Category Archives: motivation

Great Marketing Ideas Can Come From Anywhere.

I learned the interesting story of the creation of Disney’s Fast Pass while speaking with a customer service rep. for AT&T, of all things. He was an intern at Disney at the time. An engaging fellow, he proceeded to tell me that the Fast Pass came about because of a fire code.

The Indiana Jones ride in CA had a queue about a mile long. One day there was a fire drill and it took about 25 minutes to get the people out. That was not acceptable and the firefighters told Disney that they needed to shorten response times. When they asked “how?” a firefighter said “how about tickets that save people’s place in line?” And the rest is history.

Disney thought about monetizing Fast Pass but later decided the system was acceptable the way it was. A firefighter. An AT&T customer service rep. Creativity can be anywhere!

By the way, Disney gave credit to the firefighter. And the rep? He wrote the Backlot Tour script and is still credited on the script. That is the sign of a great company that recognizes creativity.

Eddie Bauer and Customer Service

I was on a trip back home from my parents’ house when I stopped at the Eddie Bauer outlet off of I-85 South in Commerce, GA. I needed some shorts and was short on time. I stormed into the store, my eyes darting everywhere. The saleswoman immediately noticed that I was in a hurry and asked how she could help.

Five minutes later, I was trying on clothes in a personalized (chalk door) dressing room with two saleswomen bringing me clothes. Ten minutes later, I happily walked out with my purchase of two tops and two pairs of shorts.

I loved a pair of the shorts so much that I went back to the web site to try to reorder more pairs. I couldn’t find them, so I called the outlet. They don’t carry the same clothes as the web site which I didn’t realize. The saleswoman found the shorts and I purchased two more pairs. Before I ordered, I asked how much shipping would be. She said it would be no cost! Amazing. I received the shorts yesterday via FedEx. I was pleasantly surprised.

A little service goes a long way.

Guess where I will be shopping on my next trip up I-85?

10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago · LifeReboot.com

A friend posted this on his Facebook status. This is a great read and sound advice for all. It puts everything in perspective in life and would be great for all graduates to read as graduation approaches! I am going to start a list of my own.
Another great read and gift idea for graduates? Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. and the Success poem attributed to R. W. Emerson:
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”

Stop and Smell the Flowers.

For years I would drive by a sunflower field on my way to work. Every year when they were in bloom I would make a mental note that I would stop and pick some sunflowers. After the fifth year, my family finally went and picked the sunflowers. We had a ball and the flowers brightened the house for weeks. We are going to visit again this year and are creating a tradition.

Why do we put off things that will make us happy? Are we too busy to stop and smell the flowers? What are you putting off that would bring a smile to your face today?


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Laid off? Job looking shaky? Now what do you do? 5 Tips to Build Your Network Right Now.

If you are reading this, then I am very sorry for what you are going through. Allow yourself time to mourn being laid off and feeling bad. It is part of the process. Just know that it will get better.

I have been laid off twice in my thirtysomething life. It sucks, and no matter what anyone says, you take it personally. Here are some things that will help you build your network if you are laid off or think you might lose your job in the near future. (Everyone should already be building their network a little bit each day, even if you don’t need one right now.)

1) Create accounts (if you do not already have them) on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Post your profile and mention in your status that you are on the job hunt and for what particular job/industry you are in. Your network is anyone and everyone that you know and making these connections can be valuable in many ways. Search for friends and previous coworkers on LinkedIn & FB, join relevant industry groups, ask and answer questions and get references on LinkedIn, follow industry leaders and people in your profession on Twitter and join in on the conversation.

2) List your resume on job boards – Monster, Careerbuilder, JobFox.com, Craigslist, etc.. Don’t just list what tasks you did at previous jobs. Think benefits. What skills can you offer an employer? Think if you were hiring someone, what qualities, experience and strengths would you look for? What do you want in your next job? Is it a good time to make a switch to another career or do you want to stay in the same role? Do some soul searching and talk to friends for advice.

3) Search indeed.com for jobs on multiple web sites. Create email alerts with it and other job search sites. Create Twitter and Google keyword alerts. Search blogs on Technorati about jobs in your industry.

4) Create a blog. Identify and follow/read the leaders in your industry. Read the local newspaper. Start reading and learning all that you can about your industry and write in your blog about it. Share your thoughts and expertise. Link to your profiles on Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/JobFox listings. Read other blogs and comment on them and link back to your blog. WordPress offers free blogs.

5) Face time. Utilize the resources at the unemployment office, local churches and if your former employer offers job assistance/outreach. Go to local networking meetings and talk to people. Don’t just rely on the computer and internet. You need face to face time as well. Ask around for a local recruiter in your industry and make a connection. Check the newspaper for local networking meetings, find tweetups and check meetup.com for local groups of interest. Get a personalized business card at MOO to hand out while networking.

There are so many things you can do. Remember, most jobs are found through networking. Get connected and get going! Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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Teacher Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Beyond.

As the holidays approach, I was stuck trying to think of teacher gift ideas for my girls’ kindergarten and daycare teachers.

So I turned to my good friends on Twitter. I love having a sounding board for ideas be it marketing related or for holiday gift ideas. Feedback so far – candy/food, scarf/hat, handmade items from child like jewelry or card.

Last year I got Target gift cards so they could either buy for themselves or for the classroom.

Once idea I like from the web sites below is a gift basket filled with school supplies/books for the class. There is also an appreciative wall poster about teaching that a teacher can put on the wall in the classroom.

I guess the underlying message is that teachers like being appreciated and we can show them through our children’s eyes in simple, inexpensive ways.

 I checked Google search as well and found a neat ecofriendly gift site as my daughter’s kindergarten teacher is very earth friendly.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers and Caregivers
http://ecochildsplay.com/2008/12/01/holiday-gift-ideas-for-teachers-and-caregivers/

Teacher Gift Ideas for Preschoolers
http://www.squidoo.com/teachergiftideaspreschoolers

Celebrate Teachers with Thoughtful Gifts
http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1331

Teacher Gifts: The Official Holiday Shopping Thread for teacher gifts!http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5888340

Five Public Relations Tips for Small Businesses in a Down Economy

I was thinking about small businesses and how they are especially hit hard in a down economy. I wanted to post some tips that you can do for free that will help continue your business building efforts even in a recession.

1) Get local with search. – Make sure your company is listed in Google and Yahoo local directories. They are free and you can even link to your web site.

2) Get local in business/service directories – with directories like Angie’s List and CitySearch popping up, be sure your company is listed in the relevant local directories. Be sure to ask customers to write a recommendation for your company as well.

3) Build a local media list at smaller newspapers and start a relationship. Offer advice, take a reporter to lunch. Local media is easier to reach and if you are doing neat things with the community, be sure they know about it. Having an event for charity? Send a media advisory.

4) Remember your employees. PR isn’t all about outside relations – make sure your employees are motivated and happy. You can reward them with small things like praise (employee of the month/quarter), pizza in the office for a job well done, etc.

5) Discover social media. Start a blog on WordPress and talk about your industry, not just the company. Give tips, advice, general observations. Sign up for Twitter, a microblogging site, and follow people that interest you and join the conversation. Create an account in LinkedIn and Facebook and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. You can even ask business questions in LinkedIn and answer others’ questions and be seen as an expert in your field.

6) Okay, I said five but here’s a bonus tip. Sign up for Help A Reporter.com‘s newsletter and get PR queries from journalists looking for sources. But be sure if you answer, that your pitch is on target, short and sweet and do not send attachments. Include contact info in your email and links if needed.

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Why saying "Thank you" is more than just good manners

Why saying “Thank you” is more than just good manners

A 10-year study of 200,000 managers and employees suggests that praising people for a job well done may lead to bigger profits, says Fortune’s Anne Fisher.

By Anne Fisher, Fortune senior writer
April 12 2007: 6:46 AM EDT

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Dear Annie: I changed jobs last year, going from a small company (where I had worked since the start-up phase, over a decade ago) to an organization about 10 times bigger. I’ve made the adjustment pretty well, except for one thing. My old employer was very gung-ho about recognizing people for their achievements. If someone met a tough deadline or went above and beyond for a client, that person got a public pat on the back and maybe even a “prize” like a free dinner for two at a nice local restaurant.

My new company is completely different. No one ever says “thanks” for anything or shows any appreciation for extra effort, and as a result people don’t do anything more than the minimum required to get the job (sort of) done. I think this hurts the business, but I can’t convince my boss. Any thoughts? – Trying to Help

Dear Trying: I’d be willing to bet we’ve all worked in organizations like yours, at one time or another. Many years ago, Fortune had a top editor who made a point of never praising anyone for anything. Asked why not, he replied, “People who are good know they’re good. They don’t need to hear it.” Well, if any proof is needed that that approach to managing people is wrongheaded, here’s where to find it: “The Carrot Principle” (Free Press, $21.00), a fascinating book by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, both consultants at Salt Lake City-based consulting firm O.C. Tanner (www.octanner.com).

The book’s subtitle says a mouthful – “How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance” – but the basic idea is simple: People will work harder and more enthusiastically for an appreciative boss, and companies that praise topnotch performance are more profitable than those that don’t. In a study of 200,000 managers and employees over a 10-year period, Gostick and Elton found that, in companies where few people agreed with the statement “My organization recognizes excellence”, annual return on equity averaged a paltry 2.4 percent. By contrast, companies with a culture that emphasized thanking people for excellent performance racked up returns more than three times as high, at an average of 8.7 percent. (For the complete study, go to www.carrots.com, under Research.)

Of course, anybody who has taken Statistics 101 will tell you that correlation doesn’t always imply causation, and companies that praise their workers are probably doing lots of other things right, too. Even so, at a time when employers are competing fiercely for top talent, the authors note that 79 percent of employees in a recent poll who had quit their jobs cited lack of appreciation as the main reason. It seems saying “thank you” is even more important in retaining people than paying them more money – and a pat on the back is free.

How can you persuade your boss to start recognizing his team’s achievements? Adrian Gostick says that about one-third of managers in the Fortune 100 companies he works with are, like my old editor, dead set against the idea of praising people. “They don’t believe in it. They’re always the ones sitting in the back of the room at our seminars with their arms folded, and that negativity often spreads to others,” he says. “To overcome their resistance, we start by asking why they don’t want to. Often they say they don’t have time. But another big reason is, lots of managers want to be seen as ‘tough’, and recognizing people looks ‘soft’ to them. Another obstacle is that they just don’t know how.”

That doesn’t mean your boss can’t change. Gostick says that, in a former career as vice president of a bank, “I had to be told to recognize people. My employees urged me to do it.” He adds, “We’ve found that, if you encourage a reluctant boss to start with just a few small things, he or she is often pleasantly surprised by the response and will want to do more.”
“The Carrot Principle” is full of creative ideas for thanking employees, and you might take a look at those, and pass a few suggestions along to your boss. But some of them – like buying lunch for all employees who have to work on a Saturday and inviting their families to join them; or springing for an extra plane ticket so a spouse can accompany an employee on a business trip – may be too much for the budget. No problem.

Says co-author Chester Elton, “You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make an employee feel valued. We find that a handwritten thank-you note, which costs next to nothing and takes just a couple of minutes, is something people really love to get. It’s far more effective than an e-mail, especially if it’s timely and specific. It should say, not just ‘Way to go!’, but ‘You did a terrific job on that XYZ project’. We’ve seen people who are so pleased to get these that they keep them for years.”

But let’s say you show your boss the bottom-line results of Gostick and Elton’s research and make a few gentle suggestions for how to start recognizing people, and he doesn’t budge. You know the grassroots-political maxim, “Be the change you’d like to see in the world”? If you were to make a habit of thanking colleagues and praising the people around you for a job well done – beginning with (why not?) your boss – who knows? You just might start something big.
http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/11/news/economy/annie_praise.fortune/index.htm?section=magazines_fortune

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