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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Sow seeds of hope

February 2, 2017

The most important product that America has managed to produce is not the automobile, television or computer.  It is hope – hope not only for ourselves but for the world.  In these times of so much tension and divisive rhetoric, hope is what will sustain us. America is, after all, a country founded on hope. Wikipedia defines hope as “an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” We recently celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and few represented hope more than […]

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Never give up

January 26, 2017

Awards season has started in Hollywood, and it serves as a perfect metaphor for following your dreams.  While few of us dream of becoming big stars, or getting national recognition for doing excellent work, we all want to know the satisfaction of a job we love. Emma Stone won the Best Actress Award in a Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards for “La La Land” and gave a terrific acceptance speech that has applied to everyone at one time in their lives.  She said:  “This is a film for dreamers.  I think that hope and creativity are two of the […]

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Find happiness in your New Year

January 20, 2017

For many, the New Year is a chance for a new beginning, perhaps best represented by the baby and the old man, symbols of the new and old years since the time of the ancient Greeks. The fresh-faced cherub connotes so much promise.  But so often, a few weeks into the new calendar, the good intentions and hopeful resolutions start to fade.  Change is hard and old habits are stubborn.  The future starts to look much more like the old man. Could this year be different? Yes.  But only if you resolve to make the effort. Consider the case of […]

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Change your perspective, change your life

January 12, 2017

Perspective has many definitions, such as the ability to understand what is important and what isn’t.  And the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. Consider this excellent example of how differently people view the same subject in this ancient fable.  Four blind men were asked to examine an elephant and to describe its appearance. The first blind man felt the elephant’s leg and declared that the creature was like a tree. The second blind man felt the elephant’s enormous side and said that it was like a wall. The third man felt the tail and […]

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How to set your voice free

January 6, 2017

When I was embarking on my “second career,” public speaking, I had a little experience under my belt – member of a Toastmasters group, graduate of Dale Carnegie and a long list of speeches I’d made to community groups, plus various causes like getting a stadium built. Sometimes I would speak several times in a day, trying to reach as many groups as possible.  My message was often only as good as my voice. So I did what I always do when I know I can do better:  I went out and hired a public speaking coach.  As it turns […]

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Game plan for success

December 29, 2016

My definition of success is having a predetermined plan, successfully carrying it out over a long period of time and having a good time doing it. That’s what John Calipari does as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.  Coach Cal is able to recruit the country’s top high-school talent with this simple message:  “Commit to each other, be about each other without sacrificing your goals and by doing this you can achieve all your dreams and more.” Because many of his players are one and done – meaning they leave for the pros after their freshman season […]

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Innovation is the path to growth

December 22, 2016

The Hewlett-Packard Company was famously founded in a one-car garage by William Hewlett and Dave Packard. It has become one of the world’s most innovative and successful technology companies, but it’s never lost sight of its founders’ original vision. According to legend, these rules on innovation were posted in the garage: Believe you can change the world. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever. Know when to work alone and when to work together. Share tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues. No politics. No bureaucracy. The customer defines a job well done. Radical ideas are not bad ideas. Invent different […]

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Creativity can be a life-saver

December 15, 2016

We take many everyday items for granted, but when these items were introduced to the market, they were anything but ordinary. Have you ever wondered how you got along without a specific product, a must-have invention … or the latest version of your smartphone? Somewhere between necessity being the mother of invention and pure creative genius, all kinds of useful products have come into our lives. Were their creators inspired by a burning desire to get rich? Did they have years of schooling or technical training? Were they part of huge corporations with unlimited research and development budgets? No. They […]

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Create a ‘trust fund’ with your team

May 19, 2016

I am convinced that T-R-U-S-T is the most important five-letter word in business – not sales or money or any other replaceable commodities.  Trust can be fragile, especially in the workplace.  Once it’s broken, few companies, managers or employees ever win it back. At every level of every organization, workers need to understand the importance of keeping their word and living up to the organization’s values.  Customers and co-workers want to know they can depend on management.  Trust between managers and employees is crucial to the long-term enthusiasm, loyalty, and productivity of the company. If you have ever been on […]

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