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

Stop inviting me to those awful networking events!

In the last week I’ve been “invited” to three of those big organized networking events. Maybe you’ve received similar invites…………… “There’ll be hundreds of people there. Everyone will get a name badge.”networking

That’s supposed to excite me?

Hundreds of people. Who are typically looking to collect business cards and add me to a mailing list. Hundreds of people. Who typically don’t know the first thing about relationship building; who just want to sell me and don’t take an interest in the person with whom they are talking. These events are tedious. They’re counterproductive and an absolute waste of my time.

First of all people, people who are busy don’t need to go to networking events. They’re working! They don’t have time.

But I do know you have to network to sustain a business. So here are some ways I network. And I’ve seen more referrals and bookings from these types of networking events than any event with hundreds of those people.

  • I network on Wednesday nights when I attend a Meetup where a group of  us “struggle” through speaking Spanish in a fun supportive environment.
  • I network on weekends when I join a cycling group for a ride and have meaningful conversations with others on the ride
  • I network when I meet friends for drinks and they invite other people; people who work for companies that some day may need a speaker for a conference or their staff are in need of a RECESSitation
  • I network by not sitting in my hotel room when speaking at conferences but rather attending client socials and joining people in the bar to learn more about them, their industry and what they do.
  • I network by volunteering my time, for causes that matter to me, for agencies doing good work; and by letting people learn more about me
  • I network by making an effort to connect with people I have met through social media, real time, face-to-face, when I am traveling

 

There are other things I do. But the last thing I am going to do is attend one of those god awful networking events. They’re not for me. So if they’re for you, that’s great; you won’t have to worry about me taking any business away from you. And anyway, I’m either busy working or being more productive working my networking time into something enjoyable

Take a permanent recess from your job title

Sac names_Page_1

I’ve always hated job titles organizations give people. Staff Associate. Staff Associate II. Staff Associate III. Director of Agency Affairs. VP of Strategy. Worker I. Worker II. Supervisor. Planning Analyst. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Let’s face it, most large companies have many planning analysts, and they’re typically not doing the same thing; nor are they really doing any planning at the analyst level. And while I realize some people’s title defines who they are, and not always in a good way, often I find these titles to show lack of meaning or really explain what a person does day in and day out. Or in the very least to get people asking or interested in what you really do for those 20, 30, or 40+ hours per week.

And that is why I always ask this question of participants when I am working with them: What do you really do? Which is then followed by blank stares.

A couple of weeks ago I was working with a Parks & Recreation Department in a large city. It was a day to RECESSitate*.  I took them through a process of coming up with a different job title, one that not only would get them interacting as a team better, but would get customers inquiring as well to help build that relationship. It was intended to get people to dumb down their job titles and then come up with some fun and creative new ones.

Two weeks later I was sent a copy of their department newsletter which included what you see over on the right!

Didn’t cost much to do. Didn’t require endless meetings of wasted time to make decisions. And now they’re walking around with titles and name tags that strengthen relationships inside and outside the organization. Titles that are more fun. Titles that get people smiling and asking questions. C’mon let’s face it, if you saw an employee wearing a name badge that said Mr. Good Times wouldn’t you want to know what he did for work? I would.

So many organizations talk about changing a culture or environment. And that’s what they do. They talk. And meet. And set future meetings. And never implement.

Talk is cheap. However, sometimes implementation is too. And in this case, quick as well. I love how these employees took an idea and ran. And ran fast. Kudos to them! I can’t wait to hear how their customers are responding.

Now if I can just get HR to formally change them.

*- RECESSitate: to undergo a period of learning, recharging and celebration. Could your team use a RECESSitation. It’s much better than a Resuscitation! #RECESSATWORK. Get in touch today

 

Sacramento Park & Rec, Have You Signed Up for Recess Yet?

Employees like when customers notice good things happening

When I walked through the door of my doctor’s office I heard laughter. Lots of laughter. Coming from happy medicalbehind the glass window where the receptionists and assorted others sit. It was nice to hear.

It was the first time in years I had heard the laughter. Even better, as I looked through the window I saw smiling faces. I wonder if they read my books: Diary of The Happiest Employee on Earth or Chief Cook & Bottle Washer?

So I mentioned it to the nurse when she came in to take my temperature. Her response was that it had been a tough couple of years for the office due to changes in at the hospital and that a couple of people who seemed to bring down the morale of the office were no longer with them.

But then she said, “Thanks for noticing. I’ll make sure I tell everyone.”

 

Yes, tell everyone! People above you on the food chain. Below you on the food chain. Or next to you on the food chain. Tell everyone. Employees want to know!

 

 

 

 

Template Employee Resignation Letter. Feel free to use.

Dear Boss,

Today I write to submit my resignation effective XX/XX/XX. I can no longer work with the backstabbing coworkers nor the pathological liars who call themselves the Executive Management Team.

You do not encourage new ideas. Employees who express opinions that do not go with the herd are considered “not being team players” rather than agents for opportunity, innovation, conversation and building something better. You have not tapped into my full talents; a promise you made when you hired me. Viewpoints other than yours don’t seem to matter nor do they seem welcomed.

Clearly you enjoy being a rubber stamp to those above you in the chain of command rather than a catalyst for great things.  I cannot be your rubber stamp one more second. I deserve better. Your customers definitely deserve better.

I look forward to putting this awful experience behind me. I must stop this energy suck from destroying my soul. Resignation is the only answer.

Sincerely,
The one who showed up every day looking to make a difference to customers and co-workers, but was not afforded that opportunity

 

 

Note: This resignation letter was just a bit of fun developed while talking with someone about to quit her job. We had fun coming up with it over a cocktail. No, she didn’t send it. Although she really, really, wanted to do so. Sometimes you just need to write the resignation letter you really want to write and keep it to yourself; then write the professional one that won’t bite you in the ass down the road.

Can I speak to the business owner telemarketing

If you have ever received one of those “May I speak with the business owner” telemarketing calls, here was my experience today.

{Ring}{ring}

Me: Hi this is Rich
Caller: Is the owner of the business available?
Me: Is YOUR business owner available?
Caller: Are you the business owner?
Me: Are YOU the business owner?
Caller: No
Me: Well then tell your business owner this business owner only talks to business owners
Caller: I don’t need to deal with this
Me: You started
Caller: Jerk. (Click)

 

Hahahaha – I’m still laughing.

Your boss isn’t great when……
  • Your boss isn’t great when he or she yells and screams at you, in front of others, numerous times; even if they apologize to you later. At the very least they need to apologize to you in front of everyone.
  • Your boss isn’t great if you’re fearful of taking more than a 30 minute lunch break, even though you work 45-50 hrs per week
  • Your boss isn’t great if he or she empowers you to make decisions then reverses all your decisions rather than support/mentor you to success.

 

Recently I was talking with a woman regarding her new position as Director of a healthcare organization. She reports to a Regional Director. She described her boss as great. Yet in our ten minute conversation she described the boss above. She says she has a great boss.

I disagree.

 

Sales scripts are meant to be challenged

Mom called in a panic. Her nuclear wave oven (aka microwave) crapped out. Now after the episode when she saimicrowave searsd her air conditioner crapped out and we went and bought a new one only to find out it was the outlet and not the air conditioner I decided I better go take a look first.

Well it hadn’t crapped out but I think her caregiver was using acid to clean it cuz the entire inside was peeling. The nuclear waves are bad enough; now with the walls crumbling who knows what mom was consuming.

 

So off to Sears I went. Bee-lined to appliances. Found one. Picked it up and started to search for an open cash register

 

“Are you purchasing that microwave sir?” said the Sears sales Associate

Me: “Yes

Associate: “I can take you over here.”

Me: “Great. Thanks.”

Associate: “Will you be using your Sears card today?”

Me: “Nope.”

Associate: “Do you have a Sears card, sir?”

Me: “Nope.” (and stop calling me Sir! Especially when you’re older than me)

Associate: “Would you like to open a Sears account?”

Me: “Nope.”

Associate: “You know you can save an extra 10% if you open a Sears account?”

Me: “Do you want to sell me a microwave or should I go elsewhere? And please don’t offer me an extended warranty. Appliances like this are disposable.”

She actually started laughing!

 

I don’t know what the next line in her sales script was, but she was clearly not going to use it. I guess I was supposed to say “no thank you.” Or maybe I was supposed to say yes. And then maybe she had some other scripted line about the warranty. But I derailed her sales training script and asked her if she would like to lose the sale. And that put the brakes on her trying to sell me a high interest hoping I won’t pay in full credit reducing piece of crap that really has no benefit to me but only to Sears and a warranty that still has some sort of reason I’d have to fork over more money if something happened anyway.

She rang up the microwave. I paid. She said thank you and have a nice day. I thanked her for her help and I went to bring mom her new nuclear wave oven.

Sell people things that really have value; not things that might get them into trouble or angry with you down the road.

 

 

Fun employees can turn bad customer experiences into great ones

I recently joined a cycling organization in South Florida. As part of my zmotion membership there was some swag – water bottle, backpack, tire levers, etc. I had two options for receiving my swag – pay for delivery or pick up at their store.

A cycling store!!! Cool! Opportunity to spend more money. It was only a 20 minute drive away.

I placed my order and received an email confirming the order and instructions on pick-up.

The instructions were as follows:

  • Come to an address. (You don’t need that)
  • Park your car at the free valet, come to the 3rd floor, turn left out of elevator and go down the hall . A little odd I thought? Valet parking at a bike store? But a three story store!!!!!!! How cool is that.
  • I can pick up my swag M-F between 9 AM and 5 PM

So the next day (Friday) I head to the bike store. I drive into a corporate park. Hmmm….a bike shop in a corporate park? Heck, why not.

I found the free valet. So far so good. Found the elevator. Pressed 3. Nothing happens. Pressed 3 again nothing happens. The elevator starts to ascend – to the 5th floor. Some ladies get on at the 5th floor. I get off. I catch an elevator back down. Still can’t press 3. Elevator starts to descend to 1st floor. I get off. There are some people in the lobby. I tell them how I received this message from zmotion to go to the 3rd floor. They tell me I need to go to the 4th floor and walk down unless I have an access card to stop the elevator on the 3rd floor.

Okay, communication is kinda sucking right now.

I go to the 4th floor; walk through a reception area where no one stops me, walk down a flight of stairs. Go to elevator bank and begin the left turn sequence in the instructions.

I end up at an electrical closet.

Scammed! Someone just stole $49 bucks from me! (Nah, can’t be. Think positive, Rich)

I walk back up and ask the two ladies at reception for some help. I share my story.

Oh, you need an appointment they tell me. That’s not what the instructions say I tell them. They call the person who runs the store. No answer. They ask me to sit and they will try again. They forget about me – even though they were looking at me – while they are talking about the onboarding session about to begin. Now clearly would I never expect to hear the word onboarding while visiting a bike shop.

About 15 mins later I took matters into my own hands (the phone in my hand) and called the number on the email. Lauren picks up. I tell her who and where I am. She comes upstairs with a big bright smile apologizing for the confusion. They had recently moved and did a bad job updating information. (Yay! Company acknowledging they screwed up!)

We walk downstairs, make two lefts and enter the world of office cubicles! My curiosity is in high gear. I’m still looking for bikes and gear and grease. We make a right turn and arrive at Lauren’s cubicle where she pulls up my info and gathers my swag.

“Where’s the store?” I ask.

 

Well it’s not exactly a store she says and tells me to follow her.

We head around the corner where we come upon this closet:

 

zmotion store

“I guess I need to get the information on the website and the autoresponder updated” she says.

“Ya think,”  I said and “You’re also letting me take a picture of you and your store” I told her.

 

All in all it was a fun visit and the time she spent with me to go over all my membership benefits wiped out the disappointment of the “store” and made for one happy customer.”

 

And c’mon with the enthusiasm on that face how could you get angry. That’s one happy employee and one company that did a great job hiring the right person!

I’m looking forward to getting more involved with zmotion

 

 

 

 

 

26 things your employees want…..from A to Z

 

Acknowledgment

Benefits

Communication

Dialog

Ego-free bosses

Feedback

Glasses that are half full

Humor

Ideas

Justification

Kudos

Learning moments

Motivation

Nudges when needed

Opportunity

Playtime

Quick answers

Recognition

Status updates

Truth

Use of all their skills

Vacation

Window offices

Xeroxes

Yes answers

Zero tolerance for unethical behavior

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