5 October 2011

Teachers' Time-Saving Tips, and Bureaucracy Highlights

Here are some top time tips to get students to return newsletter and permission slips asap:

  •  Encourage a ‘rewards’ system so that the children take responsibility for returning them the next day – an end of term tally perhaps? (NO punishments though!)  
  • Mention what is required in the weekly newsletter, with a due date. Replies then become as important as the actual event (and it’s a further reminder in case people didn’t receive the original notice).  
  • Offer the opportunity to have essential information sent via email at work. (If you’re working late you may miss the notice, but if you are at work, you will get it.) Your regular email software will enable you to create groups for each class and a separate one for the whole school.
  • Start the good habits early – in the first year of school, give gentle encouragement to people who ‘forget’ in person (or send a reminder note).  
  • Keep the format the same, school wide – for instance a correspondence wallet, a notebook for each child, a school diary – something that has a note and a completed part as a constant record.  
  • Be understanding with late payment. Sometimes finances are tight, so returning instantly is not easy. A cash total at the beginning of the year, from which funds are allocated each time a reply is returned, will save the hassle of constantly collecting, counting and processing payment. For instance, you collect $50, deduct each time an excursion is made, advise when down to $10 and request the next instalment. End of year balances can either be donated to the school or returned.’

 You can order your copy of ‘About Time for Teaching’ now at http://www.gettingagrip.com/details/5/30/ 

 From our readers – More about bureaucracy

My last blog about my family’s run-ins with bureaucracy unleashed fabulous feedback, including one from the National Australia Bank, one of the players in the story.

I must congratulation their management team for a very positive response. Many companies go into defensive positions – they didn’t.

Dear Robyn,

It was really timely that I received this email as we had only just recently heard of this occurring and were putting steps in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

We’re working through some significant issues; part of this is changing the culture of the organisation. We are also investing heavily in a branch network that has been neglected in the past and it is our intention to put greater resources back into our branches.

This is currently being piloted in our Gold Coast and Brisbane markets and has so far been a big success. Part of what we are doing is putting more capability into our network, so that if you walk into a branch you will be able to have all of your needs fulfilled on site. This could be anything from opening an account to obtaining personal or business finance.

In the interim we are also trying to upskill our teams and provide greater resources so that all of our customers are looked after in a better way. It is great to get feedback, good or bad, (although I do prefer good!) so that we can continue to improve.

Hopefully incidents like your daughter-in-law’s will become fewer until they are virtually non existent. I would like to say that something like this will not happen again, but I believe that we still have some road to travel before we get to that point.

Regards,

Adam Rowse, Executive Manager, Victoria & Tasmania, Retail Banking, National Australia Bank.

(If anyone knows someone in management in Chubb Security or Vic Roads, we haven’t heard a dickey-bird from them!)
 

And this next one is just too good not to share.

Thanks to Graeme Lindsay, who doesn’t know the source. Apologies for the length, but you’ll soon see why I’ve included it. Apparently its an actual letter that was sent to a bank by a 96 year old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times. (I’m not even going to apologise for the length – it’s worth a minute to read.)

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

Starting from now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and- blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof. In due course, I will issue your employee a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press the buttons as follows:

  1.  To make an appointment to see me.
  2. To query a missing payment.
  3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
  4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
  5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
  6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
  7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contact.
  8. To return to the main menu to listen to options 1 through 7.
  9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year.

Your Humble Client

(Remember: This was written by a 96 year old woman.)


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