Be careful when offering criticism

May 18, 2017

When you offer criticism, be aware of whom you are criticizing and how they might receive it. Case in point:  A number of years ago, my son David was entering his senior year at Stanford University.  He thought it might be fun to spend his last college summer freewheeling in San Francisco, working five or six shifts a week as a waiter.  He figured he would earn enough money to really enjoy his leisure hours.  He was pretty driven and interviewed at a swanky brand new restaurant called Stars, being opened by renowned chef Jeremiah Tower.  It was scheduled to […]

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Mentoring works both ways

May 11, 2017

Anyone who doesn’t understand the value of one minute hasn’t been paying attention to my good friend Ken Blanchard.  Starting with his “One Minute Manager” and moving through a series of bestsellers, he has shown his millions of fans how just sixty seconds can improve your chances for success. Good news – he’s at it again, this time with “One Minute Mentoring,” a must-read for folks looking for some help and those who are prepared to offer it.  He’s teamed up with Claire Diaz-Ortiz, a former Twitter executive and author of “Twitter for Good.”  Their combined knowledge of intergenerational mentoring […]

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Values determine who we are

May 4, 2017

In the famous French story, “The Little Prince,” a fox becomes the best friend of the young royal on a fictitious planet.  When the fox must depart from the prince forever, he offers to tell him the world’s most wonderful secret if the prince meets certain conditions.  The little prince agrees, does what is expected and then asks to be told the greatest secret. “Only that which is invisible is essential,” the fox replies. The most valuable things in life cannot be seen with the naked eye:  love, friendship, hope, integrity, trust, compassion and values. You can’t see values, touch them, […]

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Compliments do wonders for our sense of hearing

April 27, 2017

Mark Twain once said, “I could live for two months on one good compliment.” We all love to receive compliments.  They make everyone feel better.  Turns out studies show that compliments can also help people perform better. In a study published in PLoS One, researchers at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences at the University of Tokyo, recruited 48 adults to perform a task that required them to tap items on a keyboard in a specific pattern.  Then the adults were split into three groups.  One group received personalized, individual compliments from one of the administrators of the study.  Another […]

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Humor works at work

April 20, 2017

Life is funny, the saying goes.  And when it isn’t funny, sometimes a sense of humor is what gets us through the tough times. Humor plays a special role at work.  As critical as it is to take your work seriously, it is equally important to NOT take yourself too seriously.  Many years ago, a Fortune Magazine article talked about how executives should be funnier.  I remember it well, because one of my biggest pet peeves is people who cannot laugh at themselves.  The wonderful example the magazine used involved auto executive Eugene Cafiero.  When he was president of Chrysler, […]

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Stress is a fact of life

April 13, 2017

Stress is a used, misused, abused and overused word in our daily conversations.  But what is stress, clinically speaking?  Dr. Hans Seyle, the father of Stress Management Research, said “Stress is the wear and tear on your body caused by life’s events.”   He believed the most frequent causes of stress are an inability to adapt and not having an established code of behavior to guide our actions.  Translation:  If we can’t change, we need to understand when enough is enough. Because April is stress awareness month, now is a perfect time to discuss how stress affects us.  Hundreds of […]

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Employee retention a cause for reflection

April 6, 2017

Employee retention is a hot business topic today.  No longer do people stay at the same company for 25 years and collect the gold watch like in years past.  In fact, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the average worker will have 12 jobs from age 18 to 48.  A shocking statistic.  That alone should tell managers that all the time they put into hiring, training and promoting may just be preparation for the employee’s next job – and chances are it will be somewhere else. Employees have more bargaining power than ever before.  Unemployment is relatively low, and […]

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Enhance your likeability level

March 31, 2017

No matter what business you think you are in, you are in the people business.  And the more people like you, the better and easier life becomes. It’s that simple.  Likeability can get you where you want to go – whether it’s a promotion at work, election to a political office, building a wonderful circle of friends … it applies to nearly every facet of life. Likeability is crucial in the sales game because people buy from people they like.  People like people who are genuine, pleasant, sincere, easy to talk with and friendly. You can’t please everyone, as the […]

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Losing isn’t the opposite of winning, it can be a part of winning

March 23, 2017

Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Like most kids growing up, the importance of finishing first or winning was always stressed.  As a competitive person, I thought that second place was the same as last.  Losing was a source of shame and bitterness.  No one wants to be defined as a loser.  In short, everyone wants to win. Brandon Steiner, the owner and founder of the huge sports memorabilia company that bears his name, gave me some good advice recently.  He told me that losing isn’t the opposite of winning; it’s a part of winning. […]

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Shake that bad mood

March 16, 2017

A philosopher was sitting in the shade of a tree next to a beautiful small lake when a troubled young man approached and introduced himself:  “Sir, my name is Ben, and I’m miserable all the time.  I’ve been searching far and wide for a wise person who can tell me why I’m always so unhappy.  Can you help me?” The older man paused, and then asked his visitor to fill a cup with water from the lake. Ben filled the cup.  The philosopher then took a handful of salt from his bag and sprinkled it in the water.  “Drink this, […]

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Strong corporate culture is a boon to business

March 9, 2017

In 1788 Edward Gibbon set forth in his famous book, “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” five basic reasons why that great civilization withered and died.  They were: The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis for human society. Higher and higher taxes. The mad craze for pleasure, with sports and plays becoming more exciting, more brutal and more immoral. The building of great armaments when the real enemy was within – decay of individual responsibility. The decay of religion, whose leaders lost touch with life and their power to guide. I found […]

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Sales is everyone’s business

March 2, 2017

Everyone is in sales.  To me, job titles don’t matter.  Everyone has to be thinking about sales.  It’s the only way any company can stay in business. There are no jobs if you don’t bring the business through the front door.  That’s why I have a sign on my office door, “If you know where you can get us some business, come on in.”  At our company, a sales mindset is a requirement.  From the factory floor to the reception desk to the boardroom, figuring out what the customer wants and finding a way to deliver it must be at […]

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Bill Belichick succeeds by being himself

February 23, 2017

Super Bowl LI has to be one of the greatest contests ever:  What a comeback!  For me, it brought back an incredible memory, when I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Belichick, Super Bowl winning coach of the New England Patriots for my book “We Got Fired! … And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us.” Belichick was fired by the Cleveland Browns in February 1996 and spent one season as the defensive backs coach with the Patriots.  He was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets from 1997-99 before becoming the Patriots’ head coach in 2000.  […]

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Your vision shapes your reality

February 16, 2017

A railroad crew was making repairs to a section of track when a train rolled up on a parallel track.  Several men in suits disembarked from one of the passenger cars and began inspecting the work that was being done.  A tall man in a blue suit looked over at the crew and nodded.  He began to smile and walk toward them. “Ted, is that you?” he asked of the crew’s chief. “Yes, it is,” the chief replied as he shook hands with the visitor.  “It’s good to see you, Dale!” The two men chatted briefly, inquiring about each other’s […]

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Mental toughness makes all the difference

February 9, 2017

After the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to the Super Bowl, star Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was asked what makes his team so special.  His answer was short and succinct, “Mental toughness.” Not exceptional physical strength, not training, not even superior talent. Mental toughness. Graham Jones, Sheldon Hanton, and Declan Connaughton used personal construct pyshoclogy in interviews with elite athletes, as well as elite-level coaches and sport psychologists, to arrive at the following definition of mental toughness: Mental toughness is “having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to:  generally, cope better than your opponents […]

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