Friday, March 27, 2009

Everyone Needs Some Direction

Hello from lovely New York City. I figured out why so many people are lost right now during the financial "crisis." Since I travel so much, there are many mornings when I wake up, that I actually have to "think" about what city I am in. It dawned on me this morning at 6:00am Eastern Standard Time when my wake up call arrived. I had only been back in the states for 2 days from Asia Pacific when I left California for New York City.

I needed some direction - I looked out my window and saw all the highrises and realized exactly where I was - but in the dark, with my curtains closed, I was confused.

I think this is our problem today - many people are living in the dark, eyes shut, listening only to the media and not asking for direction. Each of us need to open our eyes, ask questions and try to figure out solutions...not stay tucked away in the dark waiting for sunlight.

As leaders today, you need to step up to the plate and provide on going leadership and direction to your employees - now more than ever. Where is your business headed, what issues lie ahead, how can employees step up right now and what is the overall strategic plan.

Remember that many younger employees - fresh out of college have never seen this type of recession before and they need your direction to move out of the disaster and into the future.

In my leadership training, we focus on developing team members - there are beginners to masters and each step needs different leadership. You have some people on your team that "think" they are a master, yet are producing like a beginner. What have you done about that? What feedback have you given them, what development steps have you put in place and what inspiration are you giving your team to keep their heads held up high and shoot for the moon. Remember if they shoot for the moon and come up short they at least will hit a star!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thai Food - Spicy but Sweet!

Before I traveled to Thailand, I never thought I liked Thai food. My brother in law loved it and I always said - no, too spicy. Then I spent a week in Bangkok and fell in love with the spicy and sweet tastes of Thailand. Thai Cuisine is well-known for being hot and spicy and for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal - hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.

Last night I took Lefty to my favorite Thai restaurant in Singapore. I had been there before, and in addition to the great food ~ the employees are spectacular. They genuinely want to help you. They describe each item on the menu as if they made it themselves, they come up with ideas for local wines and beyond everything ~ they are excited you are dining with them. The name of the restaurant is Kha. So where does this dining experience lead me...

In life, there are people that are spicy - hot- hot-hot! But very sweet. I think I am one of those people. I have a lot of fire in my personality, but in the end I care deeply about those around me. You don't need to be luke warm to be friendly - you can have a spicy temper, passion and lust for life....just remember when you get too hot, enjoy the coconut sticky rice with mango to calm you down.

Here is to living a spicy life, that always has a sweet ending to each day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What a Small World!

It is Thursday morning in Singapore and Wednesday night - St. Patricks Day in Galveston, Texas. I just spoke to my daughter Jessica and my nephew Danny live over a webcam at The Spot in Galveston, Texas. How much fun is this? As they cheered with their green beers, I sipped my morning coffee and we caught up. Life doesn't get any better than this. Or does it?

I want to remind any of you reading this that I have spent the last 20 years traveling the globe and my daughter traveled with me. Now that she is in her 3rd year at Texas A&M, her travel schedule has slowed quite a bit, but today I had her with me in Singapore - if only on a webcam - live enough to talk and see each other. She spoke to the participants in the class and together everyone had a laugh.

So why is it so hard to talk to the people you see everyday - your family, your friends, your boss, your co-workers. Do me a favor. Get up tomorrow morning with a new attitude. Make an effort to reach out to those around you at home and at work. Get on the elevator and don't look down. Make eye contact with the people in line with you at Starbucks. Smile at the valet who takes your car, hold a door for someone and more than ever - appreciate all this wonderful world has to offer. It is ours for the taking - so let's do something about it.

Whatever corner of the world you are in - Cheers to you from me!

Corporate Social Responsibility ~ "CSR"

Ok...the time has come to call it what it is - unbelievable. How can Howard Schultz the founder and CEO of Starbucks actually talk about "giving back" on CNN yesterday when he has closed 600 stores in the US and has laid off all of the assistant managers in each of his existing stores. Sounds like a good marketing message to let everyone know that $1.00 per coffee goes to help struggling countries. What about all his employees that are now out of work and can't find another job. Maybe he should donate $1.00 per drink to them. Corporate Social Responsibility - the new buzzword of business should start at home...

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business and corporate social opportunity is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure their adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms.

Business would embrace responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, business would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

Now it is not that I am against any of the above ideas or principles. In fact I am all about helping each other, saving the planet and honoring the community growth internationally. But I do believe that each of us are obliged to start with our own companies and countries. I have always believed that charity starts at home and if we all don't take care of our own organizations, neighborhoods, employees and families we will never solve much.

Too many movie stars, musicians and executives find it their role to try to fix the world when maybe they should drive into the "bad neighborhoods" of their own cities. Maybe it is time to help one another out at home so that we will have the strength to help others around the world.

My company has always practiced CSR - I take care of my employees, my customers, my community and help around the world with my customers. In addition, we are ethical, honest and deliver on our promises.

I believe it is time to look in the mirror and make sure you are walking the talk at home and in your own company before you branch out to save the planet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It is a Global Promise of Success!

Stop focusing on your own problems, your own company, and your own country. We live in a global economy and it is amazing how positive things sound when you are reading the newspaper in Singapore or Sydney vs. New York. I am serious. The world is not coming to an end ~ although there is a global slow down ~ it is not the end of business. So here are some thoughts for those of you trying to run a business in the states.

1. Do you have a product that you could market internationally?
2. Have you opened up your company to do business in parts of the US or globally that you have never thought of before?
3. Is your Internet Marketing programs working for you while you are sleeping?

Now is the time to try out different things. Don't think for one minute that you must be a mega corporation to do business abroad. There are so many possibilites for those who reach out and grab them.

Are you ready to start selling to new markets, new clients, new territories. If you depend on the same customers that you have been doing business with over the past several years, you may find yourself behind - branch out and don't be afraid of what you don't know.

The world has become very small. There are entrepreuneurs in every country - someone ready and willing to rep for you, partner with you and capitalize on your ideas. Ready - Set - Go!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A View From the Top From Down Under....

Business is back. I am sitting at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport ready to board my flight to Singapore and the place is buzzing with business travelers. I am fortunate to be sharing a conference room with an executive from a global accounting firm and he shares that his organization has pulled out all the stops and they are back on the road visiting their clients. Fantastic! Even the energy at the airport right now is different. It is positive, there are smiling faces and business professionals are networking and talking.

It gives me great pleasure to see this in action. I just completed a course with Business Events Sydney - the team of people that are responsible for bringing Internation Conferences to Sydney. It was so refreshing to work with a group of people who didn't know what to expect from the session and left on a high with real time results.

If you are reading this, you probably know me, are a friend, collegue or have followed my blog because you have been in the industry and maybe attended one of our sessions.

I want to have each of you think about what you need to do to clear up your mind as we get ready to enter the 2nd quarter of the year. These past few months have been filled with "stuff" that created a dull, negative headache and now that the clouds are passing and the sun is is getting easier to move on.

My suggestions are to go back to your clients - call them, thank them and ask them what you can do now to move business forward. What do they need from you or your company. Too often we get too busy and forget to reach out to our customers and friends just to say more than ever it is time to do that. Let's celebrate the dawning of a new day - business travelers and leisure travelers alike are heading back to the world of travel. I couldn't be happier. Spread the will catch on.

Here is to safe flights, great hotels, city tours that amaze you and a life worth living.....Cindy Live from Australia

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I can help your business stay on top in this economy!

Don't let this economy get us down - come up with new ideas, improve your business and be the "cream that rises to the top!!!" Be more exciting to your customers and give them compelling reasons to do business with you!

Contact me so that I can help you motivate and train your employees so that you stay on top!
Master Connection Associates
31441 Santa Margarita Parkway
Suite A 273
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
(800) 589-6137 Toll Free
(949) 589-6137
(949) 589-2758 Fax

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No More Guilt Trip About Luxury!

It is March - and it is madness! I just celebrated Jessica's 21st birthday in Vegas with 28 family and friends at Mandalay Bay. It was absolutely unbelievable. Everyone had a blast...from the 21 year olds to the 75 year olds. I might add, that it was a "luxury" packed weekend that we have saved for since she was born. 21 only happens once, and why shouldn't we throw the party of a lifetime - forget the financial crisis - it was my baby's birthday. So I get home to the OC on Sunday evening at 8:30pm....pack for my trip to Australia the next day and sit back to reflect how grand life really is. All we hear about is that luxury travelers are gearing down, not taking the wonderful vacations they did last year, not saving for the special present for their mom or daughter because no one knows what the future holds.

Well I will tell you what the future holds. This is America and we are about freedom and spirit. Instead of keeping quiet about spending or showing your wealth...celebrate your hard work and all the things you have done to get where you are.

I board my flight for Sydney....get upgraded to business - yeah! And as I snuggle into my new United "bed" I read the cover story of USA Today - Weekend. There it is screaming at me - don't let your friends know about your cruise, don't let them know you upgraded to first class, and for heavens sakes don't ever let them know you got your tan from skiing in Gstaad...pretend your winter tan came from skiing a local hill. Don't you dare hire a car to take you to your hotel, hail a cab even when the price is the same...some might think you are a "jet setter."

Are you kidding me? So I sit in my brand new United "bed" and watch the couples around me that are flying to Australia for the first time. They are excited, celebrating with a champagne toast and cameras out to capture the memories. I speak to most of them around me. "So have you had this trip planned for a long time." They answer - "no, actually there were some good deals and we decided to enjoy this economic turmoil and cash in on some deals." So call it what you want - luxury shame, stealth wealth or guilt downsizing. I call it - "enough already!" There should be no guilt to trying to enjoy this fabulous life.

If we don't start spending money we will see a bigger downfall then ever before in the history of the USA. Since our president quotes Lincoln all the time, I thought I would set the record straight with a speech that Lincoln gave and one I have never heard our president refer to here it is - read it with heart, mind and eyes wide open....

"The world has never had a good definition of the word "liberty". The American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty. But in using the same word, we do not all mean the same thing. "What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence?

It is not our frowning embattlements, our bristling sea coasts. These are not our reliance against tyranny. Our reliance is in the love of liberty, which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere.

Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. "At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us in a blow?

Never. All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? "I answer that if it ever reach us, it must spring from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be the authors and finishers. As a nation of free men, we must live through all times, or die by suicide."

Let reverence for the law be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in the schools, in the seminaries, and in the colleges. Let it be written in primers, in spelling books and almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And in short, let it become the political religion of the nation. And let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes, and tongues, and colors, and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly at its altar. "And let us strive to deserve, as far as mortals may, the continued care of Divine Providence, trusting that, in future national emergencies, He will not fail to provide us the instruments of safety and security. Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, or frightened from it by menaces of the destruction to the government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might. And in that faith, let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." ... Mr. Lincoln

So there you have it my will come from amongst get to work, get spending, stop hiding your desire to travel and enjoy fine hotels all over the world. Sip your champagne and toast to the hard work that got you here.