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

It’s not about how high you can jump. It’s about jumping in.

Remember this one……………..

When I say jump; you say “How high?”

Wrong!

When someone (especially the boss) says jump, you need to respond “Jump in!”

 

The last place I wanted to be at 3:30 in the afternoon was in a supermarket. But my uncle, who has a disability, needed my help.

Apparently Stop & Shop in Yonkers, NY needed help too! Way too many customers in relation to the number of cashiers on duty. Not to mention the unhappy children who were probably picked up at school or the bus stop and were anxiously awaiting their promised after school treat “after mommy runs a quick errand.”

So after what seemed like an eternity (it actually was three minutes) something happened. Something that made me smile……….

There were three manager-type people walking around dealing with cashier issues. (The number one issue probably being lack of training.) Suddenly one of those manager-types came over to me and said “follow me.”

YAY!!!! She rang up our order. Another manager-type bagged our order. Out the door we went.

When your team, staff, employees, co-workers are in a bind are you there? Or are you standing off to the side because you’re the manager and it’s not your job?

Are you the leader, manager, CEO, Big Cheese willing to jump in, in addition to having others jump higher?

When your team sees you jump in…….they will enthusiastically jump higher!

 

Do your archaic policies irritate the employee and the customer?

These are my kids. Today is their birthday; 6 years old. That picture was taken at about 6 months old.

Every year Big Brand PetStore sends them a coupon for a free birthday gift.

YAY!!   Free stuff!!

It used to be an actual birthday card in the mail; one for each dog. This year it came as an email. It used to also be a free gift of up to $7 or $8;  I don’t remember which. Now it is $4 off IF I spend $15. Rula and Cargo are still appreciative. So am I. And a good size bag of dog food is over $30 anyway.

So every May we get $8. The store is more than happy to give me the $8 discount. They’re just not willing to do it in one transaction. Today the cashier had to ring up two transactions so I could get $4 individually ($8 total).

I question the stupidity of these policies. They go back as far as I can remember; to the days when I was a cashier at C-Town, Waldbaum’s and Pathmark.

If you’re going to give me both discounts anyway why do you have to make it difficult for me, the employee and the perturbed person behind me who thought I was going to be an easy transaction (and is now questioning why she didn’t go to the other line)?

Now we are getting better. There was a time; back in the day; when it would have been one coupon unless you walked out of the store and got back in line. Yes, it used to say one per customer. Now they most times say one per transaction. But I think we still have some improvement.

This is just one example. There are many examples of customer policies that make so sense. But here’s what I really think…….

If you’re going to constantly make exceptions to your policies maybe it is time to get rid of the policy?

 

 

 

You beat the crap out of the whiny employee; that’s what you do

So this morning I answered a question on LinkedIn about managing a whiny employee. I thought I would post that answer here. The person wanted to know how to manage a person who seems to whine over the most trivial things – like having to change their password regularly. My initial thought was clearly they are not the person who wrote Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth. So I crafted a response.

And here it is:

 

Take him out back and beat the crap out of him

OR…….

What’s wrong with saying…… John, you seem to be bothered by so many trivial things. Why is that?

or

John, you’ve used your whining credits for this month

or

John, maybe this isn’t the place for you to work with all these policies and rules.

or

I could email you a picture of my cap that says “Are You Done Whining?” You can make a joke of it and when he or someone whines you can hand them the picture. Make copies of it. You can have a contest. The one with the most copies of the picture each month has to buy the Virtual Friday Office Bagel Platter from One Less Meal, Inc. operators of The Double D Diner: The World’s Only Virtual Diner Fighting Hunger

 

As I hit the button to post my answer I thought to myself………..Why not? This could actually be fun. Why not turn what is becoming an unhappy employee experience for some into something good for others.

So over there —->  is a picture of the hat. Feel free to download it and copy it.

And if you have one or two whiners in your midst, you now have a little fun new initiative to implement. I’d like to say I wish The Double D didn’t have to get a donation because of some annoying people you work with, but hey, let’s turn something negative, trying, and tiresome into something fun while adding a bit of social good.

Now of course, it is Friday, and you could retroactively collect payment and make that donation anyway.

 

 

Click your heels like Dorothy. You’ve always had the power to motivate employees

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch, tells Dorothy she had the power all the time to get home.

I get asked all the time by managers, employees, etc how to keep employees happy and motivated. I get asked by peers for my input on systems they are trying to develop/create to sell to clients seeking to increase employee motivation,

Now until someone comes up with a “one-size-fits-all” system, let me make life simple and tell you to click your heels together and walk over to your nearest HR Department, your own file cabinet or search the device from which you are reading this post.

Your employee records have your answers. Not some software. Not some metric. Your files. Go back to the very beginning and take a look at those notes you took during the interview process.

    • What excited you about that employee?
    • What opportunity did you see for that employee?
    • What is that employee working on now as compared to what was promised and discussed back then?

You already have the power. You already know the answers. Get that person doing the things that were discussed and you’ll see employee motivation soar. Get that person doing the things that had you fearful of losing this person because your hiring process takes longer than childbirth (from conception to delivery).

And maybe watch this video clip to answer a few more things that might be challenging you:

 

Of course this MAD TV parody might be more like your workplace; getting pissed off when information is not used/shared properly. (Beware if you’re easily offended)


 
 
Go ahead. Click. Motivate.

While it may make you feel good….Asking is not taking action

Several times over the last month I have been asked for advice, help, guidance, brainpower; whatever you want to call it. Of course I agreed. These are people I care about and want to see succeed. In a few cases I even blocked out/scheduled times to talk with people.

They never called.

The nonprofit I founded has internship openings. Yep, The Double D Diner: The World’s Only Virtual Diner Fighting Hunger is looking for college interns. 4 students reached out to me and sent their resume. I set appointments up with all 4 of these people to have a Skype conversation. I didn’t want to call it an interview and to be really honest I had no intention of reading their resume until after we talked. There were few enough people who responded and it offered me the luxury to really learn about them; not the glorification that resume folks and career counselors suggest to make you look god-like.

I “met” with one. The other three either didn’t show up or offered excuses like Internet was down in their house for 24 hours. Or they woke up with a head cold. Sorry, pathetic reasons. In this day and age I can find free wi-fi in a porta-potty. And “sorry for the last minute cancel” email 3 minutes before your appointment doesn’t fly.

 

So while asking for the job, the position, the interview or for help is the first step; it really isn’t a step at all. And while it might make someone feel proud that they moved forward; in the right direction, asking is pointless if you’re not going to follow through.

So if you really want the help, the meeting or the position, go beyond the ask. Follow through.

Or don’t waste people’s time.

 

Mad Magazine: The answer to customer relationships and thank you gifts

How do you thank a client? How do you develop customer relationships?

  • Gift cards/certificates?
  • Candy or fruit baskets?
  • A gift for their child?
  • Calendars?
  • Candles?

 

Several years ago  I started thinking why clients hire me? And after long hard thought I started giving subscriptions to Mad Magazine as my thanks to clients for allowing me to work with their teams.

Yes, I read Mad Magazine. It’s really much more exciting than Time. And it consistently offends people. Seriously folks, in Europe there have been boobs on magazine covers for 20 years. The only boobs we see on magazine covers here in the U.S. are celebrity and political messes.

But here is what I have found out about that subscription to Mad:

  • It’s like auto-pilot for relationship building/marketing. Every couple of months that magazine arrives and they think of me. I didn’t have to worry about staying in touch; putting something on my calendar; which we all know is hard given everything else we are trying to accomplish. Amazing how those relationship building items get dropped to the bottom of to-do lists.
  • There is usually some article or funny parody in the current issue that relates to a client of mine. All of a sudden there is an email from me to them or them to me. We’ve got an exchange. We’re laughing. I’m learning more about what is going on in their business so I can continue to be a resource for them. I’m also on their radar. Because let’s face it; more often than not we are forgotten 30 seconds after we leave a client site.
  •  I believe that when a client hires you it is because they already feel a connection and they feel you are a good fit. Most clients hire people they can relate to. I’m not a candle person. My client probably is not either. My clients hire me because they are looking for a little fun with purpose. How do I keep giving them that after I walk out the door in addition to my newsletter and normal marketing ideas?

Now I’ve got Mad Magazine covered. (You can go give Time.) But the next time you’re thinking about client relationships and thank you gifts give it some deeper thought. Give them something they probably don’t ever receive; but something that will connect the two of you on another level. Take a short Recess with your staff today and come up with some relationship/thank you ideas that won’t require a lot of time later – and will be fun. The investment of time today will make your lives easier tomorrow.

 

 

 

Shrieking customer who should be banished from air travel and bagel buying

How many employees do you know who are happy to be at work at 5:00 AM in the morning – on a Saturday no less? Not too many I am sure. But the three folks at the bakery in O’Hare Airport appear to know how to have a good time; even that early in the day.

I had just deplaned from the first leg of the red-eye back to CT from the west coast. I needed coffee. I was also hungry. One of the three workers offered to take my order. He also read the “Are You Done Whining” embroidered on the front of my cap and remarked how he needed to get one for his wife. I chuckled. The woman working with him informed me she was his wife. The two of them then proceeded to go off on a back and forth banter. It was quite amusing. It was also clear they were not married. It was very clear they had done this little routine before and I was appreciative of the fact that at 5:00 AM in the morning – on a Saturday – someone wanted to amuse their customers. So I played along for a few moments. I grabbed my coffee and bagel, thanked them for the early morning fun, and told them to keep up that routine; travelers will appreciate it.

Sitting in the terminal trying to keep my eyes open I was suddenly awakened by a shrieking voice. It was probably the highest pitch, whiniest voice I had ever heard. EVER! In contrast to that deep voice I describe in my Permission To Speed program.

Her day had just been totally ruined. The people at the bagel store got her order wrong. This “husband” and “wife” were so busy arguing that they couldn’t even get a bagel order right. What idiots they were. She ordered this type of bagel and they gave her that one. They over-toasted it. The Shrieker was beyond crazed. Her boyfriend/husband/travel partner was listening to her go off. I was thinking “could you please duct tape that shriek.” Then he made the remark that didn’t surprise me at all. He said “What do you expect from people who can only get a job in a bagel store in the airport?”

Ouch. Judging people based on their job. At this point I looked to my left. I needed to see what these two looked like. They spent the next ten minutes trashing the lowlife scum who worked in the O’Hare bagel store. I should have gotten up and moved to another terminal (I’m not kidding about the voice), but I was exhausted from being up almost twenty-four hours.

There was a dog in the terminal. The dog was going to be on my flight. Hooray! I love dogs. This dog was small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat in front of the passenger; although I think dogs should be allowed to purchase a seat. It was a cute dog. I mustered up enough strength to go meet the dog. I forgot the dog’s name. Hey, it was 5:45 in the morning. Hey dog owners, did you ever notice we ask people their dog’s name but not their name?

About midway between Chicago and Hartford this sudden odor traveled forward from the back of the small regional commuter plane. Yep, Rover had an accident. Looks like it was going to be an interesting remaining hour on the plane. Perhaps we will get to use the oxygen masks that pop out of the ceiling? Not that I ever want to have a need for them, but how do we really know they will pop out of the ceiling if a sudden change of cabin pressure occurs?

Well as quick as the odor came, the odor went. Wow! Obviously the pet owners have experienced this before. Cleanup and disposal happened in a heartbeat.

Something else also happened in a heartbeat. That voice came back; this time going on and on about how animals shouldn’t be allowed on planes and how this wasn’t fair to the rest of us, and that she was going to call the airline when she returned home. Now what really wasn’t fair to the rest of us was being subjected to that voice. The emergency exit was looking like a viable alternative at this moment. That would be me jumping out, not pushing her out. Anything to escape the shriek three rows ahead of me in seat 4C. She eventually quieted down. I got one of those glances across the aisle from the guy next to me; one of those thank god she shut up. I’m really not kidding about the voice. I would go to a doctor and get it fixed – at all cost. I would hold a fundraiser if need be.

The flight landed uneventfully – no more shrieking or pooping.

Standing at the luggage carousel in Hartford I saw them – good thing I took that mental note. Believe it or not she was going on about the bagel again. I grabbed my luggage. As I walked by them I couldn’t resist………………………………time to have some fun………………….

I said to them, “You know, those people are the owners of that entire bagel chain and you should SEE the house they live in.”

Was it the truth? Who knows? Who cares? But couldn’t it be?