Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

The Power & Profit of Nice

March 16, 2016

Nice guys finish last. (Translation: they don’t get the hot girl)
She has a nice personality (Translation: bow wow)
It’s a nice movie (Translation: snooze fest)
Nice has become a four letter word.
It’s a well known fact that people join companies but leave bosses. Why? According to a Harvard study on the top Fortune 500 companies in the US, the main reason employees leave an organization is because they feel unappreciated. They feel like their opinions don’t count and they’re not valued.
Ouch! Not nice.  
                                       
 
With employee engagement at only 32%, leaders need to wake up and smell the power of nice. What is the cost of being approachable, encouraging and supportive of a worker’s career goals vs having to replace him/her? Errrrrrr………
A few months ago I was the keynote speaker at a Customer Service conference for a company in Dallas. There were over 500+ employees in the organization yet the staff turnover rate was nearly 0% for over 20 years. How?
Everyone I asked said the same thing – they felt valued. They felt like part of a big family with a common purpose because from the top leadership down they were treated with courtesy, respect and appreciation.
Simple stuff, huge results. 
And for any of you naysayers that think ‘nice’ is politically correct term for ‘pushover’, read about these two women from the Bronx that built a billion dollar advertising company around being nice. Clients chose them over others because ‘they liked them’ www.thepowerofnice.com   
Cha ching!

Funny Stuff Happens When You Mix Up The Generations

August 26, 2015
                                                                              Doing the YMCA thing
Legal waiver: There were no alcoholic beverages involved in the taking of this photo.
This was the scene at a recent conference for the Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (TACVB.org) where I was the closing keynote speaker. After three days of serious sessions about the travel and tourism industry these folks were ready for some serious fun.
centers around standing out from the crowd to succeed in today’s marketplace and I emphasize points by playing popular songs on the piano. (OK, to be clear…this is not me playing piano with a flaming shoe).
This audience spanned across four generations from Millennials to Baby Boomers and since the client had said there were major challenges working together,
we set out to prove differently.
A key point in the presentation is about innovation.
                                                                                   Great teamwork!
I divided the audience into teams with all four generations in each team and told them to perform the song “Yellow Rose of Texas” in the most creative way possible. The only rule was to listen to ideas from each generation.
OMG! Talk about funny! Talk about creativity at it’s best! Old song, new interpretation, impressive results.
For this group of destination marketers we discussed how to make their area shine by highlighting unique and exciting things to do and see. One idea was to feature the colorful Hispanic culture with its lively energetic music, so we ended the program with reps from each generation on stage banging tambourines in tempo to a popular Spanish song. Olay! Oh yay!
                                                  Audience members participating in the music of ‘Malaguena’
Who says the generations can’t work together?
This is where you hear crickets…

The Power of Passion for Profit

June 4, 2015

If you ask J J Watt, Bill Gates and Taylor Swift what they have in common they will all tell you they started with the same thing: they had a passion for what they do.They will also tell you there is no such thing as an overnight success. These guys have been at their game since childhood and put in their 10,000 hours worth of practice while we were all watching re-runs of Will & Grace.

Do you love your work? Or are you one of the 74% of Americans unhappy with their job?

If you’re one of the latter with no options in sight, try this tip: find three reasons to fall in love with your organization.

As a motivational speaker I get to travel the country speaking to a variety of professionals in corporations and associations. Recently I was the closing keynote at a conference in Dallas for a group of accountants (yeah I know, right up there with engineers on the fun scale) These people were ready for a snooze fest after two days of stats and facts but I have a ‘no nap’ guarantee for my presentations that works every time: I play piano to emphasize points and involve the audience in the music. Result? Maximum engagement, very entertaining, high energy, fun for all.

We talked about how passion is the beginning of all success because when people love their work, they’ll do whatever it takes. I asked this group of number crunchers to give reasons they love their company and the three main answers were:

1) People. Most of them said they like their team members or bosses.

2) Fulfillment. Whether it was doing a good job for the team or knowing their work resulted in helping people, many said they liked the sense of satisfaction of a job well done.

3) Benefits. A steady paycheck sure helps reduce stress levels, health insurance is a great perk and bonuses never lose their sweet taste.

How about you? List three things on a post-it note  you really like about your organization and stick it on your computer to see every day. Be grateful you have a job.

Passion comes in more than fifty shades of gray.

Got Summertime Sluggishness? Wake Up and Try This!

July 23, 2014

With temperatures soaring, days lengthening and folks posting pics Summer season - two chairs on beach of cool vacations on FaceBook, productivity takes a 20% dive in the average workplace this time of year.

So how do you avoid the seasonal sluggish thing in these lazy hazy crazy days of summer?

Some professionals are taking time out to regroup and refresh. Tackling to-do lists that get ignored in busier times such as updating websites, creating a plan for better work/life balance, catching up with friends, exercising (tennis anyone?), host dinner parties, sharpening skills with further education, trying something new to be revved up for fall. As a motivational speaker I’m taking time out to create new programs and networking with peers.

Cartoon - yoga

You can do this, right?

One company in Florida uses summertime to boost teamwork and collaboration by closing at 1 p.m. on Fridays, catering a two hour lunch on Thursdays and having the whole staff take a yoga class once a week.

A single Mom entrepreneur takes a vacation with her daughter that would not be possible any other time. She packs a journal because she says “with rest comes creative ideas” for business.

So what are YOU going to do to beat the summertime blues?

I’m thinking about dance classes……….Cartoon image - couple dancing tango
in between tennis, of course.

Are You Willing To Make A Difference?

June 11, 2014

Being a professional motivational  speaker has its ups and downs just like any otherAHA indiana - audience job……but unlike other jobs there is one MAJOR plus to speaking in front of audiences like these 450 attendees at the Go Red for Women luncheon in Merrillville, Indiana recently:

Instant gratification.

My program was “Fifty Shades of Red: Keys to Living Life Large!” and one point is about taking risks to experience new people and things to live a vibrant healthy happy life. The audience consisted of stroke survivors, people with heart disease, their friends and families, together with supporters of the American Heart Association who hosts this annual fundraiser.                                                                     AHA Indiana - Theresa acknowledging audience applause

Long after I left the stage in a state of high energy exhilaration from the enthusiastic response, a woman approached to talk to me alone. Her demeanor was somewhat shy and hesitant as she said:

Thank you for making a difference in my life. Your words seemed like they were meant especially for me. I suffer from panic attacks when I have to be around a lot of people and I nearly didn’t come today. But I made it. And now I know why. I was meant to hear what you said about being fearless in taking risks to live fully and be happy. I’m so glad I came.” There were tears in her eyes.

And that’s why I do this.

You may not be so lucky as to reap immediate rewards for your work but you CAN make a difference in someone’s life.

You can reach out, uplift, encourage, praise, compliment, help, smile at one person each day. You may never know how much they needed something nice right at that moment.

Making a difference is a win/win deal…..you reap what you sow.

Wah! Wah! My Coffee Is Cold

September 24, 2013

Soldier crouching sad

Recently I read about returning soldiers having a tough time being civil to people complaining about their jobs, their kids, their life.

As a motivational speaker during my presentations I talk about taking risks to reach new levels of success professionally and personally. Stepping outside our comfort zone to learn a new software program can feel uncomfortable. Going to unfamiliar places to meet different people and make new friends can be scary to some.

Really?

The men and women in our military that risk their lives for our freedom are the people who truly understand fear, courage, discipline, teamwork, leadership and living in hardship.

Next time you want to whine about having to attend a meeting, another project on your desk, cold coffee or running errands, stop and think how lucky you are to be living in this great country where women can go to school, diverse religions thrive, government is elected fairly and people can speak out.

Really.

Trashy, Sleazy, Desperate: What Would You Do To Get Noticed?

September 6, 2013
miley
Robin Thicke & Miley Cyrus


It was the talk of Twitter,
the buzz of the moment,
a media frenzy….
Miley Cyrus’s performance at the Video Music Awards was nothing short of shocking. 

With her lewd gestures, tongue out, half naked, Miley showed the world she is no longer the Disney channel girl who was adored by millions of teens.

 Talk about a brand change.

 In my motivational speeches on Extraordinary Performance I talk about what it takes to reach the next level of success and how we need to keep learning and changing the way we work. In today’s competitive market we need to stand out from the crowd to get the job/client and keep the job/client.

Does this mean we have to strip off our clothes and act vulgar?     (OK, don’t answer that)

Successful people don’t need to shock anyone. They are self confident, open minded yet consistent with their brand/image.

Miley Cyrus looked like she wanted to win the sleaze award at VMA to outdo Lady Gaga and the all star line up.  

Or was she just desperate for attention?

Grab the attention of your boss/client by delivering excellence. Every time. Every interaction. Every day.  

 Now THAT’S Extraordinary Performance that won’t make the tabloids but WILL get you noticed………………..in a good way. 

STUPID OR FEARLESS?

June 12, 2013
man diving
Would you dive off these rocks like this? (sober?) 
Me neither.Taking risks is essential to make progress and succeed in anything – from business to relationships, sports to entertainment. As a motivational speaker that focuses on being fearless, I’ve had to walk my talk many times. In fact I’m still struttin’ my stuff 
with wobbly knees sometimes…

It takes courage to learn something new and risk looking like a fool.It takes courage to confront someone you have issues with and risk losing their friendship.

It takes courage to take on a leadership role and risk being criticized.

Stupid is not trying.

New Norm for the New Year

January 23, 2013
 
From left: Craig Beskid Exec.Dir. EHCMA,
Mark Byrd Shell Oil, yours truly, Todd Monette LyondellBasell & John Parkinson PetroLogistics

Recently I spoke to a group of engineers that made up the East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) at their annual awards banquet.

My topic: “Extraordinary is the New Norm!” covers the five principles it takes to be the best on the job in today’s economy:
1.   PASSION
      Engage & motivate  employees
2.  PERSEVERANCE
Overcome challenges & consistently deliver more value
3.  ATTITUDE
      Be willing to learn from each generation & stay likeable
4.  PEOPLE
      Develop a strong team culture through servant leadership
5.  FOCUS
      Keep goals in mind but be open to innovative ideas       

The challenge at this awards event? Keeping them awake after an open bar and steak dinner.  
 C’mon, we’re talking engineers here! 

They booked this Houston piano playing, funny speaker for three reasons:

  • liven up their meeting 
  • give ’em a message they can use  
  • make everyone feel glad they came
Mission accomplished – thanks to key audience members being great sports (Chevron guys rock & Dupont men rule!) Gotta luv ’em!
 
SINCE 2008 THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY has taken numerous kicks in the proverbial err, wallet. The AIG scandal was the final straw. Budgets tightened and professional speakers were canceled as organizations were scrutinized to justify the expense.snooze

Now people are tired of dry facts ‘n’ stats industry speakers that amount to one big snooze fest.
With the popularity of the Ted Talks and audiences demanding an EXPERIENCE versus simply attending, 2013 will herald major changes for meetings and conferences.
  • Got funny?  
  • Got content?  
  • Got a singing dog?
Extraordinary: The New Norm for the New Year.

 

Don’t Give Up, Give Back

November 6, 2012
    me
Lunching with two very successful businessmen last week was not just enjoyable but a valuable lesson for living a life that matters.

As a professional speaker in Houston, one of the key points I talk about in my presentations on outstanding  job performance is the importance of perseverance. Too many people give up too soon on their goals and dreams. At the first sign of obstacles they quit. End result? A life of regrets and mediocrity.

The three of us talked about what we would like written on our epitaph. Far from being macabre it was food for thought particularly as I had just attended a funeral that morning. Reading the deceased’s bio, it struck me that she didn’t leave a legacy of anything. Do you know what you would like to be remembered for when you’re pushing up daises?
john

John Carloss

John Carloss is the CEO of Venetian Blind & Floor & Carpet One in Houston. He’s also a Vietnam vet and a passionate advocate for our troops past and present. When he read my blog about Jeff Weiss and how he overcame adversity, he arranged this lunch specifically to meet him.

Part of John’s story began when he left an Ivy League education at Vanderbilt to join the army because he felt guilty that the only kids being drafted were poor. At age 20 he buried four of his platoon in Vietnam, was severely wounded during two tours there and spent seven years in the army ending as a captain in the Green Berets. It was in the military that he learned about the servant leadership style he practices in business today.
 
His passion for this country is equaled only by his sense of fairness – he wants everyone to get what they deserve. Fast forward forty something years of hard work, four daughters with college educations and a costly divorce that left him with nothing but his business – and a determination to come back and give back.
 
And come back he did. Despite the recession his company recently celebrated 60 years in business and received the 2012 Pinnacle Award of Excellence from the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston. 5% of all sales at VBFC go to charities of the customer’s choice.
 
Greatly disturbed by the young people coming back from Iraq traumatized and wounded, and all the suicides, divorces, homelessness and unemployment, John founded Operation American Heroes in 2008 to help returning military with emotional, financial and physical support. Check it out:  http://www.operationamericanheroes.com/about_operation_american_heroes.html 
 
John’s life is one of passion, perseverance and compassion. Read his whole story HERE  On his epitaph he wants it to read: “He gave a damn!” My epitaph? “She spread joy”.
 
What’s YOUR legacy? Are you making a difference? Are you doing vs just thinking?
 
Living on purpose can change our world one life at a time.
Give back, don’t give up.