“Who’s Your Gladys?” by Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest

May 22, 2013 by  

MarilynLoriGlady2Today’s guest post is an excerpt about Chicken Soup for the Soul founder, Jack Canfield, from the bestseller “Who’s Your Gladys?” by Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest. To celebrate the release of the paperback version, the authors are giving away free gifts with purchase here: http://www.whosyourgladys.com/paperbacklaunch

Sometimes customers need tough love. For Jack Canfield, and anyone else who presents programs to customers, the needs of the group sometimes outweigh the needs of an individual.

Have you ever been to a meeting and noticed a spike of hostility in the room when someone’s cell phone went off? The trainer loses her point, the audience loses its concentration, and if the person answers it and begins talking, those who are close by can’t hear what’s happening in the front of the room. Some trainers go out of their way to punish a person whose cell phone goes off to make an example of him. That only creates anxiety and discomfort in the room.

Jack’s approach eliminates hostility and transforms the way people react to the occasional cell phone interruption. At the beginning of his weeklong training, he tells everyone to silence his cell phone. But he doesn’t stop there. Knowing that there will always be someone who needs to be in contact with work or home, he gives out the phone number of one of his assistants to be used as an emergency number.

He then says, ‘‘If your cell phone goes off during the training, I will expect you to hand over 20 dollars.’’ There’s always a moment of shocked silence, then he tells people that the money will be donated to a charity. One time, it went toward building an orphanage in Bali. Another time, money was collected to help dig wells in an African village.

When the inevitable happens and someone’s cell phone rings, the designated collector of the donations comes running to collect the money. Instead of hostility, everyone feels happy, knowing that good is being done. At the same time, the number of cell phones going off during the week decreases dramatically.

Jack’s creative approach to healthy boundaries pays off in many ways. On the last day of the training, there always seems to be a group of participants who arrange a burst of cell phone rings to collect more donation money. One year, $16,000 was raised for a charitable cause in a matter of 15 minutes, as participants rallied together to boost the amount collected from ringing cell phones. This form of creative problem solving creates a positive experience for everyone, while efficiently managing a persistent customer issue.

Buy the book this week and get fantastic gifts here: http://www.whosyourgladys.com/paperbacklaunch

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