never heard of Eddie Haskell. “Leave it To Beaver? Nope. Whatever mom. Nick-at-Nite is so elementary school.
This little exchange got me to thinking… where is the fine line between doing what it takes to make your client or customer happy and turning into an Eddie Haskell who says whatever he thinks a person wants to hear but isn’t true to his word?
Here are 3 rules of thumb to keep you this side of Eddie Haskell-ville:
- Only say what your client wants to hear if you plan to deliver on what you say. If you can’t make a deadline, be honest – they will appreciate you saying ‘no’ so they can find someone else to fill their need instead of you not coming through at the last minute.
- Don’t pass the buck. If you promise something and can’t deliver, take responsibility, don’t try and pass it off on someone else. Sometimes stuff happens. Things come up. Creative juices get clogged and you can’t deliver like you wanted to. Again, honesty is the best policy.
- Be a team player, don’t try to divide and conquer the team. Remember that you and the manufacturer are a team – they need you just like you need them so work together to create great art for products that will sell at retail. That is, after all, what needs to happen for you to make any money!
Even in 1957 people weren’t fooled by Eddie Haskell’s attempts at false flattery. And 50 years later, with “Integrity”, “Accountability” and “Transparency” being the buzz words of 2009, he’d be up a creek without a paddle.
The lesson to be learned – be true to your word, be responsible for your actions and be a team player. Take those three things to heart and you are sure to go far!
P.S. The photo is ©CBS or ABC…not sure… “Leave It To Beaver” TV Series.
P.P.S. To freshen up on your Eddie Haskell facts CLICK HERE