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Archive for January, 2012

Do Rules Apply ALL THE TIME?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The past few weeks I had two things happen that I thought were shocking, amusing, frustrating, and perhaps ridiculous!

The first one happened as I was boarding an American Airlines flight back to Dallas. I was able to catch an earlier flight. As I was boarding, the gate agent stopped me and said I couldn’t bring my carryon bag on-board. She said it needed to fit in the box that they had at the gate and if it didn’t fit, it had to be checked. The bag was a little tight and probably would have fit if I had moved some items around but rather than allowing me to do that she said I would need to check the bag because it wasn’t going to be fair to other travelers if I took up more space than allotted. I looked at her puzzled and said a few things: I used this bag two days ago and was able to bring it on the flight, I was able to get through two security checkpoints without being stopped, and most important the flight has 63 empty seats! The reason I know that is the agent who checked me in told me!

Again all she said was it isn’t fair to the other passengers and I needed to check the bag. She was right in the sense the bag was probably an inch too big, but my point was empty seats means less luggage and who cares?

  • Am I wrong?
  • Would you have been frustrated as well?
  • Should the rules have applied or been bent a little because the plane was half full?

The second experience was even more comical. I took the kids to the beach. It was 58 degrees, but the kids just wanted to play in the sand, toss the football, and put their little feet in the water. We got there and parked ourselves 30 feet in front of the lifeguard stand and 10 feet from the water. As the wind was blowing I looked down the beach and saw only 5 people to my left and maybe the same number to my right. It was clearly not crowded; in fact everyone (who is smart) was home and warm.

My son and I started tossing the football, and low and behold the next sound I head was a whistle. I had no idea where it was coming from so I looked and the lifeguard was waving her arms and saying that we aren’t allowed to toss a football on the beach.  My look was comical and shocking and I responded with, “Are you serious? There isn’t anyone here that we could hit or bother.” While she did agree, she was adamant about not letting us toss the football.

  • Am I wrong?
  • Would you have been frustrated as well?
  • Should the rules have applied or been bent a little because the beach was totally empty?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on both situations.

Aren’t Restaurants That Have A City In Their Name Limiting Themselves?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was going to lunch with a colleague (thanks S.H.) and we ended up at Boston Market. As we were eating, our conversation centered around the name of the restaurant. I was, and still am, curious if having a city in their name helps or hurts them?

We thought for a few minutes and came up with three restaurants that have a city in their name – the list we have compiled so far is:

  • Boston Market
  • San Francisco Oven Company
  • Jersey Mikes

I am still wondering if having a city in their name is a good thing.  Here are my thoughts.

  • Boston Market – I am not sure the name helps at all and in some ways might hurt. Meatloaf, chicken and turkey aren’t really a mainstay in Boston so that’s why I don’t think it really helps the brand.
  • San Francisco Oven Company – I am neutral on this one.  I believe the menu is all about the Bay Area but I am not sure people care and has the concept caught on?
  • Jersey Mikes – I think the city helps and helps a lot! When I think of cheesesteaks, chicken sandwiches, subs, and hoagies I do think of New Jersey. I really believe this name is perfect!

What do you think?

  • Does a city name help a restaurant?
  • What do you think of my comments?
  • What other restaurants have a city name in them?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Attention Lacrosse Dads, Players, And Coaches I Need Some Advice!

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Year after year, both of my boys have done a number of things. Yes, they have gotten bigger, yes they have gotten funnier (in fact hysterical), and yes they have always played baseball in the spring and fall. Well that is changing. For the first time ever, both my sons will be putting the baseball glove and bat on the shelf and playing a different sport… Lacrosse.

I must admit at first I was a little surprised and hurt (back to that in a minute) that they would give up (maybe temporarily) a sport they have played for years. They know most of the coaches, players and have made great progress in terms of getting better every year. I was a little hurt because I love the sport so much and enjoyed so many GREAT memories with my dad, both playing catch and going to baseball games. I thought that might be coming to an end.

I never played Lacrosse as a kid. It wasn’t a sport that had a lot of interest back in the day. Lacrosse is a sport that is very fast, physical and you need a lot of coordination to play. I am a little nervous that my kids might not like it or worse – get hurt. However, it is good that they try different sports and have different experiences.

But I need your help:

  • Have your kids played lacrosse?
  • What do they like about the sport?
  • Are there any drills I could do with them?
  • How can I practice with them?
  • Has your child given up a sport or hobby that they played for years? If so, did they go back to it?

There is a lot I don’t know much about in this world and lacrosse is one of those things, so I hope you respond with some helpful tips.

2012 Is The Year Of Catch-Up For Me… How About You?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

When the clock struck December 31, I knew something would be very different this year like no other. Yes, I will be older and in this case it is actually a benefit. This is very appealing to me because when I was younger (20’s, 30’s, 40’s) I didn’t save as much as I could or should have. I believe this is a VERY important lesson for younger generations and wish I had understood more of the benefits years ago.

Now to the exciting part of getting older! This is the year that I am allowed by the government (thanks!) to have a 401K catch-up contribution. In addition to the maximum, I am now allowed a $5,500 401k catch-up contribution this year!

Ok I must admit I am not terribly excited about being an age that starts with a 5 but this does make me happy that I now qualify for this additional benefit.

  • Do you have a 401K?
  • Have you always been in a position to maximize your contribution?
  • Do you contribute to your 401K?
  • Do you like the catch-up contribution as much as I do?

I look forward to reading your comments

My Kids Are 100% Right! It’s All About Sharing!

Friday, January 20th, 2012

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going shopping with my kids. Since my parents and siblings live out of town they sent checks to the kids and wanted me to have them buy whatever they wanted for their holiday gifts! I tried to make the experience fun, exciting and yes, a LEARNING EXPERIENCE! The rules were pretty simple – ok they were simple for me, perhaps not so simple for three wonderful kids under 11 who only wanted to spend money and buy themselves some gifts.
The rules were:

  • Each child pick two stores they wanted to shop in.
  • Tell me the items they THOUGHT they wanted to buy.
  • Not go over $100.00

See, I told you the rules were very easy. As we started shopping my oldest son bought a few items at Best Buy and then spent a little more at Academy Sports and Wal-Mart. Our next stop was Target, which was the store all of them wanted to shop at. As each gift was going in the basket I was adding up in my head what each child had spent. Now my daughter jumps into the shopping cart and is starting to play Barbie Dolls prior to paying for everything. I had this feeling that she might be over and bracing myself for a challenging time at the register. As Luck would have it, she went over by $4.88! My first thought was, “Oh no! Now what do I do? Give in or hold my position?” Decision time needed to be quick and firm and my answer was, “Baby, you went over by a few dollars so which of the gifts would you like to not include in your purchase?”

As I was bracing myself for a problem, for a melt-down, for a tantrum for her to start, for her to start throwing things at me, my oldest son says, “Dad, I have a few extra dollars left of my money and would be happy to share it with my sister so she doesn’t have to return anything!” WOW! I didn’t expect that response! My daughter and myself lit up like the largest Christmas tree around and I couldn’t have been more proud of my son!

My kids were sharing at the holidays! What a great message! Isn’t business about that? Sharing 24/7/365?

  • Have a great idea – share it with your boss!
  • You found a new way to do something and save time – share it with your colleagues!
  • Had success negotiated a deal with a partner – share it with your business development team!
  • You didn’t win a project but your prospect gave you some incredible feedback – share it with other salespeople!
  • Your last proposal included some cutting-edge technology – share it!
  • Your profit margin on your largest account is amazing – share it!

I could go on and on with this list. The bottom line is, sharing might be the most important thing a company and its staff could do day in and day out.

I would suggest the most successful companies have staff that shares all the time and the companies that don’t suffer for sure! When I asked a few industry contacts about “sharing” a number of them said that isn’t something that happens too often within their company.

So I would ask you:

  • Does your company have an environment that shares?
  • Do you highlight when people share with other team members?
  • Do you reward people who do share?
  • Do you feel your company is much better off when everyone is sharing success and failures?

If you don’t, perhaps you should take a look at how you could incorporate that into your 2012 strategy!
I look forward to reading your comments.

What Is Your Favorite Sales Movie Of All Time?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

 

A few weeks ago I was preparing for a conference presentation and wanted to include some opinions of industry contacts on a number of subjects. One of them was about what is your favorite sales movie? When I thought of the question, I quickly came up with a few of my favorites:

  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Tin Man
  • Boiler room

I especially love Glengarry Glen Ross and the Glengarry leads. I have quoted the movie a number of times during speeches and it always seems to reinforce the point I am trying to make. For me, the rain really adds to the story line and the acting is wonderful.

Your turn:

  • What do you think of my choices?
  • What is your favorite sales movie of all time?
  • Is there a particular salesperson that you seem to quote all the time?
  • Did you like Death of a Salesman?

I look forward to reading your comments

Help! My Back Is Killing Me – Any Advice?

Monday, January 16th, 2012

As I get a little older I have noticed my body speaking to me a little bit. Actually, a lot! More often than not I have little aches and pains that at times I can’t get rid of. Recently I have had some back issues that really had me in a bad place. I was having trouble standing up straight, walking was a challenge and yes, I looked like the leaning tower of Merrill! It wasn’t pleasant to see, let alone live through it.

I saw a chiropractor 4 times in one week and I am still going every other week. Lots of people have back issues, especially people who are in my age category. The question is, what do you do about it? How do you work through it?

I have done a few things that have helped:

  • Ice packs can ease the pain.
  • I use Biofreeze, which is an online product that I bought six months ago and it really helps the inflamed area.
  • I am stretching much more and especially working on my core – sometimes the easiest exercises give the most relief. A special thanks to my chiropractor C.T and personal trainer C.H. for helping me through this situation.

Those are a few things that have helped me but I know there are other things I could be doing.

  • Please let me know what you do for relief.
  • Any best practices that you live by?
  • How long have you had problems with your back?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Basketball Fans! Time To Take A Quick Quiz!

Friday, January 13th, 2012

This basketball season will be very interesting for sure. With little time to practice and teams having to play tons of back-to-back games, It will be interesting to see what happens and who comes out on top.

Time to have a little Friday fun and take a quick quiz!

What Is Your Favorite TV Animal?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A few weeks ago I read that Cheetah the chimp from the Tarzan movies passed away. Cheetah was living in Florida at an animal sanctuary and died of kidney failure at 80 years old.

When I was reading the article a friend of mine called and the two of us discussed Cheetah and other animals on TV, which of course now has led to a blog.

My discussion with R.Z. was fun and we named a number of our favorite animals that we watched on TV. He went first and tossed out Lassie which might be the most famous and popular animal. I tossed out a few others, like Mr. Ed and Flipper, which were fun and popular animals but probably fell short of Lassie’s popularity

Let’s try and build a list of our top 10 favorite TV animals of all time. Assuming Lassie, Mr. Ed and Flipper are already on the list, what other animals should be considered?

I look forward to reading your comments.

I Hope I Can Do ________ When I Am 90!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Over the weekend the read an article about Bernice Bates who is a yoga instructor from Florida. Like most yoga instructors she teaches from the front of the room while laying on her mat and doing all of the poses. She leads the class step-by-step while having her students follow her every move.

This sounds like most yoga classes and Bernice is just another yoga instructor. Well, neither one is the case. You see, this instructor started teaching over 50 years ago – yes, 50 years ago. Some of us (me included) didn’t even realize that yoga was around 50 years ago. Well, it was and Bernice was involved. The amazing thing is, this lady is 91 years old and teaches a class every week. Her students absolutely love her energy and passion!

Wow – Bernice to be able to do something you love for that many years is magical and a dream come true. At 91 there are so many things I would still like to do – that list includes: playing softball, running around with my grandkids, or actually maybe great-grandkids. My long list of what I hope to still be doing at 91 brings three things to mind:

  • Play tennis – I would love to be able to play tennis (not in a wheel chair) with my friends S.S  and K.W. This would be important to me to still be able to walk and run and be physical later in life.
  • Play cards, specifically gin. The reason I love gin is because it has so much strategy and in a lot of ways takes the luck aspect out. To be able to play that with A.S, S.S., G.S and A.B would be amazing and means that I still have all or at least most of my faculties.
  • Be a guest lecturer at a college. To be able to continue to teach, mentor and help people becomes even more meaningful later in life.

So, Bernice and I ask you, what would you like to still be doing at 90?

I look forward to reading your comments.