The Robert Bacal, Not Yet In Memoriam Library of Articles
Articles listed on this page are by Robert Bacal, CEO of Bacal & Associates and Work911. You are welcome to use these for your own personal use. Please keep in mind that they are copyrighted. Please review our reprint policy (or ask us) before using any of our articles. By abiding by the law, you ensure that we will create new material for our visitors. Due to the size of the library we have categorized the material in a number of ways to make access easier for you.
So, How To Present Over Two Hundred Articles To Readers Such As Yourself?
It's a conundrum. That's a lot of articles, and many can be classified in multiple categories. So, here's how we're doing it.
Access the articles by category using the menu "Browse Bacal's Articles By Topic" located in the left hand column of most of our pages.
However, if you are masochistic enough, this page is for you. We're going to list our articles plus brief descriptions all on this page. It's long. But, hey, we're warning you, you might be here a while.
Newest Additions By Robert Bacal
Make sure you check out the new additions here:
Stop Lying To Yourself About "Not Having Enough Time It's probably the most common, unintentional lie we tell ourselves and others, and it's harmful.
The Complete Utter Failure Of Employee Engagement Efforts Despite a billion dollars a year investment, employee engagement efforts have done little but fatten the wallets of survey companies and consultants.
How To Make Your Support/Admin Staff More Able To Help You Managers can do a lot to help support staff help them. It doesn't just happen.
Why You, (and most of us) Believe In Stupid Misleading Ideas Like The MBTI and Employee Engagement? Yes, often the emperor is naked. Why can't we see it right away?
Situational Team Decision Making: The Four Modes There's no best way to make decisions in teams. It's all about using the process that best fits the team, and the issue.
Why Employee Suggestion Programs Often Backfire On the surface getting ideas from employees makes sense. So why are these programs usually terrible failures?
- Supporting Your Support Staff So They Can Support YOU: Your administrative staff have untapped potential to help you manage effectively, if only you'd make an attempt to use their knowledge and skills. Here's how.
- Seven Things To Avoid For A Successful Employee Suggestion Program: Employee suggestion programs are a great way to boost employee engagement, and involve the people who often know best how to fix things, but it needs to be done properly.
- Authentic Leadership: Is Dana White, President Of The UFC The Most "Authentic" Leader On The Planet: He's brash. He's a star, and he's a hugely successful company president. He's also insulting, aggressive, obnoxious to almost everyone at one time or another. What can we learn about being authentic as a leader?
- The One, and One Thing Only That We Know About Leadership: Leadership has interested human beings for centuries, but the remarkable thing is how LITTLE we know about it. We can't predict who will be a good one, and not. Here's why.
- Zero Defects: A Concept From TQM That Is Still Relevant In 2013 While TQM has faded in popularity, some of the ideas should be revived since they have value even outside of a Total Quality Management Initiative.
- Managing Millennials? Do You Need To Manage Them Differently Than Other Generations? Or is Good Management The Route To Go There's so much talk about various generations and how they need different management approaches. True? False?
- Reasons Managers and Business Decision Makers MUST Understand Basics of Research: Stop Bandwagon Jumping With These Eight Steps There's so much bad information, pseudo-science research and much of it is repeated endlessly in blogs and in social media. Don't get diverted from what works to what is a fad. In this article we explain the problem, and suggest 8 steps all business decision makers should take. And, for that matter, any intelligent thinking person.
- Performance Appraisal Goofs - Common Managerial Mistakes Series In this column we look at perhaps the area where managers make the most mistakes--in performance appraisals.
- Leaders Who Refuse To Lead - Common Managerial Mistake Series When managers or formal leaders refuse to take on the responsibilities of leadership, some very nasty things can happen to organizations.
- Over Empowering Employees - Common Managerial Mistake Series Is it possible for managers to OVER empower employees? We cover this common management mistake in this article that explains how managers can impact performance by trying to over empower staff, at least in some situations.
- Inconsistent Trust Destroying Management Behavior - Common Managerial Mistake Series Some managers have a tendency to do things that destroy trust and employee loyalty. In this article we explore the issue of INCONSISTENCY, and how that causes problems for any organization.
- Old Words and New Management: Delegation It's essential that we understand that the old meaning of words used to describe management techniques (like performance appraisal and delegation) no longer work. Managers must learn new ways and not be trapped by "legacy thinking" they learned from their managers who learned, in turn from theirs.
- Exhorting Employee To Work Harder - Common Managerial Mistakes Series It's a common managerial practice -- exhorting staff to work harder or better, and here's why it rarely works, and when it does work, it wears off, leaving mistrust in its wake.
- Delegation - What Is It Good For? Absolutely Something At Work AND At Home With just a little shift in perspective we can supercharge traditional delegation to get even more benefits from the process, AND it works a HOME as well as at work!
- Little-Bitty Quality Steps - Thirty-Two Small Steps One of my favorite articles from the Bacal archives because it's got some neat ACTIONABLE ideas that are simply good management! Fun, too.
- Toxic Organizations - Where They Come From, What To Do Toxic organizations damage people at a level beyond that what occurs in average organizations, and there's a tendency for everyone to be either a victim or a silent bystander. Here's more on the topic.
- Our Dead Strategic Plan It's amazing how much time is spent on developing strategic plans only to have them moulder in the back of desk drawers, completely forgotten and useless. Here's what to do to make your strategic plan come alive.
- Improving Communication - Tips For Managers One could argue for the importance of many things that contribute to successful companies, but communication between manager and employees is probably one of the most important. Here are some tips to improve communication.
Winning Organizations - Applying What We Know About Sports/Athletics
Written during an Olympic year, a quick take on what we know about high performers in athletics and how we can apply what they do to winning organizations.
- Winning Management - Learning From Olympic Athletes Another short piece on what we can learn from Olympic athletes, particularly the process of visioning, and how it applies to effective management.
- Fast Track To Promotion and Recognition Want to know how to accelerate your career? Here are some tips.
- Leadership Secrets - The Responsive Manager/Leader We often think of leadership as involving a leader being "out front", but there's another component -- how one responds to what is communicated to a leader by those around him or her. The key to loyalty? Being "responsive", and we explain it here.
- Bullying And Manipulation At Work While bullying tends to be an overused term in the workplace these days, it can be an issue, and managers are expected to intervene, or better yet, prevent bullying from happening in the first place. That's what this article is about.
- Twelve Tips For Recognizing The Contributions of Your Employees And Colleagues It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that money is the only method to reward contributions on the part of employees, but in fact, recognition in non-monetary forms is as powerful, and often more powerful and with less side-effects than relying on monetary rewards. Here are 12 methods for recognizing the achievements of employees, and even colleagues.
- Managers - Are You Getting The Information You Need To Do A Good Job?!To manage effectively requires getting the right information in a timely way, so you can make informed decisions. It's not uncommon for managers to create a climate in which employees feel hesitant to share information, particularly bad news.
- For Managers - How Constant Change Affects Managers And Wears Them Down And Out Line employees aren't the only ones who wear down from the constant workplace change we see in today's workplace. Here's a short piece on how managers are affected by constant change.
- Dealing With Human Speed Bumps! Some employees react to change and new ideas with resistance, or are slow to embrace new things. Not only can managers "cope" with human speed bumps but they can use their unique skills to ensure ideas aren't pulling the organization in the wrong direction.
- Managing The Maverick Employee Maverick employees are often brilliant, but have trouble performing in a team environment or following rules. They can drive managers crazy, but they are also hard to fire, since they bring value in so many ways. Here's how to manage the maverick employee.
- Ignoring The Law of Unintended Consequences - Common Managerial Mistakes Series For every action there is a reaction, and it's the same when instituting change. Even the most positive things introduced into the workplace, in fact, anything, will have some unintended consequences that manners need to try to anticipate.
- The Exit Interview Mini Guide For Managers Exit interviews are very important to gather information you can use to improve your management approach, and stay in touch with what's going on with employees. Here's a guide to use, and to ensure exist interviews remain safe.
- Time To Declare War On Unnecessary Work? By leading the move towards become more efficient by eliminating unnecessary job tasks, you can become more effective while improving the morale of frustrated employees.
Managing Those Difficult, Frustrating, and Productivity Killing Employees
- One Hundred & One Uses For Difficult People - Difficult Employees Can Be Useful To Managers and Supervisors
- Why People (Managers) Fall Victim To The Antics of Difficult Employees
Nobody wants to become a victim of a difficult co-worker or employee one might supervise, yet, the biggest part of being a victim is inaction. Why is it that people often wait too long to deal with a difficult colleague or employee.
- Blaming The "Difficult Person" For Difficult Behavior Gets In The Way Of Addressing The Problems
While it often doesn't seem to be the case, a difficult employee or person is difficult on his or her own. Check out YOUR reactions, and particularly how you may blame the person, and how that's going to make your life more difficult.
- What Are Difficult People After? Understanding what difficult people, whether they be co-workers, your employees, or customers can help a lot in determining how you should handle difficult people situations.
- Taking Personally The Antics Of Difficult Employees Makes It Harder To Manage The Situations: Supervisors who have their emotions tweaked by difficult employees don't manage the situations well.
- Managers and Supervisors Sometimes Can Accidentally CREATE Problem Employees: It's easy to blame employees for "being hard to manage", but sometimes managers actually contribute to the problem and inadvertently cause difficult employee behavior.
- Self-Assess Whether YOU Are Accidentally Making Your Own Difficult Staff and Employees: Some tips to do a self-assessment for managers to determine whether you are part of the problem of difficult employee behavior.
- Understanding The Cycle of Change, And How People React To It There is a fairly predictable set of steps people apply to adapting to change that are essential to know if you want to bring about change in your organization. Here they are.
- The Importance of Leadership In Managing Change Whether change is imposed from outside as a result of circumstances, or is planned and designed from the inside, leadership IS the critical factor that will determine whether the results expected from the changes will occur, or not
- Leading Those That Remain After Downsizing Or Job Loss Often the people who remain after downsizing would have been better off losing their jobs. It's those that remain that bear the brunt, emotionally and practically, as work loads increase, and morale plummets. Leadership is the answer.
- For Managers - How Constant Change Affects Managers And Wears Them Down And Out It's easy to forget that managers are as much victims of the fast flow of change in the workplace, particularly if you are an employee "looking up" at them. In fact, the toll of a constantly changing workplace exacts a greater toll on decision-makers than non-decision makers, as per a number of psychological studies on stress.
- The Responsive Leader/Manager There's no single "thing" common to all successful leaders, but one thing that's worth looking at is how leaders and managers respond to the people around them. We call this "responsiveness", and in this article we discuss its relevance to leaders.
- The Responsiveness Paradigm In this article we explain the idea of "responsiveness" as a general characteristic. There's great potential to extend the notion beyond being responsive to people, but also to environmental cues and variables that come with change.
- Turning Around Negative Attitudes Common problem - negative attitudes in the workplace. Hard pressed companies often break the psychological contract with employees, resulting in negative attitudes. Of course there are other reasons, but what can managers and leaders do to turn around negative attitudes at work? Here are some ideas.
- Leadership - The Link Between Planning & Doing As someone who's lead a number of strategic planning sessions, one thing that jumps onto my radar is that any kind of planning, to have any positive effect, must be based on the leader's ability to get across the role, mission, values and goals embodied in the plan. Planning is useless without this essential element. More in the article.
- The Long Term Effects of Downsizing Companies keep downsizing, then growing, than downsizing, and the cycle never ends. The reasons are many, not the least of which is over-catering on short term shareholder value. However, having gone through a number of these cycles, and having looked at the research, it's clear to me that the long term effects of downsizing, even once, are such that it's one of the dumbest things companies do. The research bears this out over and over, with a very large percentage of senior executives expressing disappointment that the goals of the downsizing were not actually met.
- Critical Factors For Dealing With Downsizing - Quick tips More on downsizing in the form of some quick tips.
- Empowerment Difficulties - Employees That Don't Wanna Despite all the hullabaloo about empowerment, in psychological terms, it's not simple. Proponents often base their ideas on false assumptions about human motivation, taken primarily from the upper middle class, white collar population. It's not that it's completely wrong, but it's not all the correct, either. Here's one issue: empowering employees who simply don't want the responsibility.
- Understanding The Seven Dynamics of Change Another brief article on seven principles you need to know to design and/or implement change in the workplace, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Performance Management, Performance Appraisals, and Working to Continuously Improve Performance So Everyone Wins.
Why Performance Management Fails – And What To Do About It
Handouts and material from Bacal's 2000 presentation at The Linkage's Conference On Performance Management, in Texas. Due to the age of this material, we grant visitors the right to share it with their colleagues.
Seven Stupid Things Employees Do To Screw Up Performance Appraisal
Simple, short and to the point and part of our series on how employees, HR and managers "screw up performance appraisal". And, I might ad, a classic article that's been reprinted, along with the others in the series, HUNDREDS of times.
Seven Stupid Things HR Does TO Screw Up Performance Appraisal
Well, it's only fair, right. Employees, managers and HR have a hand in making performance appraisals work so let's get them all in the hopper. Actually, HR does a number of things that actually get in the way of having an effective performance management and improvement system. Again, classic.
Seven Stupid Things Managers Do To Screw Up Performance Appraisals
Moving right along to managers, and the mistakes they make with performance appraisals. Once again, a classic article.
Why Employee Ranking Systems Lead To Disaster
Popularized by Jack Welch at GE, employee ranking seems to be losing steam, and for good reasons. Legal challenges and poor logic make ranking and "rand and yank" dangerous to company and employee success. Kudos to Jack for seemingly making it work, but it had more to do with him than with the soundness of the "scheme". Don't try to emulate this, you will fail.
Why Rating Systems Don't Work For Employee Appraisal
Employee ratings fail on almost EVERY criterion you might apply. They are unfair, invalid, misleading, and almost always used incorrectly. You need to know this, since ratings are the most common method used in large companies to "evaluate" staff.
Why Improving Performance Management Systems Is So Difficult
Why is it that companies often revamp their performance management systems, only to end up with something a little different, but ultimately the same as the old system?
Diagnosing Performance Problems
Absolutely critical to improving both individual and organizational productivity. You can't fix things if you don't know what's "broke" and what is causing the problems.
Five Sins Of Discipline
Discipline is about making a better future, and encouraging learning, but it's often misunderstood. Learn about what discipline REALLY means.
What IS The Point Of Performance Appraisal
Performance appraisal can't work if we don't know what the heck it's for and how to use it to achieve important outcomes. It's not rocket science but it's a bit more complex than you'd think.
Bidirectional Evaluation - You Evaluate The Boss, The Boss Evaluates You
What works well with staff evaluations is that there is communication going both ways. Not only is it a chance for employees to learn how they can be effective contributors, but it should also be a time when managers learn from employees about how THEY can clear away barriers to performance. Hence, the notion of bidirectional evaluation, bidirectional feedback.
Discipline & Performance
Problems Quick Tips
Some quick hints and tips about how managers and supervisors can deal with problem performance.
- The Language of Peace and Inter-Personal Harmony We have two distinct sets of language patterns (how we communicate). One builds bridges between people and institutions, even countries, while the other deepens the gap between the parties, and results in escalation. Best is that the good communication approach can be learned, rather quickly. By you. By anyone.
- Applying Bacal's Law Of Meaningless Utterances Meaningless Utterances (phrases that seem to mean something but don't if you think about them more deeply) signify unstated, and sometimes hostile agendas operating. You need to know this simply trick to identify BS.
- Using Positive Language To Change The Way People See You A classic Robert Bacal article that has been reprinted a number of times in print and for internal corporate use, it's about altering the words and phrases you use so you change how people perceive you and your attitudes. A Must Read.
- Public Speaking - Getting The Attention of Your Audience In public speaking the most important thing is to get and keep the attention of your audience. Using tried and true psychological principles about how the brain works, you can implement relatively simple, but highly effective ways of getting people to listen, stay alert and "hear" you message.
- Getting Heard By Your Boss Getting the attention and interest of your boss (getting heard) is essential for you career success, and to have input and have your ideas heard and considered. Most of us don't know how to do it, so in this short article we explain how to approach your boss, whether it's to ask for a raise, ask for more resources, or get your idea heard and recognized.
- Listen Up! Real Listening & How To Practice It There's listening, and then there's LISTENING, and you can't get better out it without practicing. The good news is you can practice even by yourself (strange, isn't it). This article explains how you can hone your listening techniques to create better relationships at home and at work.
- Learning About "Conversational Cons" What's a "conversation con"? it's language that isn't really about what it is supposed to be about. Think of it as language that wraps hidden agendas and is often used to manipulate. Strangest of all, we all use them sometimes, by accident, but you need to know when they are being used on you.
- Improving Communication By Eliminating Insinuation Insinuation is a passive-aggressive cowardly way of making comments, but we've all done it. Learn more about removing it from your verbal catalog.
- Exorcise Blame For Success One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your relationships is to get rid of blame type statements and questions, and move your conversations into the present and future, instead of the past. An essential read.
- Cooperative Communication - What Is It? Why Is It Important Despite what many people believe the specific words and phrases you use are very important in determining what happens next. Learn all about word choices, hot phrases and how to use language to get along with others.
- Dealing With Difficult People - It's About Skill The right attitude is important when dealing with difficult people, but without the skills, you haven't a hope. Learn more.
- Person Centered Comments - Path To Poor Relationship In a disagreement, the best way to really damage the relationship is to make person centered comments. A small change in your language can smooth disagreements out quickly.
- Defusing Hostile People - Part 1 In this multi-part article we help you learn how to deal with hostile, aggressive and angry people.
- Defusing Hostile People - Part 2 Second part of our series on how to deal with the more manipulative and aggressive people in your life.
- Dealing With A Difficult Colleague Got a difficult colleague? Don't we all at some point. In this article you'll find some tips and suggestions you can use NOW when interacting with a co-worker who is driving you nuts.
- Organizational Conflict - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly We tend to look at conflict as a bad thing, but some conflict is actually healthy and good. Some is bad conflict, and then there's some really ugly conflict. Here we explain the differences, and how you can harness conflict for better relationships and a better workplace.
- Basic Negotiating Tips It's amazing how much we negotiate on an every day basis without even realizing it. Here are some basic tips so you can improve how to negotiate more effectively.
- Dealing With Hostile Bait Hostile bait is language that has as its effect, causing you to feel emotional, upset, off-balance and while it's not always used intentionally, it's good to understand how it plays a role in arguments, disagreements and even attempts to manipulate. How do you deal with it? That's what this article is about.
- Is Conflict Bad? Most of us don't like conflict, but it does help to surface issues that we might best deal with in relationships. However, whether it is good or bad depends on the HOW.
- Eleven Things That Create Anger and Resistance In Others By identifying these eleven things that drive people crazy, you can improve your ability to "get through" and communicate effectively with others, at home and at work. Best yet, it's not hard.
- Dealing With Angry Employees Or Other Angry People Around You We live in an angry world, because we're all human. Here's some ideas on how to deal with angry employees, or for that matter, any angry person you might work with (or live with).
- The Difference Between Conflict Prevention & Conflict Avoidance There's an important difference between AVOIDING conflict, and PREVENTING conflict. One is like sticking one's head in the sand, and the other is designed to reduce conflict that CAN be prevented because its causes are predictable. Essential reading.
- Gathering Customer Service Data - Every Employee A Researcher Excellent companion article to go along with the previous one, employees are in ideal situations to collect and make sense of data about customer service in your company. The data they collect may not tell the whole story, but it will tell a good bit of the story that executives and managers often miss.
- Referring Customers To Competitors? Smart Business Move Seems counter-intuitive, but if you can`t meet the needs of your customer, you can create customer loyalty by referring to a competitor.
- Is Much of What You Believe About Customer Service Wrong? - Could Be Most people think they know a great deal about customer service because we're all customers, but it's dangerous to use just our own experience when it comes to providing service to customers. There's a lot of cognitive bias operating. Result? Much of what you believe about great customer service is probably wrong.
Customer Service Trends/Social Media
- Customer Service & Social Media Zealots Both Intolerant, and Short-Sighted (oh, and nasty, too) What happens when one disagrees with customer service and social media zealots? As with any extremists, it ain't pretty, which explains why a lot of customer service and social media "advice" is short sighted and wrong.
- Social Media Empowering Customers? Balderdash We debunk and explain why social will not make one iota of difference in terms of empowering customers, unless companies choose to believe this ridiculous claim.
- Bacal Interview: Where Do You See Customer Service Going This Year (Customer Empowerment) Customer service author Robert Bacal discusses the future of customer service and customer empowerment.
- The Tyranny of Middle Class Values and How Some Think About Work-Employee Engagement, Who Cares? "The current buzz word: employee engagement, has been linked to customer service quality. Oh, really? Employee engagement is a construct--something that doesn't exist, per se, and is an attempt to explain something, but do we really gain anything using it? Or is it a reflection of a middle class bias about how people function at work?
- Google+ For Customer Service? Things You Should Know Before Jumping In Google + is the new kid on the block, growing quickly, so should you use it to provide customer service to your clients? Before you jump in you should read these cautionary notes.
What Customers Really Want
- As A Customer is THIS What You Want? Not Me What do customers really want? WOW? Luxury? To be loved? Or do they want convenience, speed and basic service? We vote for the latter.
- A Guide To Customer Expectations Regarding Customer Service and Customer Experience In Various Industries and Niches There is no such thing as THE customer. It's not possible to accurately generalize about what CUSTOMERS WANT because this differs tremendously according to culture, geography and type of business. A five star hotel has customers and expectations quite different from a tire store, or even a lower tier motel.
- Customer Service and Why We MUST Get More Find Grained In Our Discussions To Improve It - Five Guidelines We revisit the issue of whether we can generalize about all customers, and conclude that we have to become more fine grained in our thinking and our analysis, if we want to provide customer service at just the right level.
Tough, Angry Customers
- Success With Difficult Customers - The Mind-set Here we take a look at the kind of mind-set or self-talk that is required to work successfully with difficult and/or angry frustrated customers. Mind-set is important!
- The #1 Mistake Made Dealing With Angry Customers There IS actually a #1 mistake people make when dealing with customers, and I'm betting you'll be surprised what it is since it comes from trying to help "too much".
- Understanding Angry Customers The better you understand what angry customers want and how their anger works the better you will be better able to have some compassion for them, and defuse effectively.
- Do Governments Have "Customers"? Indeed, government has customers, and particularly for government employees, it's good to understand this, since many government "customers" have the ability to make your life miserable. Better understand them, and how it benefits you to provide effective customers service in government.
- Humor For Learning - Words & Customer Understanding Some amusing customer type stories we can learn from.
- Gathering Customer Service Data - Every Employee A Researcher Who knows customers best? Employees, and that one reasons why every staff member can contribute to gathering data/information about your customers.
And Even More Customer Service Help...
Google+ For Customer Service? Things You Should Know Before Jumping In
Before you decide to invest in using Google+ as a means or communicating with and providing customer service to your clients, you'd better read this and consider the risks.
As A Customer is THIS What You Want? Not Me.
Some people, even those in the customer service industry, have some strange ideas about what they consider good customer service. Take a look. Does this make sense
A Guide To Customer Expectations Regarding Customer Service and Customer Experience In Various Industries and Niches
All too often we talk about "the customer" as if all are alike. They aren't. Here's an attempt to specify customer expectations for different kinds of businesses.
Customer Service and Why We MUST Get More Find Grained In Our Discussions To Improve It - Five Guidelines
Many of the discussions about customer service and customer experience consider "the customer" as having the same expectations about service and experience, regardless of location, industry and so on. Similarly, we talk about businesses as if there is one way to provide service, and that's not true. To improve service and customer experience we need to think and operate realizing the huge diversity that dictates what businesses do.
Is Much of What You Believe About Customer Service Wrong? - Could Be.
Since we are all prone to cognitive distortions, and we are in a period where wrong information is so easily transmitted and seen repeatedly, is it possible that a lot of what you believe about customer service could be wrong? The first in a series.
The Myth of Going Where The Customers Are (Customer Service and Social Media)
It's all wrong. Customers don't care whether their problem is fixed on the phone, or via e-mail, on Twitter, or wherever. They just want it fixed quickly, conveniently and with no hassles.
Why Customer Service Won't Differentiate Brands In The Market Place. And It'll Get Less Important In The USA
It's a myth that companies can differentiate their brands by offering better customer service. Except for a very few exceptions, almost no companies have succeeded at it, and economic and psychological forces will reduce the importance of customer service in brand differentiation.
Moving Companies & Airlines - Two Kinds of Businesses Struggling With Customer Service Issues. Why?
Stimulated by a series of irate tweets from a person mad at her moving company, this article looks at the issues of business realities, and understanding that the business to customer relationship is one of exchanged value that MUST allow the company to continue in existence.
Disasters Highlight Government and NGO Need To Train Staff To Deal With Frustrated and Emotional Clientele
It's been a bad year for natural disasters, and it highlights the need, not just for having technical support available in times of crisis, but also the need to have well trained government employees who are forced to deal with a stressed, often angry population.
- Toughest Customer Service Jobs? Government. Here's Why
Working in government in customer-facing jobs is the hardest customer service role in the world. In this article we explain why, and provide some tips for members of the public, and government staff.
The "New Age of Customer Service" - Getting It Right About Twitter, and Customer Complaints
Robert explains why claims about a new age of customer service resulting from the power of complaints on social media is false, based on some basic cognitive errors many of us are subject to.
A Typical Day - Why Technology is Worsening Both Customer Service and Customer Experience
A more personal experiential explanation of why technology isn't making being a customer any easier.
Government and Customer Service - An Oxymoron? Why Do People Perceive the Government As Being Poor At Customer Service?
Why is that the government seems to be so poor in the customer service area. While not an apology for government, this articles explains some of the reasons. It's simply not so simple as one might think.
Complex Systems The Source of Majority of Customer Service Failures - Part I
It seems like poor customer service occurs at the individual employee level, but for the most part, the majority of customer service failures come from systems that are so complex that the odds of failure is huge. It's an important concept that anyone involved in customer service, as provider or customer, should understand.
Seven Reasons Why Social Media Negatively Affects Customer Service and The Customer Experience
Despite the claims made by social media gurus and advocates, social media hasn't, isn't and will not result in better customer service. Here are seven reasons why.
Who NOT To Listen To About Customer Service Improvements
So many people, particularly online, profess expertise in customer service matters, but many look at customer service solely from the perspective of the customer, or serve as one sided advocates of a particular position on customer service. Legitimate experts are able to look at customer service from multiple perspectives, not the least is from a business-bottom line viewpoint. Here's some help at distinguishing the real experts from the loud pseudo-experts.
Customer Service Myth Breaking: Customer Service Quality Will NOT Improve Over the Next Few Years
Contrary to the "buzz" there is no indication that customer service has improved over the last few years. If anything customer perceptions of service quality have worsened with the advent of social media. The future? It's going to get worse, folks, because while some companies can differentiate themselves via customer service and use of social media, MOST companies cannot. Here's the explanation.
Delighting Customers/Exceptional Customer Service Critical? Nope. Myth!
One of the loudly trumpeted ideas about customer service is that it's worth delighting customers as a means of retaining them, and/or generating word of mouth. There's nothing wrong with creating "delight", but many businesses will not gain from these attempts. For Disney it works. For you? Read on.
It's Time To Stop The "Love The Customer" Nonsense and Get Serious About Customer Service
Contrary to what what customer service "advocates" preach, you don't have to "love the customers" to encourage them to return. This kind of mangling of both language and thought, demeaning the concept of love, does nobody any good. It's the wrong approach to improving customer service.
- Six Learning Points About Customer Experience - A Tale of Two Hotels
I share a personal experience with two hotels, one a middle to upper level hotel with big prices, and another a low cost, but full featured establishment. Guess which one wins?
Customer Satisfaction Data Every Staff Member A Researcher
An older article that highlights the importance of having all customer-facing staff members collect data, and provide data and interpretation to their managers as part of increasing customer satisfaction.
Social Media Empowering Customers? Balderdash
Find out why all the claims about social media empowering customers is just plain wrong, and based on a lack of understanding of power and influence.
- Idealizing Social Media Costs Millions In Waste
You can't have a powerful social media strategy unless you ensure you understand social media and HOW PEOPLE REALLY USE IT. If you have an idealized perception of social media it's will cost you, and big time.
- How To Develop A Social Media Strategy In A Parable By Robert Bacal
For people who prefer the blunt truth in story form, in this case, about social media strategy development.
- Developing A Social Media Strategy For Your Organization
If you want to use social media for business purposes, read this first!
Social Media and 50 Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong
Sadly we seem to be in an era where popularity determines what is "true". That so many people are saying similar things about social media effectiveness does not make it so.
The Church Of Social Media
Ever strike you that all the talk about the power of media sounds remarkably like the sermons, faith and belief found churches? Except without G*D, and all?
The Big Social Media Lie: Disagreement = "Don't Get It"
When social media proponents talk, they label anyone who disagrees by saying "They Don't Get It". Why? Maybe because their fanaticism is not based on data, or track record, but simply on faith and belief, NOT evidence. Why else would they put down CEO'S, executives and so on?
Why We Get So Much Faulty Information About Social Media
We are inundated with poor data and incomplete information about social media that makes it appear far more useful for business than is warranted. Why? Conspiracy?
Trainers are From Mars, or Is That Pluto, or, Maybe Just Goofy
From the "I really don't remember where this comes from and vaguely remember writing it" section, or "Truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to some people in the training profession. Really!
El earning, Distance Education, Not Equivalent to Full Time Study
Despite the common sense notion that HOW you learn something affects WHAT you learn and how you can apply it, distance education and el earning advocates push the idea that people should REPLACE traditional learning experiences (i.e. in class, full time study) with part time, distance or el earning programs. It's NOT the same, but the sad part is that people without the full time experience will never know what they missed.
- Comparing Various Instructional Methods - Matching Training methods with training purposes
For instructional designers and trainers, a must have chart that compares various training and instructional methods.
Why I Cannot Abide Social Learning “Experts” And Why You Should Beware
When "professionals" lose the distinction between ADVOCACY and unbiased analysis of available data, there's a risk of millions of dollars going to waste. Does this apply to el earning and social learning? Bet on it.
Going To Training? Some Hints
Attending a training session shouldn't be a day off. Attendees have responsibilities if the investment of time and money is to pay off for both employee and sponsor. Here's some hints to help anyone planning on attending training.
Personal Styles --
Time-Waster or Useful - Should You Join The MBTI Shuffle?
Personal (or personality styles) have become the astrology signs of the 90's and 2000's, it seems as they've become more popular endways, less understood. Instruments like the MBTI and the DISC have serious limitations that anyone using them should be aware of, including a danger of stereotyping and worsening organizational harmony.
- The Educated Training Consumer - Why Is Training Undervalued
We believe the better educated the seminar buyer, the better it is for everyone. Here are some reasons why training tends to be undervalued, focusing on those IN the industry.
The Value of
Value Clarification - Or - Cut Out The Navel-Gazing
Clarifying values is often used as a process to improve organizational functioning in organizational development interventions. Intuitively it makes sense, but is it a good path to go? Does it pay off, or could it engender more cynicism in the organization?
Strategic Learning Contracts - Maximizing Training Results
If a company is spending money on training staff and helping staff develop skills that benefit them, the company should be protecting its investment by making clear to the employee its expectations about his or her responsibility. Here's a simple approach to use for that purpose -- the strategic learning contract.
- What Facilitators
It's kind of a mystery. Facilitators are NOT trainers or teachers per se. They play a particular role in organizational development and learning efforts, and you SHOULD know the difference between facilitation and training since they work differently and suit different purposes and goals.
Getting Value From Training - How To Improve Return On Investment
If you are a manager or HR professional involved in training staff, this is for you, since it provides some straight-forward ideas on how to get value from training.
- Danger! Corporate Training Ahead
Sometimes training, mismanaged and badly arranged and communicated, is a BAD idea. Here's an example, along with a stern warning.
Ugh! Training, What's It Good For?
It's been fairly typical for managers, executives and even human resources professionals to believe that "training" is a solution to a broad range of problems. It isn't. Training has specific strengths and weaknesses and needs to be matched up with problems it CAN solve. Otherwise everyone ends up disappointed and decision-makers pull back on funding future training.
Losing Weight The Olympic Way
Written during an Olympic year, we look at whether the mental skills practiced by world class Olympic athletes can be used to improve health, and in particular, losing weight.
Work & Life Stress Getting To You? Getting Help
With No Shame
These days there's far less stigma attached to getting help if you suffer from stress, anxiety and depression, and there are more options -- effective options, available to you if you are experiencing problems. That said, it's good to realize that mental health challenges are no different from physical health ones, and sometimes, it's best to seek professional help.
Leaving The Nest - Surviving Layoffs
Unemployment rates are high, and layoffs have been rampant over the last several years. Here are some tips on how to survive layoffs.
Stressed Out? Some Solutions You Probably Haven't Tried
Here are some self-help techniques you can try for handling stress.
- Avoiding The Black Hole Of Employee Suggestion Programs Here are seven things that completely destroy the effectiveness of employee suggestion programs. Sidestep these pitfalls to get your employees involved.
- A Quick Guide To Employee Orientation For HR Staff And Managers
Often orienting new employees is given low priority, but you'll find that the best companies in terms of success pay special attention to how they get their new hires up to speed and "with" the organizational culture. An article for both HR professionals and managers, both of whom should be involved
Abuse Of Internet Access At Work - How To Address It
Who would have thought that this topic would re-emerge as even more important in the 2010's now that social media is so popular.
- The Role of Human Resources Departments?
Is there an ideal role for HR departments? Maybe, maybe not, but Robert Bacal shares his perceptions of what works.
- Why Do You Believe In Things That Aren't True: Employee Engagement, MBTI, Learning Styles
These three things have many things in common that convince people to believe even if there is actually little evidence to support their usefulness.
There are a lot more articles to add to this list, so use the browse by category menu on the left hand side towards the top.