Getting Engaged

If you are outside of a relationship, the very thought of getting engaged can quickly strike fear. Like personal relationships, those formed on-line or virtually in social networking communities function very similar to those we forge in person. There is an unspoken expectation of protocol and etiquette from those in the relationship along with some good advice to adhere to the appropriate rules of engagement.

We all function and exist in a multitude of relationships – the people, settings and structures of which form the rules for each accordingly. We learn in relationships, both personal and those in social networking communities, there are common sense rules; yes there are some unwritten rules. I have learned the unwritten rules are the ones you typically learn about after having become aware that you have violated one or more of them.

No different than it would be to butt into someone else’s conversation mid-sentence, the smooth entry for social networking is to listen first and then join in the conversation in an appropriate manner and time. Who is talking, listening, how and what is being said. Put your periscope up, look around, take a scan of the horizon. With a sense of perspective, you are much more likely to be on target in positively engaging the relationship for the short or long-term.

Successful engagement in social networking communities and on-line conversations begins with an awareness of the multiple paths to how we can get engaged. Assimilation and long term success in the relationship comes from working the right path and simply following the rules. Defining “engagement” would involve significant detailed direction, so allow me to share this excellent road map as a resource, courtesy of the ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus.

Engagement -mage from the Visual Thesaurus, Copyright ©1998-2009 Thinkmap, Inc. All rights reserved.

Growing your social networking relationships is rewarding in numerous ways. You have the ThinkMap, you know the rules…get the right perspective and get engaged.

Building Relationships – Virtually

Social Networking

Ever since I read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, I identified myself as a being a “connector.” As a connector, one of the great benefits of being actively engaged in social networking is the ever-present opportunity to link up with friends, both new and those with whom we have long-time trusted relationships.

Throughout 2009 I have been enjoying a growing camaraderie and close connection with a talented diverse group of fellow connectors via Twitter. Interestingly this group, now commonly known online as the #PositivePosse, was organized just like the venue it communicates in…virtually. No one person leads the group and no one person decided who else was going to be identified in the group – it all happened virtually, yet somewhat naturally. Relationships are being strengthened and solidified with every online post.

Shortly after 5:00 a.m. most every weekday mornings you will find the #PositivePosse gathering from all over the planet to start the day with encouragement and true compassion for one another. What is even more amazing is how our social networking entourage now includes visits, weekly calls, projects, business opportunities, fun, music, news, ideas, intel, insight, and inspiration that are shared among the entire group.

We cheer, laugh, work, think, recommend, refer, introduce and most of all we care for one another. True connectors don’t require a handshake or a hug to build and solidify relationships, we use compassion…it makes virtual relationships grow into valued friendships.

Flooded with Customer Service

Keith McNeill PlumbingWhere do you expect to receive the very best customer service? When asked that question, most people would likely respond a five star restaurant or hotel. For me, the most extraordinary customer service I have recently experienced came from a Tallahassee plumbing company, Keith McNeill Plumbing.

Needing a plumber for a house call is not typically described as a pleasant experience, but the personal and complete customer service I received was positively memorable. Starting with the call to office; I was greeted by name and asked when it would be convenient for me to have the visit scheduled, followed by an offer of a 20 minute advance notification call to my cell to allow my travel time from my office.

Like clockwork 20 minutes before the appointed time, I received the call from Keith McNeill’s office staff to notify me that the technician, Nathan, would be at our home at 2:00. When I pulled in the driveway, I was greeted by a clean cut, smiling plumber who extended his hand introducing himself as Nathan and he began to review the planned repairs.

I had called for two specific items, one of which I thought would be a minor repair and the other request which I anticipated to be more extensive. As I walked Nathan through the house, he was greeted by and quickly befriended our Shih Tzu, Bailey. Nathan took less than a minute to fix a small issue in a hallway bathroom. I then showed him the bigger concern where water leaked from the bottom of the toilet in the master bathroom. After a minute of exploration Nathan identified the source as small leak in a flex hose; another quick repair for what I thought was a major problem.

Having quickly resolved the two requests, he asked if there was anything else I would like to have him look at while he was here. I took advantage of the time and asked a couple of questions about a proposed sink replacement in the kitchen. Nathan asked what we had in mind, offered some related suggestions, took quick measurements, called his parts supplier, gave me an estimate and told me he was scheduled to be back in our neighborhood the next week and the replacement could be done at that time if we were ready. 

As he was writing up our ticket, he offered us a special discount for a residential promotion the company was offering. He also reviewed the invoice with me to see if I had any questions.  He then thanked me for calling Keith McNeill Plumbing and left me a postage paid evaluation card regarding the service call. A handshake and smile completed a very pleasant plumbing repair experience.

Already pleased with the plumbing repair, I was further impressed when two days later, I received a hand written card from Chase McNeill thanking us for our patronage, following up on the status of the repair and requesting us to keep Keith McNeill Plumbing in mind for any referrals.

So here I am, happy to make an intro to and giving Keith McNeill Plumbing a five-star rating for plumbing service in Tallahassee. The true measurement of excellent customer service is the unsolicited accolades from an impressed client/customer. Total teamwork from Keith McNeill Plumbing for the customer service win!

Gaining Quick Perspective

The NoticerEver notice how the proper perspective can help us adjust our outlook and attitude? Andy Andrews’ new book, The Noticer does just that.

A quick read through a variety of believable human situations  of how taking notice of the little things helps us fortify our most important relationships. Andrews provides readers with some sage advice from Jones, the lead character. Jones is a most unlikely resource to positively influence lives, which gives The Noticer a unique storyline.

Through Jones, Andrews offers timeless advice each of us can benefit from in our daily lives. The situations of each of the story’s characters Jones influences is believable in the times we live in.

The book from Thomas Nelson, Inc. offers reminders of how gaining the right perspective can allow us positively influence the lives of others. The Noticer is one to read and one to share with some special people in your life.

Losing a Faithful Friend

Jan '94

Jan '94

Do you believe dogs are man’s best friend?

This past week we lost one of our beloved family members, Hunter Abigail, our West Highland White Terrier (Westie.) For 15.5 years she had been a loving faithful friend.

Having a puppy from 8 weeks old is not much different than raising another child. Bred from championship stock, she was born in Ft. Walton Beach in a litter of 6 pups. In fact she had a brother, Rocky, who also lived in Tallahassee. Whether it was hanging out on porch or pool deck, traveling for the holidays or being chased by the children, she was great.

Hunter had a great veterinarian, Dr. Tom Davis, from the South Monroe Animal Hospital in Tallahassee, who affectionately referred to her as a “show girl.” This week Dr. Tom was right there with her as she passed away and he was a saint through out all of her days of care.

Hunter Abigail

Hunter Abigail

No doubt we are dog lovers; Hunter was easy to love. Over 15 + years of being a faithful friend, there was never a day of regret of being her buddy. Hunter Abigail you will be missed.

Communication + Teamwork = Great Taste

If you ever have the opportunity to dine at one of Ted Turner’s restaurants, Ted’s Montana Grill, be sure to request the best seat in the house – at the bar on the end in front of the grill and food prep area. My wife and I have found that not only do you get seated much quicker, you get to meet some of most friendly and talented staff in the restaurant business.

Dining while seated at the bar in Ted’s Tallahassee location also afforded us the occassion to witness how constant communication and teamwork combined to turn out a great product, in this case great food. Working furiously in a small cramped area with the heat cranking from the grill, steamer, ovens and fryer, this talented team continuously multi-tasked through a variety of orders, each of which was handled in an quick orderly process. To those seated at tables, they just realized it did not take long to get good food served fresh and fast.
What we saw and enjoyed with our meal was an organized team that communicated in normal tones with all of their co-workers and that team members jumped in and helped one another without being asked and without gripping or complaining. We got to be eyewitnesses to working examples of good communication and true teamwork.
A quality product produced in short order through the right recipe of communication and teamwork…add the special touch of fresh strawberry shortcake and you’ve created satisfied customers.

The Hope for Change

Is the true hope for change based on politics?  Inauguration

New year, new president, new directions for our country. Truly an exciting time for America regardless of our personal political preferences. For months we were inundated with the mantra for change through national, state and local political campaigns. The biggest change of late may be what is seen as the official end of the “me era.”

People are no longer obsessed with themselves and what they can do to best the other guy. There is a genuine shift in direction for people reaching out to help others and it goes far beyond economics. Offers to share insight and information are happening with our acquaintances and also with those we only connect with online.

Who ever said that being correct or doing the right thing evolved around politics? The hope for change is purely a personal experience and starts with us individually. Enjoy the inauguration of this new era!

A bite of the Apple

I was one of the fortunate 07/11, day of debut purchasers of an iPhone. As a confirmed BlackBerry user for six years with a PC on my desktop, this was a big day. After two weeks of use, I have become a solid convert. That may not sound unusual but here is the rest of the story.

iPhone 3GiPhone 3G

After waiting two hours in line to purchase my iPhone, my time with the clerk took longer than most everyone around me as she could not get the unit to complete the initial sync. Still euphoric for having one of the first 3G black 16GB units I tried to get some regular work done throughout the day. Looking through the accessories, I noticed I did not get the additional case I had purchased in my bag from the store. As my iPhone and I were getting accustomed to one another , I noticed the unit quickly went from warm to hot and the battery was draining in less than two hours with limited use. After taking forever for my new iPhone to get recharged, I headed back to the local AT&T store in Tallahassee. The helpful chaps there said I had to call AppleCare to get service or support and gladly handed me the case that was left out without question.

AT&T

AT&T

On my fourth day of iPhone ownership, AT&T gave me a “courtesy call” noticing I had accumulated over $1,200 in data charges since 07/11. They called to make sure I had the correct plan set up for my iPhone and after catching my breath, I assured them repeatedly I had selected the unlimited data plan. Great call on their part to not send a loyal customer to an early grave.

My dealings with AppleCare on the battery issue the following day were equally as satisfying. They first offered for me to send my iPhone to have them repair and return it; quickly amending their offer to send a replacement and I was to send my original back within a certain time frame. My new iPhone arrived next day delivery with complete instructions and everything for an easy return of my original.

A wait in line, slow checkout, missing merchandise, major billing error and product replacement all within four days – this sounds like a monumental opportunity to rant, complain and bad mouth on a blog.

Much to the contrary. AT&T and AppleCare are the Ritz Carlton of wireless providers and devices. Both are major corporate entities that took time to listen, resolve a billing issue and replace a product in a prompt, polite and responsible manner.

Any one of these issues could have damaged or destroyed a loyal customer relationship; instead they built and solidified customer loyalty. Imagine going through this and still telling everyone these are great customer service companies – they are! Oh by the way, my new iPhone 3G is functional and fun!

Good day to start…

Sunday, a rainy one at that, is a good day to start my blog. I have been blogging for a while through our office’s website Moore Consulting Group and today I start a fast run to get up to speed with several respected blogging friends.

Like so many things, we often don’t want to start something until we think it is the right time, like when the clock starts a new hour or gets to an orderly quarter hour increment. We make new life changing resolutions to begin on New Year’s Day. We change life patterns with graduation, marriage, child birth, death of friends and job changes.

Bottom line, it is a good day to start. Those of you who are already blogging – I am ever so grateful for help, hints and encouragement. Those of you who post on other blogs and don’t have one yourself…you will know when it is you good day or time to start.

I am by nature a connector – connecting people, ideas and thoughts – all the way to the point of impact.