Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thought Picnic: Use your heads more than your hands


Cross, really cross
Miffed does not begin to describe my feeling a few days ago when a good week after I had asked agents to sort out the issues of my proof of address, I got another email asking for the same. I covered that issue in an earlier blog.
It simply highlighted they are done nothing since then and I was not ready to stand for any nonsense. Immediately, I despatched an email to those who matter and asked that the recommended agency be dropped from handling my business for their lack of initiative and understanding of my situation.
Sorted in stride
I was quite pleased that the matter was resolved within the hour as all the parties immediately communicated with each other and appeared to reach some sort of compromise.
My premise was that it had become an inconvenient distraction and it could begin to interfere with my ability to concentrate on what I had to do.
Besides assurances I got from my employer, the agency sent me two emails, one from my first contact apologising for the misunderstanding and putting it down to chaser emails and the other also apologising but adopting a line of defence I will deal with below.
Now, because I have always worked in Information Technology, I rarely buy the idea that computers are to blame for problems created by poorly implemented algorithms without the requisite simulation of human interaction but that is the problem with processes, they sometimes take away initiative when the process is not fit for purpose.
As for the other email, I was told I was granted a month of leniency to produce some proof of residence, it was a statement that made me all the more irksome.
Understanding not leniency
Why I would want leniency is beyond me, I have committed no offence nor have I been criminal; I have just returned to the UK and within 6 days gotten a job that has me travelling around Europe – is that a crime? There literally will be no time to set up and proof residence for the foreseeable future.
If anything, rather than understand the exceptional circumstances I presented them, I was left to run the gauntlet of a rote-serf devoid of the ability to as it were think outside the box and where incapable, escalate to better equipped and informed persons in the hierarchy they report to.
Nothing annoys me more than being offered the excuse, “I am only doing my job” don’t even get me going because it implicitly means, “I do not know how to think through the problems I am given, I have to be told what to do.”
Managers and others
That again was a situation I met at my hotel this morning after a night without wireless internet connectivity. I let it rest thinking someone will address the matter with urgency only to be met by a desk clerk who suggested the service was offered by another company and that they were not responsible, then crowning the nonchalance with the fact that the service is free.
O God, I am blessed beyond what words can describe that I will rarely be gainsaid, if ever. Thank you.
I made it clear that it was because of that free service that my team had considered booking 5 rooms and then an additional 3 rooms in his hotel. It was a critical service component that gave them the competitive advantage that he should not ignore or we will take our business and the remaining 12 days of stay elsewhere.
I then said if he could do nothing about it, I would rather speak to someone senior like the manager to which he responded he was the manager. Nothing could be further from the truth because no decent manager shirks responsibility to ensuring a critical though free service component remains unavailable without showing a sense urgency to resolve the same.
And then this too
Desk clerks are not all like that, the one I met earlier in the day allowed me to use their computer to send an urgent email to the office.
This afternoon before I left to find a café from where I wrote this, I did meet the manager and what a difference there is between a manager and desk clerk.
That same difference was evidenced at the office between managers who asked having seen us in a room before locking the door and cleaners who after cleaning the rooms and seeing us move in and out of the room still locked the doors without asking and disappeared. If people will just use their heads before their hands.
Exasperation! Breathe, Akin breathe.

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