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

Was it a mistake or intentional deceit?

It wasn’t a mistake! You tried to screw others! You were deceitful? You tried to pull one over and now you’ve been caught. You thought you’d get away with it. The boss wouldn’t find out. Your employees would never know they were part of your deceit. The public will have no idea.

But that’s not what happened. Now what?

Up until now most people have thought they only had three options. But there are actually four!

 

1. Lie – Done well by politicians, sports figures, and irresponsible CEO’s. Although don’t be so sure your Employee of the Month isn’t a big ole scam artist! And even with all the evidence building up against these people they continue to deny, deny, and lie. Even when the rest of us know the truth. Yikes!pinocchio

2. Play The Word Game – You’ve seen it. Perhaps even been on the receiving end of it. I’m hoping you haven’t been on the giving end. Words and phrases are carefully chosen to confuse people, cast doubt, or appear as if the guilty knew nothing. It’s even more humorous when people start using a vocabulary to which they will never aspire. While facilitating a board retreat a while back some questions arose as to why a Treasurer’s Report had not been issued in months. Coupled with this (and information that the Association President had shared with me) was the issue that the Treasurer was having financial problems of his own. We started hearing words about complexities of a new proprietary finance engine he was putting in place. Coming from a guy who speaks like a regular Joe all the time? Can he even spell proprietary? Ultimately upon enough pushing a report was issued. All monies were still there; although it was clear from bank statements that disbursements and receipts were NOT for typical association business. He resigned from his Treasurer position gracefully, citing personal family matters.

3. Blame others/Cover Up – I lumped these two together for a reason. Typically when people are trying to cover their tracks they end up pointing blame. That blame could be directed at people, a process or an organization. Here’s an example: Back in the day when I was crunching numbers at Avon I was blamed for a $1 million budget error. Of course this resulted in a “meeting” of way too many people. As I walked into the room you had to see the expression on the face of the Director who decided to lower my budget on her own. After she gained her composure, she asked why I was there; to which my boss responded “it’s his work that is being questioned why shouldn’t he be here.” She then defaulted to number 2 when she realized taking me down was not an option. It didn’t matter. Everyone around the table knew where the mistake really was sitting. I learned years later she was asked to resign. Stealing. Shocker. NOT!

The problem with these three approaches is that most of us are sitting and listening and thinking BULLSH*T!

 

So today I propose a 4th option; an option we need to start demanding from people at all levels in the workplace, from our elected officials and our loves ones.

 

Here it is….

 

4. You could always tell the truth. After all it was a mistake, right?

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Toast

 

Happy New Year !!  

 

At dinner the other night I was toasted by Michael and Lee. They said had it not been for me they would have never re-connected. You see they were sweethearts like forty years ago. Then she went her way. He went his way. You know the story.

So up went the wine glasses with an unexpected toast to thank me.

Me? I was confused. I met Lee once. I had no clue who Michael was. Why are these two people toasting me?
A little bit of history:

A Day of Play was a conference put on by Syracuse University five years ago. I stumbled upon it. It looked interesting. Had some great speakers lined up. It was free (other than the cost of gas, meals and a couple of nights in a hotel). A woman came up to introduce herself. Her name was Cookie. She was curious; who was this guy with a propeller on his head. We had a brief conversation about my work. She wanted to learn more. She was also totally shocked that I drove all the way from CT. Her assumption (and the rest of the planning committee) was that only students and faculty at SU would attend.

Later in that day Cookie asked if I would like to get together in the evening for coffee. I said sure.

Speed Facts:

  • Cookie invites Lee to coffee as well (just in case the guy with the prop is a crazy psychopath?)
  • We get into a conversation about Social Media/Professional Networking
  • Lee is resistant to joining in
  • I told her she must at least join LinkedIn for her business (ironic since I am forever thinking of LinkingOut of LinkedIn)
  • She refuses but ultimately signs up
  • 5 seconds after signing up (okay a bit of an exaggeration) she gets a message from Michael who had been searching for Lee for a gazillion years (yes another exaggeration)
  • Lee apparently had NO DIGITAL FOOTPRINT in 2009??????? (Yeah, I don’t know either)
  • They are in love and have been living together for 3 years

And this is going to help me improve my business or personal life how, Rich?

Would Lee and Michael ultimately have found one another without me? I don’t know. Probably. But they felt the need to include me their happiness. And that’s okay with me!

So today I offer you a simple reminder:

 

You never know where you made a difference, but you have. You never know how you made a difference, but you have. I’ll bet you did today. Maybe you’ll find out about it. Maybe you won’t. It doesn’t matter. Just know that you did and keep that with you every day!

 

Overwhelmed? Play Hooky. From Life!
  • The mess on your desk
  • The numerous projects you’re multi-tasking
  • The health issues of family members
  • Your own health issues
  • Your lawn with the overgrown weeds
  • The bedroom which should now be referred to as the laundry basket
  • There’s a sink under those dishes somewhere
  • The calls and emails that need to be returned
  • The customer who thinks she is your only customer
  • The person you’re collaborating with who is not on the same schedule
  • The volunteer committee waiting for your answer or your deliverables
  • The sales pitch you’re preparing
  • The breath on your neck from the boss who is micromanaging you
  • The events you’re hosting soon
  • The back to school list that needs your attention
  • And anything else I’ve left off

 

Does this list sound or look familiar? Here’s my answer to that feeling of overwhelm.

Play Hooky!

From Life!

 Andrea Hotel view

Go the park. Go to the mountains. Go to the beach. Go for a bike ride. Take a long hike. Go to an amusement park. Spend the day at a spa. People watch. Stroll the streets of that cute little town you keep driving through. Get away from everyone and everything that is overwhelming you.

 

I’m fascinated that when overwhelm has set in most people stay there. We think we’re being tested. We feel we are only given what we can handle. We try to prove something to ourselves (Newsflash: yep, no one else really cares what you’re juggling; cuz they’re juggling the same things.)

So I followed the doctor’s orders yesterday. Dr. Me! I headed to the beach with my friends. Threw my bike in the back of the truck and had them drop me off 22 miles away from the beach. Took a bike ride, walked the beach, listened to music (classic disco), read Mad Magazine, had a cocktail on the deck of the outdoor bar, got yelled at by an old drunk who wanted me to sit next to him at the bar, and talked with strangers.

Okay, I answered 3 emails. Personal ones. About catching up.

And today I’m ready to rock and roll.

We all know the feeling of overwhelm. I remember many years ago having a boss who periodically would tell people to call out sick tomorrow. She got it. She knew when people were living in overwhelm and really were of no use to her. But I don’t think we need someone to recognize that feeling. And I certainly don’t think we need permission from anyone but ourselves.

So if you’re there……………play hooky. Leave your cares at home or the office for one day and go play. All your stuff will still be there tomorrow. But maybe you’ll approach it with a new perspective.

Now get back to work.

 

__________________________

Want to learn more about getting past overwhelm and being more productive at work and in life. Join me September 14th and October 12th for PLORK U. Click here to find out more

 

 

Is being authentic on social media career suicide?

So in the past few weeks some comments have been made to me about my posts on Social Media. Mainly because I am not afraid to take a stance. I am not afraid to have an opinion. I am not afraid to throw in a “colorful” word here and there.

I’m disgusted that race is still an issue in the United States. I support equality for everybody. I believe that unions, while they have their purpose, too often protect slackers and don’t look out for people who are hard-working and deserving of advancement. I believe women’s bodies and decisions are thauthenticityeir own, and should not be governed by a group of cranky old out-of-touch men. And I think some people should be given a test before they are allowed to even THINK of having a child. (Now I don’t know what the test would look like or how it would be administered but hey I think it’s an idea worth pondering.)

I also believe that if you disagree with me we can still be friends, mutually respect one another and even sit down and laugh over a beer, martini or a milkshake.

 

So back to the comments that were made to me. One was a speaker who promotes himself on being “authentic.” Well if never taking a side or having an opinion (and putting it out in public) is his definition of authentic he can keep it. I was told I was committing career suicide by expressing my views. Career suicide? If anything I’m attracting the type of client I would prefer to work with and retaining the clients who hire me back.

When you lose your authentic self you lose your ability to grow, learn, and be part of change. You lose your ability to be part of debate. And whether you believe it or not you often lose the respect of others. It’s good to have an opinion. It’s good to share that opinion. At home. At work. At school. And if being your authentic self means acting one way at work, another way at home, another way when with friends and another way on social media good for you. I don’t have time to keep track of the words I’m choosing based on the situation.

 

So I told my friend he had no balls and was anything but authentic. Yes, I wrote balls. I told him I’d rather be my authentic self than safe. He unfriended me.

Train your employees to return lost wallets. Customers will love you!

Have you ever misplaced your keys? Your wallet?

Sure you have. We all have.

You start retracing your steps? Okay, last place I had it was here. And then I went into that room. Then I stopped to pee. After that I put my coat on. Then I went out to the car…………

blog

This is the real Batman. Not that Dark Knight dude.

With me?

Of course you are.

The other day I lost my wallet. After 45 minutes of retracing steps and looking four times in the same 15″ square under the car seat I decided to call my local market, where I had been that morning. They had found the wallet. Or some honest person had turned it in.

But I did need to ask why no one called me. I was curious. In my wallet was my license and a few business cards. I was told they looked me up in the phone book and there was no listing.

Wow was all I could think. My business cards were in there. They couldn’t Google my name off of my license? They went to the phone book?????? Who the heck goes to the phone book anymore? Especially 20 and 30-somethings? (And yes I know one or two of you reading this is going to say you do. You’re in the minority and furthering the destruction of our environment.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m appreciative that my wallet was found and it doesn’t appear as if credit card hanky panky is going on. But in a place that I frequent regularly I have to tell you I was disappointed. Very disappointed.

Last summer I found a wallet on the beach in Rhode Island. The license was from CT. I Googled the owner. There were several listings. I called them and left a message. I made one more call. The Park and Rec Superintendent of the town where the man lives is a client. I called her and asked if she could help. 20 minutes later I had a better number to reach the guy. Two days later he was reunited with his wallet and all his contents. I went through every nook and cranny of his wallet looking for anything that would lead me back to him. The phone book never crossed my mind.

More and more each day I see common sense no longer in use. Yesterday leaving a convention center there was only one lane open to pay. I was about 6th in line. As I pulled forward I noticed a sign against a wall that said credit card payments to the left. When it was my turn to pay I asked if the other lane was out of order. The woman replied no. I suggested she make the sign visible; that it would probably make a lot of people happy. No one was using the darkened lane. It appeared closed. She appeared less than eager to help move customers along.

“Oh, you weren’t listed in the phone book” tells me you sorta tried. Again, for which I am grateful. But really with every employee on this planet glued to their phones, during work hours, it could have been very easy to give someone that task to track me down. Had they wanted to go the extra mile. Had they truly understood the value of a loyal customer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want customers to rate your business a 10, do this!

Upon check-in at a NYC hotel the other day I came upon the sign shown.

I like that tComfort Ratinghey acknowledge not being perfect. I like that they tell me the staff works hard to provide a great experience. I like that they want me to share any issues that might be making my stay less than warranting a rating of a 10 on any survey that I may receive.

But here’s what I really want to see. I want to see the sign that tells the staff what they can do to ensure I have no issues. I want to see the sign that tells staff to greet me with enthusiasm when I walk through the lobby, to ask me if I need any recommendations for dinner or entertainment. I want to see the sign that says get out of the seat and off your lazy butt (and phone) when a customer stops by the desk to ask you a question.

Fixing issues will not get a 10 rating from me. Having no issues might get you a 9. Having great people who really work hard to provide an experience worth telling others will earn you a 10 from me.

Oh, and that sign does not have to be a physical sign. That sign can be actions. But if it is a physical sign I want it posted where I can see it and refer your employees to it.

So for any businesses asking people to rate your business and employees a 10, maybe it’s first time to discuss how you can make that customer feel like you deserve a 10. You shouldn’t have to ask people to give you a 10, you should just start offering Level 10 Experience.

 

P.S. I work with employees looking to deliver customers a better experience. Get in touch and let’s talk! about how I can work with your team to get those 10’s you’re seeking.

The best baked potato. EVER!

This afternoon I ate the best baked potato. Ever.

It wasn’t at a big ole fancy restaurant. It wasn’t one I cooked for myself. It wasn’t even one my mommy made for me. It was at Wendy’s.best potato ever wendys

  • It wasn’t cooked to perfection. As a matter of fact I am certain it was nuked, given the steam that came from it.
  • It didn’t come with fresh sour cream, but that packaged stuff that has been sitting around for who knows how long
  • I even think the butter was some scary chemically substance

But it was the best baked potato. EVER.

How can this be, you’re asking?

While sitting and eating my potato a manager came up to me and asked “How is your baked potato today, sir?”

Was I in a fast food (or whatever they call it these days) restaurant? Now I don’t frequent them often, but in all my years on earth no one in a management (or any) position has ever come up to me in fast food restaurant to ask how my meal was.

Don’t know whether it’s part of the Wendy’s training or if Narcis did this on her own. But why can’t more businesses have their people step out from behind the counter and find out what customers are experiencing?

  • Imagine if when you left a movie someone was there to ask what you thought?
  • Imagine as you pulled out of the park (that you paid to enter) the ranger or staff member made you stop to see if you had a great day?
  • Imagine if the dealer service department asked me what I most liked about my car rather than just processing my car into the queue.

 

Imagine if you could have the best something EVER. Somewhere. Or better yet, imagine if you could offer someone the best something. EVER.

 

 

How about we just do less with less?

While talking with a new client the other day she vomited the words that make my head spin: we’re going to have to learn to do more with less. I heard those words a lot during the global financial meltdown that happened a few years ago. As your co-workers were sent to the unemployment lines the marching orders from the CEO, HR, your boss, the governor, etc was we’ll have to learn how to do more with less.

Why can’t we do less with less? Do Less

How come no one seems to take the tough times to ask themselves what do we not need to do any longer? Maybe we should be asking ourselves what things really aren’t important and question the things we are/were doing only as an attempt to validate our existence? Perhaps a question that should be asked in offices everywhere is whether or not anyone would really care (or miss) if a certain daily, weekly or monthly report wasn’t issued. Or what about the weekly sales call, the  one where everyone is doing sixteen other things while on the, not contributing and rolling their eyes. (Yes, they are.) Why not switch it to every other week?

The next time someone says to you we need to do more with less get brave, push back, and ask why can’t we do less with less. Or better yet maybe it’s just a good idea every so often to look at the work in front of you and question its necessity and value.

Now once you get rid of the unimportant stuff start working on new things that will make a difference, differentiate you and once again get people excited.

Your chicken ain’t that good. Your customer experience is even worse.

It started with a deceptive marketing campaign. Please take our survey and you will get a code for a free meal the next time you come in.popeye

First of all, I know the importance of surveys to a company so I shared my comments. Towards the end of the survey it asked if you would like to give your email address to receive promotions. I chose no. Well it seems that if you don’t give your email address, no code for your free food. Didn’t say that anywhere. Not how Starbucks does it. Or Dunkin Donuts. Or Burger King. Take the survey and your free code appears on the screen in front of you.

A call to their customer hotline. Thought they might want to know about the glitch. (I also wanted what was promised me.) Person tells me “higher ups” can only help me. Would I like to leave my name and contact information. Nah, got no time for you. Bye. I’ve got a better chance of reaching the higher up on my own than you taking my information. Oh c’mon, you know I am right.

I email the CEO. So easy to find people’s email addresses these days. She ignores first email. Second email I make a snarky comment about her being the “beacon of customer service.” I get a call from someone 30 minutes later. How to win friends and influence pissed off people.

That person basically tells me I didn’t look hard enough and somewhere it tells me you must give your email address or no code. It’s nowhere to be found. Or it’s buried somewhere that the customer can’t find it anywhere.  But………..she wants to send me something. I don’t need her to send me anything. I need them to stop deceiving people.

A few days later I receive gift checks to be spent in “participating locations” along with a letter from someone in Marketing who says he has spoken with franchisee about my unpleasant experience.

IDIOT! I didn’t have an unpleasant experience with the franchise. I had an unpleasant experience with your deceptive marketing promotion on the back of your receipts.

Fast Forward: I had a hankering for fried chicken. Well it seems no locations in my area are participating. Not even the one where I supposedly had my unpleasant experience. Now in all fairness one restaurant manager took them after calling the franchisee at home to see if he could accept them and how they should be tendered on the register. Of course the people behind me in line were rather annoyed as all order taking came to a halt for 10 minutes as we waited for the manager to figure out what to do. I’m not kidding!

3rd email to CEO:

First deceptive marketing practices. Then gift certificates sent yet no locations seem to be “participating.” I’ll be sending them back to you personally. Maybe you can find a location near you to redeem them.

No need to respond. You just became a great example for my clients on how not to treat a customer.

 

Some things to think about:

  1. Make things easy for your customers like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Burger King. Promises with stipulations or information that is not easily found is not the road to customer loyalty
  2. When a customer has a concern/issue/challenge there’s a really good possibility that others do as well. A REALLY good possibility. Don’t dismiss things as isolated incidents or one crazy person. Investigate.
  3. If you’re going to tell customer that they are wrong (and customers are wrong) why not have your facts together and be able to show them. “It’s there somewhere” is not what you tell a customer. EVER.

 

Doesn’t matter. Fried chicken is bad for you anyway. It was probably a higher power’s way of telling me not to eat that crap.

Oh and by the way, I even sent them screen shots of their survey to let them see firsthand what the customer was seeing. Thought that would help them. They seemed disinterested.

 

Why your great idea might be going nowhere

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the FourSight Thinking Profile. Like Meyers-Briggs and DISC and others it didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know. Although it was one of the more fun approaches.

At the end of the assessment you are scored and ranked/classified on four preferences. The Preferences are Clarifier, Ideator, Developer and Implementer. My scores revealed that I am an Implementer and Ideator. They were too close to pick one over the other.

As I said I was not surprised by the result. So I thought.

I knew this about myself. It’s how I was able to start the nonprofit DoubleDDiner.org as quickly as I did. It’s how I was able to take the idea for Diary of the Happiest Employee On Earth from concept to published book in a few short weeks.

This morning I was having breakfast with a friend and colleague who was sharing a few ideas with me. One idea is pure genius! She shared how she and another friend come up with lots of great ideas and then do nothing. I would bet if they took the assessment they would both be Ideators.

I am currently working on a very fun project with three friends who are all Ideators. Sfoursight inspiredo we have 3 full Ideators and one 1/2 Ideator / 1/2 Implementer. Guess who became the project manager? Guess who gets to crack the whip? Guess who gets to scold people when they’re not meeting the deadlines on their tasks?

But it’s all good. Because I know this about them. They told me their preference. We even talked about it early on when this project was just an alcohol and candy induced dream. And then it was crystal clear that for this idea to go from dream to reality the 1/2 Implementer would have to step up!

Many of you reading this have taken personality profile assessments. You’re an ENTJ, INFP, ABCDEFG, High D, Low S, a Clarifier, a 1234567, etc! And while you may know what you are………..you need to take the time to know the personalities, preferences, or whatever other buzz words and phrases are used on a particular assessment to describe the others on your team. You need to see what is missing from your team and go out and find or hire those people. Because understanding all that removes all the aggravation, gets to the fun and takes a project to completion!

In a big organization it is easy to find people to add to your team once you figure out the type of thinking that is missing. But what about when you’re a small organization? Or an entrepreneur? Last year I realized I needed two coach/mentors. One for my creative side; the other for the what I like to call the “crappy business development stuff I don’t want to deal with” side. One keeps my Ideator/Implementer side thinking bigger. The other pulls me back to reality when necessary.

I hate seeing great ideas go nowhere. And I can only hope that my breakfast partner reads this (okay, I am going to make her read it) and starts connecting with people who can make her idea a reality. Because if she does nothing with it I may just have to steal the idea from her. Remember, I’m an implementer and I think it’s a winner!

Don’t let your great idea slip away. Don’t let people steal your great idea. Find the people who round out your thinking, whatever that thinking may be!

And if you’re interested in learning about Foursight get in touch with my friend Russ. I have no relationship with FourSight and get nothing from this post. Well maybe Russ will buy me some Freeze Dried Corn from the Chicago Spice Company if you decide to do business with him.

 

 

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