Maintaining and Innovating

My brother and I cleared a ten foot perimeter around this field each summer.

My dad retired a few years ago after almost fifty years as a pastor. Early in his career he moved several times before finally settling down at one church for twenty-five years. We moved there when I was in sixth grade.

The church had about fifteen acres of land — much of it undeveloped — which provided many opportunities for my brother and me to earn a little extra money. We spent two to three weeks each summer clearing a ten foot perimeter around the field with shovels, hoes, and pickaxes so someone could come in and plow it. We’d sometimes do this work in triple digit weather — a job a friend of ours referred to as “working the salt mines.”

Fast forward twenty-five years and my dad sent me an arial shot of property (pictured). The land has since been sold to developers who are building a senior living facility. As I looked at that picture I thought of all the time spent maintaining that land and realized that job is no longer necessary. That’s what progress does sometimes, I guess.

As I think of my career in customer service, I’ve done a good share of maintaining. That includes spreadsheets with a myriad of stats, relationships, and tools. As I’ve begun to pull the thread on some of the latest and greatest tools, like those involving artificial intelligence and machine learning, I’m realizing that what we’re maintaining today may very well be replaced and disrupted tomorrow. It’s a reminder that progress will continue progressing and, as support leaders, we need to always keep an eye toward future.

On a semi-related note, I recently wrote an article an for Relate by Zendesk titled The Siren Call of Customer Service.┬áIt explores my upbringing as a pastor’s kid and my search for my own calling in life. So two things: Check out that article and pay attention to the innovation going on in this space. It’s starting to get interesting.

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