Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Leader is Someone You Choose to Follow!

Every day, in every city, in every corner of the world I run into people who tell me their horror stories about their “bad boss.” Now you can choose to think these people are just complainers or you can decide that there must be some truth to these ugly stories. 1. The boss who is disruptive in the office and is constantly messing around with everyone and causing loud disturbances 2. The boss who dumps vs. delegates and then complains how busy he is 3. The boss who doesn’t walk the talk – can’t train the sales person on how to close a piece of business because they haven’t sold in years 4. The boss who is moody 5. The boss who has favorites 6. The boss who brings all their personal drama to work 7. The boss who is so complacent they could care less 8. The boss who throws everyone else under the bus 9. The boss who takes credit for others work 10. The boss who got to be the boss because the other bad boss left If none of these are you – good! If you are any of these – change yourself right now. Don’t wait for a coach, to read a book or go to a class – just simply make the change. If you work for one of these call me at 1-800 BUST-A-BOSS and let me take it from there...

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Past = The Future

Looking at your past can always allow you to see a better vision of your future. Twenty five years ago I started Master Connection Associates, and my father was the foundation of my new future. My dad – Ed Pierce, was the head of training & development for The Shell Oil Company. I had watched for years as he led a team of training professionals all over the world in the oil industry. He was an icon with American Society of Training & Development and a founding member of Sales Marketing - Training organization. I brainstormed with him about my idea for training in the hospitality industry and his guidance and feedback was the pathway to where I am today. As a successful Director of Marketing with Westin Hotels & Resorts, I felt I had what was needed to be a great trainer. He felt otherwise. He told me the last thing I wanted to be was “one of the people out there telling their old stories.” So I took his advice, studied the field of adult education and he began to mold me. The rest became history. Today, he is still our mentor, designer and oversees the Educational Technologists on our team. He is my go to person for advice, challenges and new ideas. Many times we forget about who and what got us to where we are today, and that it may not take us into the future, but it is and always will be our foundation that will help create our success tomorrow. Never forget what got you here, and never stop looking at where you are going.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Art of Listening

Laptops, tablets, GPS, smart phones, even smart cars! If there is ever anything you need, don’t worry, there’s an App for that! The technology available to us today is endless and advancing daily. With all of these distractions, in person interaction seems to be fewer and farther between. This is why it is more and more important to practice the long lost art of listening. I’m not talking about one earphone in, listening to music, writing a text and watching someone talk to you. I’m talking about stopping, focusing, making eye contact and LISTENING! Imagine what could be accomplished if we all took those extra minutes to listen and understand what is being said to us. Think of the mistakes that could be avoided! It has been proven that the generational Boomers tend to multitask and listen better that than those of generation x/y and millennials because of these technological advances. However, Boomers still have much to learn from the other generations. If we all teach each other how to listen, learn well and live in a fast paced world, we will all be more proficient in the long run!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Just Hanging Around Doesn't Add Value...

Whether you are a leader an employee, a friend, a sibling or a spouse, it matters to “matter.” Once a person becomes ineffective their days are numbered. This is true in friendships, families and business. What value are you adding to your friends & family? Do you ever really have a good conversation with them? Do you offer advice or is your relationship based on just going out for drinks and dinner? Now drinks and dinner is just fine – don’t get me wrong. But so many people drain the energy of some of their friends without filling the other persons bucket. Value comes in many ways. It comes from making a difference at work, at home, with your neighbors and your spouse or partner in life. If comes from caring, it comes from passion and it doesn't revolve around you but around the other person. If you are just sticking around because the job or the relationship is easy, but there is no real passion to make it better, you are not adding any value to your job or life. Make a difference today – go out and share ideas with those around you so at the end of the day you can feel good about the value you have added. A friend of mine quote the song from “Chicago,” when he talked about people making a difference – he said I never want to become “Mr. Cellophane...”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Living Brands...

The other day while I was preparing for a big speech I began to soul search on my brand. I am always looking for new ways to position our company and I realized that I am a “living brand.” First of all I really do practice what I preach, but more importantly I am not static – I am alive with energy, real, living life on the road and sharing my passion with people every day. With me it is all about “what you see is what you get.” I am in China working right now and noticing that some of the “wholesale” brands that are sold here are pretty unbelievable. It is so far beyond the counterfeit purses, watches and luggage. It is about the ability to copy anything. Let’s take the empty bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild that is selling in China for $200.00. Remember it is an empty bottle. Obviously the “wholesale” Chinese company fills it with red wine and resells it for $800.00 which is still a steal for a very expensive bottle of Château Lafite, if you were indeed buying the “real bottle of wine.” Are you kidding me? When I was doing some research on the wine I read that the name Lafite comes from the Gascon term "la hite" meaning "small hill". Here is a famous legendary and expensive brand of wine that cannot be copied – so they use the original bottle and fill it with a basic red wine. Note that the bottle is original. Lafite, one of four wine-producing Châteaux of Bordeaux was originally awarded its status in the 1855 Classification, which was based on recent prices. Since then, it has been a consistent producer of one of the world's most expensive red wines. They can’t copy the wine, they can’t even copy the bottle – but for those who don’t know the difference they are buying the shell. In business I call this the “empty suit.” The person who fakes it through life copying others and calling themselves original is my definition of business or people counterfeit. Remember there is only one that is original – is that you? So what does this have with my “living brand” story? The thought that someone can copy your logo, your identity and your look does not mean they can copy your inner strength. If you are a “living brand,” you are original, authentic and no one can ever copy it because it is alive and not static. Lafite meaning “small hill,” has to do with the region and the fertile soil these grapes are grown to make this fabulous wine. There is only one “small hill,” yet people can try and convince you their hill is the same hill. So if you are not living in the present, and alive with energy, someone can take your brand and run away with it, unless of course you are a “living brand.” In that case they would have to kidnap you! As said in China - “Mountains are high and Emperor is far away!”

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Help Comes in Little Ways - One Person at a Time!

Every person at one point or another has problems in their work, with their family, friends and even with themselves just trying to make it one day after another. I consider myself very lucky that I have been able to ride the storms, sail through tough times and continue on with success. I do however try my best to help everyone around me make it through their day. Too many people ignore the problems right under their nose and then wonder why things finally blow up. Think about your own life - the co-worker that comes to work lately with a frown on their face and seems to get irritated every time you approach them, or the friend that hasn’t returned your calls, or the family member who is struggling, or even as simple as a lost person at the airport who doesn’t speak English and everyone including the airline staff ignores them. How can this be? Why don’t you ask more questions – why don’t you step up to the lost person and assist? Why? My thought is that it is easier to walk on by and not get involved. It isn’t your problem, you are too busy to deal with someone else’s issues – you have enough of your own! You can and will make a difference if you just take a few minutes out of your crazy schedule to show you care. It is a call, a quick text or email or just taking the time to talk to someone who needs you. Keep in mind that not everyone will respond to your help and you must be prepared for that. Sometimes the more you try to give, and the more you try and help, the more YOU are ignored and your help goes un-noticed and un-appreciated. So it can become a vicious cycle – but I would rather ride that cycle out than live with regrets that I didn’t even try and help. So who should you help today? Who could you make a difference for today? Sitting back in your easy chair and observing life versus participating in it will not make you feel good at the end. So show up, make a difference and never look back.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Memories Show a lot about your History!

Growing up in the Midwest and spending my summers on Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan gave me a lot of great memories. Memories at the time I didn't even think about - how I loved getting ready for our annual trip by packing all my new summer clothes, picking my friend that would join us (my sister and I always got to bring a friend), and counting the days before we left. For years we spent the summers in my grandparents trailer right on the beach and later my parents bought their first sail boat that would allow us to sail the Great Lakes. Para"fun"alia was the first "big" sailboat that gave us years of memories. Getting up before sunrise to get a "jump" on the big motorboats, sitting out on the deck and watching the sun sparkle on the waves. We moved to bigger boats and finally to a beautiful yacht named Marie Rae. Wow, it was great. We each had our own cabin, televisions in each cabin, our own "heads," and my Dad as the best Captain one would ever want at the helm. We sailed her every summer from Grand Haven to Canada and never thought we would spend a summer doing anything else. But things change and as life would have it my parents decided two years ago that they were done boating and put her up for sale. I never cried so hard in my life over anything material - houses came and went, cars came and went, but this "boat" was different, she was our memories. What would we do? Where would we all go for the summer? Sure we could do the hotels, but as a person who lives on the road in hotels & resorts that is the last thing we wanted to do. So 2 years ago we bought the Novotny Cottage looking right at the harbor where we kept Marie Rae. My parents live there in the summer so they do have their memories and we come and go throughout the summer. My dad has now decided to buy a smaller boat to go out in to the lake and just have fun for the day. He bought a brand new speed boat that is bright and shiny and goes real fast. We have had fun on it, but sometimes I feel like a trader if I am having fun on any boat other than Marie Rae. What's worst is that we know who bought Marie Rae and they are living on her full time - they changed the name (of course), and the look of her beautiful nautical cabins and they are creating their own memories. So as I sit on my porch this summer overlooking Betsie Bay and remembering all the memories of days at the dock and life on the water I realize that this is life - it changes like the tide, the sun always rises and sets over the beautiful lake. Only now I watch it from my porch instead of the deck always remembering that it all started there. I will always think of Marie Rae each time we pass the pier and lighthouse on a new boat. She was a foundation of family, laughter, learning how to deal with tough times on the water and most of all she was "our summer." Where are your memories from? What about your past leads you through tomorrow? I believe that the foundation you give your family during these summer vacations guides them through their life with much success. Spend time with each other because at the end of the day, it is family that will make a difference in your life. Enjoy your summer and don't forget to create new memories as they are the next chapter in your book of life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Smiles, Charity and Inspiration

A few weeks ago I spoke at a National Charity League Event for one of my team members in my corporate office and her daughter. I have to say, what an inspirational day this was for me and for the audience of about 50 young girls and their mothers. Normally, a day in the life of Cindy Novotny is not working with young teenage girls but when I was standing up on that stage looking down at all their innocent faces, I realized, it's fantastic to make a difference in someone's life. After the speech, I had all these girls and their mothers coming up to me with endless smiles. You could tell that these were some good girls, but the ones that may have a little chip on their shoulder, were brought back down to Earth at a young age - no matter what age you are, sometimes you must be brought back to reality and realizing what an impact you can make on certain individuals lives. I was featured in the Orange County Register and that felt amazing. This was not about me. This was about these young girls, smiling, feeling good about their charity efforts and ready to take the world by storm - because guess what ladies and gentlemen, these girls will be working for you in about 5 years! Cheers to a fabulous weekend!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Observations of "Real People Doing Dumb Things" I am sitting right now in the TAP Lounge in Lisbon, Portugal listening to a man on the phone trying to get rid of a virus on his computer. He is talking to his IT professional back in his office and apparently from what I can hear (and everyone else in the lounge) is that he needs to set new passwords for his accounts. So that is exactly what he does - he confirms these passwords OUT-LOUD for everyone in this TAP Lounge to hear them , write them down and hack right back into his computer. I am sure you can only guess knowing how "curious" I am that I needed to say something to him - my traveling companion - Lefty told me to stay out of it, but I thought otherwise. I leaned over and mentioned that everyone could hear his passwords and he should not say them so loud. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I have to give them to my IT guy because he said I can't email them or someone could get them." OK - I give up. Is everyone a "stupid donkey?" Just earlier in my day I was at the Frankfurt Lufthansa Lounge and every person that walked by the coat hanger hit their head on the hangers. I watched this for about 20 minutes and then decided I would get up and move the hangers that were sticking out in the way of people walking by. No one else noticed, cared or even made mention that they were hitting their head on the hangers. Honestly - what is wrong with being curious - I just decided that my goal in life is to stay connected and share my thoughts with people whether they want to hear them or not. I know that someone out there will appreciate me one of these days. Signing off - Airline Lounge Curious Cindy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Do You Act on an Airplane?

As you all know, I fly for a living. I am traveling this globe 50 out of 52 weeks of the year and see many people, places and attitudes. I have come to the conclusion that you can tell a person's character by how they act on an airplane... You've all seen it - boarding the plane at O'Hare to "The OC" and you should actually plan on riding in coach because the "Premier" line is so packed with the "Orange Crush" group - the too good businessmen that think a woman has no room standing in 'this' line, the obnoxious person on their cell phone, the mother who is trying to board with her newborn being pushed aside by a man in a suit - that has the "Orange Crush" written all over it. Now, I live in Orange County, so I'm allowed to say this - but everyone is so consumed with being first in line, first to board, first to be served, it's in our nature - but next time you are flying the friendly skies and you see that mother, elderly person in a wheel chair, someone drop something, think about your character and re-assess yourself. See you in the skies :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Don't Take a Shortcut in Leadership!

Recently, I have noticed many leaders putting their head in the sand and worrying about themselves and ignoring the turmoil around them. So today pull your head out of the sand, dig in your heels and take charge of your destiny. Life is short and you have a small window of time to make a difference in people's lives - are you making that difference? Here are a few tips to jump start your new path to engaged leadership: 1. Sit down with each of your team members and ask them what they need from you and then share candidly what you need from them 2 Set up your expectations in writing and share with your staff -- actions needed, deadlines and goals 3. Inspect what you expect every day Remember you are responsible for the results of each team member. Not just yourself!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Email is not a Conversation! I have been saying for the past few years that everyone needs to pick up the phone more and call each other rather than having an entire conversation via email. Recently I have seen a few cases where things got heated up because of what was being said in an email conversation. You can not communicate passion, excitement or frustration in an email - it is always misinterpreted. This applies to business, family and inter-office communication. Say what you mean and get it said in less time than texting or typing an email. Everyone is so concerned about the future of relationships. I hear from my clients in the law firms, hotels, medical centers, real estate and retail that they need to build better relationships in and outside of their organization. If you want to influence people you need to talk with them - not to them! Whether you are in sales, a managing partner in a professional service firm or selling a luxury consumer product - people do business with people. So stop being lazy, stop hiding behind the keyboard and reach out to those you want to talk with - you will be amazed at your success!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Immerse Yourself

No matter where you are in your job or in the world, it is so important to immerse yourself into your role. In a work environment, you must get to the bottom of all client needs, dive into your job and challenge yourself to reach goals. I tie this in to traveling around the world. 9/10 I am traveling the world for business, so I'm immersed in my job but I really try and become a part of the city I'm in. Immerse yourself in the city or country you're in, learn the history, eat the food, understand the culture - appreciate what this world has to offer and what you have to offer the world.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The World Belongs to Those Who Explore!

I love traveling and as I sat in Cape Town, South Africa last week I realized that my life is exploring the world. Every minute of every day I am thankful that I get to meet people from all over the world, try new foods, learn about history, get fascinated about cultures, clothes, ideals and of course, the magnificent scenery. I understand that not everyone can travel like I do, but many people are given these opportunities and choose not to go. Exploring is fascinating and you can even do it in the comfort of your own backyard. I believe the world belongs to those of us that are curious. Curious every day, about everything that makes your life more interesting. Try asking questions, challenging the status quo and investing in learning about the future possibilities and you won’t believe the outcome. The world is waiting – what is keeping you from discovering and evolving?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lost in Translation

By now you know that I have been traveling internationally for the past 4 months ~ with that in mind, you must also know that I need to have my nails done, hair colored and I run out of the usual amenities such as a "razor." This is where I find how much we have in common but how different we communicate. When my co-worker called down and asked for a razor, the bellman brought an "eraser." When I tried to explain that I had a "cow lick" in my bangs when getting my hair done, the stylist brought me a "food magazine with a picture of beef" on the cover. Although very funny - it just goes to show that we are still very close but oh so far away. And this my friends was just about personal needs, not about corporate business, politics or heavy conversation. That is where things really go a miss. So today try to communicate with a global touch. Ask deeper questions, try to understand each other in their own world and be a "teacher." Try and help others out and learn to take their help as well. Your way is not the only way and when you live like a global citizen you learn to love "all people."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When Do You Walk Away?

There are times in business and in your personal life when you feel you have done everything you can do to get to a certain goal. How long do you strive? How much effort do you put in, before you finally give up? Knowing me, like most of you do would imagine that I would say NEVER – Never Give Up! But that brings up a good point. What are you missing while you continue to try and reach a goal that looks like it will never be achieved? Goals must be aggressive but realistic at the same time. Did you consult with anyone before setting your goal? Did you look at what worked in the past and what did not work? In sales, we sometimes are told what accounts to go after, what market share to steal without a lot of direction. You can’t achieve your goals if you are doing what you have always done. The same thing applies to your personal life. You will never lose the weight, quit smoking, start exercising, live a healthier life style, save money or buy that house, if you just keep doing what you always have done. Get bold and place your top 3 goals on a large sheet of paper and place them where everyone can see them. Then ask for feedback. Give everyone Post-It notes and ask that they write down ideas for you to help get you to your goal. You will be amazed at the results. Much more than that – you will be blown away at how real your friends, colleagues and family will be as they call it like it is and set you on your final path to reaching the goals that you have never achieved. So yes – NEVER GIVE UP – but start asking for help!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Everything I Learn About a City, I Learn at the Beauty Salon!

I believe that the “real” people of a city are the employees who are least likely to be asked about where to eat, shop and what the best sites are in a city – these people are the doorman at hotels, sales clerks in stores and for me the hairdresser at a beauty salon! Yes it is “Steel Magnolia” – I know that is what you are thinking. I have begun to spoil myself and when I arrive in a city I go and have my hair blown out – just like the movie stars! I talk to my stylists, the shampoo person and the receptionist. I ask about their favorite local restaurants, where they get massages and what would they suggest we do for the weekend before we start work on Monday. Without fail, I find the best spots -- The local foot massage in Hong Kong which costs 150 HKD vs. the hotel spa where the cost is 900 HKD. I guarantee you if you visit me in my home town I will show you the best spots – not the most expensive. So, even if you don’t get your hair done all the time I invite you to talk to the locals and find out what is really the best in the city you are visiting. Remember who wants a concierge on auto pilot. The real passion is the person who loves their city!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Self Promotion

So... I am reading a leading sales and marketing magazine and there is an entire 4 page article dedicated to the subject of “How to Hire the Best Sales Trainer for Your Sales Team.” As I read the article, I realize that the author is actually a sales trainer and everything he is suggesting is promoting himself. Here is where I think that some “subject matter experts” have become vanilla in the world of professionalism. Sure, I can write a great article about why you should hire me – but in my mind that would be considered a promotional piece – not an editorial by a “subject matter expert.” The time has come for the charlatans in business today to be recognized as self promoting corporate cowards! I know this is strong language – but nothing is more aggravating than listening and reading about people that self promote without calling it that. We live in a world of organizations that recognize each other constantly, awards are given out to each other by each other, and even some organizations have figured out ways to pay for customers to post great things about them. Enough is Enough! Can’t we just win fair and square? Hard work pays off and the customers know who they can depend on. Promote yourself all you want – I do believe in self promotion but at least call it that and not an editorial.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fly The Friendly Skies!

Let me be the first to say that I love flying. I love the time to read, watch movies, listen to music and catch up on the all important sleep. BUT… let me also be the first to say that I love – and I mean love talking to people.

Now of course some of you reading this are thinking – “Please don’t talk to me.” But, then again you must be a person who doesn’t “need” anyone! I am the opposite. I “need” everyone. I believe strongly in serendipity or the random moments of connection.

Of course, you are a weary traveler – you made it through security without the “friendly pat down” or 'TSA Massage' as I call it, you got a bite before the flight, bought the most recent magazines and are all settled in. And then you meet Cindy!

At least introduce yourself to your seat companion – “Hi my name is Cindy, looks like you have some great magazines for the flight.” You may be thinking – no way, but I challenge your thinking. You are going to be sitting next to this person for a few hours and in my case sleeping next to this person on long haul flights. I think it is only polite to say hello.
I look for some common interests. Recently on a flight back from the Middle East I sat next to a gentleman who was carrying a guitar. Of course I mentioned the guitar and asked what kind of music he played and where he was playing on this trip. He said we are with a band that plays Persian music and I said, oh I used to go to a Persian restaurant in Irvine and I loved their music. This created a great conversation that lead to many more interests and now a new customer for our restaurant.

Of course, there is always time to read your book, watch the movie and move into your “zen zone.” But I will argue with anyone that doesn’t want to talk to people on planes. Likeminded people find common interests and they find new opportunities. Unless you love pounding the pavement for new contacts and new business I would suggest saying hello to your seat mate on your next flight.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Leader of the Pack Makes All the Difference!

As I sit with yet another client (not mentioning who, what, where or when) I find it utterly ridiculous that a senior leader could be so detrimental to a team. A leader who comes in and sits down with a new team of people and runs the meeting like this:
• “I am here to change things up and (points with a finger) you, you and you need to change how you are working right now”

• “I don’t care how this makes you feel – this is who I am and this is how I work – take it or leave it!”

• “This is not personal – it is work”

So I ask you as a reader of my blog – how does this make you feel? Even if you were taking over the toughest, worst and unproductive team of people, would you start like this? How dare anyone in a leadership role today treat people so poorly? People, I might add, are what make a company function – a leader alone can’t produce the results needed. Maybe this leader has a lot of work to do and doesn’t feel the team in place can do it. How can this leader make this decision so fast?
So my message today for any of you taking over a new team –
• Start with a clean slate
• Give a motivational and energetic welcome to all employees
• Lay out your plan to make some positive changes that will affect everyone in a positive way
• Share your ideas of how you are going to turn things around for more productivity
• Meet individually with all your direct reports and have a candid, open and honest conversation while listening to them as well
• Attend each one of your direct reports first meeting with their departments to hear how they give “your message” and correct any of the “he said, she said” stuff
• Treat everyone as if they are the most important person on your team and give them solid feedback and direction so that they understand what is expected of them so they can live up to it

At the end of the day, you can continue to replace “people” but who may need replacing is the leader that just doesn’t get it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

This World of Uncertainty

I just returned from Dubai, working with a consultancy firm and realizing that all we think we know, we really don’t know. I have always been a curious person, which has contributed to my success. But today I continue to learn even more as I spend more time in the Middle East and Diplomatic arena. Many people are too set in their ways and believe their way is the only way, and that has led to a stagnant future.

There are a lot of individuals in the market for a job. They either got laid off, or quit a job for a new one and have found that they are not fitting in with the new company and culture. This can be a very tough time for some. The moment you think you know what you need to do in a job, someone comes along and tips you upside down.

In a rapidly changing world you can no longer predict your way to success. You must actively engage in making your future happen. An uncertain future can be daunting unless of course you are on top of your game. Surround yourself with like-minded positive people and never stop learning. The minute you think you have it under control, the wind blows in a different direction.

Have fun, be nimble and make the best out of this fabulous world of uncertainty.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Networking is not for the "tender heart!"

I was in London last week for meetings and in the evening was by myself. I am not one to sit in my room and watch movies and have room service. I like to go out and about and meet people. Yes, I said meet people. New, exciting people that don't know me and I don't know them. Now again, I have written about this in my book "Living with no balance and Loving it," and still I receive feedback from people that they would never go out alone as a woman, especially a married woman and meet people. It would feel too much like they were trying to get picked up. I couldn't disagree more. I meet the most interesting people and have connections all over the world that have led to friendships and new business opportunities.

So in London the same story played out. I went to a hotel I know very well, went into the bar where I know the bartender and sat at the bar and ordered a drink. Within 5 minutes I had met a couple from the states, a travel agent from Saudi, and a British investor who lived in the neighborhood. When I sat down they were all there but no one was talking to each other until I got the conversation moving. Within minutes it was like a group of friends who met for a drink.

Did I get any business from this - YES! I have already connected with one of the people I met and we are exchanging emails and discussing future business.

If you are in sales, marketing or communications I would highly recommend taking your social networking skills outside with "real people." It is interesting, fun and creates human connections versus "friend requests."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Do you know where you're going to?

Do you know where you’re going to?

Years ago I used to sing this theme song from Diana Ross’ Mahogany. As a young girl searching for what I wanted I joined a band for a short period of time and sang Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross songs. This was one of my favorites because everyone is searching for who they are and who they want to be. Just hum the tune ~
“Do you know where you’re going to, do you like the things that life is showing you – where are you going to – do you know? Do you get what you’re hoping for, when you look behind you there’s no open door – what are you hoping for – do you know?”
Everyone deals with conflict in their life and work – should I or shouldn’t I? Always a question between you and you! No one knows the answer better than you do, but making those tough decisions is always the hardest and these decisions can’t be made in a vacuum. Think about the decisions of your past – which ones were right and which ones do you wish you would have listened to someone for advice. The key word is advice. No one can make the decision for you, but listening to your advisors, mentors and coaches can add to your thoughtful decisions.
What are you searching for – some people want freedom, while others want to be safe. Some want to go out on their own, while others want to be part of something bigger. At one moment we want this and the next moment we want that. Fighting internally with ourselves for what we “think” we want but don’t know what we really need.
As a personal coach I am always asked the question - what should I do? The answer is simple – I asked them back the question – what do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? If you could do anything in the world what would it be? 5 – 10 years from now when you look back where will you be looking and will you be happy?
Happy, successful people know how to make these decisions. They plan, they think, they collaborate and then make final choices. The choices must be made so that you always know where you are going and there is always an open door.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Reinventing the Wheel Constantly in Business Just Gets you a FLAT!

Every where you look managers are struggling with sluggish sales, lack of employee accountability, increased costs in doing business and just simply getting worn out based on how hard you have to work today versus a few years ago to get the same results. So what is their answer - change things up - look for a magic wand to spark a recovery to their business.

Well I have news for you. There is no special wand or secret weapon - there is only one consistent means to the end. Straight talk, hard working leaders that create the future leaders. Not managers hiding behind the latest book, or the last speech they heard, but seriously doing what they were hired to do. Make things happen!

There is such a difference between a manager and a leader. Today the difference is even more glaring - either show up and make a difference or play your politics until someone plays harder than you and wins. Make no mistake about it - there is only one way to really win and that is to get into the game and play - not sit on the sidelines and coach in a game where you really don't even understand the rules!

Stop trying to come up with a new "widget." Just get serious about the reality of your business and do it better than everyone else.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What Means the Most in Business Today?

Understanding what is important to your clients comes down to a simple message - communication! Why is it so hard to build rapport and develop relationships today? Are you kidding? You must know the answer. Everyone hides behind email, social media, the phone, websites and the corporate coward politics that empower no one.

So today look in the mirror. Do you hide behind any of these things? If you do - why? As I set in a meeting in Europe with executives of a non-mentioned firm, I listen to them give each other kudos, pats on the back, and bragging rights about what they have done. I ponder how they can continue to believe a false sense of security. Personal assistants are asked to call clients back, emails are forwarded to interns to handle and hours of meetings are held that seem to go no where.

What is going on here? Why don't we just get down to business? Just when I think that the politics of business went out of style in the 80's - I am faced with more political rhetoric than I can deal with. I just want to scream at the top of my lungs - Stop the madness and get down to business; and business my friends is about clients - without them we have NO business.

So try this idea for one week. Call your clients everyday - new ones, old ones, and current ones. Engage in conversation - it may be tough but give it a try. Spend one week and focus on one thing - client engagement. Sure you will have to spend a few hours dealing with the "drama" of the workplace but see how happier you are when you just talk to clients.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Someone Changed My Life...

Life throws us so many curve balls and it is so easy to allow those down moments to send you into a downward spin. I keep a very positive attitude but there are those moments that I just feel like “Really, is there one more thing to throw my way.” That was until I met Kenny.

I recently boarded a flight from Orlando to LAX and like many of my long hauls I was not getting upgraded. I went into a minor pity pool, walked over to the bistro to get “a bite before the flight” and even that was messed up. I ordered quiche and some hummus and pita bread. I received two take away boxes thinking one was the quiche and the other was the hummus. I open the bigger box and there was my quiche with the hummus spread all over the quiche. Now who does that. Anyone knows that hummus doesn’t go on quiche – oh well, I ate away. I got out my United drink coupons planning on having a few red wines on my 6 hour “coach” flight home while I watched MoneyBall for the 5th time.

What I didn’t expect was to meet Kenny. Kenny was 11 days old and born perfectly normal. He and his mother were in a terrible car accident in Los Angeles and the doctors didn’t think Kenny would ever survive. His mother was determined to keep her son alive and she did – I met Kenny on his 35th birthday coming back from a trip to Disney World where he has celebrated every birthday since he was 10 years old. Kenny can’t speak, he is legally blind but can see some shapes and shadows. He can hear and makes gestures to respond to his mother. He is fed through a tube in his stomach and needs to be changed like a baby during our flight.

So how did I become so familiar with Kenny? I was waiting to board with the rest of the crazy, hurried, overworked and “I’m too cool for school” crowd when they called my name and asked to step up to the podium. Of course I immediately thought – “I’m getting upgraded after all.” Well that was not the case – I was called up because I had the seat next to Kenny and his mother and they wanted me to board first since I had the window, so that I could get settled while they assisted Kenny on board.

For the next 6 hours I sat with Kenny and his mother – I didn’t have one sip of wine, I didn’t watch the movie, I didn’t read one book or listen to music. I became friends with Kenny and his mom. A women that has more courage than most people I have met. Her ability to look life in the face and take it with every grain of salt was just amazing. That 6 hour flight gave me back what we sometimes lose in our busy days of “business.” It brought reality back to me about life, love and what any mother would do to save her child.

I will always remember Kenny. He will never remember me, but that is ok, because in many ways Kenny, without knowing, is changing the lives of others.