Dog Days of Summer

I’m a big dog lover, having a dog growing up was one of the best experiences. I think it’s important for all kids to be either raised with or regularly exposed to pets so that they can have a healthy, not fearful, relationship with them, should they ever come into contact with them as a kid or adult. One of the families I work with recently got a dog and being with them and the dog has me thinking about pets, and about the phrase ‘dog days of summer.’

Some say the ‘dog days’ originally referred to the dog star Sirius appearing which could happen in late July. Now we refer to them during the days of summer when the day is so hot it just makes you want to lie around and do nothing, except pant with your dog of course.

I loved having a dog growing up and I look forward to having a dog again soon. But having a dog, or any kind of pet, is a big responsibility and not something that everyone can do full time. If that’s the case for you there are lots of organizations around the country that welcome visitors to be pet petters, some organizations have volunteers who take in pets for short periods of time before they find a full time home, and you can also pet sit for neighbors and friends.

Why do I encourage regular interaction with pets? Because just like many other things in life kids need to learn how to interact with them so they can respect them, know how to interact with them, know how to react to many different behaviors and feel comfortable and confident when they’re around. Pets are much better than people at picking up on how someone is feeling, so they react strongly to fears and anger, and unfortunately often react in ways that reinforce that anger and fear.

Pets are treasured members of many families around the world, and with more awareness, education and interaction I believe we can turn the tide for many dogs, pets and kids of the future.

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Speaking the Language of Success

Last week I heard about another poor decision and rant that someone made with regards to someone’s culture and/or language.  While it’s easy to say, and for some of us believe, that we should all work together and there aren’t any differences between cultures, races and sexes, there is a rather large challenge that isn’t always possible for businesses to conquer.

It’s the challenge of language.

You’ve probably been to some websites that are in a language that you don’t speak.  You’ve also probably been to some websites that offer on-site translation options so that it’s easy to switch to any number of languages and have the site translate itself into a decent representation of what’s on the original site.  Of course you can always use Google or the Chrome option to translate a page or site for you but they’re not as reliable.  As great as these options are and as smart as it is to offer a properly translated page to your potential customers, that only solves one of the two challenges when it comes to language.

The other side of the language challenge is from our end, the end of the business owner or employees.  Using myself as an example, simply put I only speak English well.  I have very minimal Spanish and French language knowledge, and nothing else.  So while I could go ahead and have my website and other materials translated into other languages or offer on-site translation options, the simple fact is that since I offer only services and no physical products if a potential client doesn’t speak English and won’t get a translator, we’re not a good match and I probably can’t help them regardless of how much I would like to.

If you really want to grow a global business you’ve got a couple of choices because translating things back and forth between you and your customers works to an extent, but once you get to a certain level of service you really need to do better for your customers.  One option is to, hire team members who speak other languages.  A second option would be to learn those languages yourself.  A final option would be to create relationships with people around the world who offer similar services or products as you do but speak languages or work in cultures that you don’t and form affiliate relationships with them.

What are your tips for making things work when you don’t speak the same language as a customer?