The Monday Morning Quote #88

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.

Ayn Rand

The World Cup Approaches…..

…..and there’s sod all I can do to avoid it.

From the ever excellent Word “massive”.

Media template

  1. Set hysterically high expectations;
  2. Destroy confidence of main players with revelations about their private lives;
  3. Blame team for failing to meet the unreasonable expectations with an opening 1-1 draw;
  4. Blame ref, ball, or cheating opposition for first loss;
  5. Crucify individual player for tournament exit (missed penalty, red card, injury, lifestyle);
  6. Realise it’s all the foreign manager’s fault and get him sacked;
  7. Start hype again with Roy Hodgson in charge

Says it all, well done Ospreys.

Damning comment from the BDJ

Good, brief paper in the current BDJ by Jim Page, John Weld & Edwina Kidd on “Caries control in health service practice.”

Summary states:It is suggested that it makes sense for dentists providing care for individual patients to take account of caries risk (as assessed by presentation of active, non-cavitated lesions) when deciding how to allocate time and effort of themselves and their staff. However, there is a question as to how realistic it is to ask the dental team to provide a full diagnostic assessment and all the preventive treatment required for a patient for the payment provided by 1 UDA. It is to be hoped that one or more of the Steele pilots will come up with a practical solution for controlling caries in NHS practice.

One sentence towards the end sums up what most of the profession know about NHS dentistry in England & Wales: “It means that the whole UDA system is founded on something that is unattainable and therefore, we consider, unethical.

These are three eminent dentists with between them decades of clinical practice and research. Where does that leave the main promoter of the current system, the Chief Dental Officer Barry Cockcroft whose career seems to have specialised in committee work and dental politics?

The new minister responsible for dentistry is Earl Howe it is known is against the fluoridation of the water supply.

Barry, on the other hand, said that fluoridation: “is the perfect public health measure because people with the greatest need benefit most and most people benefit to some degree”.

The Chief Medical Officer has gone already surely it’s time for Barry to consider his position, he’s got his gong, his pension is safe, unlike the committed NHS practice owners who have seen their businesses effectively stolen by HMG since 2006 under Barry’s watch.

Hugh MacLeod’s Great Ideas – 1) Ignore Everbody

I think that there is very little new under the sun so I try to acknowledge my sources whenever I can.

Hugh MacLeod’s work is wonderfully original and his daily cartoons are consistently excellent; however, if anything, they tend to distract from how good his ideas are.

He has just started a series entitled “Great Ideas” which was the title of his book released last year. Here’s the first chapter.

Do subscribe at his website here and find out what you have been missing.

Great Ideas – Chapter One – IGNORE EVERYBODY

1. Ignore Everybody.

The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you. When I first started with the cartoon-on-back-of-bizcard format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasn’t I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest i.e. cutey-pie greeting cards or whatever?

You don’t know if your idea is any good the moment it’s created. Neither does anyone else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And trusting your feelings is not as easy as the optimists say it is. There’s a reason why feelings scare us.

And asking close friends never works quite as well as you hope, either. It’s not that they deliberately want to be unhelpful. It’s just they don’t know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.

Plus a big idea will change you. Your friends may love you, but they don’t want you to change. If you change, then their dynamic with you also changes. They like things the way they are, that’s how they love you- the way you are, not the way you may become.

Ergo, they have no incentive to see you change. And they will be resistant to anything that catalyzes it. That’s human nature. And you would do the same, if the shoe was on the other foot.

With business colleagues it’s even worse. They’re used to dealing with you in a certain way. They’re used to having a certain level of control over the relationship. And they want whatever makes them more prosperous. Sure, they might prefer it if you prosper as well, but that’s not their top priority.

If your idea is so good that it changes your dynamic enough to where you need them less, or God forbid, THE MARKET needs them less, then they’re going to resist your idea every chance they can.

Again, that’s human nature.

GOOD IDEAS ALTER THE POWER BALANCE IN RELATIONSHIPS, THAT IS WHY GOOD IDEAS ARE ALWAYS INITIALLY RESISTED.

Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

Five Tips for Dealing with Angry Customers – start with me please

Very briefly, three weeks ago at the annual check up for gas boiler etc our gas fire was declared “unsafe”. It had given 18 years of excellent service in two homes so didn’t own us anything. We found an updated version of the same fire online from http://www.discountedheating.co.uk, it was duly ordered and an email confirming our order made it quite clear that someone had to stay in for its delivery on Tuesday 25th May between 8am & 4pm.

You know where this is going I’m sure….4pm arrived and no fire; so I rang the “help desk” who took my details & rang me back to explain that there had been a “mix up” and the fire was going to be delivered tomorrow.

I wasn’t cross because I had plenty of desk stuff to do today catching up from the BDA conference.

I wasn’t cross because I was going to have to move some appointments around tomorrow to cope with the new delivery time (which after some pressure was reduced from “sometime” to a 2 hour window).

I wasn’t cross because their systems are obviously crap but

I was incandescent that after several minutes of discussion and listening to the blame being passed to the couriers (who of course couldn’t defend themselves) I had to point out to the “help desk” that nobody had said “sorry”. Whenever anything goes wrong start with “I’m sorry to hear that, I understand how you must feel, how can I help.”

That’s http://www.discountedheating.co.uk then…perhaps someone from the company will read this blog from BNET

In a post on TheNextWeb, internet entrepreneur Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten says that businesses should go the extra mile to embrace their customers — even if they seem to spend most of their time driving you crazy.

You might have some animosity towards customers from time to time, but it’s worth remembering that you’re often a customer yourself.
Here are some of van Zanten’s observations:

1) Appease the angry customer

Accepted wisdom, notes van Zanten, isL “You shouldn’t feed the trolls. I say: feed them, nurture them, love them and they will turn into your biggest fans”. You might be reading an angry email, but that’s probably been written in a feverish state — it’s more likely you’re dealing with a reasonable person having a bad moment than an uncouth maniac.

Try stepping back from the situation and responding to these people in a calm manner. If you can solve the problem that has so incensed them, they might just end up as one of your most loyal customers.

2) Go the extra mile

Sometimes it’s worth devoting a little extra time to helping customers sort out problems that are outside of your remit. That doesn’t mean you should mow their lawn if they’re phoning up to complain about their broadband, but it wouldn’t hurt to offer advice around the enquiry — maybe optimising their network and pointing out any potential errors with their computer.

Use your knowledge and experience to offer additional help to customers and you may save yourself an angry call later.

3) Put people on the phone

Few things are more aggravating than being held up by an automated queue system for 20 minutes before you get to speak to a person. These might be ‘professional’ call centres, but van Zanten highlights eBay’s personal support policy as worth emulating.

“Every person who works at eBay has to answer the helpdesk phone lines at least one day a month. Even the CEO does it. Can you imagine calling eBay and getting personal help from their CEO? I’ll bet you that you will tell all your friends about it.”

4) Don’t let the minority rule

It’s important not to make broad assumptions about customers based on the opinions of the most vocal. Just because one or two customers express an opinion you think is stupid, it doesn’t mean the rest of your customers don’t understand your service or product.

Even more important, don’t take out your frustrations towards a couple of ’squeaky wheels’ on the innocent majority.

5) Your caller may be a journalist undercover

Ok, it’s unlikely, but it’s a useful way of remembering to keep your cool. You never know where your comments are going to end up, whether they’re relayed to hundreds of potential customers or plastered over a testimonials website.

This is van Zanten’s take: “Always imagine your emails ending up at the front page of the local newspaper… You are not just answering their questions but you are addressing the world. Would you tell the world to piss off? Then don’t say it to any of your customers either, no matter how angry and unfair they treat you.”

Irate customers have the potential to cause great offence, but it’s always worth keeping your cool and treating them with respect.
It’s easier said than done, but it has the potential to do great things for the reputation of your business.
Have you ever lost your temper with a customer? Or been on the receiving end of an enraged customer service rep?

The Monday Morning Quote #87

“A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.“

Unknown but linked to this post.

Day 29 – the Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Done – Roz Savage

If you’re a regular here you’ll know that I have been following Roz’s exploits for some while now. At present she’s a month or more into the third leg of her row across the Pacific. This blog post made me stop and think, particularly the paragraph …it made me ponder that in the context of expeditions nature rarely kills, it is much more likely to be human error…

Here’s the link

and here’s the full post,

Day 29 – the Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Done
Published: May 17, 2010
Posted in: Pacific Row, Stage 3
Tags:
Dictated by Roz at 19.48 local time on May 17th and transcribed by her mother Rita Savage.

Position: -06.57845  154 30750

I don’t suppose I can put it off any longer. It is confession time, and please before you are tempted to wag your finger at me, bear in mind that I didn’t have to tell you this. I could have kept it quiet, and you would have been none the wiser. So please resist the urge to tell me what I already know, that I shouldn’t have done it.

Some of you have already guessed it, more or less. It made me laugh out loud that someone wondered if I had accidentally stepped on Alf. That would have been very funny, but not to Alf.

No, it was the other thing. I nearly got separated from my boat.

It was a couple of days ago and I had improvised a sun awning involving a boat hook as a prop. Normally everything on deck is attached with lanyards but not on this occasion. Suddenly the boathook slipped from its mounting and dropped overboard. My first instinct was to go after it, just as I had gone after the electric kettle.

By the time I had removed sunhat, rowing gloves, ipod earplugs and sunglasses, the boathook was starting to look a bit distant but I couldn’t bear to leave it littering the ocean so in I went. Even as I was swimming towards the boathook I remember looking back at the boat and feeling uncomfortable about the distance growing between me and it.

I got to the boathook and started making my way back towards the boat, but swimming with a boathook in hand is not appreciably easier than swimming with the kettle. I didn’t seem to be making any headway at all. After a few minutes I realised I couldn’t possibly make it if I held onto the boat hook. It made me think of the monkey trap were the monkey puts his hand inside the jar to grab the food, his fist then too big to pull it back out of the jar. While he refuses to let go of the food, he is trapped. If I refused to let go of the boathook, I was doomed.

So, reluctantly I abandoned it. But even without it I struggled to narrow the distance between me and my fast-drifting boat. I am not a speedy swimmer, I can stay afloat for ages but sprinting is not my style. But now I needed to sprint. My life depended on it.

I could feel myself starting to tire. My fingers already tired from rowing weren’t strong enough to pull through the water effectively. I felt like I was going nowhere. The boat didn’t seem to be getting any closer.

But what choice did I have? I struggled onwards feeling my heart pounding though from exertion or panic, I couldn’t tell. At last the boat began to get perceptively closer and it was with a huge sense of relief that my outstretched fingers finally grasped the black rope of the grabline. I had probably been in the water no more than fifteen minutes but it had been the longest fifteen minutes of my life, and almost the last fifteen minutes of it.

As I collapsed onto the deck I felt really stupid. Of all the things I said I would never do, this was the most obvious. DON’T LEAVE THE BOAT! And to be sure, I never will again. If I have been in danger of being complacent or blasé, this was the wake-up call that I needed.

It made me ponder that in the context of expeditions nature rarely kills, it is much more likely to be human error, a poor choice of equipment, underestimating the conditions, or an error of judgment. Gott, Franklin, Mallory were all in very hostile environments but environments in which others have survived. It only takes one pivotal mistake to make the difference between life and death.

There is a quote: “A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.“ And I have to agree. I scared myself silly but the lesson has been well learned. From now on, no matter what goes overboard, I don’t.

Other Stuff: Rowing? I don’t want to talk about it. Today the wind rose from the south west to the extent that I have had to put out the sea anchor. I wouldn’t say that it is helping much, but there was no better alternative. For the last few hours a persistent thunder storm has been rolling around the skies and I have long since ceased to be impressed by the pyrotechnics and tonight finds me confined to the cabin, damp, bored and distinctly grumpy.