Embracing Change

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

Humans in many ways are creatures of habit.  After doing something for a while, we become comfortable and are set in our ways.    Status quo becomes the norm and we would rather go through the motions. The notion of things being changed is something we dread happening to us.

As much as we want to stay the same, everything will change around us, like weather, seasons, and aging to name a few.  The fact of the matter is that there are three things in life that are guaranteed, namely:  death, taxes and change.    At some point we will age and die, hence death is guaranteed to happen at some point in our lifetime.  If we work, we have to pay taxes.  Of course we can choose not to pay taxes, but the consequence means being jailed for failure to pay taxes, hence not an appealing scenario.  Lastly, change will happen whether you like it or not.  Either you initiate change, embrace change, or it will happen to you with or without your approval.

When it comes to change, some people are up in arms as soon as they find out that change is happening around them.   They believe it is a waste of time.  As some people would say, “It is working, why change?”    Others would say, “Don’t fix it if it is not broken.”    However the fact of the matter is, you cannot use the technology of the past and do business today.   It would work, but it is rather inefficient.   As time goes on, there are new ways of doing things.  New tools or methods that can make things better by being effective and efficient.

 

So, how do we react to change?

  • First, learn what the change is all about – the reason for change and genesis of effecting a change.   Everything happens for a reason, whether we agree or not.   But change often is not initiated just for the sake of changing.  There is always a purpose and reason for it.
  • Secondly, ask yourself the following questions: What does it meant to you? What does it mean to your organization?  This question is important because you need to know the value of the proposition and how it affects you and the organization.   In essence it is the understanding of what is in it for you (WIIFY).   Will you be learning something new?  Will it help you enhance your skills?  What value does it bring?
  • Lastly, decide if you agree with the change and its reason.   If you agree with the change, you need to learn what is it you can do to help facilitate the change.   If you don’t agree with the change, you need to decide on your next step.  It could mean moving on or looking for other opportunities.

 

From my personal perspective, I’d rather help facilitate the change or be part of the group that initiates change.    Otherwise, change will be imposed on us, and at that point we would have little or no influence in the way it is implemented.  One of my favorite quotes by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”     Adapting to change is the key to our success.    If we don’t change, it will happen to us and we will not like the outcome.   It is best to understand and learn how we can help effect the change.    Some people believe that they can outlast a change.    Meaning all they need to do is hang in there and eventually it will blow over like a wind.  By doing so, you will not learn anything.

As Dennis O’Grady in “Bottom Line” used to say, “Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad — not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life — to keep us moving … to keep us growing … to keep us interested . … Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull.”    The fact of life is we cannot do nothing and expect things to get better.  We need to change and evolve and improve.   Progress is only possible if we change.

The next time change is happening around you, follow the three steps of how to react to change and please share the outcome.  I would like to learn from your experience.

 

 

 

 

Be Positive

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

Every day we are faced with challenges that sometimes affect the way we interact with others.   Decisions are made based on that state of mind that have lasting impact.   Sometimes we lose our nerve and let the situation get the best of us.  After the fact, we regret having acted the way we did, but then it is too late.  We said things that hurt people’s feelings, and worse yet, we made bad decisions because of it.

So, what do we do?  We certainly are humans who are bound to make mistakes.   What’s the best way to preempt such a situation?   When you’re getting overwhelmed or feel like your emotion is getting the best of you, do the following:

1)      Take a deep breath — really slowly, a deep breath to help calm you down.

2)      Try your best to see things in perspective – imagine stepping back to allow you to see the big picture.

3)      Look at the positive side of the situation – as a result of stepping back, you’ll see things differently.

4)      Decide the importance of the situation – determine how important the situation is to you. Think of it in terms of value and long-term repercussion of your subsequent actions.

5)      Be positive – when we try to be positive, we’ll see the situation in a different light.  We also can see the opportunities amid the chaos.   Things get clearer when we try to be positive.

6)      Control your emotion — by letting it flow, it could take control and get the best of you.

7)      Audit what you will say – think through what you will say.  Make sure you’re are not saying things that you will later regret

Here is an example why staying positive is important.  After the Knicks lost game two (2) on April 30 to the Miami Heat, one of their star players, Amare Stoudemire, punched the case surrounding a fire extinguisher out of frustration.   It resulted in a cut in his left hand that required that a small muscle be repaired.    I understand his frustration, but by acting without thinking through the consequences of his action, he puts the team at risk of losing the series as he will not be able to return the next game.

He later apologized, but I believe it was a bit too late.   The owner of the team and fans are the ones paying the price for his bad decision.   We all at some point will experience situations that will frustrate us, but we need to take a deep breath and think through the consequences of our actions.   By being positive, Stoudemire could have channeled the negative energy to motivate himself to work harder and perhaps play better the next game.   At this point, the team is on their own.   At this point, his season is over and so may be his team and the loyal fans.

It is helpful to stay positive and assess the situation before we react to the incident.  It is easier said than done, but if we start by asking the question: How important is it to me? Then the subsequent action will be clear.  As part of this blog, I’d like to start a Be Positive movement, where someone states something that they can be positive about. Feel free to share this post and spread the word.   It takes a community to change the world.   We can do this one person at a time.

Bad Customer Service

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

We always have fond memories of my sister-in-law’s annual Easter visit.   It is that time of year in which we invite a couple of our friends with little ones to participate in Easter egg hunt.   A tradition that we look forward to, because it gives us the opportunity to connect and catch up.

Every year, my girls are excited because some of their female cousins will come for a visit and spend time with them.    It is their bonding time.  This year the big thing for them was manicure and pedicure.  As soon as they arrived, they texted me to see if they could have manicures and pedicures, in this case we obliged and let them enjoy the weekend.

On April 7th we were deciding which place to have our dinner and my nephew reminded us that a new restaurant named Aoyama just opened on Thursday that week.    There is something about supporting your local business and I’m passionate about it, therefore it was not hard to make such a decision.

So, Aoyama it was.  We went at 6:30 PM to try to beat the mad dinner rush.  We arrived, and with minimal waiting, we were seated, in spite of having a party of eight.   The restaurant has a great ambience and the first impression was great.   They took our drink orders then later our meal orders were taken by 6:45 PM.

By the time we realized it, it was 7:30 PM and none of our food had been brought out.    Meanwhile, we saw some of the people around us, who came in later than us, being served.   We asked the waitress and she indicated that she would check and it was coming out.

Around 7:45 pm, four dishes came out, but the noodle soups for my girls were still not ready.  Also, two other sushi dishes were not served.    At that time, I asked the waitress for a word with the manager.  The manager did not approach our table until 8:30, at which point we had waited almost two-hours.   He explained that they were really busy and he was very sorry.  When I explained that we had waited almost two hours, he declared that there were two other groups that had the same issues.  I was shocked by his response. What was the benefit of telling me that we were not alone and I was in the same boat as two other groups?    That’s not the way to do customer service.  I mean, highlighting your deficiency will not make your customer happy.   I was only asking for an explanation why orders were served to people around us, but he had no answers other than “I’m very sorry.”

By 8:45, one of the noodle soups came out.  At that time, my 6-year-old said, if we ate at the other Japanese restaurant we would be long done.    I was expecting the other noodle dishes to come out soon.  But I found out they had not been prepared it at all.   We can cook the same noodle soup at home in 30 minutes. Why did we wait over two hours for their noodle soup?  I gave them too much credit to do the right thing and they messed up the chance to have a good customer experience.

One other sushi dish came out and the other was forgotten.    Once they found out they forgot to fill the other, the sushi chef did not do anything.   Overall, we all rated Aoyama in Wyckoff a 0 star.  They don’t deserve to have any star because they don’t know how to treat their customers.

I learned the following about how not to treat your customer;

1)      Sorry is not an answer/solution for all mistakes; actions need to be taken.

2)      Telling your customer that we are having the same problem with other customers does not make your customer feel good.

3)      Paying customers deserve your attention.

4)      When you failed to fill an order, make up for it by delivering the dish.  Not doing anything is the worst thing you can do.  Because it is tantamount to ignoring your customer.

5)      An unsatisfied customer will tell 10 more people, while a satisfied customer might tell one or two of their friends their experience.

6)      If you’re in the restaurant business, starving your customer is not a good thing, especially if they’re children.

7)      If you want repeat customers, you need to provide a good user experience

8)      Lastly, treat your customer the way you want to be treated.

In spite of this experience, we continue to support local businesses, because it is important to help them sustain their business.    My hope is that the managers of Aoyama have learned their lessons and rectified their issues, because we hope to one day give them a chance again in the future, as everyone deserve a second chance.