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

Give yourself or your employees a day off………the grid

Last week was my birOff the gridthday. I gave myself a present. I went off the grid for 24 hours. I took three phone calls from family in the morning and that was it. (Didn’t want to listen to mom yell at me the next day.) Then I turned off my phone.

I took a drive through New England. No web surfing. No Facebook. No Twitter. No LinkedIn. No Google+. No phone GPS. No Starbucks App. No looking for a recommendation. I think you get the point.

Later in the week I went away to do some writing/editing of my next book. I got an early check-in at a Residence Inn and spent the next 24 hours off the grid again. I sat by the hotel pool area and wrote on my laptop – with connectivity turned off. When I needed a diversion I went in the hot tub or for a quick swim.

 

In the late afternoon I transferred my document to a flash drive and printed it in the hotel business center. I found my way (GPS-less) over to the Cliff Walk in Newport Rhode Island. I walked a bit, then sat and edited. Walked a bit more. Edited some more.

 

Here’s what I “learned” from my two days off the grid; and I use the word learned loosely because I don’t think the learning is shocking, but rather a reminder:

  • You can get a heck of a lot done when you’re not 20130425_153530distracted
  • It’s much more fun to be doing (experiencing) things than to be reporting your every move to 4,312 other people.
  • You find out you really didn’t miss much when you return back to the grid 24 hours later
  • People don’t really care, nor do they notice, that you were gone

 

So instead of worrying about who you’re going to impress why not take a day to go impress yourself. Get off the grid. Get some work done. Have some fun. Finish that project. Renew that romance. Get your creative juices flowing without technology.

If you’re a boss maybe you should consider a day when all grid distractions are removed from employees for a day. I bet a lot more could get done. I bet a lot of great ideas would emerge.

Take a day off the grid soon. I highly recommend it!

Setting the record straight on Marshmallow Peeps.

2012-04-01_10-01-20_466For me it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No it’s not Christmas. It’s not New Year’s. It’s not back to school. Although the folks at Staples seem to think that is the most wonderful time of year.

It’s PEEPster!! – that holiday that coincidentally occurs with Easter. And my favorite candy on the whole planet…………………….Marshmallow Peeps, can be found everywhere!

 

Now for the record, let’s get two things straight.

  • I invented the Peeps Microwave game. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s very simple. Put your Peep in the microwave. Turn on the timer for 1 minute and watch your peep grow. The trick is to open the door before your Peep explodes. Now it is your friends turn. See if he or she can best your time. For added fun, when the Peep shrinks back to (almost) its original form, see how long you can nuke it again before it explodes. Alternatively, you can play with yourself and try to best your own time. Double alternatively, this also makes for an awesome team building event or Recess At Work Day fun.
  • Roasting Peeps on a stick was also my idea. Yes, carcinogens abound as you send that poor chickie or bunny to a fire-y death. But in the end you will love the taste; as I have coined it…...it’s like Creme Brulee on a stick! Enjoy!!

 

So now that some things have been cleared up, here is what you can do: 

  1. Share this post with others
  2. Show me the Easter PEEPster love. Contribute to my Peeps fund! Buy me a package of Peeps by clicking the button below!



Peeps

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Should you develop cancer from hanging around your microwave for too long sue the folks at Just Born, Inc. They caused the addiction.

Maybe nonprofits should recruit non-altruistic volunteers?

Very few people volunteer for altruistic reasons. There’s usually some personal motive behind donating your time and expertise to a nonprofit or other volunteer organization. Sure people donate to give back, bring about change, make friends, and have fun. But many times behind their involvement is hope for something else. After all, how many people volunteer to deal with egos, get stuck with people who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag, and deal with personal agendas as it relates to the cause?

Recently I was chatting with someone deciding whether or not to get involved with a local community volunteersinitiative. She commented why she is leaning towards NOT getting involved. It seems a committee chairperson has stated her main reason for getting involved was to gain some visibility for her business.

Let me remind you that we live in a what’s in it for me world. That has no changed in our new economy. And when it comes to recruiting volunteers (which seems to be harder than ever) maybe we need to start thinking about attracting people by learning their non-altruistic reasons; and perhaps working a bit harder to help those people.

A few weeks I was asked to get involved with an event which was going to require a weekend away at my expense. Now a prior commitment kept me from saying yes, but I had already decided that if I did say yes I was going to request that the organizer introduce me to people who hire professional development speakers and trainers for the school system. 

Selfish? Maybe. Altruistic? Maybe not.

Recruiting and engaging volunteers is becoming harder and harder. People are busy and have limited time. So maybe there is a case to be made to turn the tables and start working towards finding out how to reward their tireless efforts? Who knows, you just may get better results out of these people.

 

Hey, the Pope took a vow of poverty and look now

With the election of Pope Francis yesterday we kept hearing the words poverty, humility and simplicity on the news. The new Pope lived in a tiny apartment, rode the bus and worked tirelessly to help the poor. Today he has a Popemobile, runs a small country and heads the largest corporation on the planet.

This morning, a friend, who is also a client and Executive Director of a nonprofit, posted this on his Facebook timeline: “Like the new Pope…I too took a vow of Poverty. It’s called non-profit employment.”

More often than not non-profit employees accept positions and stay put because they love what they do. They enjoy making a difference in the lives of the people they serve. Sadly, making a difference comes with scrutiny by the public. Making a difference organizations (non-profits) are often funded by grants and donations; and the public has decided that the work these folks do is not worthy of the pay their counterparts see in the for-profit world. Some argue that a whole different pool of talent would be availablSupreme Rulere if pay was on par.

Now the great thing about working at a non-profit is you never had to adjust to doing more with less when the crap hit the fan a few years ago. You already were lean and doing more with less. Less people. Less resources. Although, your grants and donations probably were impacted. And as your counterparts in the for-profit world moaned you kept plugging along.

So to all you non-profit employees out there who work just as hard, if not harder, than your pals on the other side, keep doing what you do……who knows you may not rise to Pope but you might become Supreme Ruler of the Universe someday. And I’ll be happy to cheer you on!

And as for that new pool of talent thing…………….. I think I’d rather have people who truly enjoy doing the work and figure out a way to invest in their training, development and pay scale.

 

Welcome Nonprofit Employee! We can’t pay you a lot but……

When you accept a position with a nonprofit there are a couple of realities:

  • Nonprofit pay is typically NOT on the level of your peers who may be doing the same work in the for-profit world
  • You often have a deeper belief in the work of the organization and that is what keeps you grounded, engaged and showing up with a smile every day. (Let’s face it, years ago I worked for Avon. Do you think I really cared about cosmetics?)

But there are things that a nonprofit executive (or any company leader) can do to make up for the lack of pay.

I’ve often wondered why we have good-bye lunches when people leave, yet we do nothing to really welcome someone when they join a company. Why do we take someone out to lunch and sometimes even buy them a gift for their contribution whenwelcome they are leaving us high and dry – sometimes to go to a competitor? Wouldn’t it be cool if on your first day at a new job there was a “party” in your honor; a welcome of sorts – maybe just some donuts or bagels with a chance for everyone to meet you? What if that first day was really about making you feel like a member of the team and not just showing you to your desk, filling out some forms, and being walked around to meet a few select people?

During the interview a hiring manager should be learning about more than just your technical skills. Did they take the time to learn any of your interests? Are you a sports enthusiast? Coffee drinker? Do you go to the gym? Do you like to go to the movies?

Imagine if on your first day of work you showed up and on your desk was a brand spanking new coffee mug with a couple of movie passes inside. You think that would tell you something about the people who just hired you?

Sometimes you can’t pay people a lot of money, but you can do things (starting on day one) that don’t cost a lot but could make a lasting impression. Just an idea/thought for any nonprofit or for-profit that might be hiring – which according to recent news you might be doing.

Instead of going out to lunch with your team, try this

Back in the day I had a boss who understood the importance of having her team spend some time together outside of the office; having some fun; seeing the human side of one another. The challenge was she herself wasn’t the most social person.

She was a great manager. She mentored. She truly empowered people to get the job done and coached them along. She was supportive of your ideas and willing to try your approach when you showed enthusiasm, the need, and that you had done your homework before coming to her with the idea. She acknowledged what she was not good at; and who could help her.

So every few months she would come to me and say….”Rich, why don’t you organize something fun for the group.” Little did she know she was shaping my next career. Some of things I organized: lunch outings, roller coaster ride lunch hours, a Friday night haunted hay ride, and a happy hour or two.

If I had to do it all over I would add a new category: doing things that could be fun while helping others.

  • Do something charitable: Why not go down to a soup kitchen or food pantry for a few hours and offer a hand (or a team of hands)?
  • Work with a local social service agency: Why not throw a pizza party for a group of at-risk teens? There are local agencies in your town doing their best to keep these kids out of trouble.
  • Be a mentor/teacher: Why not hold a tutoring session for local kids? (Let’s see how smart you really are and how much you remember) Go to their school or better yet, hold it in your workplace so they can see a different world.
  • Seniors are always good for fun and laughs: Your local nursing home probably has residents who never receive guests. And their recreation therapy program budgets are being slashed as you read this. Bingo anyone? Sing-along?

When I think back to that team I worked with, I know without a doubt they all would have gone along with any one of the above ideas. And I think in this world we live in right now we could all use a bit of perspective from time to time – while having some fun getting it.

So go out to lunch, happy hour and on the hay ride. But every once in a while why not do something as a team that will matter to someone else.

 

 

 

 

Why the TV news outlets suck! An open letter

Dear TV News Outlets,

You suck! All of you. Well almost all of you.

Last night I was flipping from news station to news station as the Carnival Triumph had arrived in Mobile, Alabama. I was excited to see people waving and cheering and applauding from those on the decks; as well as those waiting for passengers on the dock.

Many of you were interviewing people via phone. Most of you seemed to be looking for stories of doom and gloom and horrible conditions and poor service by Carnival. Shame on you.  Wouldn’t it have been awesome if you had focused on how people persevered? How they made the best of a bad situation? To let us hear more stories of good and hope and human kindness? Stories of how people helped one another get through the ordeal? To see you grasping for a story that isn’t there is like watching bar drunks at closing time deciding who looks a whole lot better than they did three hours prior; hoping to score.

I have some NEWS for you folks. We’re tired of stories that make people look bad. We’re tired of you looking for things that aren’t there in hopes to see your ratings soar. We’re tired of you concentrating on the bad rather than all the good that is going on in this world. We’re tired of you twisting stories. We’re tired of you!

It’s about time you cleaned up your act. Who’s gonna be first? 

 

 

An open letter to cold call salespeople

Dear Salesperson,

My business name is in my email address. So it is very easy for you to go to my website and see what I’m about.

Every email address we use at the charity I founded has our organization name as part of the address.cold call

So it behooves me when I sign up for a free newsletter, webinar, etc and I receive a sales call from you which starts out by asking me “what type/kind of business I run.”

If you can’t take 30 – 60 seconds and do a little bit of homework on a prospect why would we think you’re gonna go above and beyond if we become your customer?

You’re very welcome for this free training tip,
Rich DiGirolamo
on behalf of every prospect on the other end of your call

 

It’s not about thanking customers; it’s when and how

At the Double D Diner: The World’s Only Virtual Diner Fighting Hunger, everyone gets a personal CUSTOM thanks when they make a donation. Everyone. Whether that donation be $1.89 for a cup of coffee or several hundreds of dollars by ordering a virtual feast or banquet of desserts. Every customer gets treated DDequally.

Thanks come in the form of poems, revised lyrics written to an old favorite tune, a twitter shout out, a Facebook mention, a handwritten note, a pin, or in some other surprise manner. You’ll have to make a donation and see how Clyde Sdale thanks you in that surprise manner! Every donor gets a personal thanks. Every. Single. One.

Does it take time? Of course it does. But it is one of the things that sets The Double D apart from other charitable organizations. It’s just one of the things that The Double D is doing to break the mold of boring, old archaic charity business models. It’s the reason some donors, so they say, continue to come back and donate over and over and over and over again! For the fun!

Every business has an opportunity to set a standard, to set themselves apart from the rest. Some do it. Some don’t. Others could care less. What about your business?

When was the last time you were personally thanked by a business you frequent? How did they do it? Now sure we get the obligatory thank you right as the transaction comes to a close, but frankly, I can’t remember the last time I received an after-the-transaction thank you for my purchase or my loyalty. Like when I got home? Or the next day?

In this connected world that we live in it should be so easy for employees and business owners to thank customers. And I think if you’re a smart business owner you and your staff should be striving to do just that!

Often I ask myself why do we keep going back to those places, when let’s face it, there are probably so many other options; perhaps even with employees and owners who are ready to appreciate your business  – and your loyalty…………..

 

 

 

Tons of fun with Rich and Steve!

DiGirolamo Gamlin

8 Tools to Fire Up Your Employees:
Buy This File

Here’s what you get!

Two printed books:

  • Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace
  • 20 to Life (In a Good Way): 20 Simple Actions to Break Away from the Negativity Around You

Four downloadable e-books:

  • Oh Yeah! (Another Quote Book)
  • Bust Out of your Crate: Super Teddy’s Top-20 Tips for People to be as Happy as Dogs!
  • 50 Ways to Have Fun at Work, Improve Employee Morale and Hopefully Not Get Fired (with simple steps to implement)
  • The Only Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need…Really!

One hour of motivational listening fun (audio downloads)

  • Interview with Steve Gamlin on how to get bigger results by being a better communicator
  • Interview with Rich DiGirolamo on Employee Happiness: An initiative that’s not an option
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