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

Reading is FUNdamental

It was an educational campaign back when I was a kid – Reading is FUNdamental! It was all over the television. For all I know it might still be in use.

Reading is something that way too many people don’t do enough of. We’re so busy updating statuses and declaring our fabulousness on Social Media sites that we forgot about sitting down with a good book. Plus the average person has an attention span as long as this sentence.

You would think book reading would be on the rise. We have options. You can buy a book. You can buy an ebook. You can buy a digital reader such as a Kindle and download books. Kindle even has a free version for Blackberry – which I recently downloaded. Kindle for Blackberry made reading fun. Now this is not a commercial for Kindle or Blackberry; my point is I like when things are fun. It’s a reason I suggest people use the Meeting Playce Mat– to make meetings less boring and more fun. When something is fun sign me up. When something is lame……I’d prefer watching the bug climbing the wall of the conference room or counting the ceiling tiles.

Here’s my recent reading list

  • The Art of Possibility
  • REWORK
  • The New Rules of PR & Marketing
  • I See Your Name Everywhere

What do I love about these books? Short easy to read chapters/sections. After all my attention span is even shorter than this sentence.

What’s on your reading list these days? I’d love to know. I’ve got plenty of free space on my Blackberry.

But more importantly, Kindle has the Blackberry version, I have the Meeting Playce Mat, what are YOU/YOUR COMPANY doing to make your employees lives a bit more fun? Your customers lives?

Panic over something important! Like the Market is Falling.

Went to see the movie Kick Ass last night. As a kid who had always dreamed of being a Superhero, and the closest thing to becoming one is The Secret Ambassador at One Less Meal, I figured I needed to go see it.

I purchased my tickets at the kiosk. I’m a self-service kinda guy. It’s also a sad state of affairs when I can purchase a ticket faster than the people you hire to sell tickets. But I digress.

A young woman comes over to greet us so she can rip the tickets in half. Seems that nothing printed on the stub. She is panicked. We go over to the counter where the theater manager and another employee are talking.

“What do we do? What do we do?”

I respond, “You give me my popcorn and I go see the movie. Then you three figure it out.”

But the tickets won’t match when we close out. What do we do?

The other two seem unphased. Clearly this is not the end of the world. The sky is not falling as Henny Penny (ticket girl) seems to think.

Once again, “You give me my popcorn and I go see the movie. It’s not like I didn’t pay.” (That amount showed up on the stub.)

She’s still rambling on when I am handed my popcorn by a fourth employee.

It’s great to have employees who are engaged, thorough and accurate. It’s even great to have employees who understand the policies and rules. But sometimes they really need to be reminded that some stuff is really not that important and that occasionally systems fail.

What are you worrying about, wasting your time getting aggravated over or just pointlessly working on? A lot I’ll bet.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Look carefully. What’s wrong with the picture?

Don’t read on. Spend a minute or two and see if you can figure it out.

 Yes, it’s a bit fuzzy……It’s pretty clear to me.

It says Celebrate Nurse’s WEEK! So when did a week become 5 days? I thought a week was 7 days? Did I miss the changing of measurement of time? Was it an act of Congress? God?

I’m familiar with these types of events. Employers have little socials and recognition events. But if you’re gonna celebrate Nurses Week don’t you think you should include all 7 days? What about the folks who only work weekends? Are they not worthy of recognition and social events. Don’t they work just as hard? Aren’t they just as loyal?

As someone who is working very hard to help employers boost morale, keep employees happy and increase employee engagement another two days won’t kill you White Plains Hospital; even if it means someone in Administration has to come in for a few hours that weekend!

Do the right thing! And start by changing the sign!

The Gift of David

Was chatting on Facebook with my friend David this morning. We were talking about bicycling and health. I met David several years ago; he was seated in an audience.

Out of nowhere David made a comment about my “gift” to inspire. 

Now for those of you, like me, who are not good about taking compliments you know that uneasy awkward feeling. Your body contorts. Your face goes flush. You start to wiggle and squirm. So as the body is wiggling I am thrilled that a computer screen, modem and the technological magic that my words are going through the sky and reaching David exists between us.

But it got me thinking…………………

I don’t inspire people. I don’t motivate people. It is not a gift. I believe that everyone is motivated. I believe that everyone is inspirable (I know, not a word; who cares.) My job is NOT to motivate or inspire you. My job is to offer you fresh ideas and new thoughts (even some crazy ones ) which get you to listen, think, process and then ask yourself how does that apply to me?

So let me ask you? Who inspires/motivates you? Who get’s you thinking? A friend? Loved one? Boss? Co-worker? The person you sleep with? A stranger? A stranger you’ve slept with? Who?

Get in touch with them today and let them know…………even if you need to leave the technology wall between you.

Thanks David!

P.S. Wanna be my facebook friend? http://facebook.com/richdigirolamo

4-6-22-25-31 / 22

Those were my Powerball Numbers last night. I didn’t win.

If you’ve never played Powerball you pick 5 numbers and then you pick a Powerball number. The Powerball number can be the same as one of the other 5.

So rather than filling out the little lottery card I asked the clerk at the convenience store if I could just give her the numbers. She said yes.

4-6-22-25-31 and 22 for the Powerball.

You need one more.

I gave you 4-6-22-25-31 and 22. Isn’t it 5 numbers plus the Powerball?

Yes, you gave me 4-6-22-25 and 31. You need another.

I gave you 22.

You gave me that already.

And I want that number for my Powerball.

You need another number.

I gave you 5? Now you need the Powerball number right?

Yes

22

You gave me that already.

(Are we playing Abbott & Costello Who’s on 1st?)

And I want it again as my Powerball number.

Pause. Dumb look. Confused. AHA!!!!!!

Oh, you want it again.

Yes.

She slammed the touchscreen machine to finish my purchase.

I smiled and nodded to let her know I was not bothered.

She gave me a piercing look of death.

So I’m dumbfounded here. She’s wrong. I wasn’t bothered. And I get the look of death?

I laughed. You have to laugh.

So I lost Powerball. They may have lost a regular customer.

And that’s how fast you can lose/disengage a customer.

The Customer is NOT always right

Disclaimer: Healthcare workers are some of the hardest working people I know and I appreciate the commitment they have to their patients and profession.

But sometimes you gotta laugh…………..

So when I walk into a hospital and you seem bothered that you need to call the patient floor to get approval for an early morning visit prior to a relative’s surgery I feel your pain. I recognize I interrupted your conversation with a coworker and after all it is not you who are being cut open. And when I ask, okay demand, to see my relative after 90 minutes of being told I can see that relative “in a few minutes” I feel your pain. After all it is not you who are waiting to see if the surgeon didn’t sever your loved one’s artery. And when I hear you complaining loudly about having to work late the night before and missing an exercise class I feel your pain After all it is not you who may not being going home that night…… or ever again. Perhaps we the patients and visitors should be more caring and compassionate to your needs.

So for all the inconveniences we the patients and visitors have caused disgruntled healthcare workers I am publicly apologizing for everyone. Please accept this apology and not take it out on us or our family members. And for those of you who work alongside these people, there is a place for you in heaven.

The above is my recent experience at a hospital. It doesn’t matter which one and it doesn’t even matter that it is a hospital. It’s about employee happiness, communication and customer service.

I’m of sound mind and spirit so I can laugh at a miserable employee. I can brush off abrasive and rude behavior and move on; but most people cannot. I even do a pretty good job of looking past apparent ridiculous policies and trying to make sense of them. MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THIS!

So instead this is how it goes……..

You (the employee) get abrasive. The other person thinks you’re a witch and sends off I-wish-you-were-dead vibes. You retaliate with eviler vibes.

You overuse phrases like “in a few minutes”, with a smile of course, and the other person thinks you’re not being honest with them. Then when that person reaches a breaking point someone else unfortunately in the situation has to pick up your pieces; and too often sides with you not knowing the whole story.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Who cares! It doesn’t matter.

Maybe I should have walked in and said “I know it is early in the morning but the doctor suggested I arrive early so I could see my relative before surgery.” Maybe you should have told me that “in a few minutes” really does mean 90 minutes; that the process of recovery to being sent to a room is not “a few minutes.”

But in the end they say the customer is always right.

Well guess what. I do not agree with that. The customer is usually not informed.

And if there is a big learning here remember that. The customer is not always right; the customer is uninformed.

But the question becomes what are you going to do to better inform me………….so we can both be right.

Having Fun at Work is NOT Being a Fun Place To Work

There’s a difference between having fun at work and being a fun place to work. Having fun at work includes recognition and social events. Being a fun place to work includes the above, but more importantly is a mindset that infuses fun into all aspects of your business. You feel it in the hallways, in the memos you receive, and in the meetings you hold. It is noticeable by the smiles on faces and the enthusiasm exhibited by employees. People are engaged in your business. Customers are engaged in your business.

It’s easy to say you’re a fun place to work. It’s much harder to prove it. It’s even harder to commit to it.

I hear stories all the time from people who tell me how they were told during an interview that their company was a fun place to work, yet when they arrived it was anything but fun. There was the occasional social event, like Recess At Work Day, or celebration of company success, but these events were few and far between. Instead of using them as a component of a bigger initiative to keep people engaged in the business, they were used as a one time band-aid to perhaps correct a point of low morale. Being a fun place is a commitment. It’s why the military has a Morale, Recreation and Welfare Officer. It is why a large Health Care organization has a Culture Improvement Specialist on the payroll. It is why companies like Google are the envy of so many.

So how do you go from fun at work to being a fun place to work?

Let’s use an example.

The Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators shared with me what some of their members are doing to have fun at work. Read their article here.  Montgomery County Community College infused a fun spirit into a finacial aid awareness campaign. Last year’s awareness theme was centered around April Fool’s Day. Staff wore jester hats and a FAFSA Completion Day was advertised with the slogan “Don’t be foolish: File your FAFSA by May 1.”

That’s the type of “feeling it throughout the organization” I was talking about at the beginning. The trick is now to keep up this type of playfulness. Not only does it keep the staff thinking and engaged with one another it keeps your customers looking for more. They’re on the right track. Let’s face it…..Financial Aid is not fun – to the students or the professionals who work in the field. It’s stressful, scary and daunting. Add some fun.

So start thinking……..are you having fun at work or are you a fun place to work. Many of you are having some fun; take this opportunity to turn it into something bigger.

Hey, Thursday is Earth Day. To my new friends in the Financial Aid world; how about sending out a tweet, text or message that says “Forget about Saving the Earth and going green. Save Yourself some green by filing your FAFSA today!” 

Need help creating a culture of engagement and fun; let Rich help. you. Find out more.