You Don’t Deserve to Be In Business If…

Some observations from recent interactions with clients, suppliers, colleagues and events at large:

  • If you have established a relationship with a supplier or potential supplier and then are rude enough to never answer their calls, then I don’t care how you busy you are: you deserve to die the slow agonizing business death that will come your way. People won’t want to return your calls when you can’t manage your communications and respect them enough to at least send through a quick response.
  • If you’re constantly overwhelmed, then you need to hire extra help or change the way you operate. A week is understandable. 6 months is not.
  • If you’re afraid of responding to people, then you need to reconsider your line of work. Take up crochet.
  • If you think you’re so above it that you don’t need to consider others as worthy of respect and courtesy, then it’s just because you spend too much time alone or with obsequious sycophants. (See my video post here.)
  • The best leaders and business people are very prompt and courteous in their dealings with others.
  • Microsoft offers splendid service via their Chinese call centres. Even if it’s for a slight technical issue, they call Australia within 20 minutes of email enquiries. They should be trumpeting that service from the rooftops – it will make a huge difference to market perceptions and beats the likes of Australian service centres and most Australian companies by a country mile.
  • Tony Abbott needs some help learning how to speak in public. Apparently in private he’s engaging, fluent, intelligent, articulate. Very little of that comes across in his public speaking. He also needs to seek some advice from his own ministers (really, knighting a prince?).
  • Apple has wiped the floor with the rest of the competition in the last quarter. It’s about time the others learned that locking fans into an ecosystem is about offering something attractive and seamless, not something bloated and jerky.
  • The hosts of Australian reality TV shows – like I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here – should hang their heads in shame for contributing to the most vapid, egotistical and sordid degradation of our culture since the advent of bordellos.
  • Airlines should use this period of low fuel prices to totally revamp how they conduct business, so that when prices rise again they’ll be able to make a profit and not have their planes falling out of the sky.
  • If you don’t identify, use, develop and keep talented people then you need help – it’s a core discipline, strategy and necessity for any leader of merit.
  • If you don’t realise that talented people can also be secured while not being salaried employees of your company, then you’re blind to the endless possibilities our world presents.
  • ISIS knows how to recruit people to their cause. They need to be stopped by others attracting those people in different ways before they become involved.
  • Government will never become more productive until it learns not how to cut costs, but how to invest in significant change and development. And it will never do that as long as it maintains its system of Job Levels, Selection & Job Criteria tied to those levels and systemic protection of organisational structures. So, don’t hold your breath!

© 2015 Peter J. McLean

Is Your Phone That Smart?

I’ve sent my smartphone in for repair. It turns out it wasn’t so smart when it came down to running the battery. It kept telling me the battery was disconnected. So now I am saddled with a little loan phone for a week or more and, I must say, it’s a real pain not having access to my regular phone.

Smartphone Evolution

Smartphone Evolution (Photo credit: Phil Roeder)

Aside from the fact that I don’t really want to spend a week learning how to properly use the loan phone, and the fact that it has nowhere near the functionality of the other, I don’t have email handy, texts are more difficult to access and track, my calendar is not on the phone, I don’t have my contact list, etc. etc. etc. Even though I could carry a diary around with me (and sometimes this is better for planning, anyway), carrying around a book with hundreds of contacts would be awkward. It would also be awkward carrying a laptop to all of my meetings, simply to check a fact quickly on the internet, or search for a location, or book an appointment, or easily look up a company or client’s details.The smartphone has become such a ubiquitous tool in our business and personal lives. And I mean ubiquitous. In Pakistan, there has been an explosion of mobile phones in the last couple of years. You’re more likely to find someone with a mobile phone in Pakistan than you are to find scheme water, household electricity or sewerage treatment.There are so many features on smartphones that are useful. Of course, there are so many that waste our time and can decrease our effectiveness. The fact that people access so much information so readily means that their memory capacity actually diminishes over time (it’s been demonstrated in Japan), we can fool ourselves into thinking that we can multitask (MIT and Stanford have conducted some great experiments including using fMRis to demonstrate that we can’t), we think things are quicker on the phone than on paper or in our head (my 7 year old will easily recall facts while adults around them are scrolling through their iPad trying to find a reference), we think we’re planning well with technology when using paper would be vastly more efficient, more and more people avoid face to face communication when a meeting with people who can actually talk would be far more productive, and the list goes on …

I don’t have nomophobia (an irrational fear of having no mobile phone). And really, we should not become reliant on them.

But, I am really annoyed at not having my phone. I want it back.

Go With the Flow – Goofy Driving

Driving through Perth’s city tunnel this morning, I was once again reminded how bad Perth drivers are on freeways and highways. Therefore, in the public interest I am posting this link to a youtube video of a 1950s Goofy instructional video on how to drive on the US highway system.

Every Perth driver should watch and learn from Goofy. In fact, a giant videoscreen should be erected on the so-called ‘tiara’ of our new BHP tower so that the entire city can see it repeated again and again and perhaps finally learn the lessons: merging means going with the traffic flow, properly indicating or using lights, not stopping, not slowing down as you enter a freeway, not speeding up so that you can keep your spot, or otherwise driving like an idiot.

Things get going at around 1:50 minutes. You can also see the related videos, with various types of drivers at the following, including a further 3 categories of problem drivers:

‘Stupidicus Maximus’ doesn’t recognise that his actions affect others and that he is actually disrupting the flow of traffic. Put a cell phone in his hand and you have the 21st Century driver all over.

There are many parallels that one may apply to work and leadership: people not working into the flow, not preparing or ‘packing’ properly for the trip, lack of attentiveness, overtiredness, etc. etc. etc.

I saw the first video when I was a little kid (no, it was not the original broadcast date!) and remembered it clearly when I started driving – I’ve remembered it around the world, in fact. Goofy – and Disney – were on a winner with these sardonic instructional videos.

Watch. Learn! Comment!