Archives for posts with tag: On Being Human

 Flash! Business has learned the value of customer ratings; or Using the carrot and  a stick approach to management and control 

I had just come home from a shopping exercise.  I made one small purchase.  My “shopping assistant” was very helpful and I commented offhandedly, “I hope they pay you well?”

“Alas, no,” he said. “I don’t quite get minimum wage, plus they keep my hours low so they don’t have to pay benefits.  In fact, I work three of these types of jobs to keep my young family going.”

Walking up to the pay counter, I told the cashier,” I wish there was some way of thanking the young man for his assistance.  Her face lit up:

“There is,” she exclaimed!  Just go to the website listed on the bottom of your receipt, go online and you can take a survey and place his name on it.  He’ll be delighted, I’m sure!  Do one for me if you like.  My name is Jamie.”

Some weeks later I was talking with the store manager where I do much of my basic merchandise shopping.  I told her about my earlier experience filling out the “satisfaction” form.  I asked whether they had such a program.

“Of course we do,” she replied.  “By the way, how good was your evaluation on a scale of 1-5?”

“I remember giving 4 5s and a 4.”

“Oh,” she replied.  “Then you shouldn’t have bothered.”

“Why,” I asked.

“Because the only ones management probably uses are the straight 5s.  He probably got dinged for your “bad” review.”

“You’re pulling my leg,” I replied.

“No, I’m serious,”   she said.  “In fact, in our store, upper management uses these ratings to compare store performance to other stores in the chain.  It’s one of the factors rating not only store performance, but individual performance to goal. It can even impact performance bonuses.  Bottom line:  It’s just another hammer in upper management’s tool kit.”

“But, hold on; who gives all 5s,” I protested.”  “I wanted to praise the young man, not damn him!”

Now, my store manager friend was upset: “You want to play the game? Then learn the rules,” she retorted.

So, I asked a couple of other managers I knew in other industries.  Yeh, they said, one adding:  “So what?”


I can’t help it!  Now, every time I get a “How’d we do?” notice, I ignore it.  I feel like an aggregate statistic existing as a management ploy.  I would like to fill these surveys out, thinking I am participating in helping the company do a better job serving their customers.  But, I don’t feel that way, so I don’t bother.  In fact, I am bothered that I have to spend time deleting this auto response trash.  At least I’m not hurting anyone or putting unintended pressure on someone.  Maybe I should have caught on sooner.  I never get any response stating my thoughts were appreciated – or read, for that matter.  Not even an auto response!  Not even from the president!


There is always “the other side” of the issue.  I haven’t talked with “upper management.”   So, how do you as an owner-manager use your “How’d We Do or Tell Us How We’re Doing,” tools?

Do you use them?  If so, for what purpose?  Does anyone in your organization read the replies?  How do you use the aggregate information elicited?  Do you use the results as a “Management hammer, in your management control tool kit?”

Just to be upfront, if you answered any of these questions with less than a 5, don’t bother to reply.


Que La Paz Prevalezca en la Tierra! May Peace Prevail on Earth!



Part of the Business Ethics series, “The Human side of Business.”






It came with such fury, the rain, yesterday.  Mona and I had returned from Playa Hermosa.  We enjoyed a light lunch and had just settled down for a lazy afternoon nap (yes, for some of us at least, the afternoon siesta is alive and well).

I could feel myself beginning to nod off when I heard the first raindrop.  Then the rain hit, hit with such ferocity as if all its pent-up frustration at being held back for the entire “green season” was unleashed at once.  No thunder yet; just the pounding rain driving its drops hard into our metal roof, creating its own thunder of sound and fury, our small casa becoming the surround sound speaker for the symphony.  Unrelenting and undeniable, the rain consumed our senses, falling so hard and so steadily that we were soon blissfully asleep.

We awakened an hour later, the roar still deafening, the chorus now joined by eye-popping lightning followed by tremendous claps of thunder.  We went out to the porch to watch the lightening dancing out on the sea!  Such an incredible display of raw power.  The rain had now overwhelmed our deep gutters creating waterfalls off the eaves.  Our canedas, cement drains designed to carry off and drain the water, were overflowing, the trays filled with mud, sticks and leaves.  Now, we had our own mini rapids and dams!

Note:  Since I do not have video privileges on WordPress, I have uploaded a short video on my Facebook page).

The rain continued unabated for another six hours before stopping just as abruptly as it started. The light show continued on into the night.  These storms are like cleansing agents, at once washing months of dust and dirt from plants, trees, even casas.  At the same time, we find they open our hearts and soul to all that surrounds us.  I can’t think of a better high and “coming down” is easy and peaceful.

Now such a storm has not always affected me with such anticipation and joy.  I am including an earlier post from a couple of years ago to provide some perspective.



Meanderings of a Possibly Deranged Mind

It’s raining, four hours and counting – hard, and steady – beating down on our casa metal roof, the roar deafening, assaulting mind and body; consuming, beautiful in its special brutality.  And the rainy season is six weeks away!  

Mona loves it!  It reminds her of her cabin days in Northern Minnesota.  I’m not so sure.  The cacophony of sound feels like an invasion on my privacy, my Right to peace and quiet.  But, oddly, I’m getting used to it, the rain.  It has a cadence of its own.  It cares not how I feel; it just Is.  And, I am losing it or losing to it, the rain?


It’s raining so hard, how hard?

Beautiful. Simply beautiful!  Its raining – hard!  Mona loves the rain beating on our roof.  I don’t know.  I need more time.  The rain will most certainly oblige!

Happy 4th of July!


July 4, 2012, Casa de Teka, Ojochal, Osa Puntarenas, Costa Rica