Category Archives: Alan’s Thought For Today

The Doorman

The first and last impression you have in most top-flight hotels is created by the doorman. He greets you, often relays to the desk that you’re approaching for check-in so that you can be welcomed by name, and then packs your bags in a car and wishes you well when you checkout. In the interim he greets you and holds the door every time you depart and return. He has a great deal to do with how you enter and leave that hotel experience. He’s not the highest paid employee, but he has a huge impact.

Who are the “doormen” for your business? Are you paying attention to the hiring and nurturing of those people who form first and last impressions? I’ve met too many restaurant hostesses with zero personality, and too many bank tellers who are bored to tears, to think that all organizations pay close attention to these crucial interactions.

Find your “doormen” and make sure they add significantly to the customer experience and aren’t detracting from it.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Pushing Off the Bottom

I was watching my daughter teach our (almost) six-year-old twin granddaughters to swim here in our pool in Nantucket. They had abandoned their inflation devices, and were swimming quite well. She told them, “If you ever find yourself sinking, push off the bottom strongly and you’ll go to the surface where you can breathe again.” She then helped them both to do this, which I thought was a great exercise.

It occurred to me that too many of us fail to push off the bottom. We hit a snag or setback or outright failure, and we are immobilized. If we’re lucky we float until someone rescues us, but otherwise we sink to the bottom, metaphorically unable to breathe, recover, or revive. We have become sediment.

What’s your “push” off the bottom? Is it a loved one, a coach, colleagues, self-talk? We all sink sometimes, lose buoyancy. But we’re seldom in deep water, just among family, friends, and business associates. The bottom isn’t far away, but you need to know how to and be willing to push yourself back up.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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What They Really Mean

We’re looking for a relationship boost in the leadership space. (I work in HR and have no clue about anything, but I heard someone say this in the restroom.)

Let me get back to you once I’ve reviewed this. (Get out of my office.)

The timing will be better next quarter. (Get out of my office.)

We just had an emergency that requires all of my attention. (Get out of my office NOW.)

Let me run this by some people it impacts. (I lied to you, I’m not a buyer, I have no budget, and I need to stop pretending I can purchase this.)

Your terms are fine, I’ll send this to procurement. (If I’m lucky, you will have finished the work for us before you finish answering their questions about how to reduce the costs.)

We are a people-oriented organization. (We need people here, like we need furniture here, so we look for inexpensive, comfortable, and replaceable.)

We are customer-centric. (I’m from HR and I don’t have a clue, but I read that in a book called The Six Habits of 12 Successful People in 18 Situations.)

We don’t hire consultants here. (I’m scared witless of what you might find in the dozen areas where I’ve screwed up beyond belief.)

Would you talk this over with my HR director? (Neither one of you has a clue.)

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Thought For Today

It’s wonderful believing in others, but true success comes when you believe in yourself.

 

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Free Ride

Big headlines today about car service Uber raising around $18 billion, surpassing all start-ups except Facebook. Uber is a brilliant idea, but what happens from here?

Obviously, there will be competitive entries from others, offering cheaper rates or particular vehicles. Perhaps cab companies will embrace the technology and use their massive fleets to out-hustle Uber. Perhaps, instead of an app, a competitor will offer something you can carry on your key chain to summon a vehicle.

But here’s another thought: We’re riding around to local restaurants in Beverly Hill for free in the Peninsula Hotel’s Rolls Royce. There is no charge at all, save a tip to the driver. Other hotels around the world do the same thing, though not always with this level of vehicular excellence. (Even in Beverly Hills, a Rolls discharging you at a restaurant draws carefully veiled stares. What show are we producing?)

My point is “the free ride.” The hotel accommodates this expense in return for loyal guests in expensive rooms. They can charge a higher rent to the jewelry stores on the property, and provide more expensive food and drink. They will get more referral business (which they’re getting right here in this column).

What if Amazon or Barnes and Noble provided free books which were subsidized by advertising within them? What if newspapers stopped the inefficient and expensive revenue generator of subscriptions, and relied solely on more expensive advertising rates (spurred by technology’s ability to identify and isolate ideal readers for various offerings)? I’ve often thought that restaurants that charge for valet parking are silly—it ought to be free for “frequent diners” just as hotels should offer it for free to certain guests.

We get free internet access in many airports by agreeing to listen to a 30-second commercial first. Could you run a short-haul air flight for free if there were a product demonstration during the trip? How about a free rental car if you agree to visit a time share demonstration?

Using the house car is a considerable benefit. Although it’s build into the hotel cost structure and charges, it certainly seems free (just as frequent flyer miles seem free). There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but apparently there is a free ride.

And that might just be the next big thing.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Random Thoughts

• My thanks to the people at the National Speakers Association who met in Williamsburg on Friday and invited me to spend the morning with them. My wife and I had a wonderful time.

• I recently provided a free teleconference and free download on innovation to over 20,000 people on my various lists (all subscribed or opt-in). One wrote back with questions he wanted answered, two demanded I remove them from my lists, and two complained about the technology. One other couldn’t open the download and, of course, told me I had a problem. But that’s a very tiny minority, I’m pleased to report, because hundreds wrote to thank me, which was unnecessary but a nice gesture.

• The Virginia countryside is gorgeous, but the notion of staying right except to pass is as alien to the drivers down there as is how to conduct a high tea for the queen, I’d suspect. The roads become clogged because people refuse to get out of the way, as if their ego were a hood ornament.

• Republic Airways, subcontracting to USAir, ran a fine first class from Providence to Washington and back: Embraer aircraft with plenty of leg room.

• We’re going to see Renée Taylor tonight in her one-woman show in Woonsocket (of all places, I’ll have to use GPS). She’s 81. We used to sit five feet away from Elaine Stritch, in her 80s, doing her act at Café Carlyle in Manhattan. Maybe I have a few more years before I hit my peak….

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Thought For Today: Where’s Your Power Going?

It’s tough to coach people who create their own fears. They’re afraid of failing but don’t appreciate succeeding. They are always afraid of the worst, never confident of the best.

Fear soaks up energy, diverts attention, masks talent, and creates a very dismal and uninteresting persona.

Is your power going to waste in anticipation of invented and unlikely problems, or are you using it to fuel your potential? Every day, that choice is yours.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Thought For Today

Michelangelo was supposed to have explained that he created David out of a single block of marble by carving away everything that didn’t look like the David.

Your career should revolve around those things you are passionate about and are superb at accomplishing. Carve away everything that doesn’t look like that, and you’ll be your own work of art.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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CVS Pharmacies Ban Tobacco Products

Yet, in many of them, you can purchase beer and wine.

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Alan’s Thought For Today

Did you see where Brazil and India, once part of the three “emerging economies” (with China) that were going to alter the world stage are now part of the “fragile five” which can’t really sustain their own growth without unreliable foreign investment? (And, of course, China’s corruption, infrastructure, and environmental problems are undermining its growth considerably.)

Take a longer view and don’t listen to pundits who are merely paid to place unsubstantiated thoughts on a page. We are still in an American-dominated world driven by the brains, industrial might, and independent spirit of this country. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than anything else, and once the idiotic gridlock in Washington is broken in coming elections, maybe things will improve still more, though I’m beginning to doubt we need any of them down there.

I do know this: If you keep increasing the burden on successful people to pay more and more you will have fewer and fewer successful people to ask to share that burden.

© Alan Weiss 2015

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