+Scott Watson

Monday, 22 April 2013

Emotional Intelligence Training For Luis Suarez?

The latest episode in the ever so entertaining saga of football player Luis Suarez was performed yesterday in Liverpool's game with Chelsea.  Whether you notice it or not, the behaviour of Luis Suarez draws some significant parallels with organisational managers and team members.

A review of Suarez's history in the sporting arena reads like a comedy of self-serving and blatant cheating.  His behaviour goes way beyond the 'diving for a penalty' standard which has become more and more popular each and every season as professional players seek to gain from every opportunity, whether within the rules or not.  This 'professional' possesses undoubted skill and the ever elusive ability to be in the right place at the right time during high-pressure matches.  The down side is that he also possesses an unparalelled ability (and willingness) to breach the rules, strike out at opposition players and then, entertainingly, feign injury to move attention away from his behaviour and shift it to the opposing player he has attacked, whether it be a verbal or physical attack.

Suarez's decision to bite the right arm of Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic was just that.  A decision!  OK, he may have made his decision in less than one second, but, he CHOSE the behaviour he demonstrated.  Whatever his protestations, whoever he may choose to blame, Suarez owns his decisions and he owns his behaviour.  If you have watched the clip of the biting incident, you will have noticed that immediately following Ivanovic falling to the ground, and attracting the referee's attention, Suarez began to limp.  He began to limp, even though, Ivanovic hadn't impeded Suarez in any way.  Are you noticing anything in this pattern?  Isn't it the spoiled kid getting ready to blame the boy next door for making him lash out? Is it not a clear demonstration of the blame culture that the UK as a nation has promoted and endorsed during the past 20 years?  As the UK is finding now, the blame culture has quite literally returned to bite it on the ar...m!

How Is This Related To Managers? 

Have you ever worked for, or even appointed a manager who achieves the results, but leaves a trail of destroyed relationships in their wake?  Or how about working alongside a manager who again, achieves the results, is quick to accept the credit and receive the plaudits, but even quicker to absolve him or herself of responsibility when something doesn't go to plan.  It's the old finger pointing habit which only serves to destroy trust and collaboration, and when this happens, projects are delivered more slowly, more expensively and this impacts your organisation's bottom line, whether you operate within the private or public sector.

As Liverpool Football Club is finding with this latest outburst from Suarez, it is very easy for the boss to say 'No player is bigger than the club.'  But, such behaviour can be extremely difficult to address if the team member him or herself choose not to, and of course, when the player regularly demonstrates athletic brilliance in and amongst toxic behaviour which only serves to draw negative attention to your organisation.

Isn't it a challenge when you have a member of your management team who, because he or she possesses rare or amazing technical knowledge and/or skill, simply do not get managed proactively to promote a trustworthy, collaborative and healthy emotional climate within their team and within your organisation?  You may not realise the real cost to your organisation until it is too late.  Much like Liverpool Football Club!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

What Can Jamie Oliver Learn About Customer Service?

I'm happy to admit...I'm A Fan!

Jamie Oliver has been extremely successful in not just building and growing a financially successful business empire which includes publishing, online products and a chain of restaurants (including one brand which does a commendable job of helping individuals who have faced, or continuing to face severe personal and emotional challenges, learn how to cook, and often, gain employment in either one of his outlets or elsewhere.

So what can Jamie Oliver learn about customer service?

The major lesson to be considered is 'Remember that it is wrong to demand tips from your customers.'

My wife, daughter and I enjoyed a fantastic lunch last week at Jamie's Italian in Leeds.  The food was easy on the eyes and light on the tummy.  I am definitely not a chef or proficient cook.  The only time I invest in the kitchen at home is either when I've been 'encouraged' to do the washing up, or boiling the kettle for a cuppa, so I have no idea how fresh the ingredients were that served to produce a wonderfully array of enjoyable meals for the three of us.  But, the one thing I am proficient at, being a typical Yorkshireman, is spotting and appreciating when 'good' or 'excellent' service has been provided by the waiting staff allocated to us.

OK Service...With An Unwelcome Twist!

If you have ever visited Harvey Nichols cafe in Leeds, you may (or may not) have noticed that when your bill arrives, it already INCLUDES a service charge of 10% of the total bill.  Rather cheeky, as this 'service charge' isn't reserved for the usual group of six or more diner.  Even if you visit on your own, you get smacked with the supposed 'service charge'.  Why does Harvey Nichols do it?  Well, there could be a number of reasons, and they may (or may not) include:

  1. It's Harvey Nichols...and you don't expect it to be cheap or reasonable do you?  You pay to 'enjoy' Harvey Nichols' brand.
  2. The cafe hopes that you, the trusting customer, will be too embarrassed to ask for the 'service charge' to be removed from the bill, so they take their chances...and a liberty too!
  3. The cafe is being blatantly greedy, subversive and eager to scrape in every last penny it can...perhaps because of their hard working, completely professional and oh so responsive staff.
There may be other reasons of course, and the above are just my humle opinions rather than a statement of fact or truth.  But why is it that this brand (as you'll see, just like at least one member of staff at Jamie Oliver's Leeds outlet) feel that it is fair, reasonable or even right, to actively impose such charges on customers, who are ultimately paying their employee's wages, whether or not during a time of austerity?

Back To Jamie's Italian, Leeds

So, we've enjoyed a lovely meal, lots of laughs and the bill arrives.  The waitress who has been 'OK', nothing spectacular, presents me with the bill by placing it down in front of me, wrapped in a promotional leaflet for the restaurant.  Yes, the bill is correct and that is absolutely fine.  Now it comes to the discussion with our nine year old daughter about what, if any, tip to leave for the waitress.  And this is where the trouble begins!

Not content with waiting to be pleasantly surprised with a reasonable tip, for OK (aka 'Average') service, the waitress decided to rather visually draw to our attention the fact that 'Service Charge is not included' by underlining the sentence and asterisking the line too.  Why?  Of course, to draw our attention to the fact that she either, felt she was worth, or indeed expected, us to tip her.  Why?  Not because she is perhaps worthy of a tip. After all, the food was fantastic, but the service was nowhere near that standard.  She wanted to inform us of her desire to obtain additional income from us, simply because she wanted to!

The final line in this comedy of customer dis-service can be seen on the receipt below.  How overbearingly patronising is it to focus attention on a self-serving action, to then write 'Thank you' at the bottom of the receipt?

Mr Oliver.  Please understand, your customers are not always right.  But on this occasion, someone your organisation chose to employ, entrusted with your brand, and pays to be 'professional', got it very badly wrong.  Is this just one example of the darker side of the hospitality industry?  And more importantly, is this a behaviour that your leadership and management teams actively encourage and endorse?