Nothing is more important to a bureaucracy than customer service standards. Undoubtedly the customer service metric that should have the greatest weight in a customer service performance index is the human touch. Steve Portigal offers an insightful policy initiative that would promote customer service and innovation:
I would introduce empathy processes into government, especially departments that interact with the public or with businesses. Everyone – EVERYONE – will go through the process that their “clients” go through, on a regular basis (say, once per year). DMV clerks who stand in line (as the obvious example) will have an opportunity to see what the “other half” experiences.
A goal would be for the government to develop a set of best practices for user-centered-design – where design is making anything that gets used or experienced by someone else, apply those as broadly as possible throughout government, and then help businesses adopt more of these into their own practices.
I think the government can help even more. Since few persons actually spend any time working in government, web-based training technology can help to disseminate to businesses government best practices.
As a public service, the Carnival of the Bureaucrats offers you a training opportunity satisfying that program objective. Watch the video below. While doing so, smile, enjoy life, radiate good will and human understanding, and at each cue point in the video, say sincerely, warmly, and sympathetically, “I’m so sorry, my Division isn’t responsible for that problem.” Practice until you can finish the whole video without getting grumpy, sarcastic, or contemptuous. You can do it!
KC Johnson at Durham-in-Wonderland offers posts (here, here, here, and elsewhere) suggesting that leading U.S. newspapers could use empathy training. The Duke Debacle has revealed a travesty of justice. It makes a caring person wonder how many persons spend decades in prison because of corrupt officials, unchecked by media acting in the public interest. But apart from that systemic issue, the lack of concern that leading newspapers have shown for the pain and suffering that they have caused three innocent persons is even worse than actions unbecoming of a bureaucrat.
Hueina Su at Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul encourages readers to “Take the L.E.A.P. for Life’s Changes.” She observes:
Change is inevitable. Think about it: everybody and everything in the world, even every cell in your body, are constantly changing, and there’s no stopping them.
Time can pass with little notice in a bureaucracy. A bureaucrat can find herself or himself retiring without adequate preparation for this major life change. Always carefully consider the implications of any new actions with respect to your retirement plans. There’s no avoiding getting older!
David at the Alexander Report submits Ted Santos post/column entitled “Just Change Your Mind.” He explains:
Looking to the future of organizations, there may be a greater return on investment from training people in intrapersonal skills – a clear understanding of the relationship with self, chaos, opportunity, the future, change, risk, and colleagues. That way, people can learn to let go of old thought patterns and uncover blind spots.
The free training the Carnival of the Bureaucrats offers this month seems to be exactly the sort of investment that he tentatively endorses.
Jack Yoest at Reasoned Audacity presents Lurita Alexis Doan’s basic ground rules for “How To Cut The Federal Budget at a Government Agency.” This topic makes me a little uneasy. I can’t imagine any circumstances in which cutting a federal agency’s budget would be humane or necessary. Nonetheless, this submission appears to satisfy the regulations governing submissions to the Carnival of the Bureaucrats. Honoring the bureaucratic principle of regulatory inclusiveness, I am thus including this submission in the Carnival.
Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine has posted NBC’s regulations of democratic discussion of the U.S. presidential debate. This truly news-leading bureaucratic work, in addition to forbidding “internet use”, includes among its six rules the following:
4. No more than a combined total of 2 minutes of excerpts may be chosen for use during the period from the end of the live debate (8:30 pm ET) until 1:00 am ET on Friday, April 27. After 1:00 am ET, Friday, April 27, a total of 10 minutes may be selected (including any excerpts aired before 1:00AM). The selected excerpts may air as often as desired but the total of excerpts chosen may not exceed the limits outlined.
5. No excerpts may be aired after 8:30 pm on Saturday, May 26th. Excerpts may not be archived. Any further use of excerpts is by express permission of MSNBC only.
You just can’t find a more professional bureaucracy than that of an old-fashioned video distribution company.
That’s all for this month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form. Submissions should conform to the Carnival regulations. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the Carnival index page.