Wednesday, 28 November 2012


I shudder to use the word "bully" to describe anything other than actual bullying, of which I have experienced very little in my life, either as victim or perpetrator.  I'm not saying I haven't, I'm saying it was nowhere near as widespread as it appears to be today.  As it appears to be today...

I have, however, witnessed a few prominent personalities on Twitter using their 140 characters to bully tweet.  In 140 characters or less, here's my definition:

#bullytweet: Influential social media "celeb" identifying business by Twitter handle to be overcompensated for real or perceived slights  A person who bully tweets is a #twit. 

You see, when you name the business there's a good chance their social media person will catch it, and rush to overcompensate to avoid public relations damage.  I once watched a weekly TV consumer show take a company to task because they had tweeted a problem, and a full 30 minutes later they had not been contacted.  Wow, they had to wait 30 minutes.  They could have asked for the manager on duty, had the conversation, solved the problem and been on their way home in less time.

  • Not long ago I followed a well-known twit as she had a meltdown and blamed her intern for deleting some very important files.  There is no doubt that her intern follows her on Twitter and must have been humiliated.  She went on to berate me with uncomplimentary nicknames for pointing it out.  #twit #bullytweet
  • Recently a renowned twit and keynote speaker decided to name his hotel in a 140 character complaint about the view from his room.  If memory serves, this same guy whined about his kid's cheeseburger at McDonald's, identifying the location and an employee.  #twit #bullytweet
  • A well followed travel expert tweeted about a problem in his hotel room, and fortunately the manager happened to follow this guy and had someone knocking on his door with a solution in less than 10 minutes.  Unfortunately there was no follow-up tweet of appreciation. #twit #bullytweet
It seems to me there was a time when one just picked up the phone and called the front desk when you had a problem. 

Back then, however, the whole world would never know how so very important you are, in 140 characters or less.

No #twits were named in this blog.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Leading with Love

We so often mistake the concept of love to refer only to romance, to sexual intimacy, to familial relationships.  Love can also refer to the bond between friends.  Love, we have heard, is a verb.  It is an action.  It is joyful work.

Leaders must (oh, this is uncomfortable...) love their direct reports.  They don't have to particularly like them, but they must love them.  And subordinates should endeavour to lvoe the boss, with all the same caveats.  And that love must never be expressed sexually or inappropriately.  Never.  If it looks like it's a possibility, someone has to quit.  Period.

Respect, integrity, empathy, discipline and a genuine concern.  I know a guy who prays for his worst performers, his biggest PITAs (pain-in-the-asses).  His theory?  You can't think the worst of someone and pray for them at the same time.

Love thy neighbour, we're told.  You know, the ones right outside your door.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ain't Nothing Free

I have a friend, a social media expert, who advises never to pay for anything on the internet you could otherwise get for free.  Good advice, and I have followed it.  Good advice, but not great advice.

As a result, I have free apps on my smartphone that do half the job, which is fine when it's only half a job I need.  And so, from time to time, my knowledge is incomplete (by half) but my wallet remains full. 

Trouble is, ain't nobody looking in my wallet.  They're just listening, reading, waiting for me and wondering why I don't always have the full picture.

Ain't nothing free.  There's a whole lot of something out there that doesn't cost money.  Instead it costs in service, in time, in frustration and in reputation.  It costs in lost privacy, in information bombardment (to quote the title of Nick Bontis' book) and in an erosion of expectation

"You get what you pay for," was yesterday's advice.  I'd suggest that's still good advice for today.  I'll still be downloading apps without paying out of pocket, but I am under no illusion that any of them are free.  And feel free to demand all sorts of "freebies" from the people with whom you do business, but make no mistake; ain't nothing free.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Nurturing Thunderbeast!: Customers and TLC

I drive a '96 Thunderbird with 230,000 kilometres on it, nicknamed "Thunderbeast!".  I recently began a new assignment that will take me from almost never driving to work, to putting about 50,000 km annually on Thunderbeast!  I hope to get two more years out of it.  Her.  "Thunderbeast!"  (raises right fist, punches the air)

There are two kinds of people who should ALWAYS drive a beater (old car):

  • A young man's first car should be a beater.  (Sorry, but I prefer that a young lady drive a safe and reliable vehicle at all times.)
  • A salesperson's personal vehicle, if circumstances allow.  Failing that, he should never forget the lessons learned as a young man in his first car.
When you drive a beater you develop important habits.
  • Always be attuned to the details.  One annoying squeal can turn into one huge repair if not dealt with promptly.  If you disregard a customer who's trying to get your attention for too long he will let you know in catastrophic, expensive ways.
  • Some things are nice-to-haves, some things are have-to-haves (the difference between a functioning radio and functioning ABS brakes.)  Review your relationship with your customer regularly.  Maybe the have-to-have's of yesterday are the nice-to-have's of today, and she'll appreciate you taking the initiative to suggest it.  Maybe she's missing some have-to-have's but doesn't know it.
  • Check the important things frequently, like oil and other fluid levels, tire air pressure, brake pads, tire wear, etc.  Do regular maintenance.  You wouldn't let your old car go more than 5000 km without an oil change, and yet we regularly let our best customers go months without a check-in to ensure they're being looked after properly.
  • Some things don't need to be fixed, they just need to be jimmied.  Like a door key that works only if you turn it only a certain way.  Sure, you could invest in a new mechanism or you could just adjust your style.  Friendships and relationships, personal and professional are a lot like that, and the new guy trying to win the business isn't going to know the inside stuff.  Our clients should know we're part of their inner circle by the way things happen intuitively, and it doesn't hurt to point that out.
    • Of course, you're not doing anybody any favours by ignoring the things that just need to be fixed.  Let's just be honest with each other, we'd both be better off if we address that nagging detail we're pretending not to notice, even though it drives us both crazy.  Good friends can speak plainly.
  • NEVER drive your old beater past a dealership lot full of new vehicles while you stare at them with lust in your heart.  A beater is like your long established customer - if they sense you're playing them, you will wish you had never even let the thought cross your mind, and rightly so. 
Come to think of it, this is all good advice for a marriage , and yes, I am the old Thunderbeast in the driveway of our 30 odd years together.  Insert your own metaphor here.