Cecilie Gamst Berg

Lack of people focus

Talk to the hand – or chat with a smile?

Task versus people focus – what does your company need?

Mei you!”* (No!)

The voice, surprisingly shrill for someone who appears to be asleep, carries across the cavernous room. A blue-clad arm with white elbow protectors waves me away. The shop assistant’s head is not moving from its resting position on the counter.

“But… I haven’t said what I wanted to buy yet?” I say in English, somewhat baffled.

MEI YOU!”

“Er… so probably not, then. Bye!”

This was my first encounter with customer service in China. I had just arrived in Beijing in 1988 and needed something from the optimistically named Friendship Store – a place where you could buy foreign-made goods and pay with US dollars.

teeth on edge; pull your teeth back; dislike

How to pull your teeth back from the edge

“She sets my teeth on edge.”

“He makes my skin crawl.”

“People like that make me sick.”

Have you ever said that, or, being polite, thought that, about someone?

I know I have.

Why do we like or dislike people?

When we take an instant dislike to someone, we often describe our feelings in these physical terms. If challenged to explain our negative reaction, we tend to mumble something about what they have said or done, or that “they just rub me up the wrong way, that’s all”.

Running late

Running late – straight into early redundancy

The world of Covid, the new normal, with its Zoom meetings, social distancing, and travel avoidance must be a godsend for people who are always late.

Instead of having to struggle with cars, bicycles or public transport, all they have to do now is to shuffle the few steps over to their sofa. They don’t even have to get dressed properly. Throwing some kind of jacket over their pyjamas is enough for them to be good to ‘go’ to the business meeting.

They have no more excuses for being late. Or do they?

Are you a risk-taker?

Risk: your public speech is my 2000 metre drop

We all perceive risk differently. When you hear the words ‘bungee jumping’, what’s your immediate reaction? Do your fingertips and the soles of your feet start tingling with fear, or do you shout “hold my beer” and rush to the nearest 2000 metre drop?

Death of a Sales Manager

My father gave his life to one company, a well-known white goods manufacturer. Trained as an electrical engineer, he started out tightening screws on appliances. But soon he was travelling up and down the country as a salesman and customer service provider selling household goods to shops.

The job suited my suave and humorous father to the core, and he did very well. So well, in fact, that the company made him Sales Manager, a promotion that saw him catapulted … into an office, where he spent his days managing a sales team.