We All Need a Friend at a Time Like This


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It has been one of those weeks for me where work has just not seemed that important – where the normal “to-do list” seemed to not have the same urgency…

Have you found yourself asking a lot of questions about the world we live in? Do you know a college kid living on a campus somewhere that you called up to see if they were OK? I know I made several calls to my kids in college just to talk about life and make sure they knew that I loved them.

Yet, as I listened to the news about the shootings at Virginia Tech, I could not help but think that we can learn from the situation. I am sure you have asked the same questions I have asked, “What could cause so much evil in the heart of a human?” Yet, as I read through the words that the killer wrote, it just seemed that he was so lonely – so sad.

While I hope that no one that I know – or that you know – would ever be as psychotic as the killer, I do believe that we come into contact every day with people that are lonely. I recently read an article in USA Today about recent research that shows that the current generation reports that they have less “close friends” than past generations. Even with all of the technology and the online social spaces like MySpace and Facebook, the current generation lacks close relationships.

It is basic human need to connect with others. While the work or management relationship should not replace an employee’s personal relationships, I do believe we need to recognize that people spend more time at the workplace than at any other place in their life. How much more productive and positive would the workplace be if there is someone at the office that qualifies as a friend?

Ask yourself these questions, “Is there someone at your office that needs a positive word of encouragement?” “What do you know about each of your team members?” What positive words can you say today to another human being that might just be what they need to feel better about themselves?”

I am still trying to figure out this week….

Bob Furniss
Bob Furniss' career has focused on improving customer experiences. As the Director of Bluewolf's Service Cloud practice, Bob leads a team of consultants who works with clients in three key areas: Salesforce Service Cloud strategy/implementation; Social Media strategy and implementation in the contact center; and creating vision blueprints to help companies set a new course for their contact centers in the areas of people and technology. Follow him on Twitter


  1. In this blog I did not include insight into the importance of having a policy for dealing with troubled employees. The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a great article about the need for companies to have a clear program for reporting employee issues.

    Carol Hymowitz reported that Carmelina Procaccini, VP at Pegasystems, tells managers at every rank to watch for “warning signs” of disturbed and potentially violent employees. Angry outbursts, abusive language and intimidating threats to others “must be taken seriously.”

    Here are some great questions to ask:

    At your next meeting, ask your management team if there are any employees whose behavior has suddenly changed.

    Is there anyone that is going through hard times that might affect their behavior?

    Does your company have a policy in place that clearly outlines your support for employees reporting issues.

    What would your human resources do today if one employee reported issuew with another in your call center or organization?


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