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A little unknown secret about Black Friday

There was a time when Black Friday actually didn’t start until 9:00 AM. Then it went to 8:00 AM; then 7:00 AM.

Soon Black Friday started at 5:00 am; and in recent years Black Friday sales started at Midnight!

Tuesday night I found myself in JCPenney; my friend needed to pick up a piece of jewelry that was being repaired. We were engaged in conversation with the salesperson about Black Friday. Here is what she shared:

  • The store would be opening at 4:00 AM; she needed to be there at 3:00 AM to get the diamonds into the counter
  • Every employee would be working that day
  • Every employee would be working a ten hour shift
  • Every employee would only be given a thirty minute break during that ten hour shift

First of all there is nothing I need or want that badly to get me up and at the store at 4:00 AM. There is nothing I need or want that badly that would get me to line up at midnight for a sale. Remember the trampling death on Long Island (NY)? I’ll pay an extra $8 for something in order to stay alive; or maybe I really wasn’t supposed to have it in the first place.

But I do think of all those retail employees who are working today – and harder than a lot of people who sit at a desk. Refolding what people unfolded and didn’t like. Re-hanging all those clothes that didn’t fit – you haven’t been that size since third grade. Picking up what people threw on the floor. Restocking shelves. And of course smiling and wishing everyone Happy Holidays; when in some cases there were two others words that would have been their first choice.

I think about the verbal abuse that some of those employees will take today. Out of stock items. People who left their coupons at home. And people who are just looking to get everything for free.

If you’re a retail management employee, please give your team lots of recognition and praise during this holiday season. Thank them for their patience. smiles, lack of sleep and customer service. It will keep them engaged and working hard for you.

And then there will be the employees who absolutely love the chaos, craziness, and disorder. There are people who thrive on those things. They’ll be smiling and laughing at the mess and uptight customers. They’ll be laughing at people who got up at 4:00 in the morning to find out their item was already out of stock……………….

Already out of stock???? Right when the doors open??? Yep.

You see, JCPenney (and I’m sure others) had one register set up for Black Friday when we were in the store on Tuesday night. So if you couldn’t make the 4:00 opening (or were smart and stayed as far away as possible) you were able to purchase your item on Tuesday; just not take it home; and come pick it up at your convenience. Works for me.

So while a whole bunch of people are “enjoying” the craziness of mall parking lots, crowds of people and traffic jams, I slept in late and am eating leftovers. Pie and coffee for breakfast was delicious!

Study shows a ???% of employees are disengaged and ready to jump ship!

If you’re at work, look around. Who is smiling? Who is not? Who looks, well…… just plain pissed off?

A recent survey by Right Management shows an alarming statistic regarding the percentage of people who are so frustrated with their current position and company that they are ready to jump ship. Do you think that number is:

  1. 25%
  2. 60%
  3. 82%
  4. 41%

The number is 60%. And while turnover might be a good thing in bringing about innovation and creativity, imagine losing 60% of your team. Imagine if 60% of your people needed to be replaced next year? Do you have the manpower to take on this task? Think about how much time, training, $$$, and energy this is going to take.

But worse yet, imagine the 40% who remain and need to pick up the workload while the interview process drags on to replace 60% of their peers. Yikes!

Frightening thought? It should be. And it should not be taken lightly.

But there is another solution………….

Start reinvesting (right now) in your current talent. It’s beyond the 11th hour here. Companies need to do something. Here are a few immediate and easy to implement ideas to instantly begin to re-engage employees:

  • Communicate openly about what is going on in the company
  • Offer some training and professional development.
  • Institute some fun – and fast
  • Rethink that cancelled holiday party (see my post of Nov 16)
  • Act now on employee work and lifestyle concerns and determine ways to address and accommodate
  • Set clear career path plans with as many people as possible and take immediate and regular steps to ensure they are met
  • Download and distribute (even to your friends in other companies) my free 2 page document on what employees and managers are looking for in one another. Click here 

Now stop reading and get to work. The person to your right and your left are thinking of leaving. Or maybe you are??

The Truth About December 21, 2012

My friend was amazed at me last night. We went to see 2012 and I actually stayed awake for the whole movie. You see, I don’t watch much television or go to the movies; I tend to fall asleep. There is just something hypnotic about those screens. Or maybe the quality of the show or movie sucked? This one obviously kept my attention.

Well if you’re not aware of this, the world is supposed to end on December 21, 2012; at least according to the Mayans; as that is the day their calendar ends. It couldn’t possibly be that the Mayans got bored with the calendar project, figured it would be a fun evil joke to mess with future generations’ heads, or maybe they had ADD? But according to the Mayans we’ve got a little over 3 years to live and Hollywood took advantage of the story.

Now I won’t tell you about the movie, I want to be fair to those who have not seen it (I hate people who tell me the ending of a book or movie; except of course Titanic: They sink.), but one of the things that struck me the most was a theme running through the movie about telling the truth.

What has happened to being honest? If you’re a fan of House M.D., you’re familiar with the phrase “Everyone lies”; and I agree with that, everyone does lie. But the magnitude of lies in this world seems to be getting larger and larger. Governments lie. Employers lie. Employees lie. Families lie. Spouses lie. Board members lie. It’s enough to get you……………well wanting to crawl under a rock………or perhaps wish it was December 21, 2012 and the Mayans are right!

Someone, a friend, recently lied to me and I’ll tell you it’s still not sitting right with me. You start to wonder what else this person has not been truthful about. You start to wonder if you did something wrong that this person did not feel comfortable enough to share the truth with you. You start to wonder about so many things; especially like why they keep up with the lies even when caught. I don’t get it.

I am hearing more and more stories about people who are just willing to toss away a relationship, a company or a country to save their own face. Sickening and sad. People are becoming less and less engaged in their work, their community, and their loved ones. What has happened to truth and honesty? I’m starting to lose faith in a lot of people and entities. But I guess the good news is that I only have to put up with it for another 1,119 days.

Or maybe people can start telling the truth? Care to join me in forcing the issue to get them to do so? Perhaps we can start re-engaging people together?

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The Office Holiday Party is On!

Everyone is looking at budgets. Everyone is trying to stay in business. And when you look at places to cut budgets and save, the holiday party is usually first on the list to go.

Bad decision. Very Bad Decision.

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Last I was told the purpose of a holiday party is to show thanks, celebrate successes and bring people together to increase morale and employee engagement.

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I don’t care how tight your budgets are………..if you’re still in business these days you have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of successes to celebrate. Now more than ever is when you need to bring people together. Any sane employee understands that we are in tough times and will understand that perhaps the company party might not look like it used to; but below are some great ideas to at least get you thinking about what it can look like:

  • How about a pot luck?
  • How about a Happy Hour – without alcohol; hire a local clown or magician to come in and do their thing for an hour. It will make your people happy.
  • Go ice skating, sledding or roller skating – depending on the climate where you live
  • Hold smaller departmental celebrations; perhaps holiday breakfast at a local coffee shop or eatery
  • Take the gang down to a local shelter, food bank or convalescent home and do some service
  • Open your home for some good ole fashion camaraderie
  • Own a vacation home and you supervise a small department? Give each person in your group a weekend away.
  • Check out 50 Ways To Have Fun At Work. Use one of those ideas and tweak them into a holiday celebration that says thanks.
  •  Host an awards ceremony i.e. The Santa Claus Award for the person who can satisfy so many co-workers or customers the fastest. Or The Dreidel Award for the person whose words and rhetoric get people’s heads all dizzy. I think you get the point. Have fun with it.
  • Take a Recess and have some fun. Check out Recess At Work Day for ideas – and start practicing now for June 17, 2010.
  • Cookies and milk? People seem to be baking this time of year. How about a week of smaller celebrations? Designate 3:00 PM for cookies and milk for a week and just talk and laugh. Share funny family holiday stories.

Well those are some things to get you thinking. Yes, it’s tough out there. Really tough. Don’t you think the people you work alongside or supervise deserve some sort of a break. And don’t you as an employee or employer want a stronger and more engaged team? It won’t get any cheaper than this!

And who is going to organize this? You know who in the department would be the perfect person. Go ask them right now.

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The USPS. Continuing to Do What It Takes To Disengage A Customer.

About 5 times a year I go to pick up my mail and I don’t have my box key. It’s a small post office; I’m talking tiny; and even though the sign says you must have your key and mail will not be handed over the counter, that rule is usually broken. Clearly, people are not abusing the rule.

Well today was one of those times when I forgot the key. My mail was handed over with a smile and a comment that moving forward I would be charged the cost of a key if they have to hand my mail over the counter.

Hey United States Postal Service! Wake up. Are you people that stupid?!

Annie Get Your Gun hd

You’re an obsolete service. your extinction might be near – and you’re now telling me that good ole customer service is going to have a premium price as well? You’re gonna punish me for the occasional mistake. MORONS!

My knee jerk reaction (to myself of course) was I’ll start having my mail delivered to my home; and shut down the box. There’s another post office five minutes down the road; I’ll start going there. I know that each office is its own profit center, but you make money by innovative products and services; not disengaging customers by penalizing them for genuine mistakes. 

I’ll go one step further here. The post office I use is not in the town I live. I do a lot of online shipping and drop it off at the post office. A few years ago these same people who just told me they would charge me for handing my mail over the counter asked me if I would please use my PO Box address and not my home address on the packages since they get credit, even with online shipping, if it is printed by me, but dropped off there with their zip code as the return. Absolutely I said. Knee jerk reaction was “Screw you, home address now to be used.”

Grace download In a time when the United States Postal Service is looking (like everyone else) to increase revenue and stay in business, trying to raise revenue  by charging people for occasional errors is certainly not how you’re going to keep me as a customer. Here’s an idea Postmaster General…………… Figure out how to cut your payroll. I read an article recently that talked about Postal Workers in Waterbury CT sitting around reading and playing games because there is no work and moving them to another location is not an option? Of course a great contract was negotiated by the unions. So they sit and play; while I forget my key and pay. Absurd. 

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Now of course I am not going to act on any of my knee jerk reactions, but this is how you lose customers; this is how you disengage customers. Heck, this is even how you disengage your employees – having them enforce rules that are archaic, make no business sense and really do not impact the bottom line.

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But I do have a dilemma, if I boycott the USPS am I just going to end up paying for it with another federal bailout?

The customer apparently is never right!

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Easy Experiment: Does Your Dog Like You Better Than Your Boss?

This really works! 

If you don’t believe it, just try this experiment….

  1. Put your dog and your CEO, Manager, Supervisor, Co-Worker, etc. in the trunk of your car for an hour
  2. When you open the trunk, which one is really happy to see you?

Oct 27 2006

 

Disclaimer: Before trying this experiment, please make sure you have enough savings to support yourself and the dog while you look for a new job

 

thanks for the inspiration Judy K.

We Need A Director of Tracking Promises!

So it’s the day after Election Day here in the United States. Some people still have a job. Some people have a new job. Some people are crapping in their pants now that they need to go find one of those jobs that they promised they would create. Some people, in smaller communities, might now have a second job.

And the rest of us…..well there is a good possibility that we were all given a Snow Job. The Urban Dictionary (my favorite source) defines snow job as: an effort to deceive, overwhelm, or persuade with insincere talk, especially flattery. Politically apropos???

But it got me thinking,…………..  What if every organization (political, corporate, volunteer, etc) had a Director of Tracking Promises?

This Director of Tracking Promises would do the following:

  • Demand that politicians live up to every promise they made during campaign season; even knowing when he/she was making those promises there wasn’t a chance in hell this would happen
  • Ensure that your new boss, who promised nothing would change when he or she took the position, and that you would be provided with opportunities for professional development, lives up to that statement
  • Ascertain that every person who has signed up for a volunteer position was there solely for altruistic reasons and that no personal agenda would ever get in the way of organizational progress.

There would be more responsibilities but this is to give you an idea of my thoughts. Now the Director of Tracking Promises would report to the Global Director of Tracking Promises; after all every good organization needs a leader. The Global Director would provide coaching, mentoring and educational opportunities for the local directors. The Global Director would be canvassing the globe for success stories and opportunities to teach people how to deliver on their promises.

Accountability is and should be on the minds of everyone these days. Here’s our opportunity, the day after election day, the day of new beginnings to implement a strategic initiative to hold the world accountable! I hereby declare my candidacy for the position of Global Director of Tracking Promises and need your support. Please contribute to my candidacy.



 

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas trailer

Note: In the spirit of humor and giving, all donations will be turned over to agencies/families in need thanks to those who have made way too many promises but have not delivered. A full accounting of these monies will be gladly furnished to you – and that is a promise that can be kept.