BEST OF THE BLOGS: Undivided attention

This week, blogger Tristan White decided to examine a sorely undervalued commodity: Giving someone your undivided attention.

In this fast-paced, always-on world that we live, receiving the undivided attention of anyone almost never happens. The thing is your undivided attention is the most powerful gift that you can give.

It may sound simple, but White points out a little human attention goes a long way in building a strong corporate culture:

An inclusive family culture is based upon having constructive and helpful conversations with customers, clients, workmates, suppliers and anyone else you bump into. Meaningful, memorable conversations lead to strong connections and long-term relationships. Long-term relationships are the key to an enduring culture and ongoing success in business.

What’s an Aurion?

Meanwhile, blogger Michel Hogan looked at the implications of QR National’s recent decision to rename its business:

Last week at the QR National annual meeting, shareholders voted to support the change of the corporation’s name to … wait for it:

Aurizon.

Of course, as Hogan points out, QR National is far from being the first company to attempt to reinvent itself through a ridiculous name change:

There’s a long and undistinguished history of sensible corporations – who should know better, trying to go all “next generation” with their names and failing miserably. Philip Morris Company’s switch to Altria is a stand out for me but there are many others.

The problem with the renaming strategy, according to Hogan, is that it rarely accomplishes any real business objectives:

Someone, somewhere was sold a bill of goods. These costs won’t be recouped in increased business or awareness. In fact, awareness will be a casualty for some time, especially given the generic, esoteric made-up style of name.

The common sense advice from Hogan is to focus on what your business achieves, rather than on what it’s named.

A flaming good idea:

Also this week, fire damaged a Telstra exchange in the Victorian town of Warrnambool. As Paul Wallbank explains, the result of the fire was a blackout of communications services across a large part of south-western Victoria.

Much of the telephone, internet and Telstra’s mobile network runs through the burned out telephone exchange [in Warrnambool], sending the district back into the pre-telephone days.

The communications blackout had dire consequences for SMEs in the area:

This presented real problems as customers couldn’t use EFTPOS or get cash out of ATMs, while businesses struggled to get payrolls done or place orders with suppliers who couldn’t comprehend that it wasn’t possible to place orders over the net or by fax.

According to Wallbank, the situation highlights the importance of businesses having contingency plans that deal with major disasters:

Unexpected events like the phone network being down for a week, major floods, devastating bushfires or zombie invasions will test businesses and it’s why having a real Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is important for business.

The question for SMEs reading Wallbank’s blog is simple: How would you respond if you were one of the businesses impacted by the Warrnambool communications blackout? If you’re not sure, it’s worth thinking about.

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