7 Communications Steps to Making Your Organizational Change a SUCCESS!

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Communications is the key to the success of any organizational transformation or change.

Time For Change

This week I was interviewed as a communications expert to be part of a university’s upcoming interactive textbook on business.

Students will read a variety of case studies, answer a quiz about how they would theoretically handle the described situations and then watch a video from an expert who gives their take on what the realities are.

I’ll keep you posted when the book comes out . Until then, here’s a sneak peek on how I explained the importance of a putting an input-gathering communications and messaging plan in place before any organizational change is announced or implemented.

Change communication is a whole area of study in of itself.  If you don’t have time for that, here are some quick and important considerations to bear in mind!

1. The communications plan is the foundation of any change.

If the foundation isn’t laid properly, the whole change campaign will collapse.  This results in extra, unplanned and not-budgeted time and resources that will have to be dumped into the change project – to try to rebuild the foundation.  The change outcomes will likely never be as strong as they could have if the plan had been executied right the first time.

And yet, communications strategies are too often overlooked. Executives may think successful change rests on the simple merits of the change itself. But that’s wrong. Information alone is not enough to convince and persuade employees that the change is in their best interest.

2. The number one thing is to allocate the proper time.

Your “transformation lag,” as some businesses call it, is at least an 18-month process before the “official announcement.”  The trouble occurs when the change announcement is made first and then the buy-in is attempted.  Successful change happens in the opposite order.

3. Developing the proper messages around your change idea is critical.

This should never be done in a vacuum.  The person or small confidential team that develops the change idea – MUST spend time writing out the benefits and positive reasons behind this effort – and prepare for EVERY possible objection AND then craft positive responses to them.

But that’s not enough – the messages must be tested… 

4. So, identifying stakeholders – in tiers – is next and this requires the most delicacy and protocol.

You’re essentially building a political outreach campaign. What’s the number that you need to win?  Different than elections, you’re going to strive for more than 51 percent for your victory. You want to get as many people on board – before you make the official announcement.  This all must be done in the proper order.  Think of concentric circles.  Protocol is key here. You must be careful NOT to offend anyone in this process.

Your first tier of stakeholders is what we call in campaigning, the “Influencers.” Like the name implies, they have to have a lot of clout and influence among identified next tier stakeholder groups.

Depending on the type of change – you can also consider influencers who are  “Third party advocates.” Here, think of a major vendor or client or board member who may not be part of your organization ,per se, but who is respected, well-known and influential anyway.

Test your messages with this group and gather intel and responses from them. Incorporate their feedback.

5. Stakeholder fan out.

Next come the other tiers as dictated by their levels of influence and respect, size, etc.  You’re doing all this in the “message testing” phase –and while you’re doing that, you’re gathering their input, showing them you value them, and re-calibrating your message if you need to. And! getting all important pre-roll-out buy–in!

The goal here is that by the time you roll out whatever your change is, you have critical mass of stakeholder buy-in – you have vetted your message and benefits, objections properly – that you will have success.

6. Campaign roll-out rewards.

Your change campaign doesn’t end there – you can’t make the announcement and walk away. You should also have a calendar of milestone small reward moments built in.  Incentives to encourage implementation.   This is the test drive area.

7. Over time, you can institutionalize the change.

Be ready with the frame work for writing the change into manuals, handbooks, whatever.. but this comes after success in the previous steps.

For Change Communications to be successful, you must devise a two-way street.  Getting stakeholder buy-in on message and benefits early, BEFORE announcement and implementation may seem like a lot of work, but it will dramatically increase your rate of success – and that saves time and money!

I’m so grateful that you are reading my essays. I write inspirationally about better communications, business and life empowerment. If you would like to read regularly, please click ‘Follow’ (at the top of the page) and feel free to also connect at LinkedIn, via Twitter, Facebook and at GinaLondon.com

Copyright Gina London 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

Remembering Arezzo

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My Italian loving and blogging friend “Panini Girl” dedicated her post today to me as she spotlighted a Tuscan town we both adore: Arezzo. I share her blog and wonderful photos with you while I thank her for the dedication and thank Arezzo for welcoming us so warmly while Scotty, Lulu and I lived there. Grazie e baci!

Originally posted on Panini Girl:

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neat gelatoI am dedicating this post to Gina London who was lucky enough to live in charming Arezzo for a few years. Thanks Gina for all the great posts about Arezzo.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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You can read about my time in Arezzo here,here and here or just click on Arezzo in the categories. This charming town is certainly worth at the very least a day trip.

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Five Birthday Wishes for YOU!

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Okay, this photo is from Lulu's birthday - not mine - I don't think I have photos of recent birthday parties.. I'll have to fix that!

Okay, this photo is from Lulu’s birthday – not mine – I don’t think I have photos of recent birthday parties.. I’ll have to fix that!

On Saturday, I will mark another year of adventure on this planet.  And from the pages of my “I wish I would’ve known then what I know now,” book,  I am going to blow out the candles on my cake making wishes – not for me – but for you!

These wishes express my current attitude toward life.  They are not traits I was born with. They are some of the approaches to life I have chosen to develop over the years.

Life is full of choices.  How you act and react in your professional and personal life is truly up to you.

I share my wishes now. I wish for you to:

1. Be curious. Don’t breeze through your day narrowly focused on only the tasks at hand.  Take a moment to explore and wonder about other people and places and current events. This is not the simple “be informed” approach, it’s a way to make yourself probe further. It’s training yourself to ask the why about things. Nurturing curiosity is a great way to engage. In your community. In your profession. In your friendships.  And that brings me to number two.

 2. Ask follow-up questions.   How often during a conversation, are we waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can offer the “Yeah, that same thing happened to me only better” story?  Instead of responding to a potential client’s or customer’s story with your own, ask a follow-up question.   “What happened next?”  “How did that make you feel?”  “What is going to be done?” I learned this during my interview days as a correspondent for CNN, but it also has so many practical applications.  Asking a follow-up question not only can provide you with helpful  and interesting information, it also tells the person you really care to hear more from them.  People like to talk about their experiences. Listen to them.

3. Be kind, first. Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move. Offer a “good morning” to a stranger tomorrow as you walk to your office.  Ask the barista how her day is going, and mean it.  Take two minutes to chat with your client or prospect about the weather or their family or their health.  Many people  I find that most, not all, people will respond to kindness – in kind.

 4. Deploy the power of the smile. Connected to number three is this wish:  A lot.  Even if you’re upset, nervous or angry. Your brain is wired to be constantly scanning for your smile muscles to engage. Research shows that even if you fake a broad smile, your endorphins will kick in and you’ll feel better.  I love this one.

 5. Be bold. Sometimes if you think too much, you’ll psych yourself right out of an opportunity.  Submit a “Call to Papers” blindly for a conference you found on Google.  Call the publisher of a newspaper whom you have never met and ask for a seat on that VIP rodeo train trip. Each of these I have done. (That executive I reached out to on-line is now a client.  I will be speaking in June at the 16th International Conference on Human Resources. And the publisher who just happened to pick up the phone at 4pm on a Friday because his secretary was gone for the day – was so blown away that I called him directly – he put me right on that trip and I made many wonderful connections that day.)

A friend told me today, “only fools follow rules.” So, while you may feel foolish about daring to toss a tweet to someone you wish to engage, Give it a go. Be respectful but get creative.  It won’t always work, but it certainly won’t if you don’t try.  And just think how foolish you’ll feel  wondering what might have been.

These may not be the secrets to the universe, but  I sincerely wish you for to experience first-hand  the little life-changers behind these wishes. Speaking of secrets, I also hope that the notion that of, “if you tell someone your wish, it won’t come true,” is just a myth!

So, catch these wishes, take hold and turn them into action and a lifestyle. Let me know which ones resonate with you and what others you have adapted into your own lives.

Happy birthday to me - and you!

Happy birthday to me – and you!

Every day is a chance for a fresh start. Happy birthday!

Copyright 2015 Gina London.  All Rights Reserved.

Writing to Engage – Some Simple Strategies!

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When I interviewed master crime-writer Elmore Leonard years ago, he gave this advice to would-be writers, “If you want to write well, write a lot. Something might even work out.”

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Okay, practice makes perfect, maybe.   And while you’re out there practicing, it’s nice to have some  general guidelines to help speed up the process.

So, as a former print journalist and veteran CNN correspondent who has written thousands of stories, here are some of the strategies I share with my executive clients – many of whom are working to enhance their professional profiles by creating a body of written work for on-line and mainstream publications.

  1. HEADLINES – Make your headline as compelling as you can!

Think short and catchy.  You may write one headline at the beginning of your article and then find you can re-write it more simply and “grabby” after you are finished – like a quick wrap-up.  In journalism, for example, editors, not reporters, write an article’s headlines. It’s a distinct skill.

a. Pique your readers’ curiosity–Writing a headline that makes readers curious to learn more and turn to you for answers or insight is a great way to build an audience.

b. Link your cause to a celebrity or a news item- Obviously, you don’t have to always link your relevance to someone who is more famous than you (as I shamelessly did by putting Kim Kardashian in my headline about headline writing). In one week alone I saw more than a dozen writers referencing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s choice to wear the same clothes every day as a launching point for their own observations.  In campaigning, we call this finding a solid “third party advocate” – someone who supports your message and is highly visible.  In the same vein, linking your point to a current hot news event or topic is common sense – but too often a missed opportunity.

c. Be emotional and/or fun – Most of us will welcome a quick read if it appeals to us emotionally. Research shows people make decisions first from their subconscious, which is where emotion resides, and then back that up with their conscious mind with rational logic and reasoning.

 2. LEAD (or LEDE) PARAGRAPH – You grabbed them with your headline now really grab them in your lead. You’ll want to spend as much time on formulating your opening paragraph as you do your headline.  There is no single right way to do this. Here are a few ideas:

a. Teaser – This can be as simple as a quick “teaser” introduction, in which you essentially tell your reader here’s what you’re going to get and why it’s important in a couple of sentences – and then the rest of your article fills in the details.

b. Provocative question – Or you can lead with a provocative question that asks your reader to imagine a scenario or something that makes them sit up and want to read more.

c. Startling fact – Hit your readers with the gotcha fact – like how the UK is surprisingly  lagging behind other counties in digital training – or what the shocking future statistics for digital security risk may be if processes aren’t changed. Then fill in with the “what can we do about it.”

 3. PERSONAL ANECDOTE or STORY

You should already understand the idea of adding in a personal story.  Try to make your descriptions as vivid as possible. The key to any story, however, is to relate it back to the point you are making so there’s an applicable take-away for your reader.  Don’t make your reader infer.  Spell it out for them.

  1. NUMBERED LlSTS

If you have three main points, don’t just state them in your narrative. Make them stand out by creating a bulleted list.  This helps your reader find their take-aways easily. You can then even put that back into your headline. “My top three tips for X” ….

  1. LESS IS MORE

Just as with an oral presentation, most essays or articles are best written if they don’t get put the audience to sleep with too much information. If your essay is very  dense, consider breaking it up into two or even three entries.  Imagine you are writing a book, and think about where your chapters would come. One main point per chapter works best.  Tease your audience in a final graph that you are going to write more  – keep them interested.

  1. SIMPLIFY

Are there implications or lessons to be learned from your article that will appeal to more than your immediate professional colleagues? If you want to broaden your audience, steer clear from using too much industry jargon.  Imagine you are writing to a family friend or a dear aunt. Make it interesting for them and it can still have the same appeal for your intended audience.

  1. CREATE A SENSE of URGENCY

Is there reason why someone should pay attention to your article?  What might happen if someone does not follow or consider your point?  What will happen if the status quo continues in a particular line of business? This does not mean a false sense of urgency, but if there is a poignant reason for your audience to pay attention, tell them!

  1. CHUNK WRITING

I don’t always write “linearly” – if I know I want to include a particular point in the middle of my story, I may craft that paragraph as a stand-alone right away and come back to it later.  Or while I’m thinking of a topic, I may think of a perfect “wrap” or “go-home” line and write it down before I forget and before I write anything else.  I may think of a compelling lede line only after I have written everything else.  Imagine the paragraphs of your essay as shells in the “shell game.” When you re-read your finished product, you might move one graph above another if they seem to support each other in a better order.  Play with your structure. It’s your creation. You are an artist creating for an audience.

 Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 

Happy Easter – and There are no small parts…

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I have a confession:  When my seven-year-old told me she had been given the non-speaking bit role of “Forest Dancer” in her school’s Easter festival play, my first inclination was to angrily protest.

Rockboro Primary  Easter Festival Play. School, Cork, Ireland.

Rockboro Primary Easter Festival Play. School, Cork, Ireland.

(Note! This is NOT merely the musings of a mother on her young daughter’s first school play, there is also a lovely lesson for business and life here, I promise.)

I imagined walking up to her first-grade teacher saying something like:  “What?! MY daughter deserves MORE than a puny role as ‘tree fairy who protects the princess’ which was clearly made up just to give every kid a part. Lulu should have been the princess herself, or at least a character with one line of dialogue! How dare you!”

Of course, I said nothing to the teacher. To my daughter, I smiled down said something supportive about how she was sure to be a great “Forest Dancer.” Still, inwardly, I worried about her sure-to-be-damaged tender self-esteem.

But, my daughter wasn’t upset about her small role at all.   She was actually excited about being a “Forest Dancer.”

“I am creating my own dance moves to guard the princess,” she happily told me one evening.

She applied twirls and flourishes she had learned in her after-school ballet lessons. Then she studied her face in the mirror and announced she would like to wear her hair swept into an up-do complete with a ring of flowers.  We shopped for an appropriate “tree dancer” outfit and came up with a leafy dress the teachers liked so much they urged Lulu’s “tree dancer” partner to buy a matching outfit just like it.

When the day of the Easter festival arrived, amid tables of hot cross buns, pastel-colored cupcakes and walls plastered with hundreds of pictures of bunnies and chicks, my little daughter proudly took to the stage.

Her little ballet moves were adorable and for a moment I thought of the background dancer in a recent production of The Nutcracker who hilariously upstaged the featured performers.

Lulu, aka, "Forest Dancer," guarding the princess.

Lulu, aka, “Forest Dancer,” guarding the princess.

Lulu didn’t go that far.  She simply brought to the performance all that she could.  She wasn’t envious of the girl who did play the role of the princess. She had a great attitude. She was encouraging and encouraged in return.

I was the one who needed to have my attitude checked.  When we’re offered something we may consider “beneath” us, how do we react? With frustration? Anger? Are we indignant or are we gracious?

The way Lulu handled herself, reminded me of the Stanislavski quote that:

 There are no small parts, only small actors.

So, no matter whether in an Easter festival play or in business or in life, remember all the world’s a stage. Give every role your best.

Fun and friends after the play!

Fun and friends after the play!

And Happy Easter!

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.

 

Nigeria’s Election: Why It Matters

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Tomorrow, Nigerians head to the polls.    I recently spoke on Nigerian Radio Continental with popular host “Citizen Jones”   about the importance of this election – not only for selecting the nation’s president –  but for why it matters to the rest of the world.

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Radio Continental’s Citizen Jones

As a veteran CNN journalist and current business consultant who has spent months working with hundreds of students and professionals in Nigeria, much is at stake.

Incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan is squaring off again against former military leader  Mohammadu  Buhari.  It’s the fourth time Buhari has tried for the highest office since he took charge after a coup back in the 80s and it’s the second time he’ll face Jonathan.   Latest polls show the race is a tight one. But this contest is more than betting on the long-running horse race of Buhari’s persistence.

From my perch, the top issues facing Nigeria are:

  1. Maintaining and improving the country’s economy
  2. Curbing widespread corruption
  3. Eradicating Boko Haram

Economy.  Nigeria is proudly Africa’s number one economy – taking the title away from South Africa for nearly a year now.   Its vast oil riches support its base and analysts say it is bolstered by strong agriculture, information and communications technology.

But the chasm between the haves and the have-nots is evident the moment you arrive.  Tin-topped shanty neighborhoods mushroom under the shade of sprawling gold-encrusted McMansions.  Customized Range Rovers share the road with dilapidated, exhaust- spewing  yellow “danfo” vans dangerously filled with poor commuters.

Corruption.  Everybody knows it goes on.  And everybody has a story.  Like last September when I was  touring the country on a training circuit and kept  reading headlines about the private plane that left the capital city of Abuja for South Africa.  When it landed, officials discovered it was carrying 10 MILLION dollars in cash.  There was plenty of speculation about who had chartered the plane and what the money was planned for but I never heard any real answers.

One step toward righting this ongoing wrong would be for peace and fairness to be found at all Nigeria’s polls tomorrow.  In 2007, antics during the elections prompted the US State Department to describe them as “Flawed.” There was substantial improvement in 2011’s election, but observers still claimed there was widespread fraud and voter rigging.

A smooth and peaceful election this weekend could  set a standard and example for other developing democracies across the globe.  Both candidates publically signed an agreement this week promising to respect the election’s outcome and urging their supporters to refrain from violence.

Boko Haram.  This month’s announced alliance between Boko Haram and ISIS dramatically illustrates that  rooting out terrorism is the world’s problem, not simply the country in which the terrorists are residing and fighting.

Whoever wins Nigeria’s election must seek out and forge strong alliances with partner countries to put an end to the madness – for everyone.

As I discussed with the other panelists on Radio Continental,  journalists have a responsibility to accurately – and independently –  cover and report tomorrow’s elections.  Together, Nigerian journalists and its government can work together to build a better nation – and a better world.

I’ll be back on Radio Continental on Monday and I hope we’ll be talking how it was an unprecedented peaceful weekend of hope and fulfilled promises by both political parties.

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 

 

The Optimism of Daffodils

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As it is Daffodil Day here in Ireland, a day to donate, volunteer and wear a daffodil in support of finding a cure for cancer, I am reminding us all of the grand optimism that resides in these buttery bright flowers! 

Amid lingering piles of snow, battering gusts of wind or, like here in Ireland, drenching torrents of rain, it may not yet feel like spring is at hand.  But some diligent stalwarts are already foretelling the new season’s arrival.

Like many of us, they have spent the winter  in dark solitude.  Unseen, they may have been largely forgotten. But they did not need to be recognized or rewarded or encouraged.  They are self-motivators, working steadily throughout the cold months driven by determination.

And now in our parks and along the green, grassy medians of our roadways, the rewarding results of their tireless  labors are emerging.

An old man in worn and shabby clothing meanders among the rows of bright yellow and looks out upon them.  An overly critical eye might predispose one to assume he should be given a wide berth; he is very likely a person not worth engaging.  But one would be wrong indeed.

This unassuming gentleman spoke and perfectly summed up the sentiment that rings through these dependable heralds with faces stretching upward toward an inconsistent sun:

Ah, the optimism of daffodils.”

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How many times are we burdened by work or family or life and forget that a little dogged determination, or focused optimism – viewed as an action-word – not a simple state of being or emotion – will get us through?

Take a tip from the daffodils. The sun will come out again. Maybe not tomorrow. But it will.

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.

Tree Therapy. It’s not just for the Birds.

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It’s national “Tree Week” here in Ireland.  Although  some of you may still be looking out on expanses of that cold wet white stuff called snow, the sun here in Cork is bright – and considering it is now March, one might safely say the air is spring-like.

Spring time in Cork, Ireland

Spring time in Cork, Ireland

So, it’s timely that the Irish Independent newspaper published an article today touting the healthy benefits of exposing yourself to trees.   Well, not exposing yourself in that sense.  Shame on you.  But the article sites research – conducted in Europe, Asia and Australia – that demonstrates

walking in a forest or going to a park can measurably reduce stress, boost immunity and calm aggression.

Specifically in Britain, a study found recovery rates improved faster if the patients could simply see trees from their hospital window.

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Recently, I have been racked by the flu and a throat-splitting cough that has left me with laryngitis.  The doctor says it’s a virus that’s going around. Only time, rest, plus perhaps warm water with lemon and honey (and a dash of Irish whiskey) will help.   I usually conquer the flu in a couple of days, but this bout is moving into two weeks!

Eager and impatient to improve, I also sought out a salt-therapy clinic upon the advice of a well-meaning friend.  However, 175 Euro and five hour-long sessions later, I cannot concretely say I feel a direct improvement from sitting in that darkened room with its sodium-filled trough around its perimeter breathing in the salty-air.  And as my symptoms persist, my good humor and regular upbeat outlook seem to be disappearing like my voice.

So, maybe it’s not time, rest, lemon-honey-water plus salt-therapy that will do the trick.   Instead I am moved by this week’s reminder and supportive research reports that the great outdoors are exactly that. Great.

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I am well enough to get out of the house, not only to drive to the pharmacy for another bottle of cough expectorant, but why not also to take a walk?

  1. Get out of the office.
  2. Drive past the shopping centers and cinemas.
  3. Go to a forest.

Memories of growing up in rural Indiana where our spring-time weekend family outings often meant hunting for morel mushrooms together in the woods come flooding to my mind.  I always feel better physically and emotionally after a walk among the trees.

It just so happens we live thirty minutes away from one of the world’s rare alluvial forests, The Gearagh.  Like a trip to the salt-clinic, a walk in the forest will surely not directly impact my sore vocal chords. But now, with or without my restored voice, I feel my sagging spirits lift as I prepare to trek among the ancient oaks and search for exotic birds and plants.  Plus, since The Gearagh is an Irish Nature Preserve, this therapy will be free.

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That’s a therapy few of us can afford not to take.

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.

The unlikeliest place to find Customer Service

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I’ve been sick all this week with what appear to be flu-like symptoms and a lung-wrenching cough that is erasing almost all of my usual good humor along with my voice.

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I went to the doctor’s office and he wanted to run some tests. However, Irish labs will not conduct an analysis if the patient’s submittal form doesn’t have a PPS Number. Being an American citizen recently relocated to Ireland, I still don’t have a PPSN (much like a Social Security Number). The only way to get the desired digits is to pay a visit to a government office.

So, today in addition to feeling dreadful, I felt an additional sense of dread about going to the PPS processing office.

Pick any country and any bureaucratic agency, they all seem to be filled with endless lists of indecipherable requirements, endless lines of people and an endless supply of mirthless clerks who are just waiting for the moment they can pounce on you and deny your request – no matter what it is.

In spite of my sub-par well-being, I dress in regular street clothes, not some slouchy track-suit or jammy-pants that I see way too many grown adults wearing these days. I also daub on a bit of make-up to offset my pale pallor. The PPS room is packed with a mix of people speaking a myriad of different languages. Most look, to my overly critical eye, as if they are here to obtain a PPS number for some kind of menial employment. Indeed, I overhear a man speaking with his friend that he is going to be a dishwasher at a local restaurant. I glance down. He holds a passport from a small eastern European country. I take a little morale boost thinking that my American passport will give me some leverage.

I then tried to strategize about which of the clerks seated behind protective Plexiglas exhibited any sign of humaneness.

Wait a minute! The curly haired guy appears to be smiling at his “customers” on the other side. That portly red-haired lady appears to be nodding, not shaking, her head to the couple speaking with her. And then there’s the middle guy. He is leaning back on his chair, nodding toward his clients with what appears to be a friendly laugh. Not stereotypical drones, instead, theses clerks all seem to be taking an interest in their clients and enjoying what they do. In turn, the “customers” all appear to be leaving the office happily.

Our number is called and we get the “middle guy.” His name is Peter and he has kind blue eyes that crinkle up when he smiles, which he does a lot. We’re here in Ireland because my husband is getting his PhD at a local university. Do we have a letter from the university stating that? No, we do not. My husband offers his university ID card and Peter doesn’t shut us down. Instead, he announces he’ll take the card. How surprising! How refreshing! We produce our passports, marriage certificate and Irish residence cards (click here for the tale of that immigration labyrinth) and Peter pronounces us PPS Number worthy. He patiently answered the questions we had about getting our daughter signed up later and gave us his phone number for further assistance.

Hats off to Peter and the other clerks working at today’s PPS office in Cork, Ireland. I don’t know whether there is an incredible customer service environment created by management there or whether I witnessed a rare moment. But today those clerks demonstrated that true customer service is blind to attire, to station, and yes, certainly to the country of one’s passport. It is open to the unique needs of the individual who is seeking a service or a product. It looks to provide solutions, not barriers. And it works to encourage, not discourage the customer.

We look for good customer service in hotels, restaurants and shops, why not too in government bureaucratic offices? It can be done. And done well.

Till next time, when I hope I can speak and have a hack-free night, 

Gina

Copyright Gina London 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

What ONE song makes ALL the difference for YOU?

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What do YOU do when a project’s deadline is looming and you feel overwhelmed?  When your desk has become a mountain of paper and you want to bury your head in it? When you come back from a meeting in which the boss did NOT have kind words to say?  You know that feeling… when you want to crawl in a hole and not come out – for days.

One sure-fire solution is: to PRESS PLAY!

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The right music really can transform your mind from feeling like giving up to getting up and getting going!

A pivotal study from McGill University demonstrated that your body increases dopamine levels when you listen to music you enjoy! That’s the same chemical associated with being in love and eating sweets.  Music brings the same joy without any chance of heartbreak or tooth-decay!

His mommy gave him music, not sugary junk food to lift his spirits!

His mommy gave him music, not sugary junk food, to lift his spirits!

Since we’re all motivated by our emotions, why not reprogram your I-pod or whatever-your-musical-appliance-of-choice is to include a list of POWER-UP tunes? Download a set of music designed to get you back in the ring and fighting again.

You take your car in to the shop whenever it needs a tune-up or re-alignment, right? So, music can be a way to realign your emotions when you need a little emotional pick-me-up.

Here’s my TOP FIVE list of “Get-Back-At-It-Songs”:

5. “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty His unique scratchy voice and darling plaintive face make just the perfect combination for me. “You can stand me up at the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down.” How’s that for a can-do attitude! Thanks, Tom.

4. “Roar” by Katie Perry – Sugar pop or not, this song is lots of fun. We got the cd for our seven-year-old daughter for Christmas and she and I sing the anthem together LOUDLY in the car on the way to school.  Who can’t feel better after yelling out “You’re gonna hear me ROAR!” ?!   

3. “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree – This song, to me, is true inspiration. Like the words say, “You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together. …” The singer is one beautiful and strong looking woman.  She knows life is going to have its ups and downs, but her encouraging theme of hanging in there always works for me. “You go, girl!” she seems to say.

2. “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles – Ray Charles could’ve sung the dictionary and I would’ve listened. His recording of this, to me, is one of his best. It’s got a rhythm and style that never fail to lift my spirits out of the doldrums. “What you say?!”  

1. “Tubthumping (I get knocked down)” by Chumbawamba – Okay, there’s a strong ‘cure-your-blues-thru-alcohol’ theme here that I can’t fully endorse, but its gleeful chorus: “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down” is so high-charged and upbeat that I simply CANNOT help feeling better after listening. And it’s brought to you by a group named “Chumbawamba” of all names. That sure says “don’t take life so seriously” to me.  Love it.

So there you have my list.  What’s yours?  What song makes all the difference for you?  I hope you have one – or two – or five.  Get listening and get going!

Lulu and friends joyfully dance the night away.

Lulu and friends joyfully dance the night away.

 Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.

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