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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Values in Business

Someone, who is yet to reveal himself for fear of violent retribution, borrowed my cell-phone the other week-permanently and without asking! As a result I had to replace my line. While waiting to hand in the appropriate forms at the office of my service provider I noticed that they had their vision and values posted up on the wall. Nice touch and an affectation of many Zimbabwean businesses. I wasn’t sure why we as clients needed to be reminded of their values, but their staff could sure use the prompting. As a consumer I am not interested in you telling me about your values, I want to see them manifested in the service I receive. Being treated like cattle does not qualify as good service. Little things make the difference-dress your doorman/security guard appropriately and then educate him on how to deal with the people he ushers into a queue at the front door. Or, here’s a good one, try your own service. Come on in and be served by people who probably won’t recognise you as the boss. One of the former Ministers of Health used to frequent government hospitals in Zimbabwe as a patient and then gave very harsh and result-changing feedback on his experience.

Smile occasionally, or do something to make your staff smile.

I tried something last week, I went and brought my staff a little gift each-it wasn’t too costly and took a little thought. The occasion-nothing, it was a random day and just an expression of appreciation and gratitude. The look on their faces and the buzz in the office the rest of the day as they realised that they were appreciated was well worth the investment. Regardless of where you are in the ‘office food chain’ anyone can do something special for those around them once in a while, be it superiors, subordinates or clients. Bake a cake, offer to fetch their kids, write (hand written) a note, buy a chocolate, etc. ‘Do good to all men…as is within your power to do so.’ The responsibility lies with each of us to raise the bar. Share any other ideas you may have or have experienced by commenting on this post.

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