It’s Time To unPlug and Plug Back In

I am sitting here at the Atlanta airport, waiting to board my flight (that has been delayed for about 2 hours), and I can’t help but notice the different types of people walking through the airport, sitting in pre-board areas or just leaning against poles. I am amazed at how busy everyone seems to be but yet also seem to oblivious to those around them. In the span of just an hour I saw…..

– Young black girl talking on her phone, with it on speaker, talking about paying her bills, making plans for the weekend and talking about her latest conquest. She was talking so loud that quite a few people were leaning closer to her just so they could follow her PG-13 conversation.

– The middle age businessman headed home from a trip, talking to a coworker as they compare flights, the number of frequent flyer miles and hotel points they have, arguing about the best hotel to use points to go to Vegas and which hotel has the loosest slots, prettiest showgirls, best buffets.

– Young mother and young child (about three years of age), obviously on her last nerve, answering all the questions from her daughter, that is just learning to talk and has tons of questions, waiting for her husband to bring them food from Chick-fil-A. I hear “Stop, don’t touch that, get your fingers out of your mouth, stand up, help mommy, let’s take a walk. ” She stands up and I see that she is pregnant, probably wondering “am I ready for this next one?”

– Fast food workers pushing trash carts talking loudly (very loud, make that extremely loud), about how much they hate their jobs and can’t wait to get out in the real world and do something. I would love to stop them and explain how they are “in” the real world, performing a much needed task otherwise we would be up to our necks in filth!

– Flight crews hurrying to their next flight or rushing to leave the airport. I can’t tell if that’s frustration or elation on their faces.

– Senior senior citizens (no, that’s not a typo, they are in their mid 80’s) about whether they packed everything they needed. This is the first time the wife has flown and she is definitely nervous and grouchy. They are arguing with each other and neither one is listening to the other.

– A group of five friends, walking abreast and taking up half the hallway, making people go around them, oblivious to others as they walk and text and laugh and text and take selfies and text and text and… you get the idea.

– Mr. Muscles in his tank top, sweat pants, tattoos and attitude. If he went through a regular doorway he would have to turn sideways. I don’t think that he could even reach back and scratch is backing he had in itch.

– Ms. I can’t be anywhere on time! Running down the concourse talking to herself saying, “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late”. Dodging people left and right, trying to keep her spinner luggage from tumbling over, rushing to the gate just as they start to close the door and begging them to let her board.

– The wannabe gangsta, pants down to his knees, cap on sideways, huge earphones around his neck, oversized t-shirt, shoelaces dragging from his tennis shoes, if he sneezed I think all his clothes would fall off and he’d be naked.

– The movie star with her long painted nails, fur coat, huge sunglasses, tight leggings, costume jewelry and oversized phone with a vocabulary limited to “like we did this, like you know, like do you know what I’m sayin, like…”

There are several things I notice that appear to be part of our reality now. Everyone has cellphones, headphones, spinners, iPads, iPods, etc. No one gets dressed up anymore to travel, some people don’t even seem to get dressed! When did leggings become everyday wear? There seems to be a competition to see who can wear the tightest ones.

When did we become so wrapped up in our own reality that we stopped being respectful to others? Is it really necessary for everyone within a 30 foot radius to hear about our lives – real or imaginary? Maybe it’s time to unplug our electronics and plug back in to people. I watched a couple of teenagers sitting back to back arguing with each other by texting back and forth!

Yep, it’s definitely time to unplug.

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Communication or EI, EI, OOO

You can’t open a newspaper (yes, they still have those), turn on the TV or access your smartphone/tablet without seeing or reading about someone apologizing for a “miscommunication”. It seems as though the central theme that has been running rampant throughout our nation and the world for the last several weeks revolves around one word – Communication!

Communication, or the lack thereof, has been addressed or mentioned in every meeting I have attended lately. I think that by taking some of the words from the childhood song “Old MacDonald Had A Farm”, and making an acrostic out of the words “EI, EI, OOO”, we can see a way to keep communication in the forefront of our mind.

EI – Everyone Involved.  One of the most important aspects of communication is making sure everyone is involved. This not only means employees in different departments but the customer as well.  If we can keep everyone involved and updated, if the situation ever turns bad/sour, we stand a better chance of overcoming obstacles.

EI – Everyone Informed.  This is the second most important part of the equation. Everyone has to be kept informed with the latest information available. Internally, emails can be one of the quickest ways to get the latest update to everyone. As long as the email is concise and to the point it can also prevent miscommunication.

OOO –  Opens Opportunities to Overdeliver.  One of my favorite sayings is “Under promise and Over deliver.” If we can take the first two EI’s and execute them effectively, we will have infinite potential to provide the type of service that will exceed our customers expectations.

As I stated in the beginning, Communication with a capital “C” is the key. It’s the key that leads to a company’s booming success or ultimate demise. It takes a group effort to achieve the goals we set in customer service. Everyone has to be involved, from the person that picks up the phone and takes the first call, to the one that keeps our parking lot clean, to the cashier that checks the customer/client out, to the one that wraps the toilets to keep them looking fresh, to the closer that processes the paperwork, to the greeter that invites the customer to come back and to “have a great day”, etc – it’s a coordinated effort by a cast of thousands! (okay, maybe not thousands, or even hundreds, maybe just a few individuals – but it takes a commitment by everyone !)

 

So go ahead and sing it, “ Old (your company name) had a farm…ei, ei,ooo

Lord, I am Humbled…

I have never been a “receiver” or whatever nomenclature you want to use. My wife and I have always been “givers” or someone that always did what they could to give back to the world, without seeking recognition or rewards. That is one reason that this article is hard to write because we never wanted anyone to know about the times that we have had an opportunity to share with others because of the blessings that God has provided us. We are no different than a lot of you, I believe that most of us will bless others (anonymously) when given the opportunity.

This year has been a little different and a very humbling experience for us. We purchased a new home in February of 2017, which we expected to be the place where we would retire. It was in a private community, away from town, with a pool that had a screened-in enclosure and backed up to a wooded area. We could get up in the morning and sit on the back porch and watch deer eat and play in our back yard. We were very excited about how things were working out and how God was blessing us.

Then July came around and I lost my job. Of course in today’s economy, this is not an unusual occurrence. I have worked in several different industries, always in management and I was hopeful that I would be able to find another position fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it appears that now I am “over qualified” (which really means too old) for every job I have applied for. After numerous rejections and “we will give you a call”, my wife, after being retired from school teaching for a number of years, went back to work. We expected this would just be temporary until I could find employment. Then, at the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area and our house was flooded. We were the last ones on the street to be evacuated, having to wade in water up to our chests to a boat that could take us to dry land.

We were able to stay in the neighborhood due to some friends opening up their home and allowing us to stay with the. Little did we know that it would be over four months before we would be able to return to our home. So, my unemployment was actually a blessing in disguise. Being unemployed allowed me to work at our home each day and save money. We didn’t have flood insurance (we did not live in a flood zone), so we has to pay for all the repairs ourselves. Fortunately, we had great friends, a fantastic church and great relatives that volunteered their time and donated money to help us through this trying time.

God blessed us more times than I can count during this difficult time. It seemed that every time we started to run low on funds and were deciding what we could repair and what we could postpone that God would send another blessing our way. We had people donate time to come and tear down and replace Sheetrock, paint walls, install cabinets, require electricity, and the list goes on and on. We had people we had never met stop and bring food for workers, or drop off materials or donate money. When it came time to replace the floors, we were trying to figure out how we could move in and wait to install them until we could save the money – then my wife received a phone call from a friend that told her not to worry about the cost, she was going to pay for the materials and installation. How do you respond to that kind of generosity?

It seemed like we had miracles on almost a daily basis, from: a co-worker of my granddaughter donating a $100 gift card to us, our church providing labor as well as several thousand dollars in funds for materials, receiving an unexpected check from a profit sharing plan from a company I had left over a year previously, receiving a check from the Houston Realtors Association, receiving funds from Ace Hardware where my wife worked, etc. God continually blessed us and still continues to do so even as I write this blog.

As I stared earlier, this has been a humbling experience and a great life lesson. God has to remind us that He will provide and that sometimes we need to get out of the way and let Him work. Coincidences? I don’t believe in them. I believe in GOO – or God Ordained Opportunities (see our new website, http://www.thegoogroup.com). But that is a topic for another blog. All I can say is thank you God for humbling me and allowing me to see and be a witness to Your Power.