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As readers of my previous post will know, I was on holiday last week and it was two weeks of utter relaxation.  I flew back into Melbourne last Sunday and headed off to find our taxi.  Picture two parents with two large bags and a pram holding a less-than-happy child waiting for the lift.  The lift arrives and the doors open, as do the cargo area doors at the far end of the lift whereupon a security guard enters, holds up his hand in the style so beloved of traffic policemen everywhere and orders us to “just wait”.  I think to myself that perhaps he missed “Dealing With The Public (Who Pay My Wages) Skills 101”

The lift returned and he was still in it when we boarded.  I decided that some feedback was in order and offered him the suggestion that ordering people to do something might not be the best approach in this environment and that people will comply much more willingly if they feel they’ve got some involvement in the decision-making process.  His stated view was that “this is a goods lift and so I don’t have to ask ANYTHING”. It’s funny but none of the signs around the airport make mention of a goods lift, and in any case, does that preclude the use of some basic courtesy and human relations skills?

After a short conversation, feeling that I wasn’t going to achieve anything of value to either of us in this brief interaction, I asked for his name in order to raise the issue with management.  His view was that he didn’t have to give it to me and he didn’t have to allow me to take his picture for identification purposes.  He was, of course, correct but he missed the fact that he is obliged by law to wear certain means of identification whilst engaged in his duties.  No worries, I thought – he was, shall we say, distinctive, in his appearance and manner and Tullamarine is certainly not JFK Airport in terms of scale.  A couple of short conversations with airport staff revealed the individual’s identity and his managers email address at MSS Security - a response to my email is, at the time of writing, still outstanding.

Every single member of your organisation is in sales or in support of sales in some way and their actions every day, in some small (or not so small) way, colour the view that the market has of your organisation.

What impression are your staff making?

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