Picture what could have been a glorious Sunday sleep in, blown into the abyss thanks to a communication breakdown with my daughter’s tennis coach. Yep not one to hold grudges (much) I got the cancellation half way to the tennis club. Wide awake I decided to surprise my sister with a visit and to top it off, grabbed us takeaway coffees from Zarraffas. Fast forward to the late afternoon when I decided to check my account balance (my usual Sunday ritual) to see how much money I’d blown over the weekend.
To my surprise I notice a transaction from Zarraffas for $200 and nearly fell off my chair!! What the heck…no bloody way they charged me $200 instead of $20. Yep I flipped my lid, jumped into the car and headed back to Zarraffas. As I approached the window, there were two cars in front of me. As I got closer to the window I recognised the woman that served me earlier in the morning. Once I was pretty much at the window, she decided to swap windows with her colleague. I said to the young girl …no I don’t think so, please get your colleague over to my window. As the woman approached me she says to me before I could even say a word…it was an honest mistake…I saw the receipt. Ok I said, so why are you trying to dodge me then? Why didn’t you come after me once you saw the receipt?
Anyway I said….since it’s an honest mistake, you’ll have no trouble refunding my money. And then the bomb shell….yes an honest mistake but I can’t help you with the refund. You will have to come back tomorrow when my manager is in to authorise the refund. That is our policy as all our accounts are processed via our head office. GREAT….here we go, let the games begin!
My response…..I don’t think so! The same way your manager authorises you to take my money…..you are authorised to refund my money, especially when you take an extra $180 for goods worth only $20. I, the customer do not pay the consequence of your mistake. You have already inconvenienced me by me having to come back to you so here’s my policy….either you refund me my money right now or I call the police and have you charged with theft. Her response again…but I’m not authorised. So I said ok if you cannot refund the money back to my card then you will have to give me cash. She rolled her eyes with a huge amount of sympathy…NOT and I stood my ground and said I’m not leaving here without my money. She walked off with my bank card, came back and said here’s $200 cash and gave me back my bank card. Now how did we go from no…cannot give you a refund to giving me back my money and shouting me coffee? How? By speaking with confidence and challenging the status quo! Sure it’s not easy to do, it does require grit and determination (thinking outside the box) but you must stand up for what you believe is right.
The moral of my story…yes we all make honest mistakes (I can accept that) but business owners need to ensure their policies support the customer experience as opposed to penalising the customer for an employee’s mistake. This requires formally training your employees to remedy such mistakes on the spot. It is utterly unacceptable to take someone’s money against their will (essentially commit fraud) and default or pass the buck onto another staff member/management to resolve. Such incidents require an immediate response, end of discussion.
The lesson for me, don’t be too trustworthy, always ask for a receipt and check the damn receipt to make sure I don’t get overcharged for a purchase.
Challenging the status quo in a business environment is no different to an individual and/or lawyer challenging existing regulation or legislation practice. In the same way that Judges have been known to hand down wrong decisions, so have leaders by implementing rigid systems/protocols without regular review to ensure its relevance and/or need to adapt.
Instead we end up training our employees to literally engage in robotic behaviour …..either it ticks the box or you (the customer) are out. As opposed to looking at each situation on an individual basis, on its own merit and thinking critically whether in fact the system/protocol requires adjusting to accommodate a change in environment or more importantly a change in customer needs.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate of compliance practices and have seen the benefits in adopting such practices, but there has to be a balance. Compliance practices need to be challenged and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure relevance in the current business environment. Compliance isn’t just about conformity, it’s about respect for others and accountability. Leaders need to embrace another perspective by encouraging their employees to speak up and challenge the status quo which is critical in today’s ever changing business environment. Having a workforce that challenges ideas is paramount as it ensures robust discussions are put on the table, fosters critical thinking, challenges your own thought process and most importantly, it generates momentum and gets everyone involved.
Does your organisation encourage you to think outside the box?
Are you smothered by red tape in your organisation? Do you or can you speak up about it?
How does one know when enough is enough and its time to move onto another dream, another idea? Based on my experiences in goal attainment thus far, I would say if the burning desire far outweighs any inkling to quit, you have to keep going. Dig deep and insulate yourself from all the negative opinions by believing in yourself. Fire up your grit and persistence, go for gold!
Another very important lesson I’ve learned along the way is to be patient and know when to strike.
“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen
Find that one thing that is unique about you and embrace it, it’s what makes you, you.
Too often we want to conform to what society tells us we should do or be but you should only do so if and when it aligns with your goals, values and beliefs. Challenge the status quo people, you are entitled to it.
Be grateful there is only one you……there wasn’t one before and there won’t be one after…there is only one Lilianna Kovacevic and that is downright cool with me!
A great way to celebrate ‘you’ is to put up pictures or accolades you received over the years which brought you the joy, happiness and confidence you might be lacking right now. Go back to those moments to draw inspiration for your next venture. These are your affirmations that you can achieve your goals no matter what the setbacks might be.
Here’s to celebrating more of you and less of everyone else.
Wishing you all a great week!
Whether you are a parent, teacher or manager what makes you an effective leader is your ability to truly engage, collaborate and influence. Do this and the discretionary effort will follow as a result of trust, good rapport and walking your talk e.g. achieving a mutual agreed goal.
The only way I knew how to deal with this dreaded process of ‘letting go’ was to write myself a “Dear Life” letter. This is for all of you out there who today (yes tomorrow is another day) are facing the same challenge as me…..STAYING POSITIVE
Thank you for the journey so far. I’ve learned a hell of a lot in my 40 years and can safely say that people will undoubtedly let you down and equally surprise you too!
Whilst I’m grateful for the diversity of people, I do wish we invested more time treating each other with respect and dignity. Ok I get it we don’t live in a perfect world….I’ve certainly had my fair share of ups and downs and I’m sure I’ve pissed a few people off along my journey.
Now to everyone out there that says…don’t let it get to you, stay positive….do me a great big favour and let me have my moment. I want to be angry, I want the world to know I’m friggin pissed off BUT I also want the world to know that I take full responsibility for where my life has taken me so far.
Yes I have failed but I have equally achieved. I’ve lost money, I’ve gained money. I’ve been let down, hell I’ve let people down too. I will not let anger get in the way of my dreams. I will not give up on my dreams and I will not make excuses for not living my dream.
I will continue to BELIEVE that anything is possible. More importantly, that I can & will make it happen! And to all the negative people out there, please stay out of my way!