we are the secret agent revolution

The Power of mobile devices to drive change
Mobile phone imagery captured and shared with the world is the new weapon of terrorism. It strikes terror in the minds, wallets and powers of oppressors. From regimes
to products and services. All of these "brands" are being exposed for the gaps that they have. The gaps between reality and claimed experience !!!

Negative service experiences will come back to bite you
Sometimes service and product experience is soooooooo awful that consumers are shaken to their core. Desired repeat custom becomes a crusade for the consumer. Rather than be encouraged to become a "brand evangelist", they become a "brand anarchist" !!!! Don't cut corners, unless you want to awaken to bad service when it is spilled all over the internet. Don't let it become one of your customer's personal Jihad. It can become funny in an extrem way. Here's two of my favorite and my own experience saved for last.

137,654 views: A bad apple may not rot the brand, but are you apple?
iPod Customer Service - the Dirty secret video on Youtube was done so well that it feels like a video by some funky new band or art project. Click image below to see on YouTube.

15,730 views: Don't P@#! off professional presenters: yours is a very bad hotel! This is a presentation of two professional pressenters who had an awful experience in a hotel.

My own hotel mis-adventure
How could hotels in this day and age give revolting service given the power of peer testimonials on various opinion websites? - it's almost like science fiction - in a time machine - going back a century!
What can you pick up as a community organisation delivering service? - have you got the basics right? I went on work tour to Sheffield. The experience was unforgetable, I can almost puke now.

Sheffield Slum Dog Hotel - take flip-flops, desinfectant and train your stomach!!!
I never new that Sheffield had "Slum Dog" Hotel(s)!!! -It was The Harley Hotel in Sheffiled's bustling city centre - near the university of sheffiled tram stop. These guys should go into merchandizing! - for sure. The T-shirt that would sell most would be "I survived the Harley shower cubicle !!!" The transition from the main room (which wasn't that good either) - was like opening a "star gate" from a developed country to some Nth-world country (way beyond 3rd !!!). Not even developing countries have hotels with shower rooms like that. I have been to Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatemala, and never saw anything like this. See photos below. The carpet looked like if it hadn't been vacuumed for years! - really! - and the tea & coffee facilities, well, I didn't believe in flying sourcers until I tried to make myself a drink. Enjoy the picutres & video via flickr.

Oh, it's under creative commons, so if you know any producers who want to use it for a "filthy song" - they can use it ;-)

I raised my concerns to a member of staff - and they looked like they couldn't give a(n) FCUK - pair of jeans, to say the least.

Breakfast after all that?
I had paid for my breakfast, but had second thoughts - after the tour of filth. Imagine, if they don't give a damn with what you can see for yourself as a customer! - with what you can verify with your very own eyes, do you think they will be more cautious or caring in the kitchen? If you can't see Jack what do you think you will get on your bap?...Shhhhhhh - shhhhh..shameful crud on a plate purporting to be edible for human beings. ;-)

No-brainer Service solutions (that we all know in our minds & hearts):
  • Respect those you serve. Humanity is a good start - what type of service would you give when you want to make a good impression?
  • Care about what you do. The lack of care on the hotel I stayed at reflected in staff's poor customer service.
  • Training & Morale may go hand in hand! - so train your staff properly. I guess the staff at the hotel were not trained with customer services in an adequate manner.
  • Basic Hygiene - minimum baseline! oh come on, staff with strong body odour? If that was the smell of some of the staff on the front-line what would the cooks smell like? (why do you think I skipped breakfast ?)
  • Perception is reality-king. Seeing is believing. Imagination does not need much stimulation to join the dots and make conclusions. When things are bad in your face, we think that bad practices lurk everywhere!

What is your experience?


Customers' Revenge (Commentary for HBR Case Study)

discussion about "yours is a very bad hotel" - presentation

What type of Question is that? - well Zappos.com has focused on delivering happiness to customers, suppliers and employees alike to grow from $ 0 to over $ 1 Billion dollars plus in sales - in a period of less than 10 years !

zappo.scom delivering happiness book, written by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh , charts the journey of Zappos and it's adoption of "actionable and emotional based core values".

Deploying emotional intelligence within a business context by engineering and weaving "Wow-ness" into every customer, employee and supplier touch point. With this approach zappos.com have been able to create such phenomenal growth. They have charted new waters and navigated through these, over the years, thanks to their core emotional values that energize and enthuse their tribe of stakeholders. This has allowed Zappos to continue to further develop and improve every aspect of their business that guarantees the delivery of further happiness, and an ever increasing phenomenal impact on the bottom line too.

The core themes that I took away from this book:
1. Construct, capture & share actionable key core values that build WOW!
2. Recruit people who are passionate about what you do
3. Build mechanisms to test if new recruits are in for the money
4. Improve processes that benefit stakeholders in line with wow factors
5. Build mechanisms of work development & progression giving employee choices
6. Care for your employees! work environment and outside activities, investment?
7. Remember you are building a "movement" - how different will you make yourself?
8. ID your emotional, functional, transactional value add, do you know it?
9. keep your employees biz thinking sharp: zappos has library of popular books
10 Your stakeholders count too - build a win-win for all concerned.

"going the extra-mile to build a smile" - with everyone your organisation comes in contact with appears to be the bottom line of this book.

The scientific evidence behind the happiness strategy!
Rewards, Happiness, Motivation and Company Culture? You have to get down to the conscious and sub-conscious. Luckily there is a whole field of scientific discovery through psychology focused specifically on the area of happiness. Check out the video below. Enjoy ;-)

Book Bonus Bits...

website for book...

book resources...

Insights on zappos culture...

Zappos culture book (free)...

Other Related books I have read tha corroborates what this book says and enhances the field and approach to delivering and building happiness into what you do.

Happy Company - everyone beneifts

Is there such a thing as: "A Happy Company" ?

According to Dan Baker,Cathy Greenberg and Collins Hemingway, authors of, "what happy companies know", not only are there companies out there that are happy, but also that part of this happiness creation process involves the development of positive work environments. These in turn create a compounded benefit that translates into greater levels of productivity which directly hits the bottom line.

What is very useful and actionable about this book is that it maps out the framework under which any organisation can develop a happy environment of their own. The framework is people directed and therefore focuses on the process of aligning teams (and leadership) through:

  1. Values Analysis: understanding of leadership values and how these underscore success
  2. Congruence Analysis: Degree to which the values of the team align with the leader and with each other
  3. Energy Assessment: Understanding of the stress points and anticipated trouble spots for transitions
  4. Culture Assessment: Leadership profiling and feedback of cultural awareness
  5. Check-in Sessions: Validation of operating principles and shared definition of the team's future
  6. Leadership Development: Creation of programs to improve capabilities of the leadership team, in conjunction with the recruitment of talent as needed.
According to the three authors, the 1st three sets of tools relate to the individual, whilst the last three looks at how the individual sits, collaborates, engages and co-creates within a team context (pp. 247).

What I didn't like about this book:
  1. Sketchy/Executive overview: It feels like they want you to seek consultancy to fill up the gaps.
  2. Insufficient quantitative references: Slim on the ground no follow up recommendations
  3. No reading list: No clear link up to other references or books

The positives:
  1. Case studies/examples: usual suspect selection of supporting case studies & examples
  2. Framework to work on: lovely framework on pp. 247 - which is developed throughout book
  3. Detail (framework): sufficient detail with the provided action framework, specially if you have done further reading in this area.
There are books out there to make up for failings...
Fortunately we can get further help to make this process work with more robust evidence with books such as: Firms of endearment, the levity effect (why it pays to lighten up), delivering happiness (a path to profits, passion and purpose) - zappos.com,and nowhere - which cleverly examines the journey of the individual to fulfill their passion, purpose and impact on organisation profits.There is also the flip-side: aligned organisational values based development that has resonance with employees may create the very envirnoment and opportunities to cement congruence, thus creating a common platform of shared vision, values, passion and purpose.

The books are as per the amazon carousel below:

For us on the coal face of delivery...
It is encouraging to read such books especially when as workers, facilitators and leaders within companies and projects are instinctively adopting this approach. It is a lonely road, but lovely when you link up with like minded individuals. Contrast in life is essential and therefore it is necessary to get to experience the light side (see the levity effect) and the dark side (toxic work environments).

Thanks to experiences you end up counting your blessings and I guess, as is in my case I have ended up neutralising toxic people and environments for the benefit of all.

Finishing project work at Campaign for Learning, and Community Learning Partnership was a very positive and rewarding experience. What a fantastic bunch of human beings, and I am continuing to work on a pet project with the Community Learning partnership and their wonderful CLP - Angels, a.k.a community learning champions (CLCs). CLP continues to reach out to their learners and involve them in positive social action to extend the trans-formative power of learning in fun and joyful environments.

I hope that you get further evidence from reading this book about a positive way to working. I shall be reviewing other inspirational books along the way. I tweet at times, so if you want to catch me on the twitter stream - see my widget. Enjoy and Merry Xmas. ;-)

Useful & Related articles...

How Room Designs Affect Your Work and Mood

How Humor Makes You Friendlier, Sexier

Generosity Might Keep Us Healthy (podcast)

Adversity Is Linked to Life Satisfaction

How to Protect Your Health Against Toxic Behavior (types of people & groups)

Stay Away From These Four Types of Toxic People: Choose the Company You Keep

Eurovision HIV Champion needs your Vote

Appeal to take HIV Champion to the Eurovision Song Contest! - with our Vote he can!

With two decades of music behind him in his quest in favour of positive images realting to HIV awareness and resillience, Carlos Lopez G has raised his profile to be selected as 1 of 5 candidates representing Spain for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Anyone can Vote up to 5 times a day!!!

If you want to find out more about this wonderful person & human being, then you can click on the following:

Carlos Euro Vision Song:

Carlos YouTube Channel

Carlos CDbaby

Bit about Carlos
Carlos has been producing albums and doing concerts for free for years! - in favour of HIV awareness. I met him and helped him out many times including World Aids day.

If you want to Vote please follow these screen shot instructions (site is in Spanish)

Landing Page

Voting in red hand made circle...

Your details to activate Vote

Your details (from left): name, email, and anti spam. Click Vote! (Vota)

Voting Email Confirmation - have to click to make vote count

Your inbox will have the following confirmation email.

Email Body with link to click to activate

The 1st link you see is the one you will need to click to make vote count.

Please follow this process five times a day for next 13 days to make this guy's dream come true please, please, please ;-)

Euro Vision Votin
g Page

Thank You to Everyone who's Come here via Twitter ;-) and for those who discovered this post.

How can Eminem and `stigma research` offer insights in to positive service user experiences?...

..."If, as I have been arguing, stigma is a cause of stress, then stigma as a way of life will turn out to be a cause of ill health. And the effect will be a direct consequence of stigma itself, not an indirect result of it. In other words, it will turn out that people on the bottom of society's hierarchies, who die younger and endure more illnesses, will suffer because they perceive themselves at the bottom - not just because they can't afford doctors or good food or safe housing. " - Us and Them: Understanding your tribal mind, pp 262-263.

"I am what ever you say I am..." - Eminem, The Way I am, The Marshall Mathers LP [Explicit].
So if service users are aware that they are disadvantaged, at the fringes of society, and are trying to parachute out of an environment of under-achievement and apathy, then these descriptive aspects of the very services users will manifest and play out as self-fulfilling prophesies.

It is a bit like a theatrical performance, where, when you outline the actors, set the script, and the stage, what do you think the outcomes will be based on these self-determining factors and conditions? How do you think the show will play out?

This is far from fiction, when you take into account Phil Zimbardo's 1971 prisoner/guard experiment carried out in a Stanford university basement, which was turned into a mock prison. In a nutshell the experiment documented how people can very quickly adapt their behaviour and easily fall into pre-defined roles, rules, conditions and expectations. Links to this striking research is available at the bottom of this article ;-)

So we may either extrinsically be exhibiting behaviour which projects our beliefs, or express biases which nurture our buried prejudices or subliminal stereotyping. There's plenty of research in this too!

Personal conversations and fabulous idea exchanges with various "charity chums" has provided me with numerous examples whereby people are described and pigeon-holed as cases for "special need" and attention, and that the programmes that are delivered are for "disadvantaged" or "vulnerable" people. Etc... mmmmm.

So, as service providers and key workers we need to watch our language and frame senses of achievement for our service users or clients from the "additive perspective". Within this view, the person is already complete. We, as service providers and facilitators within the third sector, have the responsibility to point people to resources and personal tools (emotional and spiritual) that will enable them to embrace and take advantage of life's future possibilities. A future, where their lives become a regular source of joy and tranquility.

Don't take my word for it, check out the research and catch you another time ;-)


"Us and Them: Understanding your tribal mind"

"I am what ever you say I am..." - Eminem,The Way I am, The Marshall Mathers LP [Eplicit]

Stanford Prison Experiment
A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment Conducted at Stanford University

Abu Ghraib: Why good people turn evil

Social Stigma Causes Poor Math Performance by U.S. Students, Study Suggests

Negative performance and the impact of: Stereotype threat

Buried Prejudice: The Bigot in Your Brain

Decision Making Suffers from Unconscious Prejudices

The Implicit Prejudice

Tricky, Turbulent, Tribal: Friend or foe is a mutable designation

Stereotype Threat and Female Students’ Math Performance

The Neuroscience of Stigma and Stereotype Threat

PR and Media guides for small charities and groups

Need to work smarter with the media and get some PR going for your activities?

Well don't fear, here are two fantastic, and what is best of all, free PDFs to help you along the way.

I have missed posting to this blog, but I've been busy exploring new material, and even have a video to post here for another tutorial that will help my fab charity chums. Enjoy the preview of the PR & Media PDFs thanks to the lovely people at Issuu.

Abbey National's free guide to PR for small charities and Groups

Here's a link to the file, if you want it (will open as PDF in browser):

Voluntary Action Media Unit's Guide to working with the Media: Smart Comms

Here's a link to the file, if you want it (will open as PDF in browser):

Let me know what you think of these, and leave us a comment or some stars ;o)
Happy Easter!

Website demos can be a doddle with twiddla

Live real time web demo & collab with twiddla - doodles and chat too....

Yes, live website demos, doodling & chattin is a doddle with twiddla, oh and did I mention it was free?

Yes, yes, my wonderful charity chums and little charity chums helpers and buddies! - I bring you another fab free online collaboration review! - have no fear, - Twiddla is here!!!!

kiss good bye to thumb twiddling when asked to support charities, colleagues or invidiuals with web platfomrs/technologies! - this is a tool that is very, very useful and easy to use!
If you know how to use drawing tools in microsoft word or powerpoint and can use a browser - then you re 90% of the way there with twiddla! - it's that easy! - really!

Shapes, text bubbles, free style pencil drawing, adding images - it is all possible with twiddla. You can even chat with colleagues, or if you have skype you can talk to them explaining verbally what you are doing. It's that simple.

So check out the video I have prepared below - and get familiarised with the possiblities.

What is even better is that after contacting the twiddla team as a charity, they told me that anyone with a '.org' or '.edu' email can be upgraded for free. What's the difference? - Well, when you demo a site for people you can do so under the privacy of a "private" - "password protected space".

You can email the unique and customisable password and URL to your audience, so no clown can come in and start grafftiying your work and loading other sites. If you want to get your free upgrade then, send an email to info[at]twiddla.com, put into the subject free 'charity' or 'education upgrade' - and in the body tell them that william doust sent you.
So now turn the lights down, get your popcorn and get ready to watch the twiddla show.


twiddla website & sandbox

twiddla free upgrade email contact & details
email: info[at]twiddla.com
subj: free 'charity' or 'education upgrade'
body: william doust told me & sent me
terms & conditions: must have a '.org' or '.edu' for free upgrade
(to password protect your sessions)


Charity Chums - social bookmarks sharing group for charities & non-profits
(share annotated web resources with our little group on diigo)