Monthly Archives: December 2011

Poor Management Culture

The WatersideI have recently read an article re-published by Manufacturing NZ (a part of Business NZ) with the title of “Three types of people to fire immediately“.

It would have to be one of the most appalling articles on how to manage staff I have seen. To suggest you should immediately fire an employee because they disagree with you or have their own opinion, is not only poor management practice, but in NZ would leave the employer open to a personal grievance case being lodged against them.

To have this practice endorsed by a supposedly leading business organisation reveals how deep-seated bullying behaviour is in some organisations.

I note that on the page where that article is posted there is no legal disclaimer, so could they be held responsible if someone just followed what was proposed there?

There are ways to manage/lead difficult people and doing it well can win loyal staff out of strong objectors. Even if you can not win them over you can not, in any way, sense or form, just dismiss them on the spot. There is a formal procedure to follow to manage staff performance and in New Zealand the Department of Labour has clear guidelines to follow. The Department of Labour  also operates under the guiding principles of  good faith, good reason and fair process. Get it wrong as an employer,  prepare to face the Department of Labour for mediation or legal action.

My advice to you if you have difficulties with staff is this… Follow the Department of Labours guidelines if you don’t know what they are call them  0800 20 90 20 (in NZ) … get independent assistance, get legal advice, be honest, factual, objective, tactful, allow time to think (for yourself and the employee) before decisions are made, allow for the employee to also have representation(support or legal) at any meetings. At all times respect the staff member there is no excuse for putting undue pressure on someone to resign, in fact this could also lead to personal grievance case to be laid.

There is no place for bullying in the workplace from peers or from employers.

Paul S Allen

Please note my disclaimer on this page as well

The information supplied here is not meant to replace professional legal, financial or health advice. By using this information supplied you acknowledge that it is done at your own personal, legal and financial risk.


The information and comments on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of any organisation that I am employed by or that I am associated with.

Christmas Greetings

Christmas Greetings


Merry Christmas everyone. 

So what is Christmas?

Paul S Allen

Smails Beach

Smails Beach 5Smails Beach 4Smails Beach 3Smails Beach 2Smails Beach 1

Smails Beach, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr: Smails Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Photos taken on my recently returned and fixed camera. (see the post Whatever happened to quality?)

Paul S Allen

What ever happened to quality?



This has been a bad year for us especially in the area of some of the purchases that we have made.

We are careful shoppers; we investigate before we spend our hard-earned money on almost everything. We use the principle of “buying the best you can with the resources you have at the time”. Yet, some of the bigger purchases we have made, we have needed to return because of manufacturing faults, part failures or damage, and these products returned were what would have been considered quality products. They have ranged from suits and shirts to cameras.

For the most part these goods have been replaced or repaired smoothly and quickly, with the exception of my camera that I am still waiting to be fixed under warranty 45 days later.

The main issues I have, is that these returned goods have all been items where there is an expectation of high quality and durability.  It is a complete waste of my time to take a faulty/damaged product back to be fixed or replaced by a supplier. In the case of the camera there have been so many photo opportunities missed that can never happen again.

Great brands can be tarnished by poor quality products and poor after sales support.

Will I buy another product from a manufacturer who has supplied a faulty product?
Will I buy a product from a store that treats me, the customer, as the problem?

Probably not.

Now don’t get me wrong, the customer is NOT always right, but if the customer has used a product for a while and knows how something behaves normally, when something does go wrong the expert is the customer not the retailer or the manufacture, or at least they should be made to feel like that. To be told by the manufacturer the item is acting normally when you know it isn’t, demeans the customer, causing the trust in the entire brand and the retail outlet to be lost.

If the customer has a problem, you as a retailer/manufacturer have a problem, so listen to them carefully.

I understand that it is difficult to make sure that every product is perfect in every way, but if something does go wrong it should be rectified quickly. If retail/manufacturer staff attitude towards the customer is poor, blaming or just downright rude, it may be time to consider retraining  the staff or closing the doors on your business as word of mouth reviews travel quickly, this is especially so in the age of social media.

Customer service is not just about “selling” it is about an ongoing relationship with your customer. Great after-sale service can make a bad experience a positive one for both the customer and the manufacturer. The solution all comes down to the attitude of the staff dealing with the customer directly and the manufacturer providing technical support.

There is no substitute or shortcuts to the following…

  • Great products that people want (not what you want to sell them)
  • Great quality control and quality assurance
  • Qualified customer support team (knowledgeable, understanding and approachable)
  • Great after-sales service and support

Get these simple steps right and you are well on your way to having happy customers.

The best action to take is to get quality right first time, check and check again before an item goes out the front door and if something does go wrong fix or replace it quickly.


Paul S Allen

Article also published on idealog 



Reaching a New Generation

This video highlights an issue that needs to be discussed, that is how do we reach today’s generation? An interesting video from a Christian group thinking about the gospel but it also applies to all groups and businesses trying to reach the new generations as they come along.

What are your thoughts?

Paul  S Allen

Video via Soul Care TV

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