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Exit ArchiveArchive for December 9th, 2005

Today was the due date for self evaluations at work. Of course, I didn’t start mine until about 11:00.

It being a corporate document, the self evaluation form this year was, to put it mildly, a screaming hoot. I do not know why the corporate world needs its own language when the words that normal people use would work just fine. The language was so inspiringly ridiculous that I decided to answer using the most obtuse sentence structure possible, sprinkling in plenty of my own made-up words to spice things up.

I just turned this form in, with a gentle warning to my boss regarding its contents. The self-criticisms are legitimate, but they will take some concentration to decipher. Our evaluation meeting in January (or is it April?) will be a true event.

Here, now, for you, today, is the first section of my self evaluation and the corporate speak that egged me on. The first 2 lines are the title of the section and its description. Following that are selected “behaviors for the position,” where I had to put Xs if they were relevant to my position. (I chose to comment on truly amusing phrases.) My own comments follow that.

* * * * * *

THINKS STRATEGICALLY
Develops a game plan for success

X Envisions an inspiring future direction
X Develops clear and consistent strategies to achieve the vision
_ Leverages synergy opportunities across functions and businesses
X Makes sound business decisions that balance competing priorities
X Examines issues from a broad perspective, considering impact beyond immediate scope
_ Identifies key business opportunities and challenges
X Uses knowledge of the company’s products and services to meet customer needs and financial targets
X Stays current on business issues, industry trends, and technological advances

COMMENTS: My job is less about finding and developing new strategies and more about handling current strategies or facilitating necessary changeal modal morphic parameters to strategy stratagems. I stay very current on trends relevant to our departmental business proclivities. I sometimes push to envelope-stretch our current operational functionalities, but tend to back away from unpositive responsal results. Sometimes I do not give credence to impact which is antithetical in nature to the desired end result prepondered in my cranial lobes.

* * * * * *

BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS
Cultivate relationships to advance business goals

X Establishes critical external alliances
X Engages colleagues across the Enterprise to optimize performance
? VAGUE Manages the needs of diverse stakeholders
X Facilitates win-win situations
X Resolves conflicts effectively
X Interacts well with people who have different backgrounds and work styles

COMMENTS: I do not generally establish critical external alliances, except with Switzerland and Iceland. I don’t often deal with external resources unless a relationshipal relationship has been previously established. I am good with establishing modual communications in project packet units with pre-established external homo sapiens, and often communicate well, like I’m doing now. I do often get fed-up with humanoid resources who might impede a precognitively defined standard of interface and common sense, but feel I have made improvement in handling such individuals with a more tolerant manner. Sometimes. But not always.

* * * * * *

COMMUNICATES EFFECTIVELY
Inspires, influences and informs others

X Obtains full engagement through inspiring communications
? VAGUE Provides appropriate rationale and context to drive commitment
X Effectively persuades others to support ideas and plans
X Tailors messages appropriately to the audience
X Invites diverse points of view
X Listens and asks questions to ensure understanding
X Conveys relevant information in a candid and timely manner

COMMENTS: I enjoy inspiring communications because communications are easy to inspire (I blame gullibility). I believe communicational qualities within the context of my own selfal beingness are good, and the above articles of critique (aside from the poorly-worded, obscurely syntaxed, vague references) well describe one of the more salient qualities one (being me) would ascribe to the same one (being me). I listen and communicate good.

* * * * * *

DRIVES RESULTS
Delivers timely, high quality work that adds value

X Translates strategy into specific priorities, objectives and action plans
? POORLY WORDED Develops appropriate metrics to assess business performance
X Manages projects, processes and resources to produce desired outcomes
X Holds self and others accountable to high performance standards
X Achieves high levels of customer satisfaction
X Analyzes problems effectively and takes action to resolve
X Uses technology to facilitate better results
X Keeps commitments

COMMENTS: We do not use metrics in the U.S., but imperial units. While I hold myself and others outside of my bodily and spiritual real estate to high standards and try to communicate those standards to those who are not me, I sometimes concentrate too much on those standards, and strategical timelines can become compromised. I keep to my commitments and use technology well. Often the spatial time sequence definition of processes can become poorly executed by he who is myself. I still suffer from the corporate bane of negative anticrastination, and sometimes feel the inspiration module of the process acceptance section of the corporeal me is lacking in oomph.

* * * * * *

INSPIRES CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION
Generates breakthrough ideas to improve performance

X Creates an environment that encourages creative thinking and supports risk taking
X Proactively looks for new opportunities
X Takes risks and manages them intelligently
X Facilitates the exchange of ideas and creation of new ones
? DEFINE TERMS Transfers ideas and successes across boundaries
X Challenges the status quo
X Conceives creative ideas to solve problems or meet objectives

COMMENTS: While successful in the execution of status quo challenging (see current document) and activation of creational motivations for execution of staid processes and their variables, the selfsame moi would be hard-pressed to agree that the me of myself regarding the practice of risk taking and opportunity creation proactivation is good. I feel with much sometimesness that a creativity emphasis is often sacrificed by typical corporate mundanaety, and do not therefore engage the upoffthetuckus activation engines to propel the mespace into action to explore new and bountiful means of process acquisition and execution. I get lazy.

* * * * * *

CHAMPIONS CHANGE
Advances new initiatives that align with business strategy

X Articulates a compelling business case for change
X Leads the change effort from inception to the attainment of desired results
X Builds commitment to change
X Coaches others through change
X Supports new initiatives
X Demonstrates flexibility in response to changes
X Remains productive despite uncertainty

COMMENTS: Champions DO change. Look at Pete Rose! As there often is not a compelling need for change in business apparent in the mindset of the business itself, I (who is me) tend to offer notions of change without articulating a compelling business motivation. The me who is I is at once a benefactor of change and an opponent to change. The conceptual definers of specific modes of change are the defining parameters for my agreeance or exclusance. I resist some change, but push for others. My yogaic flexibility vis-à-vis change is similarly motivated. Sadly, I can become unproductive when change is uncertain, or if the definition of the parameters of the change and, therefore, the operational activities defined by the parameters of the definition of the change (and such) produce inconclusive sureness.

* * * * * *

BUILDS TEAMS
Aligns people to a shared purpose

X Provides appropriate direction, resources and environment needed for success
_ Proactively recruits, retains and develops a diverse range of talented people
_ Provides challenging work assignments and developmental opportunities
X Addresses performance issues and takes appropriate action
X Recognizes and rewards the achievements of others
X Strengthens others through mentoring and feedback
X Supports productivity and morale of the team

COMMENTS: Subject of current evaluation needs to accomplish more in the way of motivation, support, and rewarding of other corporately-employed human beings. Decisions pursuant to the completion of the processes of the functions of the business of the Enterprise upon which the responsibilities of me take their rest less with others, yet should perhaps more often do so. The earthly reflection of the currently speaking self (me) would do better to provide positive feedback to those with whom I often also provide critical assessment. Leadership of persons outside of myself could be enhanced. I do take it upon the me to address certain issues of detriment in procedural procedures, and also provide a support of the general morale (especially during escapist extra-office adventures) utilizing humor and wit. Though sometimes it’s not funny.

* * * * * *

EXHIBITS PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE
Acts as a role model for others

X Pursues excellence with integrity, passion and courage
X Sets a good example for others
X Shows consistency in words and actions
X Learns from personal and organizational experiences
X Strives for self-improvement
X Maintains composure under pressure
X Earns the trust and respect of colleagues, partners and customers
X Treats others with respect

COMMENTS: Through a general disregard for the institutions of corporate practice, I at once simultaneously earn the respect and trust of resources who are not me and also fail to set a good example for same. Striving to keep the sanctity of the individuality of the oneself of meness can conflict with the decorum and expectations of the tried, true, but hubritical corporate structure. This can at times create detriment in the form of new pages in my employee file, but can at times be refreshing and caffeine-free for others. The motivation to improve and seek inwardly the evolution of skillsets and energies is likewise both successful and neglectful of success.

So I’ve been very quiet on here lately, aside from all the comments on the last Thanksgiving post. And it just so happens something happened today that is relevant to that post.

But first, I never really explained what happened that fateful day/night. So get comfy, ’cause here it is:

After boarding the plane for a 4:00 departure, after we’re all sitting comfy on the 100% booked plane, the pilot comes on and tells us to get off. Not that rudely, but you know… There was an oil leak in an engine, so the plane was not fit to fly.

(I always get some amusement thinking that these kinds of problems only crop up between flights, that this oil leak, for instance, did not develop during the plane’s previous flight and it happened only while it was on the ground. Because, you see, the plane can’t fly with an oil leak. But I make no sense, so never mind.)

After deplaning, we were told another plane was wrangled into service for us, but we would not leave until 8:00. Then, quietly and without any verbal announcements, that time changed to 9:00.

I was not really hungry, but Marcy and I decided to eat to pass the time. Yes, we’re Americans. I went up to the gate agent and asked if they were giving out meal vouchers, which is common with such a long delay. Oops, I mean WAS common. “We’re not doing that since this flight was not scheduled for catering.” I simply smiled, shook my head, and did not tell the guy what I was thinking, which was, “But you never have catering anymore, so what does that matter? You don’t serve free food anymore! We have to pay for your crappy airline food now, and it’s only cold sandwiches! None of your flights are ‘catered,’ and therefore we get screwed out of a convenience once again because you’re all too greedy and stupid to…” And so on.

My burger at the restaurantesque establishment was terrible, but there was entertainment in the form of a tipsy woman on her cell phone calling everyone she knew to tell them about how she missed her plane in London. I caught her in a movie on my phone, so that’s another post for another time.

Our new plane finally arrived, after I got some good reading done on The DaVinci Code. At this point, an announcement happened: “Ladies and gentlemen, we don’t think a departure time of 9:00 is likely at this point, so we’re adjusting the departure time to 9:15.” Again, I launched into some vitriol, but this time out loud to my poor audience, Marcy. “Why don’t they just say 9:30? 10:00? We all know 9:15 is as unlikely as 9:00! Why lie? Just push the time to something more truthful!”

Thankfully, because passengers from the 4:00 who had connections had been shoved onto other flights, the new plane was not full. After boarding and settling, we sat and sat. We did not take off until 10:30. How these things happen is beyond me, but that’s how it goes. At this point, I simply did not care. I had a fun book, so I was fine.

Once up in the air, the trip was uneventful. Of course, they did not offer to feed us for free. We still had to pay $7.00 for a shrink wrapped wrap. I did not pay for said wrap, as I do not believe in it. The money the airlines save by not feeding us is not going to save them from bankruptcy. I’m sure they’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of the food for decades, and 9/11 provided the perfect excuse. (I must bring up this old post, wherein United decided it’s more important to re-paint all their planes than provide either good customer service or decent benefits for their employees.)

Blah blah blah.

Cut to today, when the following arrived in my e-mail:

Dear Mr. Lekowicz:

It’s completely realistic for our most frequent travelers to put flight dependability at the top of their list of expectations from us. For that reason, we were disappointed to learn that flight 133 was delayed for so long on November 29. After our manager in New York apprised us of the details, we wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to you for the disruption of your travel plans to Los Angeles.

I realize that our expression of regret is of small consolation in light of the time you spent waiting in New York for your flight to depart. I hope you will accept the addition of 11,000 Customer Service Bonus miles to your AAdvantage(r) account as a more tangible apology. You should see this mileage adjustment in your account very soon. For your convenience, you can view your account via http://www.aa.com. We appreciate your understanding during the delay of your flight and hope to have your continued business. We will do our best to provide a smooth trip the next time you fly with us. We’ll look forward to the opportunity.

I first have to say that I was bowled over. I have made it no secret that I think customer service is, on a whole, horrible. To wit: this and this. So when a company actually admits to making a mistake and takes steps on its own to make amends, is so shocking it’s sad. Sure, it’s a form letter, which implies that they send out this kind of apology a lot, but it does not diminish my surprise.

A couple things to note about the e-mail:

11,000 miles? Who came up with this strange number?

It’s very important to put the (R) representation of ® there because, you know, I could steal it for my very own!

I’m glad I got this e-mail, because I’ve generally liked American more than United. They have more leg room on their planes, the same kind United now charges extra for. Their seats are much more comfortable, unlike the horrible ones on United that force your head to jut out in front of your body at an unnatural angle. Those two items alone can make a 5-hour flight much more endurable.

Now, the fun will be where am I going with these miles? Before the trip, I had 19,000 miles. After this trip and its various bonuses and apologetical addenda, I have over 36,000. Suddenly, the inconvenience of JFK has melted away into possibilities! And I did have time to finish my book, too, so…