Archive for March, 2011

Peak Performance or Mediocrity?

March 30, 2011

As a keynote speaker and professional pianist in Houston I’m always on the lookout for examples of business success in my community.

All too often I see employees in stores and restaurants that have a “could care less” demeanor that results in poor to mediocre customer service.  I can’t help wondering if they have big dreams for more fulfilling work and their current job is just a means to an end? Or not.

Regardless of what work you do, you’re in the customer service business because customers pay your bills. In todays’ highly competitive economy you need to ask yourself:  “How can I provide more value for the company? Am I exceeding expectations for my clients? Is there something else I can contribute to the overall performance of my team?”

In today’s marketplace it takes being extraordinary to succeed. I read on a Fast Company blog Britney Spears is wondering if she can keep up with Lady Gaga to produce another top selling album. Who can top a woman that wears a bacon dress?

In the words of Seth Godin: “The over delivery edge is an easier place to make a name for yourself”.

Extraordinary performers go the extra mile.

No need to wear anything edible.


Why YOU need to be like Elizabeth Taylor

March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

As the world mourns the death of a Hollywood legend, I recall vividly the night I met the man with the striking violet eyes. I was totally and completely  mesmerized… 

The place was Gstaad, Switzerland in December 1981 and the height of ski season. Gstaad is the playground of the world’s glitterati -European and Hollywood royalty mix and mingle to ski breathtakingly beautiful slopes and apres ski in luxurious chalets, restaurants and hotels. As a professional entertainer I was playing piano at the Saanenmoser resort hotel when suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks to stare back into the face of  Michael Wilding. 

My reaction was SO not cool.

Instead of applying the first rule of the stage “the show must go on” I forgot which song I was playing, where the notes were and what my name was.  Not so professional.

Elizabeth Taylor’s son Michael is part of the legend she leaves behind. Her beauty opened doors  at an early age and her movies will live on. But Elizabeth Taylor was extraordinary not because she was beautiful. She was extraordinary because she was resilient.

With all the pain and adversity of divorces, addictions, loss and sickness Elizabeth Taylor maintained dignity, compassion and the ultimate image of a glamorous movie star.  She was the spokesperson for people with HIV/AIDS when it wasn’t the Hollywood thing to do. She was extremely loyal to her friends through thick and thin – a fact made obvious by her close friendship with Michael Jackson.

Elizabeth Taylor was an extraordinary performer on many levels. Are you?

You don’t need to be a movie star to succeed in today’s world. But you DO need resilience to overcome setbacks like the economy, doing more with less and not having violet colored eyes.

Take a lesson from Elizabeth Taylor. Obstacles are stepping stones to success that can help YOU leave a legacy of  Extraordinary Performance.

Lights, camera, action!

Marketing Magic

March 22, 2011

Musical Marketing: Extraordinary Results!

  Who would have thunk it? A grand piano at an engineering services exhibit booth? What’s the world coming to?

The world is coming to realize that extraordinary is what it takes to stand out from the crowd and succeed in today’s marketplace. 

In this case it was the NACE Corrosion 2011 Expo in Houston – an international annual event drawing a crowd of thousands in the oil and gas and infrastructure industry from around the world. MATCOR is a global company based in Pennsylvania ( that provides corrosion protection for all kinds of infrastructures from pipelines & refineries to bridges & commercial buildings.  MATCOR’s marketing guru Trevor Eade decided it would be simply fabulous to have someone playing piano at their booth to attract attention and more visitors. Sound wacky?

Wacky works.

Within minutes the MATCOR booth had curious attendees buzzing around tapping their feet to ‘New York New York.’ Within seconds MATCOR’s team members had visitors engaged with products, services and promotional items while gathering valuable info for the company data base. How many leads?  More than 500 qualified leads!

Not so wacky.

End result? The MATCOR booth attracted a record number of visitors that together with cohesive team work spelled success on all levels. Cha ching!

Adding music to marketing is not the new big thing. It’s been done before. It’s when, where, and how you mix it that makes the magic.


Next year NACE, MATCOR and this piano-playing motivational speaker are mixing it up in Salt Lake City.  Are YOU being creative about marketing your business?    If not, why not?