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Archive for March, 2012

I Wish I Was A Principal Of A High School – If I Was, I Would…

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I must admit, I didn’t really like high school that much. I was picked on often and in some ways may not have fit in as well as others did. It was a very awkward time in my life since I had bad acne, was very thin, and never stopped talking. I am sure lots of people felt like I did, but didn’t realize it until years later.

Going to college is both exciting and nerve racking! Because of that, if I was a principal of a high school I would have a mandatory class that every senior would have to take a month before they graduated. The class would be, “How to Survive Your Freshman Year of College.” My belief is that most high schools don’t prepare you for college. They prepare you to graduate high school. The dropout rate in college is way too high and it has been that way for a very long time. I truly believe that a class like this could really help so many young people. Going to college is a very stressful time for most young people. Yes, some handle it great and even with ease but many struggle and some get lost.

  • Why not help them?
  • Why not work at decreasing the dropout rate in college?
  • Why not give young people a better chance to succeed?

What do you think of this idea?

  • Would this have helped you with your college experience?
  • Would this have helped your kids?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time To Have Some Fun And Google… Your Name!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

In the past month a few of my friends have asked me if I ever Google my name. They said that they do it pretty often and the search always comes up with new items. They are 100% right. Every time I do it I see something new. Whether it’s a press release in a different language, which is kind of fun to see, or a blog that someone mentioned my name, or more likely disagreed with something I said! The other thing I like about the search are past articles I have written for associations or boards I have served on. The cool thing about that is, it reminds me of contacts that I may not have stayed in touch with over the years.

So I ask you:

  • Please Google your name.
  • What new searches came up?
  • How often do you do Google your name?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Be Like Rosie And ALWAYS Take The High Road If You Get Fired!

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Ok, I must admit I am not a huge Rosie O’Donnell fan, but I was impressed with what she said after Oprah didn’t renew her show for a second season.

I heard the story a week ago and just heard an interview with some of her comments:

"I loved working with Oprah in the amazing city of Chicago," O’Donnell said in a statement. "I was welcomed with open arms and will never forget the kindness of all I encountered. It was a great year for me—I wish the show was able to attract more viewers—but it did not. So I am headed back to my home in New York—with gratitude. On we go!"

Good for you, Rosie!

I am sure you were upset. I am sure you were emotional and wanted to vent. You may have felt you didn’t get a fair shake, or have the right guests, perfect set, or even the best time slot – but none of that really matters. What does matter is the ratings, and they just weren’t there.

Your comments were very respectful of Oprah and her network and you took the high road!

Not everyone does that!

  • What do you think of how Rosie handled the situation?
  • Have you ever let someone go who hasn’t taken the high road (no names please) and how bad did the situation get?

I always believe that your last few weeks on the job are the most important and how you leave is how you will be remembered! If you trash your boss and the company it will take away from the years of great service you had demonstrated.

  • What do you think?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Today’s Fortune Was A Keeper!

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

For those of you who don’t know, I love Chinese food. I always have and always will. I was having lunch with two colleagues earlier and my fortune today was:


Today’s fortune made me pause for a minute or two to think about my friends and what I rely on them for. I put a very high value on friendship. I speak to them often and bounce ideas off of them.

Today’s question is, what do I rely on my friends for?

  • Keeping me in check – meaning I love to bounce things off of them to make sure I am making the right decision on something.
  • Difference of opinion – Since I have so many friends I know one or two or ALL of them may not agree with something I am thinking. I love to call or visit with them, knowing they have a different opinion than I do, and understanding their point of view.
  • Experience life – I love to go away with my friends for our annual super bowl trip because we are typically experiencing something new together and that means so much to me, especially as I get older.
  • Watching my back – Knowing that my friends are there with a helping hand, advice, money if needed, ride to the airport, watching the kids or whatever else might be needed, is very comforting to me as I go through life.

Your turn:

  • What do you rely on your friends for?
  • Do you have a lot of friends?
  • Have they recently helped you out?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Graduates! Your First Job Should Be All About One Thing…

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

In the next few months, tens of thousands of seniors will graduate from college and a large percentage of them are looking for a job! For most of them, it will be their first job, or at least their first job that most people consider to be their first real job!

Lots of factors go into finding and accepting a job. Those factors can include:

  • Geography
  • Compensation
  • Industry
  • Health benefits
  • Number of vacation days
  • Tuition reimbursement

To me, the most important factor isn’t on that list. Being on a number of advisory boards for three universities I am asked very often, “What should I base my decision on?” My answer is always, “It’s all about your first boss.”

Some people are a little taken aback with my answer. Here are my reasons why your first boss is so critical:

Your first job is very important, and in some ways the most important job you will ever have. The right boss can really help shape your career, show you the ropes, mentor you, educate you on the political environment within your company and really teach you what you need to do to be successful.

If you ask people who have had a lot of bosses, most of them would say that the majority weren’t that good. If you have one of those types of bosses early on in your career, it can really establish some very bad habits and not give you the framework to build your career for the future.

  • When people ask you about criteria for their first job, what do you say?
  • If you had to do it all over again what would be the most important thing for you?
  • What do you think of my number 1 criteria?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Researchers! Are You Going To The ARF This Year?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Growing up, the place to be in August was always Saratoga, NY, and the place to be in March was the Advertising Research Foundation conference and exhibit hall, which was always at the NY Hilton. Well, the August place to be hasn’t changed at all BUT the March place to be (in my mind) has changed. Re:think 2012 The ARF Annual Convention + Insights Zone is March 25-28 at the NY Marriot Marquis. Over the years, so much has changed about this convention. Gone are the huge crowds and hundreds of exhibits. I have been going to this exhibit for so long I still have pictures with sports stars like Walt Frazier and Charles Oakley, courtesy of Beta Research.

Every year I would really look forward to this event but the event has changed and my desire to go has as well. I now only attend part of the two day conference, and set-up meetings with research partners, clients, and staff, and interview a number of people while I am in NY.

I have attended some of the sessions in the past, but haven’t found the quality of the presentations to be consistently at a high level, or worth the fee.

  • Are you planning on going to the ARF?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • How long do you plan on going for?
  • What is your favorite ARF memory?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time For A Fun And Quick Friday Quiz…

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I have heard from so many people that they like the fun Friday quizzes. They are a nice way to take a 3 minute break and see how they do vs. other people.

Well today’s quiz is about one of my favorite actors of all time – John Wayne! Don’t laugh, but I still will watch one of his classic war movies on an afternoon while sipping soda and eating popcorn.

So, with that said, it’s time to take a quick quiz. Like most quizzes they are timed and the questions will be randomly rotated.

Click here to test your John Wayne Knowledge!

Good luck to all!

Thank You Wendy’s For Charging Me $3.22!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

During the past few weeks I haven’t had a lot of time at lunch, and most days decided to quickly run out and bring something back. On three of those occasions I ended up buying Wendy’s. Every time I ordered the same thing – a baked potato and two spicy chicken Caesar wraps. Too me, it is quick and tasty. The interesting thing is, I remember it always cost $3.22. The reason I know that is they always charge me the same thing! To most that will seem very odd, but how many times have you gone into a store, some type of convenience store and bought the same thing and every single time you are charged a different amount? When I lived in Philadelphia back in the 90’s this used to happen to me all the time when I shopped at WAWA. I always loved the store, it was clean, the staff was friendly, but it was always an adventure when I went to check out and got charged different amounts for the same items. What made it really funny was I was there every day. I understand sales and prices can change often, but every day? Come on, I don’t think so.

Too many times customers are excited about a sale price or an item that is on clearance only to find out when they get to the register they were charged a different price or in most cases, a higher price.

The first thing I want to say is, THANK YOU WENDY’S FOR CHARGING ME $3.22 – because it is the right price and every time you are consistent!

  • Do you watch the prices as they are scanned to ensure they are right?
  • Does it bother you when you have to say “excuse me that item was on sale?”
  • Don’t you love to wait for 10 minutes as the cashier calls for a price check only to verify the amount you told them it was?
  • Have you noticed certain stores that are worse than others?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What’s In A Title? By Guest Writer Christine Cook

Monday, March 12th, 2012

There are many different kinds of titles.  There are social titles, academic, professional, hereditary, etc.  Let’s examine professional titles for the purpose this blog. 

There are the more trendy titles like a CEO who is an Energy Officer vs. Executive Officer, a Back-Up Generator vs. Vice President of Sales and a Community Catalyst vs. Social Media Manager, etc.  The latter titles in each category are actual or partial titles of some of my co-workers. 

Now let’s think about the importance of a title.  Some people could care less about title and hierarchy while others find it very important.  Maybe there is a reason for this?  For example I have had a Project Manager send an e-mail and get no response, yet when I send an e-mail with the same information to the same person I get a quick reply.  I’m a CEO but not an “Executive” – I’m more an “Energy”, “Experience” or “Entertainer” type.  I am also an owner of a company but I typically don’t claim this.  When asked what I do, I respond, “I work for a marketing research company” because I do.  No one works for me, they work for the company I happen to own and so do I.

So I’m curious…

  • What is your title?
  • Do you like more conservative or trendy titles? 
  • Does your opinion change if someone has a traditional or a unique title?
  • What is the most unique title you have come across lately?
  • Do you think that people respond differently to people with “higher” titles? 

I look forward to your comments.

Christine Cook is the CEO – Generator – Florist at INGATHER RESEARCH AND INNOVATION RESORTS.    You can check out Christine’s blog on her website at www.ingatherresearch.com

There Is So Much Business Strategy To Learn At A Keith Urban Concert!

Friday, March 9th, 2012

A few months ago I had the opportunity and pleasure of attending a Keith Urban concert. A few things I should say up front I have never attended one of his concerts and not a huge fan of country music but I thought it would be fun and an enjoyable night.

As the concert started I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience and how much I learned about business during his show. Let me explain the comparisons that I see between a Keith Urban concert and a successful business:

    1. Communicate – Keith addressed the crowd a bunch of times during the night with a fun story and a clear message.

    2. Use surprises – Yes Keith walked into the crowd playing his guitar in fact he did that with security to the other end of the stadium. Lots of performers will do this BUT I have never seen one give away there guitar. Yes at the end of the song he gave his guitar to a fan!

    3. Use the latest technology – Keith had some really cool video screens behind him that reinforced his message and kept everyone’s interest for the entire concert.

    4. Highlight individuality – Keith did an amazing job introducing his band and their talent. Every lead singer will do this but Keith really personalized them and genuinely looked like he was having a great time.

    5. Notice Everything and Engage the Audience – Somehow, someway Keith noticed everything in the crowd. A sign in the top deck of the stadium, a shirt that someone was wearing and two people dancing too his music were just a few examples! I am sure his staff worked very hard (who knows maybe this was staged) at this but it was brilliant and made people feel special! Isn’t that the exact message we want our business to be with our clients!

    6. Leave your customers wanting more – Keith did two encores and at the end of the second one not one person out of the 20,000 people in the audience wanted to leave and clearly left wanting more!

    7. Create Raving Fans – Keith did just that. The tweets, the posts on Facebook and the discussions that everyone had because of that night will pay enormous dividends in the future.  I am sure most of the people downloaded his songs from iTunes that night or the older generation went to Best Buy the next day and bought a CD.

    8. Use PR – Everything the Keith did was highlighted on the video screens, he gave away his guitar it was highlighted, he was walking into the crowd, it was highlighted, he brought someone up on stage it was highlighted.

    9. Flexibility – Keith jumped around and was very flexible – ok maybe this is a reach but don’t we want our business to be flexible?
    10. Have fun – Not sure who had more fun Keith or his audience. He was engaged with what he was doing the entire time he was on stage. Clearly it was his goal that everyone has a memorable night and his goal was accomplished.

He is a great talent but probably a better showman and business person. His concert was an amazing night! He gave so much during his performance that it really is hard to describe in words. Every aspect of his show was all about his fans and ensuring that he delivered a picture perfect performance and experience. He is truly a gem!

I took away so much from his concert I only hope I was able to have every reader take away one little tidbit to help their business!

  • What is your favorite learning?

I look forward to reading your comments.