Personal Impact Lessons from a Plumber

Today is Tuesday, so this post is on personal impact.

Yesterday, we had a service call from a plumber.  His name is Tim Allen (not that Tim Allen), and he works for Bell Plumbing here in Denver.  I have met few people with such positive personal impact as Tim like the best Toronto plumbers I have hired.

We have a small leak in the faucet in our kitchen sink; and one of our toilets has developed an annoying tendency to keep running after it is flushed.  When Tim first arrived, he was directing a lot of his attention to me – most plumbing repair guys do that.  It’s a guy thing, I guess.  I told him that Cathy is the one to whom he should be talking, as she is the mechanical one in the family.  From then on, he directed his gaze and comments mostly to Cathy, glancing at me occasionally, just to make sure I was still in the conversation.

He called both of us by name – and he used our names frequently.  In past posts, I’ve mentioned that using people’s names is one of the best ways to create a positive personal impact.

However, what really set Tim apart in my book, was his excitement about his work.  To begin with, he is very knowledgeable.  As I listened to him speak, I couldn’t help but feel that our plumbing problems were in good hands.  He worked on the kitchen sink first.  He explained the problem and our options.  He even showed us how to save a little bit of money by going to the Bell showroom to purchase our new faucet.

The same was true with our toilet problem.  Tim showed us the problem and told us what to do to fix it.  He explained why the new low volume toilets tend to have the problem we were experiencing and outlined several options for us to consider.

He also took great delight in telling us about some new advances in the finish of bathroom sinks.  His enthusiasm was contagious.  I started wondering if we should replace the pedestal sink in our powder room – to get one with the type of finish he was describing.  It was truly refreshing to be in the presence of someone who is so excited and knowledgeable about his work.

During the conversation, he spoke about his four sons – ages 11, 9, 5 and 4.  He told some amusing anecdotes about the youngest one.  When it came time to schedule a follow up appointment, he asked if we were early or late people.  He mentioned that he is an early bird, while his wife likes to sleep in.  I felt as if I knew him as a person, not just a plumber by the time he left.

And that’s the point about powerful personal impact.  Tim Allen made my wife and I feel like valued customers.  He took the time to explain his somewhat esoteric craft to us.  And he told us a little about his family.  He was excited about a field that to me is kind of mundane, but to him is endlessly interesting.  In short, we felt that we were dealing with an expert.  He inspired confidence.  We also felt as if we were dealing with a nice guy.

And to me, that’s a pretty good combination for making a positive personal impact – being an expert, being enthusiastic about what you do, and being and a nice guy to boot.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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