I’m really a NISE person
WHEN you hear the name Kim Tudor, you automatically think of NISE, National Initiative of Service Excellence. She is the woman that has Barbadian service workers minding their manners. This week, Easy magazine caught up with Ms Tudor who talked candidly about work, keeping balanced, giving of her time and why she is committed to seeing Barbados succeed on the world stage.
You’re clearly a very busy woman, how do you keep things all together when it comes to managing your professional work and life?
I have to keep myself organised by writing everything down. I have ten godchildren. I have no children of my own. So I make sure that along with work I schedule time with my godchildren. As long as it’s in my book it will happen.
You seem very dedicated to service excellence in Barbados. But I’m sure you’ve had your bad days, but you can’t show your bad days . . .you have to be nice. How do you strike a balance?
I think I take who I am to my job too. There’s not a lot of difference between Kim at home, Kim at Kiwanis, or Kim at a fete that’s totally different from Kim at work. I’m not a kind of Jekyll and Hyde. I’m pretty much the same.
I do get angry, I do get vex, I do shout but it has to have a context. I do have my bad days. If I’m angry about something I’m not going to pretend I’m not angry, but it doesn’t prevent me from being respectful and honouring the person.
I tend not to get too angry with people, I get more upset and angry with circumstances and situations. But I try to be real. I’m a humble person and a contented person and I really work on being peaceful and contented. I love what Paul said in the Bible: ‘Whatever circumstances you find yourself with to be content’ and I try to practise that because if you look around everything could be worse.
Do you think your work experience in the service sector, working with Kiwanis as a past president and the Barbados Organisation of the Disabled prepared you for what you’re doing now with NISE?
My experience in my civic activities have helped me into encouraging people. I actually have training in quality management that help organisations deliver a level of quality and service excellence. But it is the people and the culture. When I go to Seattle and the Ritz Carlton Hotel you could see clearly that is the culture within the organisation that drives that level of performance.
People will complain and say it can’t happen in Barbados but we have Sandy Lane and they’re drawing from the same pool. For us to be successful it requires a vibrant economy where we are working either in our own business or at the organisation, and it beholds us to build up that organisation.
The more prosperous the organisation is, the more prosperous you would become. The whole economy thrives. In order for you to realise that dream you have to give service excellence. We help people to work more together and to be patient with each other and recognise that everyone has a contribution.
One of my philosophies is that I help people to work with their strengths because that’s where you are happiest. I try to determine early where you are strongest and try to help you as much as possible work where your strengths lie and motivate and encourage you.
Were you surprised at the results of the recent politeness test survey conducted by NISE?
I was happy it wasn’t as bad as we thought. Even though in some cases people gave you the right answer, but I think if you were able to test some of the answers I would think it would not have been as positive as the results stated.
For instance we asked a question: ‘Would you return the money to the ATM if it was mistakenly dispensed?’, and only 73 per cent of the adults said they would. But that’s the right thing to do. I think if we had to test that scenario the results would be lower.
Do you think the moral decline in society has contributed to the results in the survey?
Certainly people are calling for a return to values. We are hoping with this new initiative “Live Excellence” we can partner with churches, civic groups and the schools to encourage everybody to get back to a level where we know we should be.
We have a slogan called ‘Shine Through’ where we can develop a shining reputation as individuals, corporations. We feel that you could shine through anger by being a little bit more patient.
The whole notion of shining through is just as important to corporations and the individual as well. I think we as a society still know what is the right thing to do but what we’re saying is that we have to take the steps to stem the tide and stop the decline from going any further.
Everyone was surprised that New York children were ranked more polite than Barbadian children. Remember years ago people would say ‘Good morning’ and then people stopped saying it because it appeared not to be sophisticated.
We were hearing that in England and America people don’t speak to each other. But as the world becomes more globalised people are looking for more local experiences and more authentic experiences. We don’t need to copy people in something that’s foreign to us and that’s what we’ve been doing.That way in a test they could still wind up being more polite than we are. So we are following them but they have turned around.
You’re clearly very passionate about what you do. What would you like your legacy with NISE to be?
I am passionate about Barbados first and foremost. I want to see Barbados be more focused on developing and going forward and I want to play a part in that. I want to see us set a target in improving our competitiveness. Years ago we had a National Insurance Initiative long before St Lucia, Bahamas and those places.
They have since developed theirs and in some cases surpassed us. I’m actually very happy to have a position where I can help to shape the direction of Barbados. I really want Barbados to be on the world map in a greater way than we really are.
This is three years that we’ve gone to Seattle and when we go there it’s good to hear the things that companies like Microsoft and Starbucks are doing. They’re also fascinated by the fact that we have an initiative called NISE and some of them are looking at their cities doing something like that.
You don’t have to be a big land mass to be the leader . . . .I look forward to Barbados being the leader in service excellence as a country.