Friday, December 17, 2010

How I Spent the Morning Procrastinating

I need to write a persuasive paper for my Business Comp class. I did not do as well on my informative paper as I would have liked, and I know the professor does not like my thesis.
The report is on corporate culture and how it must possess open communication. The professor’s view is that no one would argue the point. While I agree with her, in my experience, this is not the practice. Open door policies sound good, but when approached with new ideas or concerns, I believe that most employees are met with stonewalling, deaf ears or a pink slip. My point is that this needs to stop. But how do I prove that this is a regular practice so that I can persuade management to change its tactics.

Hence my own procrastination…
  • Made a work related call…it’s what I am paid to do, ok not on my day off – but this person needed my help.

  • Tweeted….nurturing relationships is important right? Maybe not as important as my degree and a decent GPA – but this is my story and I am sticking with it

  • Realized I left half of my research in the car. Fell coming back up the stairs, had to examine my knees for scrapes. Nothing needed first aid attention.

  • Panicked when I realized I had 4 sources on my citation page and had eleven sources in my lap.

  • Searched for a highlighter..And my glasses

  • Blackberry light flashing…checked messages

  • Contemplated the benefits of making fresh coffee now, or waiting until later

  • Checked the news…we need to stay informed!

  • Oh and let’s not forget this blog post

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stop Winning and Start Communicating

I may have mentioned before that I instruct a course in Effective Communications to new franchisees and employees of ICED . The course is based on the principles of Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Some of the text is a bit dated, having originally been published in 1936; however the ideas are still valid today.
I am sitting here looking a poster based on part three of the book “How to win people to your way of thinking” and have decided it needs to be reworked.

Generally, people form their opinions based on their own filters and experience. Their way of thinking isn’t necessarily wrong, unless it is based on incorrect information. The book wants us to be friendly, avoid arguing, and show respect. Which are all fine and dandy, and principles that should not have to be spelled out to persons living in civilized society; however, I feel that principle 8 is the key. “Try honestly to see things from the other’s point of view”.

As any Mom will tell you, when two people tell you a story, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. This is probably true when it comes to most situations. “WINNING” someone to your way of thinking, insinuates that you have cajoled and badgered someone into changing their mind.

For example: If an employee believes they should be given a raise, and you believe they should not.
What are those opinions based on?
· Has the employee’s pay not kept up with cost of living? Have their circumstances changed and they need more income?
· As the employer are you staying up nights worrying about making payroll?
· Or are the opinions based sole on merit or lack thereof?

With the first 2 examples there is room to negotiate and see the others point of view and meet in the middle, or at the very least come to an understanding. The third however, there will probably be more of a conversation about expectations and performance.

It’s time to stop winning and start understanding.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Answer Me!

One of my pet peeves was brought top of mind again this morning. People who do not respond to emails.

I do not mean the idiot who does a reply all to a joke (that's a whole other post).

I mean, the "Hey can we meet tomorrow at 10?" or "Is there a conference room available?" emails. They deserve a "Yes" "No" or "Kiss my Butt"...something! so that the person requiring the information can move on. It's just disrespectful and ill mannered.

Weren't you raised better than that?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Success Like a Pirate!

My daughter looked up from her homework and asked “Do you know why I don’t need to learn algebra?” “No, why not?” “Because only pirates need to find X” (insert groan here).

The Harvard Business review published an article this month about using the pirate hierarchy as an example of job design. In What 17th Century Pirates Can Teach Us About Job Design by Hayagreeva Rao . I believe we should take this example a different direction. Old school pirates knew where they were going. They had a map and they knew that X marked the spot.

Do you know where your organization is going? If you stood in front of your peers and asked “Are you with me?” What answer would you get? A resounding YES! Or a Where are we going?

If you do not have a plan you are in trouble. STOP everything you are doing and figure it out. Do you have a definition of success? If not how will you know when you get there? Assisting new franchisees with a start up operational plan is one of the training sessions I hold several times a year. I ask the questions in a couple different ways. What is your definition of success? Leaders probably have a couple definitions.

One would be personal, maybe it is to have your operations self sufficient enough so that you can sneak away and golf a few mornings a week, or maybe it is being able to take your family on a vacation each summer. What are your business goals? Is it a certain number of clients? Is it a defined dollar amount in the bank?
If your organization is so overwhelmed with the day to day of keeping business afloat, then you are lost at sea.

Let’s get started

Define your goal in quantifiable words
Share your goal with your team
Determine who is on board with you
Decide what each person will do to help the organization achieve this goal
Each person should then submit a plan, in writing, with steps, numbers and deadlines to reaching their part.
Determine re-evaluation dates and milestones
Celebrate your milestones and reward goals met
Follow your map and find X

Friday, October 22, 2010

Motivate Employees with Common Sense

I was talking to a friend who works for a large national company with a huge inbound call center, he told me a few things that shocked me.

• No drinks at their desks
• No family pictures in their cubicles
• If you don’t reach your goals, You’re gone

If this company were to hire me to help with employee morale and increased production, these are the first things I would change.

No drinks – These employees are talking all day long. They need to speak clearly and be understood. If you do not want them constantly wandering away from their desk, let them drink. Obviously the company is concerned about its hardware. If moms can get a no spill cup for toddlers, this company can find no spill cups for its employees. Buy them, logo them! Or better yet, have your corporate mission statement printed on them.

No family pictures – this needs to stop. Now going all Google, like this picture,at your office is probably not your goal. It works for the creative minds at Google, but not for the service industry. My first rule of managing happy employees is to KNOW that your company is NOT your employee’s first priority. You may think that you are paying them, so for 8 hours the company should be priority one. Let me tell are not paying them enough to put you above their family. How much would YOU have to be paid to put company first?

Best practice according to me is to let them have a reminder at their desk as to why they come to work each day and get the job done. I have an awesome year at a glance calendar in my office that I can slip my own pictures into, and a similar desk top blotter. These are professional, I can see the pictures of my kids and do not turn my office space into my living room.

No Goals, you are gone – Obviously, I am not saying keep poor performers. Hiring new employees is expensive with recruiting and training. It would be best to keep your current employees comfortable and motivated. Provide a beverage and look at a baby or two, I think you will be glad you did.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What was significant to you in the 20th Century?

My final project for my humanities course is to put together a virtual time capsule for my life time. I need to include the things listed below and I was wondering what was significant for you.

In case you were wondering - I haven't figured mine out yet.

A significant literary work (poem, short story, or novel)
A significant example of art or architecture
A significant song or group of songs
A significant film

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Social Media Can Make You Stronger

Social media and social technologies have added a new dimension to our marketing and PR efforts. It has broadened our scope of what it means to provide customer service.

I have found it to be most valuable for building relationships within our organization. There are those that would argue in Franchising that the franchisee is our customer. However the franchisees that I work with are business partners. I support them from the corporate office, providing operational and compliance guidance. A large part of my day to day includes coaching, and some days it is more like cheerleading. It can become frustrating. Our franchisees run their businesses from home, so home comes into the equation a lot and I start to think I should have gotten that Psychology degree.

Using social media has allowed our relationships to become more developed. The franchisees and I follow each other on Twitter and they are my friends on Facebook. You may think that this is highly unprofessional, and if I were a doctor or lawyer you would be right. But in my case, the sick kids, the visiting in-laws and the soccer finals are all directly related to the lives and issues that we deal with in our coaching calls.

Remember when you were a kid and you saw your teacher at the store? It seemed weird, when you realized they didn’t live at the school and had lives of their own. I believe that this aspect of ‘friending’ my business partners has strengthened our relationships too. They now know when I may be dealing with a problem that is bigger than me, or realize that we are experiencing the same things as parents, or adult children. These commonalities bring us closer.

We have built closed LinkedIn groups for our franchisees and for their employees. These are spaces where they can ask each other question about best practices. They share frustrations and challenges. They cheer each other on. The corporate team monitors and participates in these groups with franchisees from all over the world.
Social technology brought us together and spawned a “we are all in this together” culture in which we all help each other to thrive.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I am sitting here in my living room on Saturday afternoon. The website went ‘live’ yesterday. This past week was crazy and stressful. Not bad stressful, good stressful, eustress ( I learned a new word in college), like conference. My body hurts, and I woke with a headache. I was reading my email before I could see well. As I was waiting for my coffee and Excedrin to kick in I asked myself “why are you doing this?”

I reflected on a conversation with a franchisee this week, as we looked at the new website. She said “look at that! ‘Find a Technology Consultant near you’, this is going to make us all look so good! This is so good for my business.” Then I thought of the reaction of those of you at conference when Michael St. Jacques first used those words “Technology Consultant”, there was an audible sound of agreement, you could almost hear the light bulbs going off.” The sound rose even louder when Michael said “We are the elite in education.”

Flashback almost 20 years, I was working in a Jr. Sr. High School, working one on one with one ‘troubled kid’ after another, I kept telling myself there has got to be a better way to provide education. Yet, It was painfully apparent to me as I worked there, I AM NOT A TEACHER!

Again, as I raised my brilliant son, I fought with the school district, I argued with teachers, and again, I thought, there has got to be a better way. I considered homeschooling, but lacked the time and resources…and again I AM NOT A TEACHER!

“So Lorri” I said to myself, “this is why you are here, this is why you do what you do. Working with CE, you are part of a better way to provide education. Your forte is communications, and your passion is education. Now make it work!”

Why are you here?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Professionalism vs. Me

This week we launched our new website successfully, yes there are bugs…there are always bugs. I attribute our success, an ongoing positive attitude about the extermination of said personality not professionalism.

Yes, the job is getting done. Issues are being reported and dealt with. The timeline is being discussed. Priorities, training and strategy are ongoing concerns. I don’t think our programmers have slept in days. I KNOW the Director was at dinner and back in the office within 6 hours in the last 24.

To accomplish the end goal, we knew we would be performing personal magic, we would need to break out the tiaras and super hero capes…and we did. They became a running joke in our emails. They did not slow the process, they made the process better. They made asking for yet another thing and being told where that one more thing was being put on the priority list easier to manage.

I do not believe that professionalism comes with a tie and wingtips, or with buttons and hose. It comes from performance. It shows in efficiency, attitude and end product. If the process is accompanied by humor and personality…so be it.

This is why true transparency is so important within your business. It is the people to people interactions that run the world. Not the spreadsheets and databases…they are not always going to upload right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life in the Slow Lane

Efficient…I have been described this way by more than one boss. Mostly this means that I get tasks done quickly. So I have time to think. I choose to earn my pay check so I read industry materials, and I think about work.

How can we do this better? What more can we do? And being an innovator of sorts – I can come up with answers. Which inevitably ends with me hearing the words “Great idea, go ahead and do it! “

Awesome…more tasks. So what is a girl to do?

I am not a leader by title but I do play one on the internet and if I were to come to myself for advice what would I tell me?

1- While presenting an idea be sure to include the party you feel should be responsible.

2- Stop being a control freak! Yes others can do as well as you do while implementing your ideas.

3- Act like a leader…not a doer (should probably be careful not to be seen as a slacker while attempting this.)

4- Ask yourself, if I were to leave here today, what mark have I left? What is better for you having been a member of this team?

5- Stop seeing yourself as a doer and hopefully others will stop seeing you that way too!

Your future is in your hands...go out and get it

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to get the sale and Keep the business

I am the Ops Manager at COMPUTER EXPLORERS and as part of my job, I field phone calls. Usually I manage to avoid sales calls, but one particular day I was in my happy place and decided to listen to a call.

The caller from IntramediaSolutions started out with a normal pitch. I politely said no, he was a nice guy, but the first thing he offered..printing, we do in-house or the franchisees take care of locally. But then...he offered a solution to a problem!...They warehouse logo'd items!...wait what?....I could get bulk rate on logo items for my franchisees AND not have to find a place to store them....I was listening and agreed to let their representative come visit.

Bob, was on time for our appointment, (actually a bit early, I saw him standing in the parking lot). Since this was a 'cold call'...Bob brought me ice cream and the world's best ice cream scoop. he totally had my attention. I am a sucker for stuff....(hint: the only sales materials I open obviously have a pen, planner, or one of those cool LED lights in them).

We started doing business with them. The eventually built a website for us.

Now Bob is great he always comes to say hi when he is in the area to see if there is anything else they can do. When we need something from them they are ALWAYS there.

But this is why I love them....there was a hitch in an order...not a giant one, just one of those "things happen" occurrences. Their Ops Manager Wendy Hatch, she got on the problem....she OWNED the issue, She felt it to her core. ....I knew that we all mattered to her. She has not met me face to face. She has not had the opportunity to attend one of our conferences to meet the franchisees...yet, fixing this issue haunted her...well past the resolution of the problem. ...I bet she has one of those "The Buck Stops Here"signs on her desk.

Their IT Development division is great to work with - Dana Lopez is there at the drop of a hat to answer any question....even if it isn't their issue - he is more than happy to share his expertise. If we need him to do something BOOM it is done - and he seems to take pleasure in doing it. I have worked with other web guys, who I am pretty sure had unpleasant names for me...or at the very least a less than stellar opinion of my brain power...But Dana always shows us the utmost respect...because he has gotten to know us...because we matter to him.

So there you to get the sale and keep the business

1- Solve a problem
2- Let your customers know they matter

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Mean Girls" grow up

This is a very difficult blog post to write. I am sure somehow that there is a lesson to be learned by this experience.

As I write, my daughter is in her room preparing for her first day of high school. A day that is clouded by emotional turmoil caused by a woman who believes it is her place to pass judgement on those she does not know. As if high school isn't hard enough for those poor kids actually going through it. It seems some never lose the mentality they developed there.

The baggage from these 4 years, stay with us forever. For me, there is a self consciousness about my nose brought on from comment by a boy that I didn't even like. There is also a feeling that people forget about me when I leave the room, because my soccer team 'forgot' to tell me about the team dinner (let's not analyze this episode and my tiara). ..Then there is a mistrust of women...yes... because of the snide comments and giggles directed at me ..not even behind my back.

Now, I don't pretend to think I was the only one to endure this rediculousness - Most of us have.

I have had more than one man ask me "why are women so mean to each other, you would think they would support each other." Why? because we learned not to trust them. It is a strange dicotomy, because we also learned to have deep and abiding friendships.

With the on set of social networking, I have reconnected with many people from HS. I have picked up with my best friend like no time has passed. I have developed a friendship with the woman that I always liked, but we were never in the same circles. I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with the boy that was voted most likely to succeed...this boy...if I thought I had it rough...My experience was NOTHING compared to what he had to have endured. I am thrilled whenever I read his posts..he is happy with great friends...and is still completely true to himself - I always hope that I was never on the hurting end of things with him.

It seems we don't outgrow it. Look around any organization - work, the PTA, the booster club, they are all there:
The golden boy who can do no wrong in the eyes of the boss, or we all agree with, stupid grins plastered on our faces.

The over achieving star of the show who appears to be screaming 'look at me' with every move.

The Nerd who we wonder how they every manage to NEVER learn social skills.

The Mean Girls who treat everyone like their assistant or like to point out your short-comings before anyone can notice theirs.

For me it is time to make it stop - Time to stop walking with my head down until they pass.

If we don't outgrow it...will we take it to the retirement home?...just in case, I'm going to save my pennies to buy a red scooter to drive to the bocci ball game.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Your Neighborhood Heroes

I have been thinking a lot about heroes lately. What defines a hero? For me and I am sure for you too it is someone who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of others. My heart still aches when I see something on TV about the NYC Fire Department or when I think of the passengers on Flight 93 laying down their lives in a Pennsylvania field. I think of my son and the other 550 young marines at their boot camp graduation last fall. All brave and ready to take on whatever life or the Corps hands them. But what about the heroes next door.

When my son was an adolescent, somewhere between 11 and 13, he came home one day, thrilled to have made a new friend. All evening, each statement started with the phrase “Mom, wait until you meet Steven!” I did eventually meet Steven. He was tall for his age, where my son was not so tall for his age. They looked like Mutt and Jeff, walking around the neighborhood getting into all sorts of mischief…doing things I am sure I do not want to know about.

As they grew up, they remained friends moving from bicycles & snakes to trucks & women.

These two boys grew into beautiful men. My son to the Marine Corps and Steven to the Texas Department of Prisons as a guard (despite a side trip into modeling that landed him in a Giorgio Armani magazine ad). These boys, these men…chose the road to give back to their community.

Ten days ago we buried Steven.

He lost his life, not while he was serving his state at work. He lost his life helping a friend. Pulling himself out of bed at 3am, while fighting some sort of illness, to help a friend…He ended up in the middle of a domestic dispute.

Please take time to thank those that are givers in your life. They may not have chosen to put on a uniform daily. But you know who I am talking about, the friend that you can always count on ….the one that would crawl out of a sick bed to help you. Hug them now. Love them now. Thank them now.

Acknowledge your neighborhood heroes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What I Really Want to Do is Direct

I don’t not think that we are in any danger of me becoming the next Oprah. I am just not at my best when I am LIVE! Always has been that way. When I was in High School I was on a “Scholar’s Bowl”…basically a Scholars for Dollars for the Radio. During the rehearsal I knew things. The instant we went live, my mind resembled a Clint Eastwood movie…empty except for tumbleweed and a strange whistling music.
My boss is co-host of an Internet radio program – SocialGeekRadio. I have been a guest once and a guest co-host once. Now I wasn’t horrible, but I was not my normally engaging self. Put me in the show chat room and I can feed info and ask questions like a Pro! But make it live and I will put you to sleep.
Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book Crush It! that we need to embrace our DNA. Be who we are and find our success within our own parameters. I have discovered that I am a producer or director. Some refer to this as being a control freak. I beg to differ. I can and will take care of the details. I don’t care to be the ‘Star’…however, being a tiara wearing girl…I will demand proper recognition in the credits.

Lesson for today: Define your own success. Find your own path.

If I keep this in mind I can move onward and upward, within my comfort zone and hopefully attain some level of success. So in the future when asked, I can respond like any Hollywood starlet…”what I really want to do is direct.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preventing Mr. Cellophane

One day at work I over heard a co-worker,Ray (name has been changed to protect the innocent), say that he felt like Mr. Cellophane from the musical Chicago. Hearing him voice this broke my heart, mostly because it was true. He is treated like Mr. Cellophane. He's not the smartest guy, or the most charming, or best looking...he's just sort of ...well...there.

As a woman that occasionally wears a tiara around the office, I cannot relate to this feeling. I strongly believe that everyone should feel like wearing a tiara at some point or another. What must it feel like to NEVER feel that way?

I made a decision, from that point on to ALWAYS speak to Ray. I say his name when I say good-morning. I hope this helps...I hope that for at least one moment during each day that he does not feel like Mr. Cellophane.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strangers on a Plane

When I was a kid...this one time at church camp...we made a habit of giving each others warm fuzzies. In our case, it was usually a shoulder rub - but in general it is doing something that makes another feel better.

Life gave me a warm fuzzy the other day. I was traveling home to Houston. Seated in my awesome aisle seat ready to go,when the pilot announced that we must sit there a while longer because of weather along our route. At which point the two men next to me started talking...and talking...honestly I was amazed at the lack of breaths they took. But their constant chatting and sitting on the tarmac made me cranky.

After take off, the younger guy sitting next to me, finally put his head on his tray table, declined food and went to sleep. I watched as his face slowly turned red and his body started to twitch. This kid was getting sick. In my not so happy mood, I determined that he must have e-coli and we were all going to die. I mourned the little boy sitting in the seat a head of us. Then the inevitable happened. The airsick bag did it's job.

The guy then looked at me, apologized and asked if I could get a flight attendant. I rounded up an attendant and he apologized to me again. I told him not to worry about it, that I was a Mom and could handle it. He asked the ages of my kids. After I told him they were 14 and 18, he shared that he too was 18. He had been traveling for 20 hours from Norway to get home to Phoenix.

At that moment, he stopped being a random traveler, and became someones son. He could be my son traveling between Marine bases. when his next request came...."Would you mind if I put my head on your leg?" I had to say yes. This poor sick kid needed to lay down, he needed a mom.

That is how we landed in Houston. His head in my lap and me rubbing his back. A weird sort of bond with stranger on a plane. I was not a cranky traveler when I got home. Life had forced me to connect with another human being, and I felt better.

So the next time that you seem to be sitting on the tarmac, open your heart and see what the universe hands you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Are your Employees Practicing the World's Oldest Profession?

I’m not asking if you run a brothel.

What I am asking is – Are your employees just going through the motions waiting for a paycheck? Do they have passion? Are they building relationships?

Even in the smallest businesses you can improve your business and your sense of community by helping your employees embrace their passion.

Is Mary passionate about the environment? Have her help implement a recycling program.
Is Bob a music aficionado? Work regularly to a soundtrack he has created.
Is Melody an animal lover? Ask her to coordinate a way for your business to benefit the local ASPCA.
Does Sue have an eye for design? Let her set up displays

At a loss? – Ask them…build a relationship with your employees and see if you can find a way to bring their passion to work

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's more fun to Engage

It is the end of my week of no self promotion via Twitter.

Yes my blog hits were down, but I had more fun. AND most importantly it lead to some engagement with a couple of great people.

I talked with Paula Pollock of Pollock Marketing Group about a Marketing Workshop she is developing. She and I will be talking offline this week. For those of you who are skeptical about using Twitter...that is how it is suppose to work.

I also got to 'talk' via twitter with David Garland. David's Twitter Profile can explain him better than I can -
" Founder/Host of The Rise To The Top on ABC and Online. The #1 Non-Boring Resource For Building Your Business: Smarter, Faster, Cheaper".

His show The Rise to the Top is now part of my RSS feed and I am hoping for time to watch the shows in his archives. David is personable and laid back in his approach to social technology and web-based business growth.

It has been a great week and my online strategy is going to continue to have "Promote the other guy" as it's top priority.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Communication Rocks!

Foursquare has been having technical difficulites. Foursquare is a mobile networking platform that allows you to explore your location and share tips with your friends in a gamelike manner where you accrue 'badges' and 'mayorships".

Yes is it frustrating, when a site you use regularlly goes down, but I need to give these guys a HUGE bravo!

In this age of social technology, communication is key. It is the reason we use the various platforms. To engage. ...Well it is how we are suppose to use the platforms, I won't get into those that use it as a soapbox.

In my experience, usually when there are technical difficuites (short of my local tv station) we hear nothing. Be it your inhouse tech department or your favorite website. If the system goes down you are don't know if it is you or the system. You reboot. You sit tight. You wait. is though all other means of communication ceases to exsist.

But not Foursquare! They maintained customer service in 140 characters no less!

A look at their Twitter Feed will show post after post of @replies explaining to users what was happening and offering assistance for those still having mobil app issues.

Thank you Foursquare for keeping the communication going, for using social technology to provide customer service.

How do you handle communication in your industry/department when you hit a bump in the road? Do you take a "let them eat cake" attitude and make them wait? Or do you embrace and respect your customers and keep them informed?

Edited to add:

As a follow up you may want to read this interview with Foursquare founder, Dennis Crowly about Growing your business, and his view on this topic.

Friday, April 30, 2010

For One Week - It's not about you - Try it

Earlier today I read "Social “Me”dia Syndrome: A Deadly Epidemic" on

I started thinking "What would happen if for one week your social technology usage was not about you?"

My tweetdeck has become a feed of shameless self promotion, and honestly it is making me a little cranky. The social media rockstars will tell you that the industry is about engaging. Engaging is why I have been connecting with people online for a decade.

So for one week lets try this.

No self promoting of your blog posts
No self promoting within your blogs
No self promoting of your latest webinar, podcast or speaking engagement - let them speak for themselves!
No retweeting those who retweet you
No retweeting ANYTHING with your name in it
You can say Thanks for the RT or Thanks for promoting my blog without including the original message.

You can say Thanks for the FollowFriday recommendation without including their recommendation.

Let's see what a week of engaging and supporting others looks like - that I do not seem hypocritical - FYI as soon as I hit the 'publish' button on the post it will automatically hit my faceook feed & my Tumblr page>twitter. That will be it - I will not schedule via for better publishing times.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cyber-Bullying has GOT to STOP

I am not an educator. I am not a psychologist. I am a Mom.

Oops I need more Cows!

Not long ago I became fed up with my Facebook newsfeed being overloaded with game updates. I hid them all! - I have a beautiful newsfeed now. I play the games, but I was missing what really matters, updates and pictures that my friends and family post.

The problem now is - I still play the games...and now I am missing out energy boosters and claiming extra treasure for my play time! -

With all the facebook changes that have taken place I could not figure out how to "unhide". ...I am sure a very uncommon problem. I know my fellow social networks are driven to the brink of insanity by them.

My friend Dana Lopez came to the rescue.


go to your news feed and set to "top stories"
scroll to the bottom - click 'edit options'
click the "applications" tab in the window that pops up
you will see all of your hidden apps
click the "add to newsfeed" button

VOILA! - you can now play again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Who Are You?

I will be celebrating my birth later on this week. Once again I find my life in a state of change. Recently I have gone back to school, bound and determined to complete my degree this time.

I am working on getting some credit for life experience. As part of this process I had to write a Learning Autobiography. This process was almost painful, but I learned more about myself during this process than during any other thing I have ever done. I learned that I have made a difference. I learned that my niche is communications. Funny because I always said - I just want to be heard.

Some times the stars just happen to align just right. As I was going through this process my boss determined that we should all work personal branding into our inbound marketing strategy. Read her blog post on it here.

I also found MindMapping . A writing tool to organize your thoughts. I thought they were really cool - but didn't work with the way I write - I am more of a stream of consciousness writer (is anyone surprised?)

I tried using a MindMap today to work towards personal branding, and I love the results!

What is your BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)?
What is your mission?
Why are you in the industry you are in?
Self-describing words
Words others use to describe you

Make it colorful - make it graphic - and see where you find yourself.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Play Nice

My favorite ad on TV right now is this one by Liberty Mutual .

Not only is the music great, but so is the message. Liberty Mutual calls it taking responsibility, I call it being nice.

I was raised to be nice. My friends were raised to be nice. We would be sent out to play with the reminder “Play nice”. One of my friends even thought it was a game we were suppose to play.

When did we stop being nice in America? When did name calling become OK? We use anything we can as an insult. We use a person’s ethnicity, religion, age…what have you – as a way to sling mud – to hurt them. We disagree politically and the next thing you know we’re are almost at the point to where we are going to draw blood.

I have seen people be down right rude because they disagree with someone. This is America - a melting pot of people and ideas - We are going to have differences of opinion. You are not always right. I am not always right.

Let's keep this in mind:

If two men on a job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, then both are useless. - Darryl F. Zanuck

If I am having a day when I cannot behave – I try to stay home, or at the very least keep my mouth shut. I beg of you – enough is enough – stop with the ugliness and name calling.

Play nice!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Twitter - Getting Started with 5 Tweets a Day

I know many people that are somewhat interested in twitter but have no idea what to tweet. They know they do not want to send out updates that they are having Cheerios for dinner or that a toddler just threw up on their shoes.

I have ranted in previous posts about people only tweeting what they have read. I also suggested different sorts of information that you may want to share given your area of expertise.

So let’s do this by the numbers – to get started try to send out five tweets a day.

1. Tweet one link that you find informative. This shows your area of expertise. You may have found this online link on facebook, your RSS feed, your Google reader or your favorite online news source…that doesn’t really matter.
2. Tweet one link to something that you find entertaining. This shows us who you are.
3. Retweet an informative tweet from someone you respect. This serves two-fold purpose. Expertise and Engagement
4. @Reply to someone you are following. Engagement, Engagement, Engagement!
5. Tweet an original thought – again so we know who you are.

These five will slowly turn into more as you find you have @replies to which you will need to respond and Thank yous for RTs. (Twitter requires manners)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to make Facebook less Creepy

A friend of mine is slowly finding her way into social media. Trying to make it relevant to her business and not just a "time suck".

Well, "creepy" is how she described Facebook to me today.

To make it seem less creepy, I suggested working those privacy settings. Maybe it is time for you to take another look at your settings. Who can see your updates? Pictures? Videos?

If you are like me, Facebook is for family and friends and I prefer that they be the only ones that can see all of my rants no matter how silly or ill advised.

To check yours:

go to the upper right hand corner and click the down arrow next to ‘account’ chose ‘privacy settings”

…then one by one you can change each thing so that only your ‘friends” (those you accept can see them)…that should help you feel better.

Happy Posting!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You are on Facebook - Now what

Many of you have a facebook account but are at a complete loss as to how to use it for your local business. Other than building a fan page, you can also become fans of organizations within your area. Once you are a fan, their updates will appear in your newsfeed and you can join in a conversation or just be aware of any upcoming events to which you may want to contribute.

To find Organizations:

Log into your account

Type keywords into the 'find people and more' box in the upper left hand corner. The key words should be the name of your city, county, region or state as well as an industry term like "plumber" "business" or "Education"

Facebook will return results to your search people first. At this time look to the left hand side and you will see a list that starts with all on the word 'pages'. This will narrow your results down to fan pages that fit within your criteria.

One by one click on the pages that interest you and click the "Become a Fan" button at the top of the page.

Their updates will now show in your newsfeed bringing what's new with them to you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Are you Corrosive?

According to

cor·ro·sive   [kuh-roh-siv] –adjective
1.having the quality of corroding or eating away; erosive.
2.harmful or destructive; deleterious: the corrosive effect of poverty on their marriage.
3.sharply sarcastic; caustic: corrosive comments on the speaker's integrity

It should be clear by now that I strive to be an optimistic person. I strongly believe in adding to whatever groups or teams to which I belong. Corrosive people are my pet peeve.

Being corrosive eats away at achieving goals. One corrosive agent can weaken the cornerstones of any organization. Bitching, complaining and finger pointing stops progress. Can you imagine being excited about the direction you are heading only to have someone insist on pointing out the downfalls and faults you have?

You cannot turn a blind eye to the corrosive agent in your midst. They will keep eating away, weakening and destroying what you are building. Corrosive people are in a negative place. They do not want to hear suggestions to improve their situation. Corrosive people are complete "know-it alls". The agent must be neutralized or removed.

A good team member does not turn a blind eye to the speed bumps in the way of progress, they acknowledge the obstacle and suggest ways to remove or work around it. A good team member is thrilled and excited about the goal and forward momentum.

...All corrosive people be warned - I am on a mission.... Everyone deserves encouragement and We all need to move forward...I won't let you stop progress. ...And I am not alone!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Building Buzz in your Bathrobe

I love love love my job. When you are lucky enough to be in this position, your mind never stops working on "What's next?". I am also a Taurus, which means I am all about comfort and luxury. This morning this means that I am still in my pajama's since it is my day off, but my mind is on our conference that starts in 7 days!

Using social technology makes this a productive time.

My blackberry helps me to respond to my boss' panic.

Twitter and Facebook updates about our search able hashtag (#CE2010) helps me to get the word out to those that cannot attend about how they can follow the events and stay informed. They can be there virtually.

This conference is going to be very "Hands On". Hands on smart phones. Hands on laptops. Who knows I may even show up with my pajamas on!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to Prepare a Presentation....Or OH NO I have Writers' Block

The last time I sent someone advice via email, the next thing I knew was that the same "HOW TO" advice ended up on some high profile blogs. No they did not steal my content - I just missed the timing on when that information was hot.

Tonight I sent a friend advice VIA Twitter - and decided not to miss the opportunity again!

@DebCE tweeted "I need to work on my presentation for conference. It's all in my head but won't spill out to the paper."

These are the steps I take when preparing a presentation.

- I imagine myself giving the talk, taking notes on what I am saying.

- Then take the notes and put them in some sort of order that makes sense using in full sentences.

- Then I read it out loud. At this point I fill in the blanks, adding more information to the places that I feel I have not been clear or have not explained a concept.

VOILA - I have my presentation.

Then I need to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE...and when I think I have it I practice some more. It doesn't kill the intimidation factor or stage fright - but it makes it a lot easier.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Choosing Happy

I want to tell you about Alba. Alba spreads happy. Alba is in her 30's and from Honduras. She is beautiful.

Alba works in the housekeeping department of my company. Her job is to empty trash cans, clean the bathrooms and vacuum among other things. I have worked many places and there are very few names of housekeeping staff that I remember, let alone ever met. She knows I am a coffee addict and always offers me a cup before closing down the pots for the night. She does her job well, but this is not what makes her remarkable.

She comes in each day with full hair and make up. She wears pretty sweaters and sparkly jewelry. A walk through the kitchen during her lunch is a veritable fiesta for your nose. She has made her lunch hour into an event worthy of engraved invitations and a VIP section.

I would not want to do her job. I wouldn't feel good about myself. But not Alba - Alba takes care of herself, She takes care of those of us whose offices she dusts. How can we not be happy when you hear a sing-song Latin tinted "Goood Moorning!"?

One has to be happy to get up each morning and make yourself pretty to run the vacuum cleaner.

I have been to after-work happy hours with Alba. While others were drinking too much and whining about work. Alba sat next to me leaned over and said "I don't like that" - "Why do they have to be ugly? It's not good, they should be happy." Those whining, complaining co-workers easily make much more money than Alba. They get to sit in offices with comfy chairs. Yet they were not choosing happy.

I am lucky enough to see this example of happy every day. I try very hard to live by Alba's example. It's difficult. Stress can make you crazy. But I think the next time that life starts to get me down. I am going to ask myself "What would Alba do?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to Play Rock Paper Scissors

How can you have fun at work if you do not know how to play the simplest of games OR settle disputes in playground manner?

I was actually just told by a tiara worthy co-worker that she did not know how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors.

So for her and the rest of you out there that probably spent your childhood pursuing education and you go.
How to Play Rock Paper Scissors

Stand facing your opponents
Count to 3

You each throw a sign for either Rock (a fist), Paper (hand held flat), or Scissors (2 fingers out like scissors)

Rock beat scissors (they can break them)
Scissors beats Paper (they can cut)
Paper beats Rock (it covers it)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

You DO Have Something to Offer via Social Technology

Maybe you are finally convinced that social technology and personal branding is not going anywhere and you want to get started before it changes. You understand that it is about sharing, but have no idea what you are suppose to share. Let me help you think outside the box.

I have taken a sampling of my facebook friends and will use their professions as examples of what I would do if I were them.

Use Blogs, Micro Blogs, Video and Podcasts:

Teacher- Give those lessons you always wanted to teach, but don’t have the opportunity within the confines of the school system. Online book club and reading discussion

HVAC installers – blog the product options, video do-it yourself maintenance

Dental Hygienist – Oral health, product optinions, how to floss, why smiling is good for your mental health

Hair Stylist – How to blow dry or flat iron, using At-Home products. Changing your cosmetics when changing your hairstyle or color

Retired Police Officer – Public safety, Using headlines – how to prevent issues in the future, Examples of how a department or agency has done it right.

Home Inspector – Home maintenance, when to do it yourself, when to hire an expert, Vinyl vs. Brick etc.

Office Supplies – Office organization! (Who doesn’t need that!), Pros & Cons of different office equipment, Highlighter art & Paperclip chains

This is just a sampling of the options – the beginning of the brainstorming. Keep going. Nothing is too silly – you would be surprised at what people do not know, or what will enterain them and keep them coming back.

After you have made your list of professionally related topics, mix in some of your personal interests. This is where the personal banding comes in. Posts about your latest kitchen masterpiece, your workout, fishing trip or little league coaching lets people know who you are and helps them to bond with you.

Remember to keep it positive and don’t be afraid to go there!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to Make Change

I was reading Deb Evans' Blog, and when I read this sentence “I plan to be a strong leader and dig much deeper into the how I plan to lead.”, I thought how that statement would strike fear into some people. That statement would elicit a ‘great what do I need to do now’ out of some. Others would start whining about what changes would come.
Employees hate change. Most times after a staff meeting where changes are announced, water cooler talk and closeted conversations are full of negativity and bitching. This turn of events always makes me a bit crazy. Announcements of change usually excite me.
I love being able to look my job in a different way. New challenges! Change keeps us from becoming stale. Change prevents burnout. Change keeps us learning.
As a leader how do you present change? Do you dictate and mandate?
As a leader, announcing change by saying “we are going to work harder”, “we are going to do things differently” is a BIG no-no. Your employees hear “You are going to work harder” “You have to change things up”. Employees know that by saying ‘WE” – you mean them and that you, the leader has no intention of changing.
Change must be announced with enthusiasm. Change must be announced, by letting the people you lead know YOU as the leader intend to change, even if you are excited about announcing mandates from the parking lot instead of your corner office. Your people need to know what YOU are going to do. You must lead by example. If you want your team to dig deeper, you must dig deeper. Lead by example. Be positive. Open your door to your employees, acknowledge challenges. And most importantly, before asking your people if they are willing to follow you, tell them where you are leading them.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Can Franchising Save Small-Town America?

I grew up in small New England towns. The people in these towns are an independent lot. Generally, we did not have national franchises. There was the local bakery, no Dunkin' Donuts. There was no Dairy Queen or Sonic to hang out at after school, mostly we all went to work after classes, if a job could be found. Ironically, we moved from each of these towns shortly after they each got their first McDonalds (purely coincidental). I believe the feeling was that national chains would detract from the individual identity of the area.

I work for an international franchisor and attended my first International Franchising Association Convention last week. The first bit of information that I took away is, the values of the majority of these businesses align with small town values: Quality, Commitment, & Customer Service.

As I write this, the unemployed young man that is working on my car came inside. We discussed his job hunt, he has applied at one franchise store several times, and not the local store, because of the service he has received at the establishment. He said he noted that the manager at the local store was rude, and mistreated his employees, making a bad work environment. Small town workers want to be part of quality & customer service focused businesses.

When I return to my hometowns, I am sad. They are dying. They are small and dark. People need to drive for miles to get a spool of thread or a pot holder.

One can tell from the number of farmer's markets and craft fairs that the entrepreneurial spirit lives in the hearts of these people. However money and opportunity prevent most from gaining the experience they need to run a successful business. If small town business-person were to invest their money in a franchise system instead of an independent business, he would have the benefit of a proven system, the experience of the failures of those who came before him.

Successful businesses provide jobs and grow local economies. Those looking at a start up business as well as franchisors should look at the small towns. The memory of having a donut with the locals at the town bakery can be as warm and pleasant as the memory of having to drive 120 miles for a chocolate honey-dipped Dunkin' Donut.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Personal Branding Lessons Learned from Brett Farve...NOT

Let me start by saying that this post is in no way meant to dismiss Brett Farve's football playing abilities. The man has been playing for years and has an arm like a cannon. However, they way in which the sports press deals with him grates on my last nerve, making me wish that the man would just retire already. I have noticed this "Brett Farve" trend all season, and it came to a head for me during the NFC Championship game on Sunday.

Announcers insist on saying his full name repeatedly, and giving him so much coverage that one anyone else playing? Is he part of a team? During the first quarter of Sunday's game the announcers said his full name fifteen times! Yes, I counted. At the end of the first quarter I decided to write this post and in the name of fairness noted the number of times I also heard "Drew Brees". Final Count for quarters 2 through overtime (it was a good game)...Brett Farve got 34 mentions and Drew Brees had 16. Over twice as many! I did not count the times last names or first names alone because I realize they need to be referred to in some way.

To add insult to injury..Fox sports also treated us to a quick "Brett Farve" Interview about the noise level...apparently noise is not an issue for Brees...and a short video bio clip informing us of Farve's connection to New Orleans...My guess is that Brees is now connected to the city he plays for. If I had counted the number of times the camera cut to an adoring shot of Farve on the sidelines watching the game, I would now me suffering for carpal tunnel.

What does this have to do with business or personal branding you may ask?...Well, there comes a point when the general public is aware of your name, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the product or service you provide. Let your cusomter service speak for you. Be great, have longevity & become an icon...don't become just another name.

We want to root for Old "What's his name" the Vikings Quarterback with the killer pass.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rules of Engagment

I hear a lot that social media doesn't work or I don't believe in social media. I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and if this is what you believe then fine, move along and embrace what works for you. However, if you want to give it a chance, you must use it properly for it to work.

Initially, you must understand that what you are trying to gain is the new ROI - Return on Influence. Meaning that the more people that want to connect with you, the larger your sphere of influence, and eventually they may become business partners, clients or customers. Simply following, friend requesting or linking does not "connect" you. In order to really connect, to build real ROI - you must engage.

I don't want to sound like Pollyanna here, but the truth of the matter is that people will want to engage with you if you are positive. No one wants to engage with someone that is going to challenge their opinions all time. No one wants to engage with someone that is going to use their social media venues as a soapbox. These situations are uncomfortable in person, and no one is going to seek them out online.

To engage properly, be positive & be helpful.

You can disagree with an opinion expressed, no problem. The best practice within social media is to either, ignore it or respectfully disagree with a point and give a reason why.

Being helpful is nothing more than being a fan. Posting a link or giving a review to your favorite restaurants, authors, stores, TV shows...whatever you really enjoy is helpful to them. This also adds to your transparency, as your connections will know the real you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to be a Great Boss

I have been very very lucky when it comes to bosses. I have learned much from each one I have had. I now know what it takes to be a great Boss.

Boss # 1...was kind of a creep, but he taught me that there is always something to do. He made his expectations clear

Boss # 2...When you see potential...foster it, find a way to help your employee grow

Boss # 3...Listen...when a new employee, has an out of the box idea - give it a shot. It helps inspire a sense of ownership of the task.

Boss # 4...say 'Thank You' at the end of the day, they will be glad they came to work and happy to come in tomorrow.

Boss # 5...acknowledge your employee's expertise, they will be proud of the job they do for you.

Boss # 6...When reprimanding an employee...take responsibility for any training you may have failed to provide (this sucks for the employee - but it WORKS!)

Boss # current Boss...provide constant challenges for the employee to meet. Do not let them settle.

and just to make it an even 10

#8 - Be a team leader not a tyrant
#9 - Be the not fear the wrath of your employees
#10 - Show them respect...unless you are hiring High School students, you have employed adults..treat them as such.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to be a Great Employee

I have been an employee for 25 years, and for many of those I have been a great employee. I have learned a few things over the years that can help anyone become great.

The first thing you should know: Your employer is not required to employ you. You are not doing them a favor by showing up everyday. Unemployment is high and under employment is higher. There are others out there that would be more happy to have your job. So suck it up and try to have a good attitude most days.

Second, you are not entitled to a raise. You accepted your job at an agreed upon wage. Why should your employer pay you more for performing the same task. If you want more more work. On the same note: Employers if you have an employee that is going above and beyond on a frequent and regular basis...pony up more cash.

And lastly you were hired to do a job. You were not hired to text, surf the next or spend 8 hours taking care of your personal business. Any boss worth their salt will respect that occasionally you have things that need to be taken care of during business hours, but DO NOT take advantage of them.

Show your employer respect, realize that times are tough and step up. Be great!