Model Behavior

by Frank Roche on March 20, 2013

in Management

model airplanes[image source]

“Kids don’t have hobbies anymore. They don’t collect things,” said my hardware man. “The toy market dried up years ago. Used to be toys were from 0-to-17 years old. Now it’s 0-to-5. As soon as kids can play with a controller, they let someone else create their imagination for them.”

I used to build model airplanes when I was in my early teens. I was fascinated with the intricacies of the process. The gluing. The painting. The historical back stories that went with each plane. It’s a lost art now.

I was in Paoli Hardware — it’s in my little town and next door to the barbershop where I get all my local news — looking for a model vise.

“Haven’t had anyone ask for one of those in years and years,” said the manager.

He and I talked about the old days. We were nostalgic about model building. I told him that I’m renovating a vintage 1923 Remington 12 typewriter. I’m taking it apart piece-by-piece and needed a model vise to hold small parts while I clean and oil and wax them.

“I don’t even know who makes those anymore,” said the hardware man. “My guess is Dremel if anyone. Let’s take a look.”

And so he spent 10 minutes looking online for a model vise that he wasn’t going to sell me. He found a couple of options, then said, “You could try Radio Shack. They might have something.”

You know what struck me? This was the real deal.

You can put people through all kinds of customer interaction training. You can write all kinds of HR policies. You can measure and critique and penalize people for their customer skills. Or you could teach them that building something takes time. Patience. Listening.

You could teach them model behavior.

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