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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

The Boss' MATH Skills Need Some Help

My friend David quit his job recently – right in the middle of a big project with an important deadline. He had been unhappy for quite some time and was trying to do the professional thing – stay until the project was complete. The problem he stated was the “MATH skills” of his boss.

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“Math skills?” I asked. “Was there a problem with pay, how he was calculating your pay or your hours?”

David said his pay was fair, competitive and always delivered on time. He never worked more than a forty hour week.

So now I was puzzled and asked him to clarify what he meant by MATH Skills.

Management’s A

ttitude Towards Help he shared with me. Then said some words that I chose not to write here.

I love it. MATH SKILLS!

So here we go….A short list of MATH Skills that might engage employees, retain employees and increase employee morale:

  • Communicate at a comfortable decibel level.
  • Buy a pedestal. Recognize people for their contributions.
  • Be a good role model – like how about showing up on time if you expect that from others.
  • Shut Up for a few minutes. Be a good listener.
  • Turn off your brain every so often. Be open to new ideas.
  • Gulp. Make one of those painful faces and admit when you are wrong. This one is big and earns lots of respect.
  • Don’t empower people to do things until you fully understand the definition of empower. Yes, this might mean you will have to let go. Very difficult for the Control Freak personality.
  • Teach; don’t criticize and discipline.

Well there are more; but here’s a good start based on my talk with David. A good start to keeping people happy and working hard.

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And for those of you who may be reading this but are not in a boss/manager/leader role right now, remember you might be some day. You also might be guilty of some of the above in your current role.

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Yippee; It's Monday and we're back to work!

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Okay, so probably not the chant that most working folks are yelling on a Monday morning. It’s probably more like “Good Grief!”, “Ugh” or “OGIM! (Oh God, It’s Monday)”

You’ll find those who are complaining the weekend was too short. There are those who will spend Monday trying to impress you how they worked all weekend? (Maybe they need a productivity lesson) Most are preparing a To-Do list the length of a roll of toilet paper; of which they will accomplish about one square’s worth by Friday; and will need another roll of toilet paper next Monday to continue the never-ending list of stuff that might not even matter. The best of intentions are always railroaded by the unforeseen circumstances, meetings (don’t forget the Meeting Playce Mat

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) and interruptions that will come up during the week. Yes, it’s Monday; the day we reset the clock and look forward to bagels, donuts, extended lunches, half-day workday, or a bit of office socializing. Are you excited? It’s just five days from now. Will it come soon enough?

Did you ever wonder why people are nicer and more giving on a Friday? Is it that they are so happy to be rid of you for about 60 hours? Co-workers smile on Friday – even the most miserable of the bunch. People bring in treats as we head into the weekend. It’s often times a party atmosphere as we count down the hours until quitting time, Miller time, or whatever time you choose to call it. Plans are being shared. There is excitement in the air.

Isn’t Monday when we need that party atmosphere? Isn’t Monday when we need to do all the nice things which help improve teamwork, employee morale and communication? Isn’t Monday the day we need to see how we can make that miserable co-worker just a bit less miserable (which in turn makes everyone a whole lot less miserable)? Isn’t Monday the day new people often start………………And they get to see this? What happened to the fun work environment they were told about during the interview? Oh, that only happens on Friday. We’re fun 20% of the time. It was in the disclaimer in the employment contract.

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Have you ever thought about sitting down and sharing that To-Do list with others to see what REALLY needs to be done; what really is not important or perhaps looking for possible opportunities to help one another? Shouldn’t we be saying Yippee, It’s Monday!

We tend to do things backwards. We reward ourselves for a week of deadlines, meetings, technology challenges, and other office inconveniences after the fact. Is it possible that if the right tone was set at the beginning of the week, these would be anything but deadlines, meetings, challenges and inconveniences?

I just took one square of Toilet Paper from the bathroom. It is hanging on my computer monitor. Attached to that piece of TP is a Post It Note with three things I want to get done this week. I’m excited about getting done that which I know I can and having tossed aside the ridiculous, unimportant, and unnecessary.  Now don’t get me wrong; they’re big tasks; but at this ripe old age of 46 I have learned how to use history to my advantage. Stuff is going to come up this week. I don’t know what, but stuff is going to come up. Stuff came up last week. Stuff came up the week before, the week before that and the week before that. Get the point! And if by some miracle stuff doesn’t come up, I’m sure I can find another task to complete. And then I can thank god on Friday.

Well that’s it for today; I’m off to have lunch with a colleague; perhaps even an extended one. After all it is Monday, I’ve set my week up for success and I’m happy about it.

 

 

 

 

Some businesses sell you crap; others help you deal with your crap

It’s happened to everyone………..You’re visiting someone; you go to use the facilities and let’s just say when you are done, there’s an odor. You look left, right, up, down, in the closets, and under the sink. Phew! There it is….. the Passion-Cinnamon-Mango-Sunburst-Floral-Bouquet Spray

Adrift in Manhattan rip Lifeforce movie download You grab the spray. Spray here. Spray there. And now you have the smell of Passion-Cinnamon-Mango-Sunburst-Floral-Bouquet Crap!

Well that ain’t gonna happen to me no more………….Now that I have Poopourri! It’s a spray you spray before you do your business. I met the company owner just the other day at the NY International Gift Fair. I never saw someone so excited over her business – the business of crap! Suzy, I love your spirit!

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But think about this for a moment……..this is a problem. And that’s how businesses get started. A problem is identified and a better or new solution is developed. And often times it is a solution to an odd or taboo topic that takes a marketplace by storm. 

Think about your workplace. What are the problems you or your company solve? And are you excited about the problem(s)?

I love when I receive a call from an Director of Human Resources or a Vice President of Something telling me that employee morale is down or the staff could use a pat an the back or a bit of recognition that for some reason does not appear genuine when it comes from within the organization. I love being able to remind people that they are valued, how much they really are needed, and how they can make their days a bit more fun and productive. All businesses solve problems.

So if someone can make a business out of the problem of crap, what can you or your company do or add to its existing offerings? Go sit down and think about it for a bit.   

And for those of you who think yours doesn’t stink…………………

Here’s some other cool people I met and had fun with that day. They sell some really fun, cool crap – and in a good way: Phenominoes – where Sandy gave me a free piece of domino painted jewelry (it’s in my badge holder in picture below); Urban Butik – where I got to play with the coolest cake slicer/server, and Maileg – where Hannah and I compared hats:

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Social Media: A Place to Boost or Squash Self-Esteem and Ego?

I’m beginning to see how Social Media has the opportunity to elevate or squash an ego. So here goes……….

Linked In

I’m a LinkedIn Whore. Yes, I admit it. If you want to be connected to me on LinkedIn I will accept your invitation. It doesn’t cost me anything. I keep a business presence there; so the way I look at it, it can only help both of us if we are linked; who knows who if your world is looking for a keynote, general session or breakout speaker for their next meeting. Or maybe you’ll teach me something. And if at some point I see you’re a jerk or unscrupulous, I can just unlink.

So… if you want/need your ego boosted send me an invitation. Since chances are, for many, it is all about having the most links I am glad to do my part to boost an ego. I myself am not actively seeking links on an hourly basis, On most days my self-esteem is high; I threw my ego away a long time ago. My public profile is http://www.linkedin.com/in/richdigirolamo. If you start selling me crap within 30 seconds of connecting I have my ways of revenge – but I only share them with clients. Be careful. Be very careful. 

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Facebook

Now let’s move on to Facebook. This is my place to play. This is my online place to be who I want; sometimes silly; sometimes profound; sometimes professional. This is my place to be selective with who I want as a friend. So with that in mind, please keep these ego boosting/lowering thoughts in mind before you decide to be my friend:

  • If you have been an attendee at a keynote or breakout presentation of mine I will friend you. Chances are you liked what I had to say and want to learn more about me, who I am, and what I do. And since you like me, I am certain we come from a similar mold so of course I wll friend you. I want to know about you too. Quick Ego Booster!
  • If we are members of the same professional group(s) I may ignore your request to be my friend. If you’ve walked by me in a hallway looking the other way, not returned a phone call after offering advice/help, or abruptly ended a conversation because you saw someone “better”, “more popular” or a part of the “in crowd” this is my chance to deflate your ego. I will ignore your request. Please stop sending them. I would think by the third request you would get it. And anyway, I’ve already decided you have ulterior motives.
  • If I have no idea who you are when you invite me to be your friend, please do not get upset when I ask you to remind me of how we know each other. I meet a lot of people, am getting old and sometimes need a reminder.
  • If you are an old classmate or someone I grew up with, I’d love to hear about your part to make the world a better place. Just remind me of how we know each other.
  • Ex’s of any sort will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You should be able to figure it out anyway. If we haven’t been in touch, there is probably a reason. Although if you are in a hiring capacity, please re-read the LinkedIn section.

Twitter

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I still have no clue what this phenomenon really is all about. Follow me. Don’t follow me. Unfollow me. I’m just having fun posting random thoughts on my two accounts: http://twitter.com/richdigirolamo Hangin’ with the Homeboys rip and http://twitter.com/employeemorale. At least I’m humoring myself by posting and watching everyone try to boost their own self-esteem and ego. 

Well that’s my Social Media world. And while at times it can be overwhelming and irritating; the possibilities of what can be done with this new way of doing business, staying in touch, and reconnecting definitely have me hooked.

And as for the ego thing………..your ego boosting or lowering is now totally in your hands; you now know how I base my decisions.

Don't Waste Your Money on an Employee Morale Study

So the conversation goes something like this:

“I think we might have an employee morale issue here at ABC Company” says someone high up the food chain.

“Let’s get a task force together to look into the issue. Perhaps they can hire someone to do a study and identify if this is an issue and suggest what actions should be implemented” says someone else up the food chain.

STOP!!!!!! Brutal release

RIGHT NOW!!!

You don’t need a task force or a study. Save your money.

If you’re questioning an issue there is clearly an issue. As my good friend Lynn Robinson (Trust Your Gut) says; use your intuition.  Now take the financial resources you were going to invest in that STUDY and do the following:

  • Put a recognition program in place
  • Hold a special event for staff
  • Give them some well-deserved training; hire a speaker/trainer on a host of topics and give them a fun learning experience
  • Host a Communicate-a-thon where you share information about what is going on in the company
  • Consider changing people’s roles
  • Hold a Recess of sorts – a team building opportunity to increase morale, productivity and wellness
  • Host a breakfast or lunch where the directors/officers serve the employees

The bottom line is this…….If you think there is a problem there probably is. Spending money to find out makes no sense; when the time and money spent on the above items would most likely be less and can only improve morale; even if morale is already high. And studies mean people are poking around getting your staff anxious, upset and crazed.

So even if your intuition was wrong, the money was spent keeping the people happy who drive your daily business operations.

Now take this one step further. What other issues/ideas are you “studying” when you could actually be making advances in products, services and/or people.

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Make sense to you?

     Think about this:
     

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        1.  Cows

        2. The Constitution

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        3. The Ten Commandments
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COWS 

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THE CONSTITUTION 

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq …. Why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we’re not using it anymore.

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THE 10 COMMANDMENTS 

 

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Congress is this — you cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ and ‘Thou Shall Not Lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians …. it creates a hostile work environment.
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Also, think about this … if you don’t want to share this this for fear of offending someone — some would say you are part of the problems. It is time for America to speak up!

Okay, it’s worth a laugh. But let’s face it; there is a lot of truth to it.

 

Changing Your Mind is a Supervisor's Prerogative

In my post of August 5th you read about the UPS Man and Big Brother. If you haven’t go read that first before continuing.

So yesterday afternoon I see the UPS Man backing down the street. As Dave got out of the truck I congratulated him on breaking the rule of no backing up; the rule that he shared with me just two days earlier. Dave just laughed.

Well I guess Big Brother (Dave’s Supervisor and/or the Powers That Be at UPS) learned that they were wrong. Dave was told that he is spending too much time out of the truck and it is taking too long to make deliveries. Start backing up again was the new directive. Seemed like a game of Simon Says; or in this case UPS says. UPS says back up. UPS says don’t back.

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Really!!!!! No kidding!

Once again Dave just laughed at the whole situation. I really love this guy; I love his attitude. He just finds the amusement in the ever changing directives of his job. Or maybe he found a customer with whom he can laugh?

But it did get me thinking about how employees are constantly asked to adapt and change; and how some deal with as if their right arm was just blown off by a hand grenade while others look for the humor and laugh at the situation as companies try ever so hard taking steps to keep the business profitable and perhaps keep employees employed. Some take it in stride; others look for the opportunity to become a toxic employee and decrease employee morale. It reminded me of the companies who hire me and give me green light to poke fun at the craziness and chaos – to make fun of it; while at the same time offering tools and techniques to gain understanding and buy-in of staff. It offered another case of companies realizing that going back to basics – in the way we think and operate – is often times a good thing. I guess sometimes the only thing that is constant is that change is always occurring.

So what about you………..Are you laughing or whining at the never-ending change within your organization?

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How To Recycle Printer Paper; Just in Case You Needed Instructions

This new policy for printer paper was sent to me by a friend. I don’t know whether to applaud it or laugh at it? I applaud the idea; the concept. I laugh that someone on the staff actually had to write instructions on how to recycle paper. Perhaps the budget problem is not printer paper; but having too many people on the payroll with way too much time on their hands? 

Here goes………

Upon suggestion from our Chief Fiscal Officer, we’d like you all to adopt the following practice to save paper, which in turn will save the agency money, important in this time of extreme fiscal austerity, and save some trees, important always.

Begin immediately to use the blank back side of your recycled paper in the LAN computer printers.  To do this, simply

* Collect your discarded, single side printed paper rather than recycle it immediately
* Draw a line or two through the printed side of the paper with either a pen or hi-liter to show that its the ‘old’ side
* When you’ve collected a reasonable amount of such paper, place it blank side up in your LAN printer
* Once the now two sided page has served it’s purpose, the please recycle the sheet

This way you’ll be fully using the paper before sending it on its way.

Note that this is not a suitable practice for the agency photocopiers, even if they’re also used as LAN printers.  That’s because they’re already defaulted to do 2 sided copying to minimize paper use and maximize cost savings and efficiency.

If there are any questions about this, please contact me.

 

 

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Big Brother REALLY is watching! Well at least he's watching the UPS Man.

Walking out of my door the other day I ran into the UPS Delivery Man. It was 5:00 PM. He was delivering the next two books on my reading list: Play, by Stuart Brown and Who’s Got Your Back Trauma film by Keith Ferrazzi.

I asked him where his truck was parked. It clearly was not in front of my house. He laughed.

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I live on a cul-de-sac; aka a dead end street for those of us who aren’t pretentious; a narrow dead end street. UPS is now not allowing their drivers to back up more than 50 feet. My street is more than 50 feet long. No U-Turns either unless they meet a certain criteria. Yep, he must now walk the packages down the street for delivery to the seven homes.

Yikes!

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“Would they really know if you backed up or made a U-Turn”, I asked.

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Eight Days a Week buy Virus Apparently so. Seems that these trucks are monitored to watch every move the truck now makes. Dave, the UPS Man, shared how there are wires all over the truck and that a Real-Time Google Earth like package is used to monitor a driver’s every move. I guess no more hanky-panky or taking naps in the truck either?

I started to walk up the street with Dave. I was really curious about this. “So like I could be getting you in trouble because you’re talking to me rather than delivering packages” was my next question. He chuckled and remarked well if someone really wanted to make an issue I guess so.

Born Yesterday hd This blew my mind. But I really loved Dave’s spirit and attitude about the whole thing. You could tell some of it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but he was just being a good UPS Soldier. Companies are always trying new things. Some work. Some don’t. Some ideas are innovative; some are not. Some increase employee morale; some throw employee morale off a bridge. Some lead to layoffs; others lead to layoffs followed by scrambling to hire people.

Now I know that the folks at UPS will say it is about driver safety, keeping rates down, being a Greener Company, blah, blah, blah. And I know that women (and some men) who lust after their package delivery man might find this nice as these men in shorts parade through neighborhoods for longer periods of time. But this really is Big Brother watching at its finest.

I’ve also got to wonder if there really is a savings here? The UPS Man used to arrive in my neighborhood about 2:30PM. Now he arrives over two hours later? I guess I also wonder, how you the reader, adapt to change when it seems to make no sense?