All posts by tammylfinch

Trick or Treat – Which do you choose?

It’s that time of year – Halloween! Those with children or those of you that are just big kids have a lot of fun this time of year participating in it. That begs the question, are you ALSO having fun at work? You should! It just takes a little extra effort and the payoff is less stress, more fun, better relationships and more engaged team members.

Taking into account the landscape in the workplace today, plus personal preferences, I am going to provide a list you can cherry pick and you decide what works for you. But please, DO SOMETHING! It’s worth it!

TRICK OR TREAT – WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?

Below is a list straight off of a blog site, OFFSITE, designed for private meeting and event ideas. Good stuff! They have created a list of nine easy and relatively quick (30 minutes or less) Halloween team building activities that could be conducted in an office or remote location.

1. Pumpkin Drawing Contest
If you are in the market for a quick office Halloween game, instruct team members use washable markers to create a personalized mini pumpkin, which also makes for a festive desk decoration.
Give the team a time limit for drawing their creation. After the time is up, incorporate a contest such as best drawing, worst drawing, or funniest drawing. Create some sort of incentive by allowing the winner to earn a free candy bar of their choice – after all, it is Halloween.

2. Pumpkin Carving Contest
This one is self-exclamatory, bring pumpkins into the office for those who would want to participate. Not everyone is going to be a master carving artist, but it will be fun to see how creative people will get with their designs. Set a time limit so that the artists in the room know when to wrap things up. Appoint a team of judges and award the winners with a prize.

3. Costume Contest
Encourage everyone in the office to wear a costume to work. By hosting a costume contest, you can see how creative and innovative co-workers can be. Give the team a few weeks’ notice(if possible), so that everyone has time to put together their costume. Each person will vote for their favorite costume and the winner can receive a prize, such as a free lunch or gift card to a local restaurant.

4. Guess that Candy
Fill a large bucket (or makeshift cauldron) with a variety of wrapped candy. To finish off a meeting or presentation, invite each member up to the cauldron to blindly stick their hand into the bucket and select a candy.
Each member will try to guess which candy they have selected by just the feel of the wrapper. If the member guesses their candy correctly, they get to choose the candy of their choice. If the member guesses incorrectly, they are stuck with that candy. Either way, everyone’s a winner here!

5. Mummy Wrap
Another game you and your co-workers may remember from elementary school is the infamous mummy wrap! Everyone is split into teams and one person from each team will be wrapped with toilet tissue from head to toe so that they look like a mummy. The first team to completely wrap the mummy wins, extra points for creativity and style. If your team can customize the mummy costumes to fit your brand or company theme, have at it! Don’t forget to have a mini photo shoot with the mummies.

6. Halloween Movie Trivia
Classic trivia never fails! If your team is going through a long presentation or meeting, add in Halloween movie trivia questions every now and then (to break up the information). This will put the team in the Halloween spirit while keeping them on the edge of their seat. You can quiz them on quotes or see who can identify a movie clip from YouTube.

7. Finish that Halloween Tune
Have some music fan in the office? Nothing will get your group in the Halloween spirit like some classic Halloween music.
Similar to musical chairs, have the group walk around a table in a circular motion as the music plays. One individual should be controlling the music and stopping it at random times. When the music stops, whoever is standing closest to the dubbed singing area (mark a chair with a pumpkin or pass a small pumpkin around the circle as an alternative to walking) must finish out the next few words to the song.

If the team member is unable to recite the words, they are out! The remainder of the group can continue this until there is just one person standing – this is recommended for groups of 10 people or fewer.

8. Mystery Box
For a group of daredevils, fill a spooky looking box or cauldron with a variety of items that feel like brains, bones, and eyeballs but are actually just common everyday items. Employees will stick their hand in the box to feel the item and guess what it is. Some suggested items include candy corn for teeth, baby carrots for toes, uncooked pasta for bones, and a peeled tomato for a heart. Have everyone write down their answers so that nobody spoils it for others.

Some suggested items include candy corn for teeth, baby carrots for toes, uncooked pasta for bones, and a peeled tomato for a heart. Have everyone write down their answers so nobody spoils it for others.

9. Guess How Much is in the Jar
For a more long-term Halloween activity, set up 3 to 5 different jars of candy and line them up in a popular place in the office.
Set a date when the number of candies in each jar will be revealed and encourage office members to submit their guess either via email or by filling out a card and placing it into the proper jar’s submission box.

Before filling the jars, don’t forget to count how many candies are actually in there. Popular candies to use for this activity include candy corn, M&Ms, Skittles, and maybe even some wrapped candy to change it up.

The office member that makes the closest guess will get to take the full candy jar home with them or share with the group! This activity is easy and requires very minimal work.
You ALL work hard and it is time to treat you and your teams to some fun.

Thanks for reading. Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone.

A LABOR DAY MESSAGE FOR US ALL

Hello everyone! It’s back to school time, nearing the end of Summer and we are about to hit a holiday weekend. I don’t know about you, but typically this is where I (and many of you I am sure) start to “hit the wall” mentally and physically. This seems like the perfect time for a reminder on what really matters and how to live a less stressful, more fulfilling life day to day. This month’s newsletter is a reprint from an article last week in USA Today on a now-famous nun who exemplifies this perfectly. Sister Jean rocks! And through the words shared in this article straight from her own, maybe we all can drop our stress level, smile more and have more fun and joy.
Happy reading!!

 

A LABOR DAY MESSAGE FOR US ALL
(The following is a reprint of an article from columnist Nancy Armour – USA Today, Aug. 21, 2019)
It’s all in the attitude.
Good genes help, too. But when Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt was asked – several times, in several ways – for the secret to her longevity as she celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday, Loyola-Chicago’s most famous fan kept coming back to one word.
Joy.
“I try and look upon the joy I find in everyone,” Sister Jean said, a sparkle in her eyes and a smile stretching across her face. “Joy is so important. Sometimes you’re going to have sad days, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our joy. You can still have that.”
A 100th birthday is a momentous occasion for anyone. But when you are Sister Jean, Loyola’s team chaplain and its most beloved fan, the celebration isn’t just for you. It’s for everyone who’s come in contact with Sister Jean, in person or through Loyola basketball, a chance to once again feel the simple joy – there’s that word again – that endeared her to them in the first place.
It’s why Loyola pulled out all the stops Wednesday afternoon, from a massive cake to T-shirts and buttons commemorating the day. It’s why several hundred students and staffers crowded into the lobby of the Student Center, the crowd so big extra chairs were brought in and some staked out places along the edge of a staircase overlooking the stage so they could get a better view.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker came, praising the impact she’s had and declaring Wednesday to be “Sister Jean Day” all across the state. Loyola’s president announced that an alum had donated $250,000 for an endowed scholarship fund in Sister Jean’s name, a sum the university has already agreed to match.
In a birthday tribute video by some of college basketball’s biggest names, Charles Barkley might have said it best:
“To be able to wish you a happy 100th birthday is really cool,” Barkley said. “You’re an amazing lady, special and significant.”
It didn’t matter if you’d had a long attachment to Loyola or had never heard of the Jesuit school on Chicago’s north side before the men’s NCAA basketball tournament two years ago, people all over the world were captivated by Sister Jean. When she held a news conference at the Final Four, done because Loyola had been inundated with interview requests for her, the room was filled to capacity.
“I thought it was going to be five or six people in the room,” Sister Jean said Wednesday. “Before we started, the moderator said, ‘This is more than Tom Brady had.’ Wow. Comparing me to Tom Brady.”
Part of the fascination with Sister Jean is her age and spunk, sure; she’s more sharp now than some people half her age, and she continues to send Loyola coach Porter Moser and his players her scouting reports. Sister Jean also thinks she’s something of a curiosity, as far from the dour image of a nun as you can get in her ever-present maroon-and-gold striped scarf and custom-made Nikes.
There’s something more, though, a simplicity and pureness of heart too rarely seen anymore. When she talks of praying for everyone she’s encountered in life – “I can’t pray for you all by name otherwise my knees would get too sore” – you know she means it, and it makes you feel a little better.
“You continue to bring light upon others,” said Donte Ingram, a starter on the Final Four team. “Me and everybody else are very appreciative of that.”
There’s a calm to Sister Jean, too, a gentle reminder to slow down and appreciate what’s around you. She might not have a lot of money or flashy possessions, but she’s happy with her life and, with the wisdom of 100 years, she can assure you that that’s more valuable than anything.
“In order to have an impact on people, we have to be happy ourselves,” she said. “Just be happy, be yourself. As I told the freshmen today, you have to be yourself. You can’t be anybody else.”
Sister Jean turned 100 on Wednesday, and her continued presence is a gift to us all.

Be Sure to Let ‘Em Know

It’s THAT time of year. Summer is over, school is back in full swing and the year-end crunch is upon us all! Planning meetings, budget meetings, annual reviews. The list goes on and on. Believe it or not, NOW is the perfect time to be sure to say “Thanks”.
BE SURE TO LET ‘EM KNOW
What’s that you say? Give “thanks”? Isn’t that just for Thanksgiving? Not in my book. The holidays are absolutely my favorite time of year to thank people for their efforts, dedication, accomplishments, loyalty and results for the past year. It is also a time when I always try to take a much more personal touch and check in on them to see how they are doing, what their plans are for the holidays, how they feel about the year just passed and what they look forward to in the new year. BUT….you don’t have to wait for the holidays to implement that! Now is probably the absolute best time for you to take a deep breath, really think about what folks have done and are doing that is GOOD and THANK THEM, ENCOURAGE THEM and RECOGNIZE THEM. It helps everyone reboot, recharge and recommit for the push to the end of the year.
Really let people know how you feel about them and let them know that that they are recognized and valued not just as employees, but as friends, confidantes, colleagues. In other words, the whole spectrum of “people possibilities”. Not just those at work. Why? IT FEELS GOOD. It makes us appreciate what we have to be grateful for in our lives with them. It builds long-lasting relationships that will sustain us through tough times ahead as well as build a better network of people to also help us celebrate our successes, exchange ideas with, learn from and most of all….count on!
Look folks, it’s a much more complex, demanding, challenging and often frenetic world we live in today. NOW is the time of year to make sure we really take the time to look around, see clearly and let people know you noticed them. It’s mighty lonely out there without that. And it’s been proven time and time again that no matter how independent someone may be or think they are, our health, vitality and longevity are positively impacted by strong connections to others. It’s true, no human is an island unto themselves.
And if I may take a moment, THANK YOU for helping me have such a wonderful, rewarding and awesome career since starting GCI . Thanks to most of you reading this, the month of September 2019 marks the start of year 18!! Hard to believe and I am oh so grateful. Follow my lead and don’t just send an e-mail. Whenever possible, find the time and place to reach out to people face to face. And another great option is to send hand written cards, notes and letters. Just remember, while e-mails and texts can mean well and seem really easy to use, they also can be misread, misinterpreted, even missed completely. I myself have been proven guilty of that one. And it is always dicey and sometimes exhausting to have to clean up the mess we never intended to create in the first place!
Hey, we learn from our experiences and I am no exception to that! One thing I know means a lot to all, even if they profess “that wasn’t necessary” is the personal thanks. To this day I have an array of thank you cards, notes and letters from Coaching clients who I  am honored to have worked with in the past. Those personal touches and the time it took to do that little thing meant a lot to me. HINT!
So, what’s the message? Value relationships no matter what type. Nurture them. Celebrate and sustain them. Especially this holiday season. But also….ALL YEAR ROUND. They deserve it. And so do all of you!

An Independence Day Reminder

Getting things done correctly and on time is a daily challenge in today’s fast paced working world. Lack of time and resources, more responsibility, higher performance demands, restructuring, and job changes have fundamentally changed the way work is completed. Based on real world experience, along with a variety of research, it is obvious the majority of workers today are depending more and more on others to help them complete their work. Or they should be! Often these are individuals with whom you do not share the same goals and might not have any authority over.
Can you think of someone who didn’t have to help you with your workload but did so anyway? Ever wonder why the heck they decided to help you? Is it because they already knew you? Or is it perhaps because you had helped them in some way in the past? Maybe they did so just because you had developed a personal connection with this person based on some things as simple as mutual respect, common interests, and shared values?
The bottom line is, better working relationships help us do our jobs more effectively, with less effort and less stress. Always a good thing! I have said it many times and it holds true today more than ever, people generally like to help other people. Especially those they have gotten to know better, genuinely like, trust and also know they can count on you. Those that don’t just make it all about them. People are willing to help others who they know, like, and connect with, especially if the relationship is one of give-and-take. Knowing how and with whom to build these “strategic” relationships is an important part of any job and requires special skills.
Strategic working relationships can help you in a variety of ways. It can help you get assistance when you need it, often without even asking. Important information is often needed to complete a task or project and these same relationships can help ensure you get what you need, in a timely fashion. That in turn can help avoid problems that might occur otherwise. These same relationships can help provide you with an invaluable support network, as well as a sounding board and second opinion, when needed. And last but not least, building these more effective, strategic relationships can help us all have more FUN while achieving our goals and advancing and enhancing our careers.
Building strategic working relationships is often mistakenly labeled as not being genuine. Or it can be seen as using others for your own gain. It is NOT! Perhaps it is the use of the term “strategic”. It doesn’t mean just being nice to others. And it’s not purely about using others to benefit you and your goals. The KEY objectives of building better, strategic relationships at work are to:
  • Focus on and develop solid, long-term working relationships with people you count on to help you get your job done.
  • Taking the time to proactively build these relationships
  • Collaborating so that BOTH parties achieve their work goals. A win-win outcome!
 
 QUICK TIPS FOR SUCCESS
  • *Send thank you notes (hand-written preferred!!) to those who have helped you.
  • *Make sure that the appropriate managers(unless that is you)know when one of their staff has helped you. Catch ’em doing something right today as I always say.
  • *Offer to help someone as least 1X per week.
  • *Be extremely aware and in tune with the need to pass along any and all needed information. Better too much than too little.
  •  *Here’s an important and often uncomfortable tip. Try it, it works over time when genuine and real. Identify the person you LEAST like working with and compliment them on something they have done. One Minute Manager praisings work well here!
  • *Be conscious of using casual work settings such as the elevator, break room, lunch area, etc. to introduce yourself to someone who could help you achieve your goals. Not always easy and comfortable, but it can pay big dividends for both of you, in many ways. If you struggle with small talk, chatting it up a bit, being proactive in this way I might suggest finding a book called “The Fine Art of Small Talk”, by Debra Fine. It has a lot of lists, tips and choices on how to break the ice and get to know people a bit better no matter your introversion or extroversion.
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Leaders and successful people, consciously or unconsciously, have learned you “can’t go it alone”. The power of working with others, building better relationships at work, making it not just about you but also about them makes life much easier. And it can certainly help your career and the level of success you achieve! Soooo…on this upcoming Independence Day, stop being TOO independent! It will make life at work and away much more enjoyable!
Have a happy and safe 4th of July Everyone!!!
Dave

Memorial Day Lessons

Every Memorial Day weekend, since the movie Saving Private Ryan first came out, I have made it a habit to watch it again. Since the first time I viewed it, I became more aware of the price men and women past and present, have paid to help ensure our freedom we enjoy today. From the opening scenes on Omaha Beach to the closing scene with Private Ryan visiting the cemetery with his family to pay his respects to his leader, the late Captain John Miller, I was more aware and moved than anything I had scene before. But I also could not help but notice some recurring themes of what makes great leaders from some of the most ordinary, normal and humble men.
Seven Things to Remember and Emulate from Saving Private Ryan
  1. Lead By Example – The absolute best leaders are those that never ask someone on their team to do something they themselves would not be willing to do. Capt. Miller exemplified that by charging ahead into the artillery fire and bombardment of the beach, just like he needed and expected his men to do. And follow his lead they did indeed, no matter the fear they were feeling.
  2. Honesty is THE Best Policy – The classic example of that would be when Capt. Miller diffused a highly combustible situation among his own men over whether or not to release the German soldier just captured. How? He revealed his true self. He was genuine, authentic and open. A real person just like them. It worked.
  3. Sometimes We Just Have to Follow The Mission – There were several instances where, despite a potential lack of confidence or belief in their mission, the Captain never showed that to his team. The wrong words and actions as a leader can destroy a mission in no time. Remember, when the leader, all eyes are on you. Always.
  4. Establish Authority and Create Purpose – One key lesson shown over and over again is that every member on the team has a role and a purpose, no matter how many stripes they have on their shoulder. All are equal partners and cogs in the wheel. Without this, they have no chance of successfully completing their mission.
  5. Learn From Your Mistakes- An old saying goes that if you are not making mistakes, you’re not really trying hard enough. The whole key, as exemplified in the movie, is to analyze and learn from your mistakes so as not to repeat them and to have more success in the same scenario down the road.
  6. Leaders Exist at ALL Levels – Every member of that team exhibited leadership through their own actions and/or words. Each with their own style, but all with a common goal of completing the task at hand, as a team.
  7. Leaders are GREAT Listeners – Many people that fancy themselves as leaders think THEY have to have all the answers. Great leaders, especially Capt. John Miller, were not afraid to seek counsel, ask for feedback, suggestions, or ideas. Great leaders not only ask, they then listen, process and take action from that.
Personally, despite the violence, blood and guts shown in the movie I wish every school kid in the USA, at a certain age, was made to watch this movie as a part of their curriculum. It certainly drives home many lessons I think get forgotten all too often today. And it COULD help to also spark some great leaders of tomorrow. I know every time I watch it I am moved to tears at the end. It makes me contemplate and appreciate even more all the things that I have today and all too often take for granted. Thanks to some great leaders in our past.

We are all in the same storm

Hello again faithful readers. I hope you are all doing well or at least the best you can do during these challenging times. No doubt, while we are all in this together and facing the challenge, the rest of the story differs from person to person.

The following is a Facebook post from an OLD high school classmate I saw on-line a few days ago that I wanted to share. Seems like a great message and a good reminder. While we may be going through these times together, what we may be dealing with is wide ranging and often the untold story we all need to be aware of and sensitive to.

I hope you find this helpful. Read on please.

WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME STORM

IOWA Covid-19 Breaking News

Posted April 23rd

“After listening to some pretty harsh comments & arguing over reopening or completely shutting down for another two weeks, someone in their right mind wrote this.
Don’t know who wrote it, but it’s spot on.
Perspective:

WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT …
I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.
For some that live alone they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.
Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.
Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.
Realize that and be kind.”
-Unknown author
Things will get better and we will find our balance and our way. But…..remember your friend, co-worker, neighbor and anyone else you may encounter. Who knows what their personal experience might be.

Thank you for reading.
Dave

Lessons from our Four-Legged Friends

Hi and welcome back, everyone! We are almost to the end of June and soon….the 4th of July!! And it finally, finally feels like Spring/Summer after a long delay for many of us. And soon, rather than rain and cold, we will suddenly be in the midst of Summer. Or as it is know once the heat kicks in “the dog days of Summer”. Fitting based on what this month’s newsletter is going to be all about. So, for those of you dog lovers and observers out there, and even those who are not……read on! I think you will enjoy it.

This month’s lesson is straight off of Facebook of all things. The following is a post just viewed by me last night. I felt it was SO good and so worth reading, I made a last minute change to the topic for this month. Sometimes the best stuff you just don’t change…you share. Here ya go!

Life Lessons from Our Four-Legged Friends

Facebook post by Bill Overton
October 8, 2018

WHY DOGS LIVE LESS THAN HUMANS
Here’s the surprising answer of a 6 year old child.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs’ lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued,
“Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be faithful.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

That’s the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog.

I don’t know about you, but I think sometimes it would serve us all well to read this, think, smile and APPLY some of these lessons. I know I will!

Thanks so much for reading.
Dave

Keeping THE Most Important Customers Happy

The role of recognition and recognizing employees has been significantly under-appreciated as an important driver of business success, profitability, and performance in most organizations.
According to most of the research, 99.4 percent of today’s employees expect to be recognized when they do good work, while other research has found that only 12 percent of employees strongly agree that they are consistently recognized in ways that are important to them and nearly three times as many (34 percent) disagree or strongly disagree that they are recognized in ways that are meaningful to them.

Additional findings on employees that DO receive employee recognition in their workplace:
–          5 times more likely to feel valued
–          6 times more likely to invest in the company
–          7 times more likely to stay with the company
–          11 times more likely to feel completely committed
Towers Perrin conducted some research that showed committed employees deliver 57 percent more effort than uncommitted ones.  It has also become clear in recent years that there is a definite link between employee recognition and employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty. Employee Recognition is a hugely significant driver in the employee engagement, customer satisfaction, profitability equation. The end result is enhanced bottom-line success for the organization.
In a study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board , it was clear that recognition was one of the top methods for increasing employee retention. And in a study by Towers Perrin, in 2008, “…companies with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income and a 28% increase in earnings per share. In contrast, companies with poor employee engagement scores had declining operating incomes and an 11% drop in earnings per share.”
Based on all these research findings, it is obvious that internal employee engagement directly impacts the external customer experience and their relationships.  Without true employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty, much of what is invested in the customer experience is wasted.
The numbers cited in these studies have only become bigger and more important today!
The most common recognition areas are:
  • Years of service – 58 percent
  • Going above and beyond with an unexpected work project – 48 percent
  • Successful performance relating to the organizational financial bottom-line -43 percent
  • Exemplary behavior that represents organizational values – 37 percent
  • Completion of regular work projects with high-quality results – 9 percent
  • Completion of regular work projects at a pace faster than usual – 2 percent
HOW to recognize these events, accomplishments and positive results???? Go to the internet! Check it out! There are tons of ways to do this. Or call, write, text me with questions and interest in this area. I can guarantee you that some keys to success are 1) make the recognition time sensitive whenever possible 2) words and handshake come first, followed by e-mails as a backup plan not the lead action 3) old-fashioned, hand written thank you’s, “attaboys/girls”…in other words one minute praisings in writing that are real, genuine, specific and earned. There’s waaay more. Go find all the ideas available to you!
Here is Exhibit A of what I am talking about, just received by me, the new external customer for a dentist office here in CO. Who does this anymore?? Not many! And, why can’t you do this for your employees and co-workers? Just think what would happen if there was a little of this injected into the workplace!
I hope you enjoyed this issue and found something you can put to use to boost your employee engagement and organizational success. The best employee recognition programs cost your company nothing to practically nothing in real dollars. But if done consistently, you’ll be reaping MUCH in increased productivity, employee retention, customer satisfaction and better bottom line results!

There Are NO EXCUSES

job performance coaching
In my travels, especially this new year of 2018, I continue to have the pleasure of meeting people who exhibit what I consider a critical quality to life and work/career. There are tons of attributes, key characteristics, behaviors that help people succeed and overcome challenges. But the one that seems common in both the “regular folks” and those who seem to overachieve is PERSISTENCE. They may or may not see the challenge facing them, but between attitude, focus and an ability to not give up and drive towards their goal….they get there.
This month, I am revisiting one of my all time favorite stories exemplifying all of that and more, much more. And this time we will bring you up to speed on where that inspirational person is today. First written about a little over two years ago, this story is even more amazing today!
So, without further delay, let’s learn all about the “NO EXCUSES” approach to life from one of the best, Isaiah Bird.
No Excuses
Isaiah’s life is far from the norm for most if not all of us for a variety of reasons. He was born with a birth defect that resulted in his being born with no legs. In addition to that, he was being raised in far from ideal circumstances. His father has been in prison a large amount of the time and his parents have actually been involved in domestic violence against each other. He lives the majority of the time now in a church homeless shelter in Glen Cove, NY with his mother and younger brother. Based on that, his age and his physical challenges one might think Isaiah is doomed to a very difficult life. Keep reading!
Luckily for Isaiah a guardian angel came into his life at school. Miguel Rodgriguez, a classroom aid who also functions as a wrestling coach, took Isaiah under his wing. During the wrestling season, Isaiah stays 5-6 days a week with Rodriguez, his girlfriend, Miguel’s own son (Elijah) and his mother. Miguel himself came from Venezuela to the US back in 1997, with practically nothing and very few prospects for success. According to Miguel, wrestling saved his life. He now is doing his part to provide a platform for Isaiah and his mother to achieve their own level of success.
Rodriguez has been the coach of the Long Beach NY Gladiators for a number of years. They are a competitive youth wrestling club with a long history of success in New York State wrestling. Just as a trial to see how he would do, Miguel took Isaiah to practice with him one day. Flash forward just two short years later. Isaiah Bird, the boy with no legs, a rocky home life, no real father and limited prospects has become one of the best wrestlers in his age group for the entire state of New York. According to his coach and others, when he first started wrestling “He was cute. Now he IS the competition. He is the guy to beat.” Wow. Does he always win? No. But most of the time he does. And his attitude is exemplified in this quote from Isaiah. “I always try my best. It’s okay if you don’t win, because we go out there, shake hands, say ‘good job’ and that’s it.” But the biggest thing that jumped out from both Isaiah and his coach/mentor/father figure Miguel was the constant phrase “No excuses”.
Bird is now 9 years old and still is a competitive wrestler two+ years later. In fact, his record last year(2017) was 27-12. That alone amazes me. And Rodriguez is still Isaiah’s coach and teacher’s assistant, as he has been since the young competitor born with no legs was 5 years old.
When asked about his success, Bird says that he just keeps pushing on to be the best he can.
“[I say:] ‘I can do this. There’s no excuses. I can do this.’ And I just do it,” Bird told ABC News “And I keep practicing and practicing. If I, one day I get pinned … I go back to practicing and practicing and I get better and better and better.”
And Isaiah doesn’t limit himself to wrestling, either. He has many other activities he enjoys despite his seeming disadvantage of having no legs. Here’s a snippet from one of his many interviews, this one from the BBC. Check it out!
For such a very young man from a very troubling environment, Isaiah seems to have somehow figured some things out that many adults struggle with. In the telling of his story to numerous media outlets over the past 4+ years, Isaiah has clearly and consistently stated he wants to go to college, teach, have children of his own and spend his life teaching & coaching kids less fortunate.
Obviously, people do and have looked at him and felt bad, but clearly Isaiah feels much the opposite. I don’t know about you but I found it very inspirational. In closing, here is my favorite quote from our star and role model this month.  I just love this little guy and his message.
“My name is Isaiah Bird.   I have no legs, but that’s okay, because God made me that way. I’m a Gladiator, and there are no excuses.”

One Thing – What Successful People Have in Common

Welcome to the end of March and the approaching Easter weekend! And thank you to all who took the time to respond and reply with some great feedback on last month’s newsletter. Glad you enjoyed it! This month, let’s build on the fundamentals outlined in February’s newsletter on lessons from Olympians.
I have always found it motivational, inspirational and educational to hear the stories of others, some famous and some not so famous. So many times we think there is some “magic” to their success, but most times what we discover is what we actually have in common with them.
The number one thing that repeatedly comes up is the ability to overcome obstacles. Through whatever factors come into play for each of us, determination, resilience, toughness, focus on the end goal, the ability to adapt and the drive to never give up are attributes MANY people famous AND not so famous exhibit. I’m sure we all have examples of people who fit into this. So can you!
Here are a few names of the more well known you may be aware of that exemplify this.
Bill Gates – Yes, Bill Gates, perhaps the richest person in the whole world, experienced failure right out of the gate. His very first company, Traf-O-Data (a device which could read traffic tapes and process the data), was a complete failure. So the story goes, when Gates and his partner, Paul Allen, went out to try and sell it, the product wouldn’t even work. Did they let that stop them?? NO. Gates and Allen did not let that deter them from continuing to try, again and again. Gates partner, Paul Allen, has often said: “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.” In other words, through determination and overcoming obstacles, this failure helped them to become hugely successful!
Jim Carrey – While certainly not everyone’s “cup of tea”, there is no denying that Jim Carrey has become one of the more recognizable names in comedy and comedic acting. And he is hugely successful as a result of overcoming his own obstacles. When Carrey was 15 his family was so poor, he had to drop out of high school to help support them. To quote Carrey, “We went from middle class to poor”, eventually living, as a family, in a van. He did not let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian.
Bethany Hamilton – WHO is Bethany Hamilton you might be asking yourself?? Once I begin to describe her you’ll most likely remember immediately. Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark, at age 13, on the North shore of Kauai. Not just a little shark, it was a 14-15 foot tiger shark and it could have taken her life. I was just in those very waters, at that very spot, in September 2015. 20 feet of water, big waves and let me tell you I definitely was on the lookout as the local guide told the story of that day! So how did she respond?? After losing her left arm at age 13, doing something she had been doing since she was a small child, she was back on her surfboard one month later. Two years after that she took first place at the Explorer NSSA National Championships. Wow! Talk about showing the ultimate in determination and overcoming obstacles!
Steven Spielberg – Yes, we have all heard of him. He has become one of the most well known and prolific film makers of our time. The maker of “Jaws”, “Jurassic Park”, “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List”, along with many other films and TV projects, could not get into USC film school. This was his big dream and yet it was denied. Hmmmm, seems to have all worked out rather well for Mr. Spielberg. And ironically, he received an honorary degree from USC in 1994. Two years after that, in 1996, he became a trustee of the university. Quite a turnaround wouldn’t you say! He kept plugging, did not give up and overcame what at the time seemed like a crushing obstacle to his dream of making films.
Look, the bottom line is we all have it in us to persevere, overcome obstacles and keep moving forward towards whatever goals we might have personally and professionally. We sometimes just have to be reminded of how much we are truly capable of handling and achieving. If this newsletter helped in some small way to in that quest, great!
Thanks so much for reading. I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful and fun Easter Weekend. Take care and talk to you next month.