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Fall Housekeeping – Social Media Style!

Hey Kids!

It’s that time of year again; so time for a revisit to an old topic……………. 

October is just about here and I have begun the process of Fall Housekeeping.

Now Fall Housekeeping is not what you think. You won’t see a rake, broom, mop or dust rag anywhere in sight. Comforters don’t get changed. Leaves do not get bagged. Clothing does not get moved from bedroom to attic. Fall Housekeeping involves removing people from my life who need to go. Yes, PEOPLE!

Don’t call the police – YET. There will not be a homicide in a town near Rich. More often than not I will bump people off verbally – in person (or email).

Are relationships important to you? Do you work hard on them? Really hard? I work hard on the relationships that matter and I usually find that the person on the other end of that relationship is working equally as hard; if not harder. But aren’t there those people in your life who are always a downer. No matter what is going on they can’t smile, laugh, or make a happy comment. And as much as I try, even I at some point make the decision that this is not healthy for me any longer. So last week, after several years of dealing with someone who was self-absorbed, self-centered and cared only about themselves, I began cleaning house. I would have liked to have done it in person but every conversation we ever had usually involved me being cut off. So Fall Housekeeping began with an email. Good-bye it was.

But this year Fall Housekeeping will have to be expanded to include Social Media. Boy you learn a lot about people on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. Some people are always miserable; and I’ve become an ace at filtering misery from sarcastic humor. Some people are always pointing out bad examples and negative examples of anything and everything. Others just spend the day pointing out how wonderful and marvelous they are. Now I’m not perfect; and I’m not saying that I don’t post some comments that might fall into these categories; but for some it is nothing but nonstop negativity, promotion and doom/gloom.

Fall Housekeeping is a year long process for me; it just culminates with the beginning of fall. I find it appropriate as relationships are about to fall off.  I always let people know why I am removing them from my life.  And while some people think this is harsh, almost all people who I share this with agree it is a good idea; most just don’t have the courage to do it. Do you? Who in your life really is just too much work at this point?

So this year I will be undertaking Fall Housekeeping……… Social Media Style; and in the spirit of fun (and my sanity) I will be unfriending, hiding you, or Linking you out if:

  1. You’re always whining about your kids/spouse/ex-spouse/etc. (please remember they have YOU to deal with; and my gut is your little apple didn’t fall far from his or her precious parent tree)
  2. You’re always whining about work. (thank god you’re not on my payroll or live in MI where unemployment is 15% I was told)
  3. You’re always whining about travel issues (they’re not going away; learn how to laugh at them or laugh with/at the people who are feeling your pain. I do. Or bring a book with you.)
  4. You’re always trying to sell me something. (Yes, it gets old hearing about your book, service or product on a daily basis. It’s overkill. And my gut is that if you need to mention it all the time it might not be such a great seller. Perhaps you should give me something first; then maybe I might be interested in what you’re selling)
  5. You’re always looking for information, ideas, stroking, validation and help; but never seem to return the favor. (Hey, I need to be stroked too!)
  6. You’re very vocal about the flaws of your government but offer no solutions or help. (There are political signs on lawns everywhere. I still don’t see your name on one?)

So yesterday morning 5 “friends” on Facebook became victims of Fall Housekeeping – Social Media Style; I hid them – it’s less harsh than deleting. I stopped following two people on Twitter and LinkedOut from one person. What a great morning it was to open my Facebook home page and read fun, funny, and happy things going on in the lives of my “friends.” Out walking the dogs at 6:30AM I read tweets that made me laugh and smile. And who knows what’s going on at LinkedIn; I haven’t been there yet.

I just returned from speaking at a Parks and Recreation Conference where everyone in attendance was having a good time. I point that out because in a state where unemployment is so high and the economy has stopped because of one industry I saw joy, happiness and laughter. I made new friends; and my gut is that these friends will not part of Fall Housekeeping in the near future. Pick and choose wisely. Bring people into your life that make you smile, laugh and learn. But I think the biggest thing I can offer you this issue is this (and it is from my friend Betsy F.)……………..

“We all change. We grow in different directions and the people you are with today may not and/or should not be there in the future.”

I think she’s pretty smart. And it opens up the world to new, fun, exciting experiences and people.

Happy Fall.

How New Business Policies Are Created

Ever wonder how new organization policies come to be. They’re usually a result of a mishap, an error, or result of a lawsuit.

I write this from my hotel room near the Grand Rapids Airport. I just spent the last few days with the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association; speaking at their Therapeutic Recreation Institute. This trip resulted in the following new policy being put in place in my business:

If you’ve been reading this blog you read Wednesday’s post where I thought I was going to die in a plane crash. Well a few hours later I was almost killed in a car accident.

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I was picked up at Grand Rapids Airport for the ride to the conference center. About 20 minutes into the ride we’re having conversation which suddenly turns to me screaming “Uh, STOP! We’re gonna crash” (or something like that) and using the imaginary brake on my side of the car. 

I saw the stopped traffic and brake lights ahead of me. Why didn’t the driver? As I’m screaming it seems as if we’re speeding up not slowing down. Lots of pain is about to be incurred. Eyes closed. Tensing muscles.

Finally he starts to brake. I open my eyes. It is clear that there is not enough stopping distance between us and the car in front.

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Fortunately there was no one in the closed lane next to us. My driver pulled over and we escaped serious injury or death. Fortunately I was also not presenting until the next day; I needed that time to get my heart out of my stomach and stop trembling.

Now this is the second time where a client trying to be nice or save a few bucks almost took my life. I usually like to spend some alone time with meeting/conference attendees beforehand, so when someone is sent to pick me up I use it as an opportunity to get the REAL DIRT about what’s going on in their world. This all changed as of Wednesday. From now on………………..

Fun Policy #92309: Speaker will provide his own ride! Should you wish to greet speaker at airport, speaker encourages you to leave your car at the airport and ride with him (at your expense). Should speaker arrive late or dead for your conference it will be as a result of speaker’s actions; not yours. Speaker is also willing to drive your car.

For Goodness Sake; Keep People Informed!! And Immediately.

Well first of all…………I’m back. It’s been a crazy few weeks and I’ve neglected to blog. Remember you can always follow my musings at

This morning I learned how to scare the crap out of your customers – or in this case your airline passengers.

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My flight was delayed this morning – hydraulic problems. Now I don’t know much about hydraulics, but I assume that not having them working on a plane is a bad thing. And when it comes to a plane I would rather they find the problems while I’m on the ground and not at 36,000 ft.

Center Stage: Turn It Up

Transmorphers psp So after our hydraulics were fixed we headed out to the runway. There were a couple of noises that were not recognizable; but airplanes do that. The guy next to me made the sign of the cross. Hmm……… this the time in my life when I should get a little more in touch with the guy upstairs.

Flight attendants be seated for departure.

We start to take off. The plane is not picking up speed. It seems like it wants to pick up speed but it is not. Guy across the aisle makes a sign of the cross. I started talking to the plane………..”I know you can. I know you can.” 

Funny noise. Plane not picking up speed. Weird feeling in stomach.

Plane slows down to a crawl. We turn left. We turn left again. Seems as if the pilot is heading back around to try this again. What the…… Yep; someone said it.

I’m thinking how about we head back to the gate and not the runway!!!!!!! This plane clearly wants to stay on the ground and I think you should listen to its wishes! Nope, pilot continues to head back to runway.

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Sitting in emergency row. Do I pull open the door and flee for my life?

As we approach the runway the pilot pulls the plane over to the right. It was about a minute and a half, maybe two, after our takeoff attempt. He then tells us that the tower stopped us from taking off because of too much air traffic heading to our destination. We needed to wait ten minutes or circle Detroit when we arrived there.

Lots of big sighs of relief. LOTS!

But it got me thinking…………

We live in a world where people want to be informed. We have information available at our finger tips. We have information available instantaneously. A minute is not a long time; but when you think your life is in jeopardy or your job or your health or whatever…………communication of timely information is critical.

Here’s an exercise. Just watch a clock for 90 seconds and imagine it is the last 90 seconds of your life. Scary thought?

How is your communication with those around you? Please keep this in mind in dealing with customers, employees, family or friends. It could save a lot of anxiety.

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Road Signs You Need A Doctorate To Interpret

Out riding my bike this morning I came upon this road sign.


I’m a smart guy. I’ve got a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree but this one threw me.

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Prescribed Road Burn? Do Not Report.

Enduring Love ipod What the heck is prescribed road burn? I’ve never heard of such a term. Did a doctor prescribe it? And what kind of a doctor prescribes a road burn? MD? DDS? DVM? Dr. Dolittle? Dr. Spock? Dr. Kevorkian? Dr. J? It had to have been some PhD!

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So I did some research and found out that Prescribed Burns are allowed and approved fires. They’ve been used to kill bugs which might be attacking trees. (Don’t tell the folks at PETA.) They’ve even been used to create gaps in brush so that large forest fires are averted. Okay this all makes sense. But the sign? Why does everything have to be so complicated. Big words and phrases might impress the person who uses them, but too often confuses the rest of us. And I shouldn’t have to go do research to interpret a road sign.

Why not make it a bit easier. Especially since the average IQ of the people driving today appears to be about 4. A road sign is not a Corporate Memo, a white paper or an Annual Report. Road signs should be helpful not make my head hurt.

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These would be some of my ideas…………………..

  • This fire paid for by your tax dollars
  • This fire started & approved by your local government
  • This fire. Proof that your tax dollars are working
  • Burning more of your tax dollars
  • Chill. We know there’s a fire. We started it.
  • Yes, it’s a fire. Yes, we know about it. Move along.
  • We’re watching this fire and hoping it doesn’t spread to your house.

Road signs are supposed to be User Friendly!

The next sign I saw was a stop sign and then a yield sign. I felt better. I knew what I was supposed to do.

Everyone team member should wear a boa!

There’s a purple boa in my office. It’s not my Halloween costume; nor am I a Drag Queen in my spare time. But there is a story about that boa. A story of friendship.


Several years ago I called my friend Sherry and suggested she gather some friends, I gather some friends, and we go play in my favorite US city for a weekend – New Orleans.

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And so we went a gathering. We met at the New Orleans airport and started our journey into the French Quarter by stretch limo.

Eight of us spent a weekend laughing, eating, listening to great music, shopping and doing what so many people do in New Orleans…….(fill in your own blank).

One night, walking down Bourbon Street, I noticed there was a group of people wearing matching shirts. Another group was wearing matching hats. A third wearing matching outfits. I began to wonder if they did this to help find their drunk comrades later that evening or if it was about friendship, team spirit, company camaraderie, they lost a bet or they were family? Whatever, it was clear the attire bonded the group; and people like me were curious.

I was jealous. Envious.  I wanted to play. I wanted to have fun too. I wanted people to know my group. But more importantly, I wanted my group – still strangers to each other – to get to know each other better.

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And then I spotted them……………….BOAS!

Hmm…………I wonder if they would all want to buy…. FORGET THAT!

I ran into the store. I bought eight different colored boas. When I emerged from the store the looks from the group were priceless. Everything from Yay! to….. I hope he doesn’t think I am going to wear that! I started passing them out; placing them around necks.

Eight people; one strange; some fun; some conservative; one VERY conservative. A few minutes later these eight people who were brought together for a weekend of fun became instant best of friends. Marching down the streets in our boas people were pointing, laughing, and asking us to pose. Even the most conservative was having a good time. Instantly, any differences that existed between the eight of us disappeared.

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So what does this all mean?

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Look around your organization. People come from all walks of life; different backgrounds, religions, races, political views, etc. But there is always a way to bring people to a common place.

Maybe you need to go buy some boas and have some fun. Or hats?