Don’t call your clients liars


My Grandmother was easy to set off.   If you wanted to see someone rear up and kick call her a liar…and really I think this is the case for almost anyone!  People all want to be seen as good and one of the things that we all know is bad is lying.  There are many times in a day when we tell white lies but the key to those is that they are mutually agreed on and we all know that they are kindnesses and not genuine attempts to mislead.  So I was talking to one of my suppliers for, what I was to discover was, the last time.  And the conversation went like this.

Me: There is a mistake with the order…it was supposed to be one-sided not two…

Supplier: So?

Me: We need it to be one-sided so we can remove one sheet and not two…

Supplier:  Well my order sheet says you ordered two-sided!

Me: No…I remember the conversation I requested one-sided after you called me asking if it was two or one.

Supplier: Well my order sheet says two…

Me: Okay.  We, my associates and I, discussed this at length…We absolutely knew that the job had to be one-sided recto only.

Supplier: Well our order sheet says recto/verso…

Me: Alright, thank you.

And that is the last time that that business will ever hear from me for a print job…ever!  not only that it is the last time I will recommend that company as a business partner.  I even started the conversation willing to split the difference since I needed to make changes on top of fixing the problem.  So they lost a client who has pretty decent volume as we have manuals and employee handbooks that we create for our clients.  How many clients can you afford to lose in a year in an industry experiencing compression and closures left right and centre it seems to me the last thing you want to be doing is calling your clients liars to their face.

Now what to do about that?

  • Find a compromise.
  • Ask/figure out what the client needs, not what they want.
  • Always give regular clients the option to strike out once.  but also keep track of abusive clients so that you can make sure your not being taken advantage of.
  • Remember a returning client is one that will be much more profitable.

So be careful what you are saying to your clients when you tell them they are not telling you the truth…because you are calling them a liar…be ready for the consequences.

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Politesse: The oil of a healthy world!

Today I look around me and realize something…

hmmmm, wait…. we need a solid vector of attack for this….

Okay, vaccinations.  there are people today who think that vaccines are optional…and I’ll tell you why.  They work, they work really well…SO well that we have forgotten how blissfully healthy this world we live in is.  We don’t have to compose with

Type b (Hib) Meningitis
Hepatitis B
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Rubella (German Measles)
Varicella (Chickenpox)
Tetanus (Lockjaw)

Hundreds of thousands of people avoid paralysis, deafness, blindness, braces, death.  All this is a way of reminding our selves that vaccines are important, but somehow in our first world arrogance we forget these things and build up an opinion that vaccines are optional…or worse dangerous.  We need vaccines to help keep our society moving slowly forward.

Politesse is the same.  We have come to a place, as a society where we have some how decided that being polite and showing deference to others is “old-fashioned” we are too good for being considerate, polite, generous, consistent.  We can just walk out the door and ignore the world because we are the chosen center of the universe.  There is a perverse kind of attitude that comes from being too good for your boots.

Today we need to work harder to maintain the good things from the past.  While there is plenty of bath water that we can get rid of I think we shouldn’t forget the baby.

We are living in a wonderful time that will allow us to implement aspects of participative democracy and community that will blow old ways out of the water, and all the better!  But we come from somewhere and there is something to remember, that place made this one possible, so there must be value in that way of being.

We need to remember there is value in working hard, being polite, showing strangers kindness and deference.  Politeness allows people to oil their relationships.  It makes the world a smoother place to live.  We are relational beings we need each other!  So it is important to maintain those relationships and the things that make relationships healthy.  and here we can learn something from the Swiss.   One of the reasons their society works so well is the avid avoidance of keeping up with the joneses.  They don’t talk about money, and they don’t spend their time showing pictures of their last vacation in the south. (yes Facebookers, that’s you)

So take a moment and pull out your copy of manners for idiots and brush up on a few lost arts and see what a difference it makes, in your life, your business, your relationships, and your inner peace…you may be surprised!

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Loss and moving on!

Freedom is the ultimate goal of many people and you know what…when we loose something we are freed from it.  Something wonderful was opened up when someone said, the stuff you own starts owning you.  The something is true in many relationships, places, attachements of any kind.  We are creatures of habit and it can be difficult to create a habit of change and growth.  One of the ultimate goals of many is to grow through out their entire life.

And sometimes we become fixed, we grow solid and sedimented into our relationships and we mourn them when they are lost.  But what we often forget is that we are suddenly invited by the world and life to reinvent something new to replace that lost content.  Life abhors a vacuum and we are able to invent anything that we can envision.  Life is wonderful for that.

When there is nothing we are before a kind of blank canvas, in our case that canvas is our life, our business, our relationships that we had before.  Now you have the opportunity to invent something, a style, a product, a new way of behaving that allow us to grow and create the world that we really want.

It may take great courage, or just great energy to break out of that mould that we find ourselves in.   However every body has that spark inside themselves, perhaps in your team or your very self.  The spark is always burning deep in our soul and it wants to create that freedom every day no matter how sure you are that your life is never going to change there is a way to open yourself up to growth and making something new….

So the next time you loose something or someone, remember the thing that you are feeling is not bad it is the vacuum that needs filling.  It is a call to action to make a better life for yourself, to create the thing you always wanted to do, have, be to take its place.

GO make something new…

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Using what you have to charge into the future.

It fascinates me how we give up when w have an “old fashioned” business model. These two young Croatians are a fabulous example of how people who develop skills can transform those skills into modern utilities.

Styles may change but people want essentially the same things.

We want to feel pertinent and we want to feel that you take us seriously. These two guys have taken a beautiful instrument that is associated with classical music and brought it right in to the modern era in a big way! In just one year these guys have gone from nobodies to international stars! With cellos!

No one would think of AC/DC, the Petshop Boys, or NIN and say Cello! But here they are garnering international fame and youtube videos with 14 million views. Not a negligible effect.

It is time to ourself what do you do? And how can you do it in a new way!

Here are some approaches.
-hire younger staff and ask them to solve problems, don’t help them!
-take the tools you have and ask friends to how they would use them to do something new.
-find clients that don’t use your services and find out why.
-find some people who use similar products or services and see how you respond to the job they need to do.
-spy on the competition and use good ideas that are working elsewhere.
-adapt solutions developed in parallel industries.
-find good ideas in industries that have nothing to do with you and use them in yours!

Go do it!

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Proactive service, driving your clients

I recently attended a screwup, at a funeral on top of it!

The obituary in the paper said the visitation would begin at 10:00am while the funeral home had the schedule down for 11:00. People were standing in the hall for 45 minutes before they opened the door!

So where was the first failure?
Obviously it starts when the funeral director hasn’t noticed that an obituary has been posted with the wrong time!
Next the staff hasn’t been notified that people will be arriving early.
The family wasn’t made aware that people would be early.
The room wasn’t ready until the last minute.

I come from a school of thinking that how to organize something starts with the end result in mind and the time you want to finish as place we begin, or said otherwise we start with the end.

So in this case I would go like this.

11:00 am doors open
10:30 am everything is ready
9:00 am call family if something is wrong
8:00 am staff arrives and begins to start preparations for the day
Previous day, verify all the obituary ads, online and paper to be able to anticipate the schedule for the next day!

So now I have to capacity to anticipate that my schedule the next day will be inadequate because I know, before people show up at the door that there was a screw-up and I can accommodate my clients so that the problem is extenuated and so even if I can’t accommodate people in the room that they are supposed to be in they are not milling around in the hallway because people are already in a delicate emotional state. If someone melts down in the hallway everyone is uncomfortable.

It’s not hard to be proactive but it does take a plan. And a desire to be so things in the best way possible.

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A request for the best!

“Don’t wear that! It makes you look poor!” Is that something to say to a woman in maternity wear 3 months after giving birth? Was that rude? Not when my grandmother says it!

And now I’ll tell you why! When we communicate there is a second level of communications that rests behind the words that we say. That level of communications is as important or more than the words that we have spewed out into the world.

In this case there was consideration and respect behind the words ” don’t wear that, it makes you look poor.”

There is also another layer to the communication that was there, and it was the following: You are a pretty, intelligent and driven woman who deserves to look beautiful and successful stop wearing stuff that makes you look like a balloon! And there was truth behind that as well. My wife looked at her and she said…”your right!” And her wardrobe changed almost over night.

When we are a request for the best from our environnement and we look towards our surrounding to lift itself up and generate themselves as the best that they can be for themselves, sometimes it takes words that shake us up. Words that aren’t the nice ones. Words that make us stop and think. And all things can be delivered with tact and politesse even if the words would otherwise be seen as offensive.

I also wrote an obituary recently that generated some controversy when someone read it because of the choice of words. And I had to stand my ground on the content of that text until the other person came back to me and said…”you know what? [I love this…]You were right.”

You can get away with almost anything if you deliver your communications with the appropriate levels of concern, consideration and appreciation for the perspective of the others involved in receiving the communications that you have to deliver!

Commit yourselves, make sure you have something to say…and SAY IT!

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