Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Saks II

My posting about incredibly lousy service (with a glowing exception) at Saks in New York has been up for several days, and a copy was sent to the store manager’s personal email. No one from the store has responded.

That’s why the sales help is so poor, because management is so poor. We have an account at Saks, we spent several thousand dollars on that one visit, and no one cares about the service at senior level. The consulting lesson: Leadership is everything.

Of course, too many times leadership is nothing. The sales guys are just emulating what they see.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 4/26/10

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo’s mission is to help readers to thrive.

April 26, 2010—Issue #32

This week’s focus point: Housing and car sales are up, unemployment is edging down, the market is up, government bail-out loans are being paid back early with interest. The recovery is here and getting stronger. Are things perfect? No. Are they improving? Yes. Interact and associate with those people who are positive and optimistic and who are comfortable with an abundance mentality. Stay away from those who would have you believe that we’re all victims. The next year can make or break your business based on YOUR decisions, not those of others.

Monday Morning Perspective: He played the king as though under momentary apprehension that someone else was about to play the ace. — Eugene Field on a performance of King Lear

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© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved

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The Odd Couple® in Vegas

Patricia Fripp and I are once again (for over a decade!) conducting The Odd Couple® Workshop for marketing professional speaking services this June in Las Vegas. Details are here: http://www.fripp.com/oddcouple.html

We’ve just waded through a flurry of schedule changes and related matters (the economy is recovering and assignments are reappearing with a vengeance) and we have a few unanticipated openings. There is a discount until the end of April, so I’m letting everyone know here and now.

Join us if you’re a trainer, workshop leader, keynoter, facilitator, panel moderator, emcee, or in any related line of work, and in two days we will help you improve your marketing and subsequent revenue by a couple of hundred percent. Don’t believe it? Check out the reference on the site. AND we have experts contributing in media publicity, technology strategies, multi-media, and a couple of former “world champions of speaking.”

You never know what Fripp and I are going to do (or disagree about). It’s a small investment for a huge return. (And the day prior I’m running a Process Visuals Workshop if you need help with your marketing and delivery communications. You can find that here.

For more info and to register: http://www.fripp.com/oddcouple.html

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Saks

I’m hosting the latest Mentor Hall of Fame Meeting at The Palace hotel on Madison Avenue in New York. We had a few hours of free time yesterday afternoon, and my wife said, “Do you need to buy anything while we’re here?”

“Summer shirts,” I suggested, and we agreed to visit Saks, the huge department store, which is less than a block from the hotel.

We selected a few things on the seventh floor, agreed to split up and then meet on the sixth floor, which has a great layout. You can walk around in a huge circle with a dozen designer collections occupying the circumference. If you see something you like, you can wander farther into the displays. I love the concept, and since I saw only two other customers the entire time, it was a leisurely stroll.

I was carrying a Saks shopping bag filled with those other purchases, which tells you I’m a buyer. I was dressed well and any salesman (they were all male) in the business could tell that I could buy whatever I wished to.

YET NO ONE APPROACHED ME! In an empty store, with people working on commission, I was ignored. Some refused to establish eye contact. Others, talking to each other leaning against display cases, never stopped their chat.

Three-quarters of the way around my circuit, I passed Brioni, and a young man said, “Hello, can I be of help?” I put my bag down, told him what I wanted, and he told me to wait there while he rounded up some shirts from Brioni and Zegna down the hall. At this point my wife arrived, I tried on his suggestions, and all but one—which we both loved—fit.

“Can we order this in his size?” the salesman asked an older colleague standing around. “No, Brioni won’t send more,” he said dismissing us.

“Wait a minute,” I stopped him, “don’t you have other Saks stores that may still have some of these?” My salesman said, “That’s a good idea, let me check the computer.” The older guy just stared at me, as if I were ruining a nice day in the park.

My salesman arranged for that shirt to be shipped directly to me from another store, packed up the others, gave us his card and told us to call him when we needed anything else.

I will.

People ask me where I get my material as a writer and as a consultant. It’s all around us. How would you like to be the men’s department manager, or the general manager, or the product managers for any of those other designers at Saks? Do you think they need to shop their own business on a regular basis? Do you think they need to throw some of that excess overhead out of there and get some people who really want to work on behalf of the organization and themselves?

This is why some shine and some don’t, in business and in life. If you can’t look a customer in the eye and proactively try to help, you’re not going to be successful.

In fact, you may just lose your shirt.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Why Meaning Matters (Episode 44)

http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/why-meaning-matters-episode-44/

Click Here for entire series table of contents

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Around the House

Jean Marc XO vodka is the finest in the world in my opinion, and a couple of our favorite restaurants stock it just for me. At the Post Office Café in East Greenwich, the manager, Christopher, asked one of his other customers to engage in his favorite hobby and make a lamp out of one of my many exhausted bottles.

And for those of you who thought I was kidding, here are the tulips I’m raising in my retirement. (I am kidding.)

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 4/19/10

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo’s mission is to help readers to thrive.

April 19, 2010—Issue #31

This week’s focus point: We’ve had floods in the northeastern US, a volcanic eruption in Europe, earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and China. Despite these huge hardships, loss of life, and economic damage, life continues. Humans are resilient. How is it that your colleagues or your clients can tell you that a new idea or initiative is too traumatic to implement, or an unexpected event was too staggering to permit any thought of new projects? People tend to lose perspective. Business, like life, goes on.

Monday Morning Perspective: If a traveler were informed that such a man were the leader of the House of Commons, he might begin to comprehend how the Egyptians worshipped an insect. — Benjamin Disraeli on Lord John Russell

You may subscribe and encourage others to subscribe by clicking HERE.

Privacy statement: Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

Contact information: info@summitconsulting.com
http://www.contrarianconsulting.com
ISSN 2151-0091

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved

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Let’s Not Blow Our Tops

We’re starting to hear of the outrage of people trapped in Europe or unable to get to Europe due to this unpronounceable Icelandic volcano. And, of course, many are searching for scapegoats.

The Airlines want the European Union to bail them out, because the EU decided there was too much danger to airplanes and passengers. As far as I can see, that was a pretty accurate determination. (A jet fighter launched to test conditions came back looking somewhat worse for the wear.)

Travelers are upset with airlines, hotels, travel agents, local authorities, and just about anyone else who wanders into view. I don’t make light of the lost money, lost opportunities, and lost time. I’ve been marooned and ignored globally in my career.

But this is a volcanic eruption. No one in Iceland caused this, unless someone offended the geologic gods, and no on in business and industry spends much energy planning for a northern European volcano that suddenly blows its top and blankets major airports

Recently Rhode Island experienced historic flooding, the worst in its recorded history. A great many people have experienced tremendous hardship, and even those with flood insurance quickly were apprised that it covers structural damage only, not possessions. Emergency services worked very well, but damns, levees, and drainage structures were overwhelmed. No one built them for floods of this proportion, because the probability doesn’t justify the investment.

As far as I know, no one was killed as a direct result of the volcano’s action. There was more than sufficient reason to decide not to fly through rocks that not too long before were lodged under a glacier. There is no legitimate reason to expect that the travel industry prepare for 100,000 flights being cancelled over the course of a week. And it’s bizarre to expect the government to bail you out when its primary responsibility is public safety.

I’ve done a great deal of strategy work, and I don’t recall ever sitting around with executives saying, “What can we anticipate that’s unanticipated?” or “How much should we invest in protecting ourselves from 10,000 to 1 shots?”

Sometimes, stuff just happens. Spend your energy recovering, not blaming. The former puts you in control, the latter makes you a victim of something uncontrollable blowing its top.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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