Saving Face

Never criticize, condemn, or complain. Rather than criticizing the other person’s process, we might reframe the situation and look at the process from their perspective. Perhaps there is a reason for the way he/she wants the process completed and we need to understand it. Asking why we should do things a certain way is a great way to start a good conversation.

How often have we found ourselves in a situation where we began evaluating the way another person is accomplishing an activity and saying to ourselves or others, I can do this more efficiently? I felt that way this week as I did some volunteer work and I was tempted to tell the leader of the volunteer organization that I had a better way to manage the activity, but I let it go. I often find myself thinking about how to improve processes because in my retail job I have worked for years to eliminate redundancy and speed up productivity. What I didn’t realize until I started doing volunteer work that when I criticize others for the process they have implemented, I am taking away a little of their self-confidence and making them less accountable for the results of their practice.

Dale Carnegie’s first human relations principle in becoming a friendlier person is, “don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” When we criticize another person, not only does it damage that person’s reputation, the words put a dent in our reputation.

Rather than criticizing the other person’s process, we might reframe the situation and look at the process from their perspective. Perhaps there is a reason for the way he/she wants the process completed and we need to understand it. Asking why we should do things a certain way is a great way to start a good conversation. If we find that we are still in disagreement, a suggestion for a change in the approach should be made gently and privately. Using this process allows both parties to save face and rather than creating an enemy, you may make a new friend!

The Butter Is Melting!

My conjecture is that brick and mortar stores need a wakeup call. The major advantage brick and mortar stores still maintain over online shopping is the human-to-human interaction. A dollar investment made in technology should be countered by a dollar investment in a company’s employees. That investment could be improving productivity so the employee had more time to face the customer and less time stocking the shelves, or a company may seek to hire more qualified personnel using better wages and benefits. The most important investment has to be in customer service training. Let’s see what this season’s retail results tell us when the season is done!

The butter running down the inside of the refrigerator was not a pretty sight. I was in a desperate situation. Fourteen people were a coming for a party the next evening and my refrigerator was heating up like an oven instead of cooling.

I snapped into action and quickly measured the space for the refrigerator. I then went to the Internet and researched all the local appliance stores and found a refrigerator (yes, exactly one) that would fit in the space I had available. I called the store and the salesperson told me they had one unit in stock and could deliver the refrigerator the next morning. I told the salesperson I would be right there, grabbed my purse, and my husband, and we drove to the store only to discover that the delivery spot had been filled. After talking to the manager and explaining our situation, he graciously offered to deliver the unit first thing in the morning.

Delivery went fine and we have been happy with the-refrigerator  until recently when the icemaker began to freeze up on a regular basis. My husband got tired of using the hair dryer on the icemaker, so he contacted the service technician who indicated that the part was permanently out of stock. The tech explained that the problem was actually a design flaw of the manufacturer and advised us to call back the service contract company and let them know he could not repair it. Imagine our surprise when the service company offered to reimburse us for the full amount of the refrigerator and the prorated amount of the contract. I call that outstanding customer service.

Inherently, we as consumers believe we desire good customer service. However, with our ability to stay put behind the television and place our order online only to be delivered the next day, or better yet in two hours makes us ask ourselves are we really vying for good customer service or simply speed of delivery. In the case of my refrigerator, the speed of delivery could not have been better. I was a happy customer until the icemaker could not be repaired.

My conjecture is that brick and mortar stores need a wakeup call. The major advantage brick and mortar stores still maintain over online shopping is the human-to-human interaction. A dollar investment made in technology should be countered by a dollar investment in a company’s employees. That investment could be improving productivity so the employee had more time to face the customer and less time stocking the shelves, or a company may seek to hire more qualified personnel using better wages and benefits. The most important investment has to be in customer service training. After shopping today all day for angels for my church angel tree, I can truly see why consumers are abandoning malls. Help was scarce, checkouts were painfully slow, and stock was a mess. Try to ask for special service like tax exempt status and the entire experience falls apart.

I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the retailer who honored their customer service agreement with me.  For the rest, take a bit of advice from this experience, invest in customer service before it is too late!

http://www.goldenprofessionalcoaching.com

 

 

 

 

 

Persistence Pays Off!

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Last night my husband and I and some friends went to see the Symphony Orchestra perform its holiday family show. The lights on the trees shined brightly, a projection of the star of David was displayed on the beautiful organ, and the crowd was dressed up in their holiday attire. You could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air. The first half of the show was full of holiday songs delivered by a 190 member Symphony Chorus and corresponding orchestra. The first half of the show closed with a family sing-along led by two talented soloists.

Santa joined the crowd when we returned to our seats and challenged us to sing the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with the orchestra. However, there was one slight hitch – when we reached five days of Christmas,  one member of the audience would be chosen to offer a solo with the words, “Five Golden Rings.” We moved from the first day of Christmas to the eighth day of Christmas with delightful soloists from the audience. However, one boy that was about ten years old wanted to sing so badly that he persistently jumped up and down waving his hands saying pick me Santa. When Santa finally handed him the microphone at the nine days of Christmas, the audience became very still, and anticipation in the air was powerful. We just knew that the sound of an angel would come from this gorgeous child.

We waited with baited breath while we sang “the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me”

  • Nine ladies dancing;
  • Eight maids a milking;
  • Seven swans a swimming;
  • Six geese a-laying ….wait here it comes……
  • FIVE GOLDEN RINGS.

      …..WAIT – WHAT WAS THAT?

The boy’s persistence had paid off. We heard the boy sing Five Golden Rings loud and clear. The only problem was his voice screeched like fingernails on a chalkboard. Not surprisingly, the boy received a standing ovation for his courage and determination and the song went on. He was proud of himself and watching the audience support his aspirations during a time when our country seems to be fighting itself was a heartwarming start to the holiday season.

“ Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

Thomas Carlyle

Do you think this ten-year-old boy has a strong soul and will continue to persist in getting what he wants out of life? I do and pray that his soul will stay strong as he continues to give his all no matter what.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

 

Overcome the Holiday Blues

Do we find ourselves frowning most of the day? This time of year holiday pressures seem to leave us in a foul mood. We find ourselves losing control of our day because there is so much to do. We have shopping, cooking, cleaning, getting ready for the family, holiday cards to mail out, school and office parties to get ready for, white elephant gifts to purchase and on and on. We have little time to catch our breath, let alone find some quiet time where we can plan and organize. Everyone around us seems just as miserable as we look.

What would happen if we took five minutes out of our day to go around the office with a big smile on our face and say good morning to our team? As it turns out the simple act of smiling sends a message to our brain that we are happy and relaxed. When we are happy our brains send out feel-good endorphins to our body. Research also shows that smiling can make other people happy as well.  When is the last time that you let your team know that you are happy and they should be too simply by smiling? If you are smiling your team will too. Smiling is contagious behavior.

So stop worrying about all your holiday chores. The best gift you could give to your team today is a great big smile and a cheerful good morning.

“Your smile is a messenger of your goodwill. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds.”  Dale CarnegieBlog

 

Show Appreciation – Please!

I recently started a new job and found there were a lot of people that went out of their way to help me. Even during my first interview, the receptionist went out of her way to show me the restroom and bring me a bottle of water. I asked myself what I could do to show my appreciation without looking insincere. I decided the best approach was to send a handwritten thank you note. Two days later I had a job offer. Don’t underestimate the power of showing sincere appreciation.

I read an article in Forbes recently about appreciation. The article stated that as adults, we are much more likely to receive criticism than appreciation. Our bosses, spouses and the others in our lives expect a great deal from us and recognize little when we deliver. Yet let us go above and beyond and we often hear nothing.

Appreciation is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to those around us. In the timeless book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie lists “Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation,” as one of his fundamental principles.

We might consider the following ways to express appreciation,

  1. Say, “thank you” as often as we can. We rarely hear that in today’s world when we shop or give gifts.
  1. Send a hand-written note of appreciation. If the sentiment is sincere, the note is never inappropriate and will make someone’s day.
  1. Speak your appreciation directly. Say “I appreciate what you did.”
  1. Express appreciation for the person as well as the deed. “I appreciate YOU. Thank You for being my friend – or co-worker, or…”
  1. Be specific about the appreciation and use the person’s name. Say, thank you Anna, I appreciate you correcting my expense report so processing would not be delayed.

Wouldn’t we love to hear our bosses say I appreciate what you did last week?

 

 

 

Call Me By Name

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics the unemployment rate has reached an all time high at 4.9% as of Jan 2016. What is equally interesting is that over 50% of U.S. workers are thinking about a new job in 2016. In fact, we may be starting a new job next week, and we are wondering how to make a good first impression.

Call your new peers and employees by name. Nothing makes people feel better than having someone remember his or her name. In fact, Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”

If we think we cannot remember people’s names we are not alone. Research headed by Kansas State University suggests that a person’s interest level significantly determines how well we remember names (Business Insider). Most of us are thinking about how we are going to introduce ourselves rather than listening closely to a person’s name. During a Skills for Success Program at Dale Carnegie DFW, we learned several tricks to help remember others names.

  1. Listen when someone is introducing themselves
  2. Repeat their name – say It is so nice to meet you Mary Kuniski
  3. Ask questions or comment about their name – say my Mother’s name is Mary. Are you Irish?
  4. Associate the person’s name with something – A business, rhyme, person’s appearance, the meaning of the name, a mind picture or a similar name.

To learn more about how you too can remember names and many other memory tricks join DFW Dale Carnegie in a Skills For Success program. You will be glad you did!