Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Purple Rain, Productivity & You…really?

April 27, 2016

With the sad and sudden loss of Prince comes a lesson in the power of passion.Prince purple rain (215x240)The child of divorced parents, Prince ran away from his mother’s home to live with neighbors at a young age due to issues with his step father. He was subject to epileptic seizures as a child and was teased by his peers.  He was only 5’2″ tall and compensated by being flashy. Strike Three? Not!

At age 7 Prince taught himself how to play the piano, followed by the guitar at 13 and then the drums at 14 years old at which time he joined a band called Grand Central.  Not bad for a kid without a teacher. His passion for music led him to develop other talents of singing, dancing and playing multiple instruments to produce a demo tape at age eighteen that ended up in the hands of a local Minneapolis businessman who negotiated his first contract with Warner Bros.

And so a star was born………kinda sorta.

In his efforts to express and establish himself as a recording artist, his music was limited in air play due to his erotic approach resulting in controversial popularity. After experiencing his first big success with Little Red Corvette in 1983 it was not until the album Purple Rain was released in 1984 that his career catapulted into stardom.

Why should YOU care?

If you’re sitting at a desk all day wondering how/when you’re going to be happy, take a tip from Prince’s life: get happy NOW. Find things to love about your job NOW. Make a list of benefits you receive from your work and look at it every day to motivate you to do a great job versus just a good one. With employee engagement being at an all time low of 32% you need to fall in love with your company because just like Prince, passion + persistence pays off.

Bringing your A game to work every day results in a habit of excellence that super charges productivity up to the sky.

And we all know what falls from the sky………..purple rain, right?Purple rain falling on lovers (133x200)



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’   
Cha ching!

Keys to Employee Engagement

February 23, 2016

In my recent research as a motivational speaker preparing for an upcoming conference, I came across an astounding fact:  52% of US employees are not engaged at work. (Gallup poll January 2016)

That’s a whole lot of unhappy people, let alone an enormous loss of productivity.

Distracted employee

Gallup categorizes workers as “engaged” based on their ratings of key workplace elements that predict important organizational performance outcomes, such as having an opportunity to do what they do best each day, having someone at work who encourages their development and believing their opinions count at work.

Traveling across the country speaking to corporations and associations, I’ve heard a lot of whining in the workplace about one thing in particular: bosses. Bosses that don’t listen, bosses that manage with rigid rules, bosses that play favorites and bosses that take all the credit. What I’ve found is that people join companies but they leave bosses.

Cartoon happy peopleIn my speeches on super-charging productivity, I emphasize the power of nice. Having the right attitude of being humble, likable and teachable wins fans and influences people – even bosses. Business is all about building great relationships. Nurture team relationships by being the ‘go to’ guy who is always ready to help, offer constructive suggestions to your manager in a non-threatening way, volunteer to work on a project, be innovative about learning new things and share with team members.

Nice gets noticed in a good way. Whining – not so much.

If you’re a boss reading this, here’s your essential takeaway: never underestimate the value of appreciation. Praise and encourage employees for their efforts regardless of Book by Marcus Buckingham (153x230)success rate. Management expert/author/speaker Marcus Buckingham conducted a survey of the top Fortune 500 companies in the USA and said the #1 reason people leave companies is because they feel unappreciated. I spoke to a company in Dallas that had 500 employees with almost zero staff turnover in the past twenty years. The reason? Each employee said they felt like part of a family with a common purpose because they were treated with courtesy and respect from the CEO on down. Great relationships.

Being engaged at work means staying focused. Staying focused requires liking what you’re doing. If you’re not doing what you like, ask. Ask your boss to work on projects that utilize your best skills. Most managers will take advantage of a win-win situation whereby the employee experiences more job fulfillment and the company gains with improved productivity.

Employee engagement: it all starts with YOU!

One Thing One Need to Learn from Justin Bieber

November 18, 2015

Imagine this: You’ve scrimped and saved to spend a couple of hundred dollars to see your idol Neil Diamond/Adele/Justin Bieber, in concert. You splurged on a baby sitter, Justin Bieber (150x112) got the grandparents on alert, re-arranged your schedule to finish work early and get a decent parking space. You’re pumped for a good time.

You and thousands of other fans are hyped with excitement waiting expectantly to experience the life long dream of seeing this pop star up close and personal. The atmosphere is charged with awesome energy.

Suddenly it’s lights, music, action! In this case it’s Justin Bieber who makes his grand entrance on stage in Oslo, Norway to the sound of screaming fans, flashing lights and visual effects out the wazoo.   He sings, women swoon.

But then after one song, it’s all over. He walks off stage. Wait, what???

Apparently several people in the front row threw some water on stage and Justin asked them to stop while attempting to wipe it dry. He argued with them for 30 seconds before turning his back on the audience and walking off.

You’d be totally ticked, right? It wasn’t like YOUR fault! How could he let all of us down for the sake of a couple of idiots? Or was it ego? After all these months of anticipation, let alone the $$$, are you kidding me???

LESSON: At your next sales/project meeting, don’t let that nerdy negative guy burst your bubble and stop you from achieving your goals. Stay focused on the big picture and leggo your ego before you say something you’ll regret and look like a twit (Aussie lingo for fool). One bad apple CAN spoil the crop so don’t BE that guy who’s toxic to a team and ruining it for everyone. 

As a motivational speaker at conferences around the country, I’ve had my fair share of disasters on stage in front of hundreds of people – mainly to do with microphone & audio problems. That’s when the professional in me expands beyond my comfort zone and I kid around with the audience and make fun of the challenge (shaking at the knees!) while A/V staff frantically try to fix things. It’s what you do. The show must go on.

Justin Bieber should have gone off stage, had his people remove the offending fans and wipe the stage dry, then made a second entrance. Guaranteed thunderous applause, appreciative fans and a mega boost to his bad boy image.

“They try to get at me
Behind your back
Tryin’ to tell me that I’m just like the others
But I ain’t all bad.” – Album: Journals 2013

Really Justin? Walk your talk dude.


– See more at:

Why the Pope rocks at business & how you can too

September 29, 2015

Pope Francis touching child in America (220x124)Regardless of your religious beliefs, social economic position, field of business, political views or your personal whereabouts last week, you heard about Pope Francis’s historical visit to America. Also regardless of all the above, you have to admit he crushed it. He knocked it out of the park. He rocked.


Because he connected with the masses. Not just the high brows. Not just the politically correct, the famous, the leaders. He genuinely cares about all people everywhere and it showed. His humility is so endearing yet so powerful, he influenced millions of non-Catholics in a very short time (are you listening Donald Trump?) His message was about inclusion, unity and compassion. Simple. Effective.

Why should you care?

When you express genuine concern about your team members, co-workers, customers and people in general, you can impact their lives in ways you never dreamed of. A few words of praise or appreciation can instill confidence,  attract more customers, boost teamwork and improve performance in the workplace and can seriously be life-changing for someone needing support and encouragement during tough times. As a motivational speaker I constantly hear about people joining companies but leaving bosses because they don’t feel valued.

Smart business is about connecting with people and building great relationships. The Pope totally gets that. Do you?

Reach out and touch someone. You never know where it could lead.

Hark, can you hear the angels sing? No, wait. It’s the sweet sound of success.

Passion, Possibility & Elephants

November 18, 2014

One of my favorite groups to talk to is admins because they’re efficient, organized and innovative. They know how to get things done. And……..they’re always ready to have fun.

They’ve been called secretaries, personal assistants and the backbone of a company. Without them chaos rules.

Last week I was the keynote speaker at an awards banquet for a great group of admins from various companies around Houston and the Clear Lake area. We talked about how the power of passion is the beginning of all success because it motivates people to do whatever it takes. The admins receiving awards had the discipline to earn their certifications because they wanted to be the best on the job. They SO rock!

We did a fun exercise on teamwork and the importance of being creative. I divided the audience into groups and gave  each a song to perform with instructions to find out the strengths in team members to see who could sing, do back up, dance, mime or anything else to demonstrate innovation.

The first team sang Sweet Caroline sitting at the table. The second team exited the room and made an entrance singing Hello Dolly. The third team’s song was Margaritaville. One woman laid on the floor pretending to be a tourist on the beach covered with oil sipping a margarita, while the rest of her team acted “wasted away in Margaritaville” singing and swaying to the music. LOL hilarious!

Team C’s passion to be the best
opened up new possibilities.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

How did the elephant cross the river?

Why, by boat of course

Boston Strong: Good Wins Gold

April 16, 2014
LOOKING FOR THE GOOD Boston Marathon bombing man on ground

One year after the Boston marathon bombing stories of resilience, courage and inspiration emerge from survivors and spectators.
One such story comes from a fifty-something-year-old woman who held the hand of an injured victim until help arrived ignoring the gaping hole in her own leg.
A week later Amanda North questioned her passion and purpose in life realizing that it could end at any given minute. Quitting her lucrative job in the tech industry after 30 years she started a business combining her love of travel, culture and social change selling home decor from artisans in developing countries.
The online for-profit company Artisan Connect is the first of its kind providing consumers with tasteful global art while keeping cultural tradition alive and prospering for people that need it most.

Chris Long AEI Speakers

Chris Long is VP of the Boston speakers bureau AEI Speakers (agency for motivational speakers like me) His wife was supposed to be at the finish line last year supporting friends. It was her habit of many years.

By some miracle of circumstances she was unable to be there.
In hindsight Chris says he and his family now have “a profound appreciation for health, family, country & most of all our community. While I wish I could say I acted boldly and started chasing a life long dream, my reality is one where we just stop and smell the roses. Then we talk about how awesome they are today. We look at life as more of a gift, time to be cherished. Because marathon bombing or not, it goes by so fast and can be fleeting.”

Words to live by.
Next time you’re freaked out about paying taxes, dealing with your boss, sitting in traffic or having a bad hair day, remember Boston.
Things could be a lot worse. Think of all the good you have and give thanks. Hug someone. Pat a cat. Smell a rose.


March 26, 2014

The mystery disappearance Malaysia-airplane with question markof Malaysia Flight 370 deepened as days went by. Relatives of those on board were steeped in grief and growing frustration with no information on what happened. Global eyes focused on Western Australia where the latest piece of potential debris was spotted off the coast of Perth.

There was hope.

The Malaysian government has since revealed data confirming the plane sank with no survivors. The grief stricken relatives now begin the long painful journey of healing their loss.

Hopes are dashed. But as one relative put it: “At least we have an answer. We have closure”. Now the hope is for some kind of peace and comfort moving forward.
ExxonMobil IAAP center stageRecently I spoke to a group of professional administrators at a spring conference (you know, the people who REALLY run the organization). They worked for different companies ranging from healthcare to the oil industry. Their concerns were the same: they all needed to learn new software programs.Most of them expressed fear of competency under the pressure of working for two or more bosses. Those that had mastered the new system reassured the others “it gets easier the more you know”.

Ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is power. Hope is priceless.

My prayer is that the victims’ families regain hope for the future and happiness going forward. God bless each and every one of them.

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.


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.


Risky Business Makes Good Sense

September 17, 2013

 Cliff diving at sunsetI’m guessing you know the definition of insanity: Doing the same old things the same old way and expecting different results?  

Think about it.  

If you never try something new, you’ll never make any progress. If Thomas Edison hadn’t tried to invent new things, we’d still be reading by candlelight. Henry Ford was considered crazy by many in his day….a machine that runs without horses? Nuts!


Successful leaders realize that taking risks is essential to an organization’s growth. If your business needs a kick in the proverbial butt, what are you going to change? Marketing processes, technology systems, take a class, different networking? 
Ooooh, scary stuff. What if you fail? What if you look like a twit?

Ooooh, scarier stuff. What if you don’t?    

Living a life of coulda shoulda, means living a life of regrets.

Go ahead. Take the jump. The hard part is getting started. 

The benefits far outweigh the risk.