Service Enacted or Service Distracted?

It was an evening in mid-week. My wife and I had waited until the last minute to buy a present for a wedding that would be celebrated out of state the coming weekend. We arrived at the shopping mall around 8 p.m. and made our way to the well-known department store where our soon-to-wed friends had registered their desired gift items.

After careful deliberation, we made our selection. While paying for it, we asked, “Do you have a customer service department where we can get this gift wrapped in wedding paper?”

A Weed Is Just a Plant

My father was the consummate green thumb. It seemed as if he could break a leaf off of any plant, stick in the ground, water it with his galvanized sprinkling can, say the magic words, “Well, that should do it,” and get a plant to grow. It was amazing how the plants would thrive under his watchful care.

The Next Best Decision

I would bet that the circumstances surrounding most significant organizational decisions are not known to those affected by them. And, in fact, if you asked many of those involved in the decision, they would probably give a wide range of diverging opinions on what happened and why, leaving the rest to ask, “Why did they decide to do that?”

Breakfast of Champions

I read an interesting article the other day in the business section of the newspaper. The article described the downsizing of the Kellogg corporation in Battle Creek, Michigan. Because sales were down, several hundred employees were losing their jobs—it seems that people just aren’t buying breakfast foods like they used to. Corporate research revealed that breakfast eaters feel that eating a bowl of cereal simply takes too long. The entertainment provided by Rice Krispies’ Snap, Crackle, and the Pop is apparently no longer effective. The alternative?

Tell Me “Now,” Grandpa

My granddaughter Kelsie just turned seven, and I thought it was time someone introduced her to the wonderful world of yo-yo-ing. Having spent a considerable portion of my youth mastering such techniques as “the sleeper” and “walking the dog,” I felt sure that Kelsie would enjoy it as much as I had as a child. So I searched out the proper Duncan Imperial and presented it to her on her birthday. Being an independent youngster, she immediately wanted to do it by herself. We put the loop of string over her finger, and her frustration began.

You Must Be Present to Win

Have you ever noticed how no matter where we are or who we’re with, we’re always worrying about what other thing we should be doing someplace else? For some reason, we find it very difficult to really be with somebody. Having your body show up is the easy part. But to really be with someone, whether in a time of great joy or sadness or even during a time that might be described as routine (breakfast or dinner) is quite another matter.

Principles of Partnership

It seems that, lately, I see more books on the business racks emphasizing cooperation and fewer stressing competition. Today, corporate leaders are talking about alliances and strategic partnerships. Manufacturers are partnering with distributors, wholesalers with retailers, competitors with competitors, even for-profits with nonprofits. Everyone is partnering with everyone else. But what are the responsibilities of being a partner—within an organization or between organizations?

The Answer to Wgasa

It seems to be a reality of the workplace that the higher you go in the organization, the better the organization looks. Things have a tendency to look better from above. “Things” can be anything from employee morale and bathroom cleanliness to the content of employee input or suggestions.