I want to share publicly what I often share privately among friends: At Unruh Furniture we make and have made a tremendous amount of mistakes.
There was the time when Jacob stained a table Deep Mocha instead of Classic Fir, and then the time Robb did it, and the time Drew did it, and then Josiah twice, and then Cody, and then Drew again.
The time Ben forgot to attach one of the legs to a table, and we actually delivered it just loosely hanging on.
The time I confused our Western Console with our Western Sideboard and we gave away the wrong piece (I'm now stuck with that Western Sideboard in the guest room of my house.)
The time we made our Pacifica Sideboard 48" long when it should have been 84."
The time we delivered the wrong table to the wrong customer, and then the three other times we did the same thing.
The dozens of times we missed a spot in the sanding process.
And in the staining process.
And in the finishing process.
It is often. And always painful. I have personally had dozens of personal conversations with customers about mistakes that we have made. I have felt my heart drop, clinched my teeth, and apologized more times than I can count.
Why do I share this? Well, this used to give me a lot of anxiety. I used to freak out and sometimes flip out and get a bit mad—sometimes at my employees and sometimes at myself. But I am realizing more and more every day, that mistakes are a constant part of life. And so much more important than making them, is how I respond to them.
Almost every day here I have a conversation with one of my guys, encouraging them to work harder at minimizing mistakes. And it works. We make way less mistakes now than we did a year ago, and way way less than two years ago.
But we still make them.
And where I've got over my anxiety, is in focusing on being great at responding. We fix every mistake. No matter what, we fix it. We fix it quickly. We fix it well. We fix it with humility, and apologies and sincerity and gratitude at the opportunity to make right. All of the time.
If you google "Unruh Furniture" today you will see 54 Google Reviews. Every one of them is 5 Stars. Of all that we've accomplished in this business that is what I am most proud of. I am proud not because they speak to flawlessness. But because in spite of all that we have messed up, they speak to repentance and follow-through. They say we didn't give up on the customer. We didn't just take the money and run. We stayed the course. And I'm proud of that.