Getting To Yes

Customer Service.jpeg

I thought this was a good and important customer service principle:

“Don’t make me go through NO
To get to YES.”


When it comes to customer service, the default for reasonable requests from good customers should always be YES!


We can either make the experience miserable for the customer and leave them fuming, never coming back, and bad-mouthing us or we can make it fair, easy, accommodating, and a WOW experience!


Why not build your customer base and reputation for excellence rather than erode it? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Improving The Lot and Lives Of Women

I saw this women dancing openly on top of this boat moored to the docks in Florida. 


I don’t know why she was doing this (simply entertainment?) and whether this was completely out of her free choice (or at all coerced), especially while these 2 guys on board apparently leered and even recorded her.


But it made me think that we definitely need to better respect and improve the lot and lives of women in society. 


Yes, beauty is something to be appreciated, but there is also something to be said for modesty and showing proper respect.


Further, while people can be physically attractive, they are not just objects, but rather complex, thoughtful, and productive wonderful human beings.


Each person is a whole world and they bring that to the table of life.


There is much to admire, but women (and men) need to provided every opportunity to break through the glass ceiling and not just dance on it. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Freedom Is Worth It

Respect.jpeg

This was a photo I took of a sign in my daughter’s old high school.


It says, “Respect for Self, Others, and the Environment.”


That is a great principle, which I was reminded of today in sitting for an IT certification exam–how lucky we are to live in a country that affords us respect to be ourselves…to speak, write, and practice as we believe. 


In this case, the certification exam was typically given on Saturday, but as a Sabbath observer, I was able to provide a request for an accommodation, and was able to take the exam this morning, Sunday.


What was absolutely amazing to me though going for the exam at this designated fancy facility, in Washington, D.C.–and with two proctors–was that I was the only one taking the exam today.


This was not just some lip-service tolerance for differences, but rather true respect for diversity, even when it’s not convenient and it is costly. 


I have got to say, how grateful I am to be part of a society where we are free to be who we are–what can be more amazing than that?


I feel this all the more when we are at a time in history when still so many in the world are battling dictatorships, demagogues, terrorist and corrupt regimes that impose harsh restrictions, censorship, monitoring, and severe punishments on those who don’t follow the dictates of the authority holding power. 


When we fight those restrictive regimes–from ISIS to Communism–that are looking not just to hold, but to spread their clutches on power and abuses of freedom–we are really fighting to be who we are and that is a serious fight worth having. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Quickie But Goodie

Gorgeous

So in the office, one person says to another that they need to have a meeting to catch up on some things. 


The other person is obviously very busy, and so the first person trying to accommodate and be mindful of people’s time says, “We can do a quickie.”


At which point, the kindergarden personalities take over in the office, and the person responds cracking up, “I am begging you never to say that again!”


It funny how despite people growing up on the outside (in years), people are still always sort of just kids on the inside. 


Maybe in a way that is a good thing that part of ourselves retains the carefree innocence and jovialness of our youth.


We may not be sooo gorgeous anymore, but we are still the same person on the inside–just a little more experience behind us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disability Stories And Resources

Disability

Just wanted to share this great site called Disability Blog where people tell about their experiences of being disabled and how they have overcome the odds. 


It is hosted by Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.


And it is the official blog of Disability.gov where there is lots of information on “disability programs and services.” 


The blog site promotes the “full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and communities nationwide.”


Disability Blog posts guest bloggers on various topics and I read some of the recent posts and they were very good, including:


– Disability rights activism

– Small business loans and mentoring support with SCORE for a veteran with disability

– Resources and support from the Amputtee Coalition for a child that was hurt in a lawn mowing accident

– A courageous description of how someone lives with syndactyly (fused fingers).

– Options for workplace accommodations at the Job Accommodation Network


As someone myself who has had two total hip replacements, I encourage people to get their personal stories out there to increase disability awareness, rights, and resources and support to help them.


I used to dream about retiring one day and running along the boardwalk and ocean every morning in Florida, but I know that will not happen for me anymore (so thank G-d for swimming). 


Disabilities can happen to anyone. 


We all need to be sensitive to what it’s like to be different and have unique challenges, and to try and help anyone who does.  😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Abhijit Bhaduri)

You Can Be Nice and Powerful

You Can Be Nice and Powerful

According to the Wall Street Journal, workers “value kindness in their boss” and compassion–this is natural, as we are all human with tests, frailties, and yes, everyone even makes some mistakes (and hopefully they learn from it).

So while there may seem to be a contradiction between being nice and being an effective leader, there really is not.

For example, we can have empathy for people, while still holding them accountable to do a good job through programs like flexible schedules, telework, and other workplace accommodations.

Power in the organization can be wielded by a boss in so many ways, and they don’t even have to eat their spinach to do it.

From what assignments you get, whether you have to work odd hours, to whether you get a good evaluation or even that promotion, for that matter.

Many may be too quick to put on the punching gloves, however.

Sometimes, the boss will laud publicly over some employees, while degrading or shunning others…that sends a message doesn’t it.

Worse is boss that yells, tells someone their ideas are stupid, or glares at someone like they are a moron…that takes someone straight to employment hell.

The email chain is the classic message!

So while power can be wielded, it can also be shielded by appreciating each person for what they can do and their contribution, if sincere and merited.

While employees value a nice boss, this doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be challenged, we do–challenge adds some meaning to our jobs and our day–that’s why 75% would rather work for a high-achieving, but demanding boss than a nice, but ineffective one.

But combine nice and high-achieving into a boss, and I think we will all want to work for such a leader and follow them wherever they go! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Let The Handicapped In

Disability_symbols

We can build “the bomb” and sequence human DNA, but we still are challenged in caring for and accommodating the handicapped.

Some of the major legislative protections to the disabled are afforded under:
–  The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federal programs, and
–  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which covers things like employment, public programs (state and local) and transportation, public accommodations (housing) and commercial facilities, and telecommunications.

Despite these protections, our world still remains a harsh place for many disabled people–and we see it with older facilities that have not been retrofitted, broken elevators in the Metro, managers being obstinate to providing reasonable accommodations, and people not getting up from seats designated or not, for the disabled.

In yet more extreme cases, some people can show their worst and be just plain cruel toward the disabled:

On the Metro recently, there was a near fight between two young male passengers squeezing onto the train; when one tried walking away, deeper into the belly of the car, the other guy pursues him, and literally jumped over a guy in a wheelchair–hitting him with his shoe in the back of his head.

On yet another occasion, also on the Metro, there was a wheelchair with it’s back to the train doors (I think he couldn’t turn around because of the crowding). A couple gets on the train, apparently coming from the airport, and puts their luggage behind the wheelchair.  At the next station or so, when the wheelchair tries to back out to get off the train, the couple refuses to move their luggage out of the way. The guy in wheelchair really had guts and pushed his chair over and past the luggage, so he could get off.

To me these stories demonstrate just an inkling of not only the harsh reality that handicapped face out there, but also the shameful way people still act to them.

Today, the Wall Street Journal (17 August 2012) had an editorial by Mr. Fay Vincent, a former CEO for Columbia Pictures and commissioner of Major League Baseball, and he wrote an impassioned piece about how difficult it has been for him to get around in a wheelchair in everywhere from bathrooms at prominent men’s clubs, through narrow front office doors at a medical facility for x-rays, and even having to navigate “tight 90-degree turns” at an orthopedic hospital!

Vincent writes: “Even well-intentioned legislation cannot specify what is needed to accomodate those of us who are made to feel subhuman by unintentionalfailures to provide suitable facilities.”

Mr. Vincent seems almost too kind and understanding here as he goes on to describe a hotel shower/bath that was too difficult for him to “climb into or out” and when he asked the CEO of a major hotel chain why there wasn’t better accommodation for the disabled, the reply was “there are not many people like you visiting the top-level hotels, so it does not make business sense to cater to the handicapped.”

Wow–read that last piece again about not making business sense catering to the handicapped–is this really only about dollar and cents or can decency and compassion play any role here?

Yes, as Mr. Vincent points out, “modern medicine is keeping us all older for longer,” and many more people will require these basic and humane accommodations for getting around, bathing, going to the toilet, and more.  Let’s make this a national, no a global priority–every one deserves these basic dignities.

I am not clear on the loopholes, exemptions, deficiencies in guidelines, or insufficiencies of enforcement that are enabling people to still be so callous, cruel, and just plain stupid, but it time to change not only what’s written on paper, but to change people’s hearts too.

(Source Photo: here)