Concern, Aggravation, Grievance: Don’t Do This to Your Customers

I’m attending a high-end conference event at one of America’s finest resort hotels and if I shared the name of this property, most everyone would identify it as a place with a reputation for impeccable customer service. That is what I thought too, but a funny thing happened the other day. My room didn’t get cleaned the entire day. I was a bit surprised when I came back to my room for a little rest over lunch to find that the room hadn’t been made up. Understandable, but a bit concerning given the fact that the Hotel was not that crowded. I came back at 4 PM…still no service. Now, I was a bit aggravated and called the front desk. Read More

Go Ahead and Waste Your Time

There are only 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds in a day. That is it and so the idea that you can somehow manage time is pretty ridiculous. Its really the other way around which means that time is managing you. This idea that we can actually manage time is one of the reasons that we are so highly stressed and perhaps why we often feel overwhelmed. Taking a resilience approach means that we begin to see time for what it is…a commodity. Time is more like money in that we make choices about how we spend it and those choices makes a statement about our priorities and what is important to us. That is how we deal with the Read More

Glad I Had A Mindful Co-Pilot

My plane was delayed coming out of Boston yesterday due to ice on the fuselage and if at least one person in the plane thought it was due to a mindful co-pilot who saw the big picture. Returning from a meeting in Boston yesterday I sat next to a pilot who was riding along to his next destination and we started having a conversation about piloting. I mentioned to him about my work in resilience and that I am seeing mindfulness finally making it out of the meditation studio and into the Board room. He told me that as a pilot he is all about mindfulness as he obviously has to pay attention to all the details associated with flying. Read More

Get Your Day Going

How you start your mornings may very well determine whether you fulfill the wishes of your favorite barista, “Have a good day”. Research shows that letting your focus get defused in the morning can create a lack of success throughout the day.  Here are some ideas to kick off your day in a great way: Don’t wait to create a to do list when you get to the office. Build one the night before and then you have it for the morning. It could include picking out the right clothes for your kindergartener or waking up a few minutes early to get in a 15 minute mini-run. Put your cell phone and iPad anywhere but by your bed and avoid Read More

Three Holiday Tips

I was watching Sheila wrap gifts yesterday as we prepared for our trip to see family. She was having a fun time cutting paper, tying ribbons and labeling gifts. She keeps a diligent list of what everyone is getting to make certain that the number of gifts and costs of gifts are kept even among family members. While shopping for gifts is far from simple, wrapping is pretty straightforward and automatic. The only thing left to do after that is to put them under the tree or in our situation, into the suitcase. As we approach the holiday time, I’m looking for two ways to keep my energy up and to enjoy it all. Keep it simple–Remember the 80/20 rule. Read More

An Evening of Literary Conversation or “The Inner Nun”

It’s the way I like to go to performances. Just show up 5 minutes before and see what tickets are available. That turned out to be the plan when my wife Sheila suggested we go to the Pittsburgh Literary Speaker Series the other night. The speaker was short story writer Gary Saunders. A McArthur Genius award winner, I couldn’t help but think that I can only benefit from being around smart people. However, it was really my wife, Sheila’s idea (actually another smart person) to go see him, in part due to her recently published book, Warrior Mother and her commitment to be around great authors. The evening looked like it would be fun. It was amazing. Saunders was immensely Read More

Resilience Fashion

The “prepping movement” manifests the ultimate effort towards resilience. Preppers believe that there will be cataclysmic world events that will leave modern society in chaos. It will only be  through their preparation and forward thinking, that they and their families will survive. National Geographic runs a weekly TV series on their  cable channel on Preppers and their recent made for TV broadcast, American Blackout, portrayed a cyber terrorist event that took down the US energy grid for 2 weeks causing mass chaos in the US Lest you think that the Prepping Movement is for extremists, we actually  see signs of it all around us, even at some of our favorite stores. Costco offers both on-line and in-store products that are Read More

Ask Better Questions

Its not enough to ask questions when you are wanting to understand more about what is important to  your clients, colleagues or employees. The questions must be better, more focused and build on one another. Good question: Why did you decide to take that action? Better question: Walk me through the steps you took to arrive at that decision? Good question: Do you think our product will meet your needs? Better question: Tell me more about what you need to achieve success? Good question: How’s the new product rollout going? Better questions: What’s working and what’s not working on your product rollout project? Oftentimes we’re too interested in giving our responses and ideas to folks and miss the opportunity to Read More

Big Data

“I treat people, not pictures”. That is what a rehabilitation physician friend of mine told me when I mentioned to him that I had the MRI of my knee that I injured while working out recently.  After I mentioned that an orthopedic surgeon wanted to perform surgery, my friend told me that surgery was not always necessary and that some non-surgical procedures were worth trying out. But first, he wanted to conduct a hands on physical exam to see what was going on in and around my knee. My conversation led me to think about how we’ve become reliant on “big data” to guide discussions with others. Managers may look at “team engagement” studies to see how well supervisors are Read More

The Rope To Nowhere

Waiting for my flight home on Friday, I was struck by the customer disparities that operate in the world of air travel. You mostly see it upon boarding and this sign pretty well sums up the story. If you form your line on the right side of the rope, you are a preferred (elite, gold, platinum, silver, high roller or insert your own moniker) traveller who gets to get on the plane sooner, put your bag away quicker and gain a few more minutes of comfort before the rest of us get to board. According to the sign, we should enter the boarding are on the left side of the rope under “General Boarding”. For many years, I held Gold Read More