Vivek Mehrotra
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Why My Horse Doesn't Listen?
Why My Horse Doesn't Listen?
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While conducting a program on ‘Assertive Communication’ I was trying to impress upon the above-mentioned point. A participant who was working in the market research department asked for a solution to her problem. She told me, “Everyday I get numerous requests to provide data. Everyone wants it on top priority. Since; I am unable to say ‘No’, I end up conforming to their requests. In the process my own work suffers and I have to listen to the scolding form my boss for not completing assignments on time”. While discussing further, she came up with most of the fears listed above. In addition, she mentioned that everyone, while asking for data, tells her that the boss wants it. I suggested something which she not only agreed to work upon but also gave me feedback a few months later. I asked her to keep in mind her own priorities. I told her, “Now onwards, when someone approaches you with a request for the instant data, instead of saying no you should give an alternative timeline as to when you will be able to provide it. If someone insists on getting it urgently, consult with your boss as to which job is more important or urgent. It will ‘hit two birds with one stone’. If the boss has really assigned an urgent work to someone he will certainly like and will ask you to finish the job in time. If someone was taking the name of the boss just to get the job done quickly, this person will get exposed”.

Kamal was working as a Store Manager with a leading retail chain of garments. It was an extremely tiring day. Not only was it humid but there were frequent power cuts during the day. The atmosphere inside the store was very uncomfortable. Kamal was tired and had a slight headache. On top of that Anil, who was to relieve him, came in half an hour late. Kamal was about to leave the store when a customer walked in and addressed Kamal very rudely, “Will you listen to my problem?” Kamal looked at him and said, “Wait, somebody will attend you”. The customer lost his cool and said, “How dare you ask me to wait? Do you know who I am? My father is the Deputy Superintendent of Police. I will see you all. It seems this company employs lousy staff”, he said to one of the customers standing by. Kamal, instead of paying attention to what the customer was speaking, told him “let me tell you my duty hours are over, and by the way I am not a paid servant of your father. If you want to complain about me, do it. This is the address of my company’s Head Office”, and gave him his visiting card. Though it is difficult to continue your transactions in such a situation, it is not impossible. It depends upon you; how you change your approach and adapt your response according to the situation. For example, if Kamal had spent just five more minutes and listened to the customer’s problem or introduced him to Anil, the situation would not have become so bad.

Robin was working as the senior executive with a leading telecom operator. Usually, there is a heavy rush in the store. However, that day there was a very heavy rush because it was the last day of a scheme that the company had announced offering additional discount on the postpaid connections. Robin was overloaded with work as two of his front-line sales staff members were on leave. Other than him there was only one salesgirl, who was trying to manage the customers. Customer rush was so much that there was hardly any place to stand. It was becoming unbearable for the customers because the air conditioner was not able to cool the store sufficiently due to the large number of people inside the store. Suddenly, a customer started shouting at Robin who was behind the counter and said, “You are a cheat, you don’t want to give us benefit of the scheme and that’s why you are taking so much time to clear every customer.”

Robin for a moment was stunned. He felt like saying, “Sorry, I can’t help it, if you want the scheme please go and stand at your place. I won’t be able to make it faster.” But then he was reminded of the training program which he had attended few weeks back at the company’s training centre. Within seconds the entire training ran through his mind. He was reminded of the trainer’s example of Lord Krishna, “Never react, rather always act”. With a smile on his face, he looked towards the customer and told, “Sir, don’t worry, the store will not be closed till the time every customer gets his scheme benefits, please be patient.” His voice was loud so that everyone could listen; however, it had a touch of politeness. It not only worked on the customer who was shouting but others too stopped grumbling. All of a sudden the atmosphere within the store changed.

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