Honoring the life of “Martin Luther King Jr”

I shudder to think of how the world would look and how we would all interact with one another if it were not for the life, struggle, and death of Martin Luther King Jr.  He consistently sacrificially put his life in the way of danger during a time when it was more overtly okay to hate because of the color of one’s skin.

“In 1983 President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) signed a bill creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of King. Observed on the third Monday of January, it was first celebrated in 1986” (History.com Staff, 2009).

Please join me in celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr

 

Double booking hair appointments; a look through the eyes of an “Organization Development” consultant.

Have you ever scheduled an appointment to get your hair done, meaning scheduling an appointment for a set time, with a particular stylist, only to arrive and have to wait over an hour for someone to begin working on your hair?  What also comes with that territory is you anticipating one stylist (because she is the best), only to find that she has passed you off like a red-headed stepchild to a lesser stylist?

For some reason, these type of stylists thinks it’s okay to completely trample on people’s time.  That for me is a major sign of disrespect.

Add to that (at least for me) when you show up with the expectations of seeing one particular/assigned stylist only to be told that someone else who I have absolutely no rapport with, will be styling my hair, annoys me to no end. It is one thing if the stylist I am reassigned to is just as good as the main stylist, but generally they are not.  In fact, the original stylist may have even passed me over to the lessor stylist hoping for that person to gain more experience, money, and clientele they would not have earned on their own.

Stylists: please consider since you are the one that generally schedules your own appointments, do not over book your clients!!!!

As you know some styling jobs take longer than you usually anticipate (since everyone’s hair is different), so please do not overlap your appointments.  This makes customers angry as they have to wait longer than expected for their turn and disrupts whatever they have planned for their day.

Look at this from a business perspective, your customer is getting their hair done at a certain date and time because they have plans and they would like to look nice for them.  Meaning you provide a service for the customer to walk in during their scheduled time and come out looking better than before so that they can achieve a specific goal. Whether that goal is dinner with their significant other or getting themselves together for a job interview this is a service they expect you to be professional enough to provide in a timely and efficient manner.

  • The customer did not expect to walk into your salon, with expectations only to be turned away or have to reschedule the appointment because they did not schedule extra hours to simply wait their turn. It is simply rude, disrespectful, and poor customer service, besides that is what appointments are for!
  • If as the stylist/business owner cannot stick to the appointment made but need to pass me off to someone else because of other reasons state that beforehand when I make the appointment, most businesses have this, it is called a disclaimer.

Whether the issue might be you are just that fantastic as a stylist and you are in high demand, or one of your employees is on vacation please, tell me when I call to book the appointment that you will have someone else style my hair.  Then, and this is major, “ASK” if that is okay!

In the event that I agree, schedule the appointment with this new person as with any organization to seal the deal with the customer make sure you have all the resources on hand before making false promises that will deter the customer from doing business with you in the future.

This means, make sure that stylist is there at the time that I am scheduled to be there. In other words, the customer should not be sitting in the stylist chair, awaiting the stylist to arrive.  In this instance, the stylist that the customer was passed off to should know the time of the appointment beforehand and be prepared to work on the customer’s hair at the “SCHEDULED” time when the customer arrives.

  • That does not mean walking in 30 minutes to an hour after the customer has arrived for the appointment.
  • Nor should the customer spend another 20 minutes waiting for you to set up (all without a single wash of your hands, before you insert them into my hair).

And trust me when I say, any customer (done wrong) will find another way around this in the future if the organization does not change its practice and operating procedures.  The customer will definitely not continue to patronize a business that does not respect their time or them as a person.  This is just horrible customer service and no matter how many times you apologize or say “sorry”, it does not change the fact that you as the face of the business or organization have disrespected them, by this example of poor customer service skills.  If you have not done so already, please take a business class to ensure that you know how to not only capture new clientele but how to keep them.

And if you just can’t seem to manage your business and clientele, should you consider an Organization Development consultant to come in and analyze your business and communicate the error of your ways?  You can do that, but my advice is free.  Stop the double booking!

Have you encountered this?  What was your solution?

Divorcing Business Relationships -The Imperfect Org

A business owner may have a skill, expertise, or trade in a particular area that you admire so much so that you embark upon utilizing those services.  The goal for you the customer is to help elevate and enhance ‘you’ to where you would like to be by using a particular service.

Take a look at a restaurant’s, clothing stores, dentist offices, or hair salons.  Things are moving along as you desired, the services are always up to par, until suddenly they are not.

The food no longer taste as fresh and flavorful; the clothing store begins to sell cheaper material with loose threads hanging (hoping you do not notice); you find yourself with more teeth pain than you did when you entered the dentist; and the stylist, taking you for granted, while also disrespecting your time, makes you wait longer, ultimately resulting in you leaving without the smart look you were hoping to find when you entered the salon.

tornmoneyimages (1)Do you look past these business owner’s faulty ways and continue receiving this most valued service? Do you value your money and yourself more out of the relationship and part ways? Or do you stick around hoping that they relocate any mojo they seem to lose and become that owner whose expertise you honor once again

It is a fact of life.  People, more specifically, humans, fail.  They are not perfect robotic creatures that can duplicate their desired results whenever they see fit.  Well, maybe we should admit, we would hope this would be our experience.  However, more often than not, it is not our experience.  So do we divorce ourselves in this less than perfect relationship or do we give them another try?

As cut and dry as we would like this answer to be, it is not always that simple.  Sometimes business owners, like ourselves, who are also human, have bad days.  Maybe that worker that you trusted to come in for their shift, called off again.  Perhaps the shipment that was scheduled to come in, was delayed.  Or maybe if you are a stylist, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and could not get it together no matter how hard you tried that day.

However because the consumer pays for a service, the consumer is not as forgiving if or when these unplanned ‘business killing’ situations arise.

ColinPowellquote (1)

So perhaps, business owners should consider a ‘forgiveness’ policy.  The first time they get it wrong, you get the service, without paying a cent, for free.  That means that if I have to wait for a significant amount of time inside of the restaurant (not a drive through a line where production is driven by how fast they keep cars moving along), for my food, the entire dinner (no matter how large the order) is free.

This is not something that can be used as a ploy by those “professional” complainers.  You know the ones that place an extremely difficult order (that is begging for mistakes), and then when the restaurant does not follow every 50 steps to completing the meal to perfection, the professional complainer gets the dinner for free.

What about those who go out with a kind attitude expecting a good clean service, only to find the dirty silverware, overcooked food, and a bad server. Those meals, (the entire receipt) should be free. Perhaps the restaurant will learn about their costly mistakes, and begin to make them less.

For clothing stores, if an item is returned due to bad quality, offer the customer a certificate for like $10 – 20 off their next purchase.

And in the example of a stylist, if they do not begin working on the clients hair and finish upon the agreed upon time, a deduction for every minute past the desired time should begin to be deducted from the cost of the service.

Of course, there is always the Better Business Bureau to help drive down the rating of the organization, like the dentist if they just can’t seem to get it right.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS2.png

The antics may seem drastic to some business owners who shoot to be in the ‘black’ and not lose money, but customers like to know they matter, not your bottom line.   If you want to stay in business for years to come, make sure your customers feel appreciated.  After all, the business would not be in operation if it weren’t for the customer.

And if you are seeking to know and understand how your customers feel.  Have surveys and focused groups for them.  Knowing that it’s not always easy to get customers out to participate, offer an opportunity for those who show up to shop at the store while it’s closed from the rest of the public while receiving some sort of discount off to help sweeten the deal. Yes, it will cost the business owner, but think of how much more they will receive as a result of it from new customers if they get it right.

Getting the current customers feedback is a great way to implement further “what is going right”, and to stop doing, “what is going wrong”.  Appreciative inquiry, “the art of showing appreciation for your customers” by letting them know, like a partner in a relationship, that yes, you do love and appreciate them.  So let’s get to it!  Anything plausible to repair a broken or damaged relationship and keep the client is the ideal.

How many times have you frequented a place of business only to later distance yourself?

The Ernest Hemingway museum from an O/D Perspective

Recently I visited the Ernest Hemingway museum in Oak Park, IL and although it was pretty okay as far as museums go, as a student of Organization Development (OD) immediately I saw areas of improvement. Not only from a customer standpoint that would make the museums more fun and exciting but also from an OD standpoint in where there were points which could maximize profitability.

  • The Hemingway museum could be more interactive with its exhibits instead of a documentary on Hemingway playing on loop; maybe interactive touchscreens that you guess the works of Hemingway or other fun facts.
  • The Hemingway museum is poorly laid out with a movie viewing set-up (for the documentary) in the back area with tons of hard wooden chairs instead of being upstairs in the auditorium

Not enough was done to the exterior of the museum, the sterile gray look is not inviting and uninspiring. If it was not for the main hanging banner in front I would have no idea this was the Hemingway museum. Not to mention, it is the exact opposite representation of Hemingway and his love for the outdoors and nature.

Outside of hemingway museumNot much was done with the entrance or inner area as you enter the museum. Perhaps better seating for the hostess and more of a presence than the sterile old looking desk that it embodied. Outer/exterior displays of Hemingway facts and stories are needed.

The Hemingway museum needs more handouts regarding Hemingway, his works, and accomplishments.

Since Hemingway fell victim to mental illness (depression) why not partner up with local hospitals for literature regarding Hemingway’s symptoms and treatments that are available today? This can be in the form of pamphlets or maybe lectures by volunteers (therapists) who deal with the illness on a daily basis.

  • Increase the number of volunteers telling stories (facts) of various Hemingway periods and include some reenactments.
  • Have a movie viewing where the museum is playing a movie marathon (all day screenings with the purchase of general admission), of movies that deal with or focus on Hemingway and his work, instead of just having a display of his work in a corner.glass exhibit

Many of these ideas can be outsourced to local schools for extra credit (if recruiting students), or professionals in the area, (in exchange for promoting services). These individuals can also bring in their own materials which will reduce the cost of the Hemingway museum or Oak Park having to finance the materials for some of these ideas. From an Organization Development standpoint, I think putting just these few suggestions into action will help the museum increase visibility and profitability in no time at all.

“Good management” = “Good morale”?

One thing that employees, any employees hate (is hate too strong a word?) is a manager that knows less, cares less, and does less than the employees themselves. It does not matter if the employees are on the same team, in the same location or even if the manager is a “nice” person!  Employees hate bad bosses! It does not matter how well their boss operates or manages their team (scheduling PTO, passing out production, scheduling monthly meetings), there is an empathy for those employees under the “boot” of the man.

When a manager cares about their employees it shows in the employees’ productivity, as the majority of employees are nowadays just happy to have a job. This effort from management gives the individual employee a sense that they matter and that they may have a job tomorrow!

If the manager exhibits fantastic time management skills and properly matches the employee with skill-to-task assignments, the employees are ecstatic. How many times have you seen or been assigned a task that you had no clue how to do and then were chastised for it?  How many times have you been assigned a project by management that your own direct manager could not complete?

When a manager shows a basic knowledge of the amount of time required to complete a certain task and give their employees that leeway to complete it, they are happier than kids getting candy on Halloween. Add to that if the manager knows the strengths and weaknesses of their individual employees and assigns them duties they can complete in a timely manner.

Rather than having them “go at it” or “figure it out” working as a team and being a resource to your employees makes for happier more productive employees with better morale.

If the employees are constantly working and pressing their noses to the grindstone, while their manager goes on their fifth coffee break with their peers or are playing games online, while the rest of the staff is trying to meet daily goals/numbers, the morale suffers.

Instead of worrying about the numbers those employees are worried more with finding a new job than dealing with a lazy manager. And let’s not get started if the team is the reason why that lazy manager is getting promotions and/or praise from upper management because of the staff’s hard work! You can kiss that good morale goodbye!

I have seen many management’s styles and they all lead to high turnover rates, inconsistent productivity, and low morale for an organization.

I know that I am not alone here in what I have witnessed with managers.  What’s your thoughts?

Renter’s Nightmare – The Imperfect Org

I seriously do not know what’s harder, trying to deal with the idiot homeowners and their pretentious ways in Oak Park, or trying to decipher from “Zillow” and “Trulia” listings, which property owner is being the most truthful in their ads.

It’s stressful enough when you have to move.  There is all the anxiety of packing up things, giving things away, gathering boxes and packing paper, etc.  There is also the issue of making sure your credit score is up to par, your job and pay stubs are on point, the location is good (like close to public transportation in case your car breaks down). Then there is the debate over if you should use movers or a group of people that you hope are dependable.

But now added to that stress is reading through rental ads and trying to determine from the pictures if:

  1.  the place is suited for you,
  2.  if the place will align to your move in date,
  3. the cost associated with moving into the place,
  4. if there is adequate storage,
  5. can you barbeque, and throw small parties,
  6. if you can bring your pets (well, not a pet lover here, but I understand that many people are), etc.  So, to have to determine if someone is being truthful in their ad is the last thing that you have on your mind when searching for that perfect place.

But my fellow renters, do not despair, because of my many rental situations (that never includes me not paying my rent on time or being a good tenant), I have had the opportunity to see what it is like to not only deal with people who wear masks on a daily basis (by saying one thing and doing another), now that same behavior has spilled over into the rental market.

I guess I should not be surprised, considering that people lie and distort the truth daily, but come on, do we have to use marketing ploys and lie in rental ads just to get potential renters?

I mean do you not think it’s a waste of time to schedule an appointment with a potential renter when you know you have only given half the truth in your listing?

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/tips-for-landlords-how-to-adhere-to-truth-in-adver.html

For example, I saw this perfectly cute apartment in Forest Park, (God I want nothing more than to escape the residents of Oak Park) and I grew very excited. Crunched the numbers, checked the move in date, the deposit (not worried about the money or credit score). Basically worked it all out in how I could move into this place. However what did not sit right with me was the fact that the square footage was not in the ad. Well, sure enough after rushing to meet the owner (yes the owner who was renting the place), I discovered the place was not more than 550 feet! Tell me, why the hell was that information not disclosed in the ad? Me being inexperienced in all of this noticed it was not listed, but did not think it was a case in which I had to inquire.  That’s what I get for “ASS”uming!

My advice to you, if it’s not there, listed in the ad, “ask”! Don’t waste your time and the property owner’s time.  Especially since most times you are on your best behavior (probably dressed nicely too, like me), only to walk away disappointed.

My previous appointment turned out in disappointment as well.  Saw this great ad for an apartment on the 2nd floor.  The place was huge with all of the storage, bedroom space, in-house laundry units, parking, private backyard, everything! But, and this was a huge but for me, the owner failed to mention in the ad that he is living on the first floor and renting out the second floor.  So that means that in this nice two flat building, I would be living upstairs from my landlord? Not! That crap is like living with your parent, but worse! Why the heck would I want that? What if we get into a disagreement? What if he does not agree with my living arrangements, is he going to complain? What if our personalities don’t mesh, will he put me out?  Would it have been so wrong to simply mention in the ad, “Landlord living on the first floor, is renting out a second-floor apartment?”  At least give me the option to make a sound decision before I show up for the appointment to check out the place.  I mean damn, is that too much to ask for?  Back to that whole, treat others how you want to be treated.  You can trust and believe that if that was me, I would have disclosed that right away.  Why make a person wait and find out by surprise?  That is some sneaking s&@t, that’s why.  They are hoping that you show up and you are so impressed that you will begin the application process.  Or maybe they believe their own hype, and they don’t think this is anything to disclose, but I think that is all B.S.

apt4rent

Oh, I came across another Zillow ad listing a two flat.  It was for a second-floor apartment as well.  This time, I knew better than to assume the owner was not living on the first floor (since it was a two flat).  So before I even inquired about the apartment, I carefully conducted internet searches, and found out from pictures (taken only a few months ago) that the owner is living there (he did not say so in the ad, but the pictures of him sitting outside of the property spoke volumes).  As a result, I did not fall for the Okie-Doke. I kept it moving.

Maybe it’s just me, seeking perfection again in another situation.  I’m told that I am too analytical, but I cannot help but call B.S. when I see it.  Am I sweating the small stuff, or am I too analytical? What do you think?

Focusing through a Storm – The Imperfect Org

How do you condition your mind to stay focused in a situation when you no longer feel connected, nor can see the light of day?

It is very difficult to keep to a plan and tasks at hand when our intellect tells us, “this is a warning sign”, or “get out, there’s danger”! Being a free spirit, (that remarkable Sagittarius part that has kidnapped my soul) speaks to me loudly, and does not agree kindly to my attempts at remaining stable.

But I have come to realize in my years on this planet that sometimes it is not about jumping ship, but staying on that ship and guiding it to shore.  “Staying the course” as some would say…

I often ask myself, “What is the art to suffering” so one does not lose their soul, yet survives long enough in the game to achieve that dream?  Of course, bailing too early can result in starting all over again, just to barely regain the ground that was lost.  But for those who are successful at masking their feelings and emotions in order to gain control over a situation long enough to become victorious is ideal, and intelligent in concept, but even more difficult to achieve.

I guess that’s why people say “that which does not kill you will make you stronger”.  Well, I sure as hell hope so because I tire of jumping ship only to start over to learn that the new situation is just as crummy as the old.

Like that 80/20 rule that people refer to in relationships, that says that we break up with people because we do not like or agree with 20% of them, just to start over looking for a new relationship to learning that person may embody the 20% the ex-did not have, but lacks 20% in another area. In other words, there is no way around it, sometimes the only solution is to stick with it, and deal with the hand that has been dealt.

So how does one condition themselves or prepare to deal with the bull that life serves us? Do you tape up vision boards or inspirational quotes around your home? I have created vision boards and placed inspirational quotes around my desk, so I am not opposed to such solutions.

Do you bury your nose in a bible or memorize passages of scriptures that deals with tragedy and loss? I’ve done this as well.

Or do you speak aloud to yourself in troublesome situations telling yourself that “trouble don’t last always”? This sort of self-talk has kept me from sliding into depression.

All of the above has worked for me in the past, so I will not say they will not work to conditions one’s mind. But I cannot help but think that there may be even more viable and tangible solutions that I have failed to realize.

If you have found a golden ticket or found some magical solution, please share with the rest of us here in the comments section.  Some of us are hanging on by a thread, some of us are running around in circles, etc., we all could use a hint of guidance to get us through the storm.