Family vs business December 20, 2017

Families are complicated.

I never fully realised this until I met my wife who has the most complex family situation one could ever imagine. For me, my life was always mapped out in front of me with a clearly marked route. I would go to school, I would get O levels, I would do A levels, I would go to University, I would get a degree, I would get a good job, I would get married, I would have two kids, I would have a nice house.

My mother and father had only ever had one boyfriend/girlfriend and they had married that person. They had moved once and then lived in the same house for the rest of their lives. My father was an only child and my mother was a twin – but with no siblings other than her doppelganger… I thought this was pretty ‘normal’.

Then I met Pam.

Whoaaa…life shock.

She was one of four, her mother was one of seven and her grandmother was one of thirteen. She had moved house about twenty-three times and was currently living with her step dad, her mum, two sisters and a brother of only three years old. Pam’s aunt was living with a partner who was 20 years younger than her and had children by another partner who were older than her current boyfriend.

Pam’s middle sister then married a man twenty years older than she was and the younger sister again married a man significantly older. The dynamic in family gatherings is confused – you look at the various couples and think – he’s too old for her, she’s too young for him…all very confusing.

Interesting…. but confusing.

Running a business is also complicated.

Whilst my family life may have been straight forward – my experiences with Pam’s family has given me some insight into the complexities of human interaction. This life experience has helped me dramatically with trying to run a business. Getting a group of different people in a company – to all gel together and work as a unit is a little like trying to get Pam’s family to all get on at a family function.

Within JKSL we have –  the father figure, mother figure, the wayward son, we have the control freak, we have the quiet one, we have the noisy one, the one that always gets drunk, the one that hides in the kitchen and the one that is a comedian.

So pretty much a family dynamic within a business.

Pretty much like families the difficult part is getting them all to get on and all to help each other out ….

Maybe regular therapy sessions would help??

Mike C

Christmas woes…. December 13, 2017

I’m sorry but Christmas is just a pain in the ass.

There I’ve said it. I’m on the naughty list. I’m down for a bag of soot…

I know I’ve blogged about this before but it’s a serious issue which needs to be addressed by somebody with some common sense – not just a bunch of elves.

In a situation where the construction sector is struggling to break even and productivity is down….do we really need a month where nothing gets done?

Sorry but it’s true. Everyone gets in a Christmas state of mind; accounts departments stop paying invoices about mid-December and don’t start paying anything till mid-January (I think you’ll find this is… a month).

Deliveries and equipment hire goes a bit bonkers and stop delivering and picking up their machinery mid-December and then not picking up till mid-January (a month again then) …oh and by the way YOU are responsible for any damage during this period.

Nobody ever makes any decisions to build anything just before Christmas and you can never get any sense out of anybody until end of January whilst they sober up.

We’ve already worked out that no accounts departments are paying your bills so no money is coming in …yet all your team deserve a Christmas bonus…. (NB not only do they deserve it …they will kill you if they don’t get it …because they’ve already spent it).

So how about we cancel it this year?

Let’s have a staggered Christmas where everyone gets to pick their own date for festive activities?

You can have Christmas in February, whilst you, have it in March – selective and phased – so nothing ever actually stops?

Accounts can be off whenever they want …so long as the department is never actually shut – and payments can continue throughout the year.

Christmas’s bonuses can be staggered to be paid when the actual team member specifies that they want their holiday – so payments are spread throughout the twelve months.

The final sales pitch for my staggered Christmas – endless parties!

We have a Christmas party each time a team member takes their hols…so we get a party every few weeks…

Come on – vote yes ….

Mike C

Feedback…. December 6, 2017

I walked into a store in Liverpool last week and picked up a ‘Stussy’ baseball hat, walked to the till and presented it for payment. I was a focused shopper – in/out – bang …job done.

However, payment was not quite as easy as I had thought – as I had to fill in a….‘questionnaire’….before I could pay.

What were my impressions of the shop? – I literally just walked in and picked something up.

Were the staff helpful? – I didn’t speak to anybody.

Was there anything I would like to see done differently? – No bloody questionnaire

Would I give them a rating from 1 to 10? – FFS

Would I recommend them to a friend? – again FFS

Do we really need all this?? My web guys seem to think we do – it gives customers the chance to see what others think of us. It gives insight into our service commitment and the way we treat people.

Does it though? Really??

We all know that a certain percentage of reviews will be by the staff and friends of staff and family members of the business in question – so we know that the good reviews are often made up.

I’m also pretty sure that anyone who allows free reign on their customer reviews will end up regretting it.

We all know that most people when they get a good service don’t bother to comment.

However, give them something below standard and they will be all over it….

We also know that if you upset someone by letting them go from their job (for perfectly valid reasons) they will be all over social media slagging you off and suggesting they provide a poor service and are health and safety averse.

So somehow you need to be able to crop and delete poor reviews and remove the troll like behaviour from d**kheads.

So, we know any good reviews that you read on line are probably dodgy….and any poor reviews will have been deleted.

So that leaves us with ….sod all of any use.

I worry sometimes that we are all just being manipulated. Somebody devises a system for getting feedback and thinks it will sell a product that helps with sales and we all jump on board. It might even work for a few months before people get wise as to how to subvert the results – then it all slides into an abyss of uselessness.

Until someone works out how to work round human fallibility and human foibles …and be able to tell genuine from fake reviews…it’s a waste of time.

Mind you I read a review of a customer by a restaurant this morning ….

‘Me and my team think you’re a right c**t’….

This does seem a pretty genuine review?
Mike C