Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pay More Attention To Your Attitude!

Everyone always says they have such a great attitude and positive outlook on life, and some of them do; but the truth is, is that people need to pay more attention to their attitude and recognize how it comes across. If we videotaped them, without them knowing, some would be pretty shocked at what they saw…

For me, in my career, I have to be “ON” and have a positive attitude all the time. And ladies and gentleman, I’m okay with being a positive and happy person. The line I love to use is, “This is the life I’ve chose, therefore we must accept it!” Now I know there are days where everyone has a moment, but let’s get real and focus on changing for the better.

This brings me to a story…Yes, you know I have a lot of stories because I love getting involved with people – whether they like it or not! I was in Cairo, Egypt and a few of my trainers and I went on a Nile Dinner Cruise. Now I have done this before, but one of my trainers hadn’t and we really wanted to get a feel of the culture and take a trip down the Nile! What could be better?! This cruise is such a vivid experience, filled with delicious food, cultural singing and dancing, and everyone in the room here for one reason – to have a good time. All cultures merged together, no matter where they’re from, and what else is going on in the world – only there to eat good food, listen to music and have a great time. It was when we were getting seated that I noticed the couple that was sitting at the two-top almost touching our table. Because we were seated so close, this obviously gives me that right to be involved  This woman was SO in a mood that it was beaming from her chair! She was an American and her husband (I think it may have been their Honeymoon – and UH OH to that!) was British. He was having the time of his life, taking pictures, doting over her, making sure she had everything she needed and this woman would NOT crack a smile, say thank you or exude any amount of positivity. Look lady, we’re on a dinner cruise on the NILE RIVER and you look like you’re about to kill somebody! Now, ok maybe she was having a bad day – but look at what other people perceived from her attitude. Her snappy attitude, glare, and miserable look on her face made her stand out in the room of happy tourists and Egyptian dancers that were there to entertain us. Needless to say, I kept smiling at her and got involved with the husband and let him join in on our fun table! Yes, you all would say…Cindy you would do that! And I did!

This brings me back to one thing – put a smile on your face. Remember: we’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time. Live by that for once.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Real Story Behind American Airlines

Many of you heard from me on Twitter and Facebook regarding my "awful" flight on American from Miami to Los Angeles. Well here is the story and I am taking to the top with American - I am sick of just complaining and then getting 5,000 miles added to my account. Who needs 5,000 miles when you have flown over 180,000 miles year to date?

The story starts on a very organized day - I got to the airport at 2:00pm for a 3:50pm flight - plenty of time, organized and happy. Got my ticket (was upgraded) - surprised and delighted and not expecting it. My gate was E9 and I took my time getting a coffee, buying some magazines, calling the office and just wandering around the E Terminal while I waited to board my flight at 3:20pm. At 3:00pm I checked the monitors and the gate showed on time and still at E9. At 3:00pm I walked over to the gate and noticed there were no people milling around to board the flight. I asked the gate agent what was going on with the LA flight and she said, "oh, we changed gates to D23." Now if you know this airport at all you know that the distance between these gates is far. Trains, walkways and a lot of hustling to get there. I asked her why the monitor still said E9 and she said very matter of fact - "we didn't have time to change it." Oh - ok, I will run my tail to the next gate.

I get to D23 and it is utter chaos. The gate agents (who by the way were the meanest women on this planet) were screaming at people to turn in their boarding cards because the airplane was "down graded" and we had to get new seats. Now when I say screaming I mean it. An elderly couple who had first class seats as well were told they were not going to be getting seats in first class. Their daughter had used her miles 6 months ago to get their tickets and now because it was a smaller first class they were being bumped to coach. Well that is when I lost it. Yes, I had already lost my seat in first class but I didn't care - it was this wonderful couple with canes that sent me over the edge.

The business traveler today has a heart - we get it. In fact two business men gave up their seats for this couple. American Airlines and their rude gate agents could have cared less. I was the last person given a ticket and therefore had a middle seat with no room for my luggage - again I lost it. I finally managed to get my computer bag in the overhead and a seat on the aisle opened up and I grabbed it. What happened next sent me not only over the edge but into a total fit. I had a connection in LA to Monterey and had one hour to make the connection. We were already late and the pilot came on and said how sorry he was for the inconvenience but the plane had come in from St. Thomas and they didn't unload their luggage and all of our luggage was on the tarmac - are you kidding? Now he said it would be another 45 minutes - we would miss our connections and "oh sorry there was nothing they could do about it."

We finally took off and I bought my dinner - sandwich, drink and chips - bought a pillow and blanket and watched as the flight attendants tried to make it a nice flight for us. It was a miserable flight and yes, I missed my connection as did everyone else. They didn't do anything for us - I booked myself on Alaska and finally made it to San Jose by midnight.

Moral of this story - we have no choices in air travel today - they don't care about us, they don't value all of our miles and with out a doubt if I could figure out a way to do it better I would be in the aviation business now. I will continue to complain and I will not stop until finally they get it. The times will change, and there will be choices again. When there is choices I will fly with the company that finally says thank you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do You Really Want Success? Then Fight For It!

Watch This Inspiring Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAJPPjGrU7g

Success has nothing to do with luck. Success to me is when opportunity meets hard work. For years I have been a big believer in working harder than everyone around me. Some my competitors (even peers) used to believe I worked so hard to make “Brownie Points.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I have always worked harder than others around me so that I could produce more than they did. Now if you don’t have that competitive spirit – then you will never be as successful as you claim you want to be.

Setting back in your easy chair and watching life pass you by will get you nowhere. Jump in with both feet and make a difference in everything you do – both personally and professionally. You have to want it more than others want it. You have to fight for it more than others fight for it and you must believe in it more than others believe in it.

How many people get up every day and just go through the motions and ponder why they are not more successful than they currently are? What have you done today to get better? What have you done this week to make more money? What have you done this month to live a fuller life?

Just like the video clip we shared with you today – you have to want to be as successful as you want to breathe fresh air!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stay Committed to Your Goals!

Through the every day daily tasks and hurried lifestyles, we easily forget about goals we have in place and stray from them quite often.

What are your goals? Whether work related or personal related, we all must get back on the same page and get committed again to our goals. We are getting into the autumn season, which means we are rounding to the end of the year. If your goals have kind of gone to the way side - then think realistically and stick to one goal that you can complete and achieve by the end of the year.

Here are some ways to stay fully committed to our goals:

-Take Pride in the Small Steps: The little accomplishments towards your goals are just as important, remember that and be proud of them...

-Persistence is Key: Nothing will happen if you don't take a jab at it, so small or large, stay committed and focused and even write your goals/thoughts down in a journal.

-You were made to achieve things!: Believe in yourself and make it happen! It feels so good when you're finished.

-Surround yourself with good, encouraging people: By doing this, you will remain positive, happy, and determined to stay committed to these goals.

-Put an encouraging quote up on your wall: "I Got This!"

-Have fun! and remember nothing with value comes easy...

If you haven't set any goals in a long time, because you "don't even have time to say the word goal" - I challenge you to break out of your paradigm and set a goal for yourself - the results are invigorating.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
-Peter Drucker

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"What Goes Around, Comes Around"

Can everyone believe it's almost September?! Time is flying and as usual there are changes going on all around us...

With almost everything nowadays, what we are seeing, we have seen before. In fashion, you walk into the hottest stores and the jacket hanging in the store window looks like the jacket you wore when you were in high school - what goes around comes around. For the most part, this is happening in the business world as well. During Richard Branson's NBTA Speech in Houston a few weeks ago, he mentioned that face to face meetings are coming back into the realm. In the recent years, we have become very accustomed to emails, text messages, quick voicemails, and conference calls. All of these are great ways to stay connected to people, but the time has come to go back to the "old fashioned" face to face meetings with your team. Although, there may be times where the face to face meetings can't happen, but the efficiency and profitability of these meetings are astounding!

Here are some statistics from Harvard Business Review, NBTA, Oxford Economics, and The U.S. Travel Association:

• Every dollar invested in business travel generates $12.50 in incremental value
• 17% of US business profits would be lost if all business travel cancelled and it would more than 3 years to recover
• 40% of prospects became new customers as a result of face-to-face
• 28% of current business would be lost without a face-to-face meeting
• 95% of survey respondents said face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships
• The average business would have to increase an employee’s base pay by 8.5% to achieve the same impact of incentive travel trip
• 1.5% minimum amount of economic growth that would result from a 10% increase in business travel spending

Get out there and see your customers and talk to your colleagues - the results will likely show in your favor!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer is Almost Over!

It doesn't seem that summer should be coming to an end. Didn't it just seem like yesterday that the kids got out of school, the flowers began to bloom and everyone planned their vacations.

This year has flown by and there is so much buzz in the air. Business is getting better, people have a better outlook on life and without a doubt there is money to made and deals to close.

But it is still hard work - I am writing this from my farm in Iowa where I grow soybeans and corn and raise cattle. I was talking with the gentlemen that farm my land for me and they agreed that they are working harder to make the same amount of money. The only difference with the farm is that the weather does effect our business. We had a lot of rain this year in Iowa, and that helped the crops of soybeans. I have never seen more lush, full crops. But on the other hand all of my heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers and squash did poorly due to the heavy rain.

It doesn't matter whether you are selling hotel rooms, seats in a restaurant, financial planning or insurance - everyday is a new day and someday a little rain might hurt your sales or help them grow! In sales we can't blame the weather.

What this week on the farm made me realize though is that there is really no need to worry - the sun rises and sets everyday around the world. The cattle wake me up mooing every morning and as I sit on my front porch of my 100 year old farmhouse sipping my coffee, I ponder the real meaning of work. Hard work comes in different ways and the only difference between me and the gentlemen farmer is that my nails look better than theirs.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Successfully Living Your Dreams

As a child I never required much sleep, and when I did sleep I had vivid dreams. I remembered a lot and learned that my biggest problems in life were solved while I slept.

Fast forward many years full of multi-tasking, playing many roles and wearing many hats.

Although we know sleep is a major part of our lives, researchers and doctors understand little about sleep and what it does for us. Of course we do know that sleep has many health benefits and getting a good night’s sleep is the key to feeling energized every day.

But to me sleep is much more than that – it is more effective than brainstorming, meeting with others to solve problems ~ it is the vehicle I use to make it all work.

• Keep a note pad by your bed to write notes down in the night
• Take time every night to think about your problems before you go to bed, as you will be amazed at how you will find solutions
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as this helps your thoughts

For those of you that travel, don’t let jet lag become an excuse ~ when you log over 150,000 miles a year like me, I can’t afford to “take take time to acclimate” myself ~ I get about 10 minutes.

Doctors say the body takes about 1 day per hour of change to adjust. There are no techniques to speed up that process, but that doesn’t work when you fly all the way to Dubai from LA and need to go to work the next day. My tips:

• Get plenty of sleep on the plane (helps if you get upgraded)
• Take some sort of sleep aid during those long flights – even Sleepy Time works
• Set your watch to your new time zone the minute you get on board
• Drink lots of water
• Get as much sunlight as you can when you arrive
• Try Melatonin which helps you adjust
• Establishing good sleep habits will really pay off when you travel. If you have trained your body to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep, you will have a much easier adjustment to the new time zone
Just remember to keep a journal next to you to note your dreams. Some of my dreams have really come true and there is nothing better than living your dream!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Greetings in July!

We are more than half way through the year and it is time to freshen up our skills. Here are some quick tips to make sure you power through the rest of the year:

• Remember to really get to know your clients and show how much you care – don’t wait for the festive season to say thanks for the business
• Keep asking good questions – never assume you know everything – Be Curious
• Don’t procrastinate – get out there and make some sales calls
• Mirror your clients style
• Show how much you want the business
• Under promise – over deliver
• Be quick, nimble and fast – faster than your competition
• Protect your “net” of business – be protective about your clients
• No problem = no profit
• Love this job – or get a new one
• Hard work = improved results
• Never settle – our past success guarantees us very little
• Watch what you talk about in public – who knows who is listening
• Become a subject matter expert – know your customers business
• Continue studying your craft to gain confidence – it shows
• Start talking face to face or at least on the phone to clients – let everyone else hide behind email

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Too Many People Think They are Experts!

I am amazed at how many people think they are experts when in reality they don't even have a clue. I just laugh at the amount of know it alls out there. You may think that I am one of these - but if you knew me well you would know that I am always open to learning and receiving feedback. Remember I am a trainer & speaker and get evaluated every day. My life revolves around 1 to 5!

So what is my gripe about now? Recently I have bumped into some sales professionals in our industry who think they have it all going - and when push comes to shove, they fail miserably. Why would anyone try to act like this? Why would you pretend you are the biggest, the best and untouchable, when you need the feedback and training more than some of the newer and younger team members.

The time has come to wake up and realize that whatever got you to this point - your degree in business from 1974 or your past jobs is meaningless today unless you continue to change and learn.

So welcome to a new day and welcome to reality! Those that think they know it all need a big wake up call.....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Are you a leader or a joke?

What is a true leader? What does it take to be a strong leader in todays' marketplace? Does your team take you seriously or do they refer to you as a "joke?" Now hear me out, I mean seriously - are you a joke? Do you bring value to the table every day or are you just passing the time for the next promotion or next job?

I spend enormous time with leaders in all different types of companies and all over the globe. What I find is that only about 20% of these leaders are making a difference and an impact on their team. The others are just passing the time by running meetings that waste time, focusing on more reports and analytics that will prove their point and very little time developing their people.

Why do we have to tip toe around issues? Why do we have to have meetings upon meetings where the "boss" is just waiting for all of us to finally agree with him or her? Years ago when the website domains first were introduced I created one called "Bust-a-Boss." I wanted to set up a toll free number where people could call me and tell me about their boss and I would try and help them sort it out. After testing this awhile, I found that most of the time, the boss was the one who needed feedback and even when I tried to give that person the feedback they didn't want to take it....end result - call their boss, explain how unproductive and dysfunctional this person was and hope the senior leader would sort it out.

I only wish I could still do that - but as a management consultant that would not be the best use of my time and resources. My job is to help people but only those that will accept the help and have the willingness to change.

As we enter June, we are again half way through another year. Are you doing everything you can to be a great leader and a mentor to your team? I hope so...if not call me - I won't bust a boss, but I will support someone who seeks help!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A New American Citizen

Two days ago Shelley Marlow from our team became a U.S. Citizen and I was there to witness this and participate in the glorious ceremony. There were 4,200 immigrants becoming United States Citizens and over 6,000 people joining the festivities with family and friends. It was overwhelming when we walked into the Los Angeles Convention Center which had been turned into a U.S. Court.

When the Judge began his comments, he focused on this great country and how these new Americans were no different than the Americans born in this country as we are all immigrants with the exception of Native American Indians. He then proceded to say that some Americans should come back and re-visit what America is all about and learn everything that these new Citizens have just learned about the constitution and what this fine country was built on.

I couldn't help but set there and think about all the people that complain about our great nation and here are 4,200 people working so hard to get in and be a part of this country and VOTE!

We waved our flags, sang the National Anthem and cheered on Shelley! Tears rolled down our face when we watched them take their oath and be sworn in. Welcome to America!

So now, sit back and ask yourself how you are contributing to our fine country. Don't set back and tolerate those who want to just take from us and not give anything back.

This country was built on hard work and a commitment to serve America. I am doing my part and now Shelley can vote and do her part. How about you?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Success is Built on Hard Work and Honesty

Over the past few months I have traveled the globe - 80,000 miles so far and it is just the end of April. What I have noticed is how full the planes are, the hotels are busier than last year as well as the restaurants and bars. This means business is coming back - but hold on - don't start spending your money yet.

Customers and employers are very serious about getting back to business and getting back to the basics of hard work, great ethics and honesty. Everyday you turn on the news and there is one more scandal about dishonest business behavior and poor productivity.

I can't believe how many people think they can get away with this type of behavior. Lying on the job, lying to clients, to your boss - what is going on? I have been conducting my own personal poll as I travel the world. I ask a lot of questions -

1. What is your code of conduct?
2. How does your company maintain an ethical relationship with their clients?
3. What makes you a better performer than others that do the same job as you?
4. What would your clients and company miss if you left?
5. How can you add value to your clients and company now more than ever?

I love asking these questions and most people give me their thoughts. The answers vary dramatically.

There are too many people still looking for an easy ride. Too many people wanting to blame others for their lack of productivity. There is a critical need for clarity on the job and with each other.

I have talked about fierce conversations a lot in my book, my speeches and even in these blogs. It is time to speak up - call people out when they are not stepping up to the plate. Often during tough times, people will try and hide and take cover instead of leading the path to excellence.

The front page of USA Today yesterday said we are coming out of the recession. Well, I have news for everyone - I never went in to the recession. Those people that understand hard work figured out ways to make money during these turbulent times and we all know that everyone comes out of a recession far better off than they went into it - but only if they were working hard to begin with.

Being true to ones self and to their team and clients is the only real way to succeed and I am afraid that some people are looking for an easy way out. Take a look in the mirror and remind yourself that you and you alone are responsible for your success.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nothing Normal about the "NEW NORMAL!"

I don't know about you, but I don't believe that we are going to be living this "slow down" for a long time - hence the comments about the new normal. I am not a fan of the new-normal dogma that predicts a decade of mediocre stock markets and slow business. Many people feel that they need to hide away their money and not spend...Nonsense! It is time you start believing that as Americans we can pull ourselves out of this mess - I believe we won't see the fast paced spending that we saw before the financial crisis but we won't be living in austerity either.

Normal should mean reasonable spending, investing, borrowing and living. Many companies are doing great this year. Walmart, Nordstrom and CB Richard Ellis all have done very well. The world is not coming to an end, but we must look at tomorrow with belief in our ability to pull out of this.

I spend a great deal of my life working with clients in the luxury segment, a segment that was really hit with all of the government regulations and perception problems about spending. Well not to fear...we are not ready as Americans to get rid of luxury. Maybe it will be smaller luxury purchases, but mark my word...we will keep buying luxury. Sales of Bentleys and Maybachs may have been down last year, but I know that the Mercedes dealership that I go to has more valet parkers than some of the hotels in my area.

Many people are still consuming luxury but not making such a big deal about it. I am sorry, but if I have worked so hard in order to afford a nice bag or a nice car I shouldn't have to hide that. The only difference today is that the luxury retailers, restaurants, hotels, and clubs have created new ways to sell to us. Tiffany is selling a lot of low-cost bracelets but you still get to walk out of the store carrying the famous trademark "blue box."

Everyone is talking about the growth in China and other parts of the world. Remember our dollar strengthen in parts of the world - the Euro and the Yen! Call me an optimist but I am not ready to say this is the new normal. Nothing is normal about not spending, not enjoying life and hiding the rewards of hard work. So as I carry my Louis Vuitton bag and drive my Mercedes, I apologize to no one and say thank you to myself and my husband for our hard work and commitment to building a better future for our families, our employees and America!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Real Uncle Sam

During the war of 1812, Sam Wilson had a contract to supply meat to U.S. troops: salted beef and pork ready to ship out in barrels. To identify the barrels, Wilson assigned a worker to letter them with the initials U.S.; for "United States." That abbreviation wasn't as common as it is today, and when people asked the man doing the lettering what it meant, he joked that it really stood for Uncle Sam, the kindly meat packer's nickname.

The joke got around with amazing speed (no Internet then). Within months the phrase began to appear in political cartoons and newspaper editorials. People started referring to all government property as belonging to Uncle Sam. Soldiers starting calling themselves "Uncle Sam's boys." In no time at all, the meat packer's nickname become the country's nickname.

In early drawings, Uncle Sam appeared clean-shaven, in black. Later he wore the colors of the flag. In the Civil War, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew him gaunt and bearded like Abe Lincoln. The most famous Uncle Sam is actually a self-portrait of artist James Montgomery Flagg.

Remember it all started with an entrepreneur!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Rest of The Story in Reading, UK

So here is the rest of the story and it has a happy ending. My clients in Reading called the General Manager of the hotel and shared my experience with him. He was very apologetic and asked what he could do. Of course, a comp stay was not an option, dinner for 2 was out of the question so my client said, she just wants you to know where your problems are.

I went back to the hotel to get my luggage and drive back into London and the General Manager met me in the lobby. He didn't just meet me with a smile, but a bouquet of flowers and a box of English Chocolates. He and I had a very nice chat while I explained to him exactly how his employees had handled this situation and gave very observable feedback. He appreciated it and we exchanged business cards for follow up. So one bad night was rewarded with some personal attention, a new friend and a new client. Gotta love feedback!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chilly Weather - Chilly Service

Just when you think people get it - they let you down. I am definately not a hotel snob - I know alot of people who are in the hotel business that are ruthless when it comes to their demands, but I am not one of them. I respect each employee, treat them with respect and always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. But not today!

I checked into the Great Western House (Malmaison Reading)in Reading, UK last night. Quite a unique hotel that was once a train station. Cool look, fun bar and restaurant and a front office staff that could CARE LESS!

We checked in late so the hotel was already at capacity and we were given a handicap room - no problem. The issue was the room was on the first floor over a disco - banging music until 3:00am. Lefty and I were there together so when we realized there was only one towel, we called down for another. Let's say we had to call several times to check on the towels, but in addition there was no iron - an ironing board but no iron. When we called down to ask for the iron, we were told that we they would send someone up to 'show us' where the iron is. Well to his surprise, when he came up, guess what - no iron. There was no apology, no empathy, just a short answer of "well I'll get you one". 40 minutes later, came back with no iron, said they are 'locked up' and I have no key so 'I will get you one first thing in the morning'.

So you've figured out by now that I have had it. No sleep all night, one towel for 2 people, no iron to have a crisp shirt in the morning and a wake up call that was only in a few hours.

The next morning when we checked out, we gave the feedback to the front office manager who proceeded to argue with us and tell us that we were too demanding. Too demanding, this is called service and we still had to pay. I am not stopping here - remember I teach customer service for a living - guess who my next prospect is?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

We have made it through a tough year of '09 and we are all welcoming in the New Year. So let's reflect on what happened and what changes need to happen in order to make this the beginning of a great decade.

First of all let's remember that Hope is NOT a plan - it is a dream and will not come to reality without hard work and dedication. On New Years Eve I celebrated with my family in Houston and we had one of my nephews friends join us as he was on leave from the military. It was so interesting to talk to him about his positive outlook on a tough war and the future of America. He was motivated, positive and full of life - even though he was going back to fight.

Then there were others I met over the holidays who on the other hand had nothing to say but complaining. Complaints about no job, their inablity to save money, their lack of focus and their constant search for the solution.

Well the solution is right before you. It lies in your hands, your heart, your brain and your passion to make a difference.

Are you where you want to be as we enter 2010? Are you living the life you want to live right now? Are you focused on goals that will help you achieve everything you ever hoped for? What are doing for the rest of your life?

Anyone that follows me or reads my blog knows that I am all about the positive outlook on life, but I have never been one for sitting around waiting for things to happen. I believe in making things happen for myself, my family and my companies. I will never leave fate in someone elses hands.

Years ago, I met a person who tried to convince me that life was not in my hands. She preached to me that no matter what plans I made, it didn't matter. Well I don't know where that woman is today - nor do I care, but if she were around, I would share this with her.

I have had choices to make as everyone has over this past year. How do we keep our businesses running with a profit and not lay anyone off? How do I make sure I keep all of our assets safe and still invest in the future? Well HOPE was not the strategy to our success. Our success has always been built on a plan and actions to support that plan. Nothing has changed.

So for all of you that are struggling, please take this time to sit down with your closest family member or friend and begin to spell out your plan. What will you change immediately to make a difference in your life? How will these changes affect you for the future? What help do you need and where will you seek it?

This is the beginning of a brand new decade. You have choices my friends to make a difference. So let's ring it in with the most passion you can give.