Change needed in PGCPS Office of Communications.
Educational institutions, like all other organizations, require constant monitoring to identify areas for potential improvement. However, educational reforms are often not well implemented in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). This results in massive wastage of finances, human resources, and lost potential.
Change may be described as the adoption of an innovation (Carlopio 1998, 2), where the ultimate goal is to improve outcomes through an alteration of practices. However, the process of change is complex, with many different types of change possible. Further, there are a number of differing strategies for implementing these changes, with the success of implementation being highly variable.
Factors that drive change may be internal or external to the environment (Yee, 1998), innovations may be initiated at any level in the organizational structure (Swenson 1997) and reforms may be systemic or local in nature. (Reigeluth 1994).
In this note, we wanted to share this email thread from the Board of Education of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). A request for the program schedule of shows on the school television station was twisted to bullying by the Communications Director. Subsequently, the Director embedded “stop bullying banner” on the school District website creating a negative effect within the entire school system. We have had other interactions with the County employees and the complaints are the same in that, whenever a “tax payer” calls, the telephone is slammed down or sometimes called names.
It is shameful that the level of leadership exhibited with the department and the school District system is shameful. We deserve better services. The level of customer service is lacking. Senior staff from the communications department continues to be rude and driven by malice and revenge rather than professionalism. However, we wanted you to read the attached thread and we will let you be the judge. The system’s intent on this is clear. Read more ~~> (PGCPS Communications Department)
(Mr. Briant K. Coleman pictured 2nd from left facing down)
BULLYING CUSTOMERS BY PGCPS MANAGEMENT
The purpose of bullying is to hide inadequacy. Bullying has nothing to do with managing etc.; good managers manage, bad managers bully. Management is managing; bullying is not managing. Therefore, anyone who chooses to bully is admitting their inadequacy, and the extent to which a person bullies is a measure of their inadequacy. Bullies project their inadequacy on to others because of the following:
- a) to avoid facing up to their inadequacy and doing something about it;
- b) to avoid accepting responsibility for their behavior and the effect it has on others, and,
- c) to reduce their fear of being seen for what they are, namely a weak, inadequate and often incompetent individuals, and,
- d) to divert attention away from their inadequacy – in an insecure or badly-managed workplace, this is how inadequate, incompetent and aggressive employees keep their jobs.
Bullying is an inefficient way of working, resulting in disenchantment, demoralization, demotivation, disaffection, and alienation. Bullies run dysfunctional and inefficient organizations; staff turnover and sickness absence are high whilst morale, productivity and profitability are low. Prosperity is illusory and such organizations are a bad long-term investment. Projection and denial are hallmarks of the serial bully.
Bullying is present behind all forms of harassment, discrimination, prejudice, abuse, persecution, conflict and violence. When the bullying has a focus (eg race or gender) it is expressed as racial prejudice or harassment, or sexual discrimination and harassment, and so on. When the bullying lacks a focus (or the bully is aware of the Sex Discrimination Act or the Race Relations Act), it comes out as pure bullying; this is an opportunity to understand the behaviors which underlie almost all reprehensible behavior.
A bully is a person who
- has never learned to accept responsibility for their behavior
- Wants to enjoy the benefits of living in the adult world, but who is unable and unwilling to accept the responsibilities that are a prerequisite for being part of the adult world.
- abdicates and denies responsibility for their behavior and its consequences (abdication and denial are common features of bullying)
- is unable and unwilling to recognize the effect of their behavior on others
- does not want to know of any other way of behaving
- is unwilling to recognize that there could be better ways of behaving.
THE NEED FOR CHANGE
Both internal and external forces drive the need for change. Referring to “change drivers”, large scale forces that produce complex change, notes that “globalisation” of society has produced an imperative for continual reappraisal of practices in order to maintain a competitive edge. In educational terms, this may be interpreted as the need to update practices in keeping with the findings of international research, and to continually conform to national trends.
Internal to the school are the pressures brought to bear by curricular reform. Further, alterations in staff-student relationships from teacher-centered to student-centered create the need for modification of teaching practices, and policies and procedures to support more meaningful educational experiences. All these interactions require good customer services. Good customer service includes the following;
- You are in business to service customer needs, and you can only do that if you know what your customers want.
- Be a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel.
- Identify and anticipate needs. Customers don’t buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical.
- Make customers feel important and appreciated. Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to compliment them, but be sincere. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust.
- Help customers understand your systems. Your organization may have the world’s best systems for getting things done, but if customers don’t understand them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they simplify transactions.
- Appreciate the power of “Yes”. Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards.
- Know how to apologize. When something goes wrong, apologize. It’s easy and customers like it. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints. As much as we dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. Even if customers are having a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable.
- Give more than expected. Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following:
- What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere?
- What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don’t buy?
- What can you give customers that is totally unexpected?
9. Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you could improve. There are several ways in which you can find out what customers think and feel about your services.
- Listen carefully to what they say.
- Check back regularly to see how things are going.
- Provide a method that invites constructive criticism, comments and suggestions.
10. Treat employees well. Employees are your internal customers and need a regular dose of appreciation. Thank them and find ways to let them know how important they are. Treat your employees with respect and chances are they will have a higher regard for customers. Appreciation stems from the top. Treating customers and employees well is equally important.
As a student I deem this sort of behavior unacceptable. I am also a bully awareness advocate and feel as if his plea of being bullied is invalid. I hope that there is an immediate review of his communication techniques and furthermore hope our school system can get back on the right track!
You made a very good observation and we agree with you. Keep up the good work and spread the message. We must create transparency and accountability. Thanks.
I am a citizen of Prince George’s and I am disgusted by the leadership shown by the Director of communication. This is not how someone is supposed to treat a lady.
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