Today’s edition is being typed as I sit with my Mom in the hospital in Naples Florida. This is Friday and she hit the emergency room Tuesday with an inability to breath. At 88 years old she suffers from emphysema so sometimes being a little out of breath is the norm. This time unfortunately was different.

If I had received this call a few years ago I likely would have allowed the neighbours to help out and not drove there. Management via the phone. But now having gone through the process I’ve been outlining that brings about change, I was immediately in the car and on my way. Not that I am a doctor or anything, but I know from experience the worse part of any challenge is managing the head space. And as I have been through what my mother was experiencing being there as a calming influence would be a help to her.

And it has been.

So why in a business series do I write of this? Because it is directly relevant to where we are in the process. What I was doing for my mother is thought of as an amend. Making up for past misdeeds. In a business process this would be different certainly but this can be practiced in our whole life to make ourselves better people.

An amend is not saying you are sorry. It is not an admission of guilt. What it is is and effort to do three things to a relationship. Any relationship. First we need to change how we act within a relationship where we are having problems thus improving the interaction. We need to alter or revise processes and procedures. And we need to repair or correct faults already past. To change, alter and repair is the process of making amends in our world of change.

When we do this it is imperative that the other person in the relationship is aware of this.
We cannot just start doing things differently and hope this process works. We have to sit and review the whats and the whys of it.

In doing so there are some rules. And foremost is quite simply that you cannot correct your wrongs at the expense of another. So when dealing with a customer where there may be blowback on the company you work for you must discuss this and get the blessing of the bosses. With a company that has adopted this as there culture this will not be an issue, but with most companies there may be modification to the process. And thats OK as your part is to be honest and willing to take the action. Sometimes no action is the right action!

The next phase is to set an appointment with whomever it is that amend is being made to. We call the person and ask for some time to discuss a matter of import. That there have been discrepancies, poor conduct, problems or whatever best describes the challenge, on your side that need to be remedied. Remember this is not an ‘I’m sorry’ but an honest attempt to set right the issue.

You meet with your person and discuss what needs to be reviewed. And when you are finished from your point of understanding ask is there anything else that we could address. Are there items for review that I’m not aware of or have missed. And sit and listen. The list may be  short, or very long. These can be considered very similar to the account review when done with a client. But customers are only one part of it. If we were thorough making our list we will have bosses, colleagues, competitors and more on deck to have a chat with.

This may sound daunting. And it is. But the rewards are boundless. Can you imagine never walking into a customers office with trepidation again. No more fear of the Friday meeting. Call display will no longer be a tool to dodge folks. Mondays will be a day looked forward to. And business will grow.

I have experienced all this and more! And I continue to experience the wonders of growing these relationships. So will you.

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