How to Reduce the Risk of Losing Your Child to Almost Zero

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Stephen courtney

Every day between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm in busy shopping centers all over the country, young children are separated from their parents. Usually its because the child has seen something interesting and decided to go and take a closer look or they have simply gotten separated in a crowded area.

If you have ever been unlucky enough to encounter this problem while you've been out and about. You'll know that the instant you realize your child is missing, time seems to stand still and you completely freeze. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up, your heart starts pounding, your hands start to shake and your stomach begins to churn. Every passing second feels like a life time, then after standing there motionless for what feels like an hour the panic sets in...

You start to frantically pace up and down the store searching high and low, continually shouting your child's name and asking random people questions. Have you seen my little boy? He is about this tall with blonde curly hair and blue eyes. He is wearing a red jacket and blue trousers. This usually continues until your child is found. By this time you have worked yourself into such a state that you don't know weather to give them a big hug or scream at them for leaving your side.

More often than not after experiencing such an emotional episode your day is ruined. You try to forget about it and carry on like it never happened but all-sorts of silly things begin to run through your head. You start asking yourself questions like, why did I take my eyes off him? What if he had been picked up by someone? What if he got seriously injured? What if I never found him again?

"What would happen if you are out one day and your child runs off again, only this time they can't be found! Could they help someone to locate you?"

Every day in the UK around 300 children go missing. Thankfully the majority of these children are found within minutes, but there are some children who go missing for hours, days even weeks in some cases. Many of which could have been reunited with their family within minutes if they had learned the answers to a few simple questions.

1. What is your name?
2. What is your address?
3. Do you have a telephone number I can ring?
4. What is your mummy's name?
5. What is your daddy's name?

Recently I've seen a few reports on the news and in the papers about missing children who had been found but could not tell anyone their names or even their parents names, let alone their address and telephone number. This makes it almost impossible for the authorities to locate the child's family. Just think what these fail to realize how important it is to help their children memorise the answers to these everyday questions.

Through no fault of their own these children have to go through an extremely frightening experience which could haunt them for the rest of their life. All because their parents fail to realize how important it is to help them memorise the answers to these everyday questions.

"These questions are the child's equivalent to a drivers licence. You would never think about leaving home without yours, so why would you let your most cherished possession leave home without theirs?"

How well would your child do, can they answer any of these questions? I challenge you to ask them! I bet a lot of you will be surprised by the outcome. If you do ask them and your child doesn't do so well I would strongly recommend you start teaching them before it is too late. One of the easiest ways to teach your child is through photo recognition e.g. show your child a photo of a you and say for instance, this is your mummy her name is...............

Once your child is able to answer all of the above questions you should start teaching them how to use their new found knowledge to help someone locate you. You should explain to your child that if they ever get separated from you they should approach certain people for assistance e.g. police person, security guard or shop assistant and tell them that they are lost. A lot of parents also recommend teaching your child to approach another parent (someone with a child) if any of the above cannot be found.

Explain to your child that this person will ask them their name, your name, their address and telephone number in order to find you. When you are out with your child and you see any of the persons listed above point them out and get your child to tell you their profession. A little role play game is great for preparing your child for this situation e.g. you play the security guard and your child pretends to be lost. Run through all of the questions then switch and you pretend to be lost. Children love it when the are the one's asking the questions.

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The Captain and Commander

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By : David Allen

The ideal model I’m proposing here incorporates a balance of perspective and structure, where an internal rather than an external source directs your energy and focus. This is the state of flow, of being in your zone, of being “on.” You are guiding your ship through the waves, wind, and water with a light touch on the helm and a keen eye on the horizon. You are committed to a course and prepared to make the slightest corrections that may be required.

When you achieve this state, there is no sense of overwhelm, no distinction between personal and professional, no dilemma of a life/work balance. It is possible to have this experience while building a garden shed, playing with your cat, just sitting and thinking, or working through a challenging meeting with your boss or your board. This state isn’t dependent on the content or substance of what you are doing, nor even if you particularly like doing it. That doesn’t mean you can gain access to this positive experience by just doing anything (wouldn’t that be nice?); if you could, you would never fall out of this quadrant. The secret lies not so much in what you’re doing, but in how you are engaged with what you’re doing. And the optimal way to be engaged is to learn to walk the thin line between function and form, vision and implementation, stretch and structure.

Many Visionary/Crazy Maker types are deathly afraid of and resistant to any form of “getting organized” because they equate it with their opposite quadrant — the Micromanager. They are averse (and rightly so) to the “anally retentive” constraints that can stifle risk taking and momentum. Implementer/Micromanager types are likewise repelled by any invitation to “make it up” and create their ideal scenarios, without sufficient evidence to support the possibility of actually achieving it. They’re afraid they’ll be thrown into the maelstrom of the Crazy Maker, endangering the stability of everything and everyone around them.

This is not, however, an either-or situation, though many people act as if it is. There is no freedom without discipline, no vision without a form, no structure without a function. If there were no lines painted on the road, you wouldn’t be free to let your mind wander and be creative while you drive. You’d be too busy hoping no one hits you. But if there were too many lanes and restrictions and rules, you’d have traffic moving much slower than it should, as everyone tried to pay attention to the right place to be. As precarious as walking the critical line might be, there is an optimal relationship of control and perspective. And when that is achieved, all is very well, indeed.

On the Negative Side

It would appear that there’s no downside to being in this quadrant, for there’s nowhere further to go in terms of managing yourself. That would be true if this were a simple, one-dimensional model. But it’s not, for as you’ll see, these quadrants can be highly situation-dependent as well as multilayered. Being on “cruise control” is great, until the road takes a sharp and unexpected turn, or traffic suddenly screeches to a halt because of an accident. In other words, you can get into a rhythm and pattern that’s working, and potentially ignore something you should be doing to keep it going that way. What future crisis do you need to be preventing? What new vision should you be developing and evaluating to keep you fresh? What new structures and processes might you be researching now to handle the increased flow that will result from your success?

Theoretically, if you are Captain and Commander, you’ll also be paying attention to those preventive maintenance and development responsibilities . . . and on at least a subtle level you can’t really be fully in your zone if some part of you is aware of those needs and they’re not being addressed. But the point is, we can often seem to be in a state of fully integrated flow, let ourselves get lax, and quickly lose control. The relief and contentment of having your current situation in proper control and perspective can easily seduce you into believing that you don’t need to be thinking about the future.

Adapted from Making It All Workby David Allen, by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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Lessons in CRM: when it comes to caring for customers, telecom firms need to wise up. Here's a primer of best practices, complied from a roster of CRM

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September means back to school--and telecom service providers could take some refresher courses as well. The summer of 2002 marked an unprecedented loss of consumer confidence in the telecom industry, as stocks plummeted and the inner workings of companies such as WorldCom and Qwest were put under the microscope. Meanwhile, despite the CLEC crash, incumbent telcos continue to face a competitive threat in many of their markets, long-distance carriers are waging a war against wireless substitution as mobile operators grapple with high churn rates and saturated markets. There's never been a better time to learn more about customer relationship management (CRM).

Most CRM vendors agree that telecom service providers have a lot to learn. "Most telecom companies have perceived themselves as being good at doing CRM, and frankly, in most cases, I find that they have a very insular view," says Steve Home, president and CEO of consultancy Analytici. "They do not understand what CRM is--they think of it as a technology solution, not as a change in business processes. The reality is that telecom companies need to fundamentally change the way they do business in order to become business-focused."

Granted, telecom carriers have challenges that other industries haven't had to face. For one thing, they have huge volumes of customers, meaning that any systems they put in place need to be large-scale.

Additionally, Raghav Sahgal, managing director for CSG Systems Asia Pacific, says every service provider will soon have to make those CRM upgrades as mass adoption of new services like Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) and mobile commerce are just around the corner. "Service providers who want to offer these new mobile services must either supplement or replace their legacy billing platform. So, while billing systems are improved to collect revenue for these new services--the information collected on the back end becomes much richer, much more knowledgeable in terms of who the customer is, what services they use and what services they are likely to buy in the future."

But Jeff Maling, vice president of strategic accounts for consulting firm Roundarch, has a drill-sergeant approach to telecom CRM. "To me, the telecom industry doesn't have any excuses," Maling says, "Other industries have faced some of the same issues and have overcome them effectively. Telecom has just been too focused on other issues, such as domination and consolidation, and now survival, to really get CRM right. Ultimately, this industry needs to decide whether or not they care about customers."

Once carriers do indeed decide to focus on CRM, they have one significant advantage--they can learn from the successes and mistakes of other industries. Granted, sectors such as manufacturing, hospitality and banking have many fundamental differences from telecom, but ultimately, it boils down to one simple fact: A customer is a customer, and telecoms could stand to learn some lessons on how to treat them right.

Lesson 1

Use lots of customer data

The telecom industry has a significant advantage over other sectors--it has a huge amount of customer data. The key is collecting and integrating that data to create a single, comprehensive view of the customer across all of his/her services. Telecom carriers need to start understanding that a customer may have other relationships with the company. Daniel Kenyon, vice president of communications industry strategy at PeopleSoft, cites as an example a high-volume business user who also buys services from the same carrier for his home.

"Telecom's existing systems aren't very good at relating one customer to another and figuring out that while two customer may have different account numbers, they're actually one and the same," Kenyon says. "They need to be able to manage customer relationships beyond the obvious."

Similarly, telcos need to learn how to identify a customer's value using more than the traditional metrics. Historically, carriers have valued their customers purely by minutes used and revenue brought in. As airlines have learned, however, basing a customer profile entirely on usage--in their case, miles flown--can create a one-dimensional view of the customer.

"Historically a lot of companies, not just telecom, have been able to capture a lot of information about how their products are performing," Kenyon says, "but few have designed systems that allow them to take information about customer data, profitability, customer usage, likes and dislikes, and using that information to extend the customers' relationship with the corporation."

Lesson 2

Obey Pareto's principle

In the early 1900s, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto determined that 80% of the wealth in most countries was controlled by about 20% of the people, a phenomenon which he called a "predictable imbalance". The basic premise of this theory--that the majority of results come from a minority of input--has since been extended to other areas, including telecom, where a small percentage of customers generally produce the majority of a carrier's revenue.

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