Survey Survival

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I have just returned from spending three days in a wonderful destination with my family. Away from the office and away from home, the major goal of the long weekend was to do absolutely nothing relating to business.

In order to achieve that goal, the weekend was peppered with lots of coffee and ice cream dates, lunches, dinners, relaxation, a couple of games of tenpin bowling, some board games, some time at the beach, some reading, sleep ins and a general recharging of the batteries.

With a busy business schedule brewing towards the end of last year, I set for myself a goal that every six weeks I would take a mini holiday: sometimes just my wife and I and other times with the whole family. That meant eight mini holidays in twelve months and then in addition to that there would be major family holidays planned throughout. To date it has been working just fine.


But one of the things I noted about some holiday accommodation I recently stayed in was that there were certain aspects of the hotel that beckoned my attention. Even though the establishment was of a high quality, I noticed that some items of furniture in our suite had somewhat aged and were looking a little tired. And the one thing that I noticed missing, compared to other hotels I had stayed in, was that there was no opportunity for the customer, me, to have their opinion. There was no survey.

And from past experience, where there is no presence of a survey, and aspects of the service is looking tired or a tad sloppy, it is quite clear that the owners of the establishment have either gone on holidays themselves or have completely lost touch with their clientele.

Although the view was a multi-million dollar view, there were aspects of this hotels service that fell far below expected standards and I was convinced that I would never choose to stay there again.


When in Sydney, to celebrate the New Year this year, I stayed in another hotel and their mission statement was embodied in three words ‘yes we can’. What they were saying, by having that mission statement, was that even if a client created the problem, they would make it right.

Over the four or five days that I stayed in that hotel I tested that statement time and time again with each and every staff member with whom I interacted. The good news was that, without fail, each and every staff member went out of their way to make my stay pleasant, and the response from the people who cleaned our rooms, to those in the restaurant and those at the front desk was always ‘yes we can’.

In addition to this policy that they had operating in all of their hotels, they also provided a card on which was found a survey. Because I appreciate the value of surveys I happily filled out and commended them on their excellent service. One particular employee was noted because he simply happened to remember my name, the very next morning after he had first met me. Now that’s excellence!


I have lately been reading Brian Tracy’s book entitled Focal Point. In one section of the book I was challenged to conduct a personal survey.

Brian proposed four questions that we should ask those whom we live with and love.

They were:

1. Is there anything I am doing today that you would like me to do more of?

2. Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to do less of?

3. Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to start doing right now?

4. Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to stop doing right now?

I emailed these questions to every member of my family. To say that the response to these questions was eye opening is an understatement. I was really opening myself up for some honest comments, encouragement and correction.

But I really did love the comments from my youngest daughter. She encouraged me to water my garden more, to stop working so hard, to relax and to not drink too much coffee. All wise statements I might add that I have heeded.

Isn’t it amazing though how we can live with people all our lives and rarely take the time to find out how we could make their lives a much better experience? That’s why so many marriages suddenly wake up in divorce. Somewhere along the way somebody failed to ask the right questions.

Businesses who don’t ask for their client’s input don’t last. The same goes with families, churches, clubs, political parties and organizations.

Their survival and our survival depend upon regular surveyed checkups.


Change is our constant companion and it is those who adjust to change who last the distance. And in order to meet the needs of our family, our friends and our clients we must learn to ask questions regularly.

Surveys have personally provided me with better relationships, winning titles for books that I have written, adjusted plans for businesses that I have owned and fresh ideas to capture new markets.

So go ahead and do your own surveys.

Motivational Quote: Those who survey regularly are those who survive continually.

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