Nonsense At Work

#91: January 2015 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

January 2015

Exuberant Fear Begins Resolution Here

Real money does not buy exuberant pie in the sky

pie-in-skyThe economy is growing in a way that might finally benefit ‘we the people’ on ‘main street’ and not only those on easy street.  However, I must warn you, here be dragons.

Like Mr Greenspan’s irrational exuberance. To stop that dragon getting the better of us again, we must get back to foundationals. Yes, you read correctly. Foundationals. (And yes again, my nonsense word is meant to irritate you into paying attention.)

We glibly say ‘get back to basics’ but we conveniently choose not to clarify which basics. Getting back to basics only makes sense if you know which basics are fundamental to your business.

And what is fundamental to your business? Anything that unlocks the wallets of your customers. Not the credit, but the cash in their wallets.

Can we prevent exuberance from again corrupting our foundationals? Yes we can, if we remember that real money does not buy exuberant pie in the sky.

Guaranteed to overcome hiring fear

hiring-fearThe funny thing about the recent unemployment crisis was the number of vacant positions. (Read that again, slowly.) The strange thing about this recovery is the number of vacant positions.

The popular reason given is that there is a skills shortage. I don’t believe this, not since I remembered what Dr Laurence Peter, of the Peter Principle fame, once explained: “For every job in the world there is someone, somewhere, who can’t do it. Given enough promotions, that someone will get the job.”

So that’s it. Vacant positions are not caused by a skills shortage, but by a shortage of courage. No hiring manager wants to be the one to land that one applicant who cannot do the job.

Retail success is built on the money-back guarantee, first offered by Joshua Wedgewood in the 18th century. To overcome hiring fear, I think job applicants should make a similar offer.

Just don’t expect me to offer a guarantee.

Customer service begins at home

customer-service-at-homeWhile on the subject of guarantees, who should you focus on first when it comes to service? The one with the fattest wallet? The one who always comes back? The one who tells friends? Or the one you go home with at night?

Hang on. I never said ‘customer’; I purposely said ‘the one’. Whenever service is mentioned, we automatically think ‘customer’.

And yet, to provide really good service, you should be thinking of yourself first. No, I don’t mean you should assume that what you like is what the customer will like. Please avoid that classic error.

What I mean is this. Ensure that you are totally ready to provide customer service. Are you presenting yourself appropriately? Are you in the right mood? Are you smiling sincerely? Are you in the present moment or wishing yourself somewhere else?

Unless you know how to serve yourself well, you cannot hope to serve anyone else. Like charity, service begins at home.

My responsible resolution: I will be responsible for me

responsible-for-meSanta has been and gone and still more gifts arrive in the mail. Or did all your on-line gifts arrive in time?

If they did not arrive in time, whose fault was it? If you are anything like the odd people who grace the tabloids, then it is the seller’s fault, the shipper’s fault, the weather’s fault, the government’s fault or your mother-in-law’s fault.

Actually, it’s unfair to blame the sellers and even the shippers. Consider this headline from a recent New York Times: “Crunch Time for FedEx and UPS as Last-Minute Holiday Shipping Ramps Up.” Last minute?!

Yes, you could blame the weather and the government, but I don’t know about your mother-in-law. Here’s what I do know. It would be truly unfair if in this new year you don’t blame yourself when things go wrong.

So here’s my hope for the New Year. Let’s all set at least one lofty resolution for 2015, namely “I will be responsible for me.”

The buck stops stops not here

BuckstopshereMaybe that resolution is simply too much for you. What if you often struggle to admit to your blunders and mistakes? You’re not alone. Note how long it takes politicians, celebrities and other media hungry public figures to admit to the wrongdoings we the public have suspected for weeks.

If you really, really struggle to own up to your mess up, take heart. There is one strategy that gets you off the hook easily, every time. Or so it seems, else it would not be so popular.

When caught out, all you have to do is to explain that, surely, everybody does it, or has done it, or is likely to do it sooner or later. In other words, express your conviction that many wrongs make it right.

History shows that if everybody made the same mistake, if everybody is to blame, then nobody is at fault and nobody should be in trouble. Or, as we say in the classics, the buck stops . . . not here.

And, may I add, a happy-go-lucky year to you!

Would you feeling irrationally exuberant?

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