Thursday, September 29, 2016

Coles Self Service: Why do you do this to me?

Coles you gave it to me and why would you take it away? In the mornings I don't talk to anybody. You gave me the perfect system and now you are taking it away from me.

A Service Enhancement
Self service checkouts were a boon to those of us who just don't like to make small talk. I can press buttons on a machine, I can scan and if I need to talk to somebody then I can. I know the most obvious thing about shared services is service efficiency, but it is far from the only thing.

What - you've shut the lanes?
In the morning where I am slow to start that would seem all the more important. My kids call me the cringemaster because sometimes when I am with them they cringe at how I express myself.
So when the supermarket staff asked me if I needed help when they saw me taking this photo I said "no I'm just annoyed that I can't use the lane"

An unfortunate series of interactions
"But there's a lane you can use over the other side" - she protested

"No, I just don't like people"

She reeled like she was talking to a serial killer, and the cringemaster was in da house.

I'm sorry, friendly checkout guy
The poor (lovely) guy who ended up swiping my groceries and trying to "connect":

"Let's not talk"

Consistency is a measure of quality
Coles, you could have avoided all this discomfort by simply running the service you cleverly introduced A few years ago. A measure of quality is consistency of service. If one day I have self service then the next I don't then it's a quality fail.

Last words to Coles from a grumpy old man
I actually don't dislike people. I just like to have the freedom to choose the times I wish to interact.

Coles, please don't deny me that.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saying no - the key to perceived reliability

Not to put too fine a point on it but a two step process to being considered reliable is:

1/ Say what you're gonna do and
2/ Do what you say you're gonna do

So the old salesman's trick of "under-promise and over deliver" still holds true. I think these days it's also known as "managing expectations".

Moral of the story is to resist being coerced into making promises that will be hard to keep. You're only delaying the pain and setting the scene for a bad reputation.

I - too - should learn to say "no" more often.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kids' resilience: The bubblewrap experiment has failed

It saddens me when people only listen to the latest new agey thing. But at least the latest new agey thing is useful this time.

Hopefully we can call bubblewrap experiment closed and the results in. It's perhaps too strong to declare a generation of dud kids as a few of my colleagues have. But for sure we have a generation that is learning the importance of resilience a lot later than they could have.

In our loving quest to protect our children from anything that might harm them I feel we have done them a great disservice. There is a place for htfu and I suppose it might as well start in the home.

The greatest gift a parent can give their child is to suspend their own anxiety and allow their child the chance to make mistakes. My mum called it benign neglect.

Some kids take to it better than others. One might just hate you more than the devil and that might just be a cross you have to bear.

So for all those parents who avidly supported the self esteem movement over the last 20 years you have a new new agey next best thing. It's called the resilience movement. And never mind, we did the best we could with the 20 year old kid.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cucumber wrap: Quietly spoken clever manager

I'm always reminded of Bob Holtzer when I see a wrapped cucumber.

In the 90 ninety's I was selling plastic and I took Bob Holzer our director Asia-Pacific out to a vegetable packing plant.

We didn't sell cucumber wrap but Bob was trying to work out whether we wanted to. It was a low end product and I was saying that this customer was buying it for very low prices.

Bob asked me "how low?" and then I think I said $4 per kilo.  Bob said "no it wouldn't be as low as $4 a kilo".

He could've said "you're crazy, the resin price is $4.50 - these guys wouldn't be buying finished rollstock at $4!"

But Bob allowed me my dignity. And as the years go on I realise he taught me something about manufacturing, and something about managing people - on that day.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Respect: Three good rules for life

If we're looking for simple rules to live I heard a simple approach that makes great sense some time ago. As you go through life you should have respect for three things:

Respect yourself
Respect others
Respect property

Sounds very sensible. I suppose it's in the actual doing where it gets hard.