Monday, December 19, 2011

Believe

Believe
This holiday season…believe in yourself, believe in others, believe in a higher power, and believe in the true meaning of the season.  Whatever your religion…whatever your current stage in life…BELIEVE.

Be thankful for what you have instead of dwelling on what you don’t have
Embrace diversity…respect differences in opinions and perspectives; it makes us all smarter
Lead with LOVE...with every conversation, action, or reaction, lead with love 
Invest the time and energy necessary to resolve conflict; everyone will be happier
Extend a helping hand to those you know may need it but will be too shy to ask for it
Value meaningful relationships with friends and family, and let them know you do
Encourage people that need encouragement; they’re hoping you’ll be the one to lift their spirits
Happy Holidays...


Taylor

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Content is King...with a twist

Content is King...with a twist


I spent a few years in online marketing roles earlier in my career.  In 2009 at a Hospitality e-Commerce Summit in San Diego, I attended a seminar where the speaker was adamant that “Content is King”
She made great points on the topic, explaining that success for websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc certainly depends on the quality of their “content”.  If e-commerce websites have great content, end users, consumers like you and me, will not only visit the websites, but they will also return, recommend to others, and most importantly buy.
What makes content great?  E-Commerce & online marketing gurus say things like:
·      Relevant information
·      Visitor/User friendliness
·      Quality control
·      Something that others would recommend
·      Supplies the searcher’s needs
This holiday season I found myself doing most of my shopping online.  As I clicked through, jumping from site to site, I heard echoes of some of the seminars, classes, and conversations I had years ago around the whole “content is king” concept…it’s so true.
I picked up some great items from a few websites for friends and family members, but I found myself returning to Amazon.com where I purchased several items this year.  Why?  Other than the fact that Jeff Bezos is a genius, the experience at Amazon.com is just so easy and convenient…and I trust them.  
Amazon.com:
·      Has dynamic content that completely customizes the experience for us.  Their “related items”, “featured items”, “suggested items”, and “recommended items based on prior activity” features make it about us.  Our information – shipping info, purchase info, etc is all saved for us when we log in, saving us time.  Who doesn’t like that?

·      Tells us why we should buy from them.  Their content offers subtle reminders that comfort us, such as the strike through of the Manufacture Suggested Retail Price and the highlighted in red Amazon.com price.  Customer Reviews and the “Look Inside” feature for books suggest even more “why’s” for buying their products. 

·      Uses a pull rather than push approach.  Their content reminds us multiple times throughout our shopping experience that “you can review this order before it’s final.”, as if to say…”we’re not forcing you to do anything…”  That makes us comfortable, keeps us engaged, and fortunately for Amazon.com results in increased revenues.
Content really is king…so couldn’t we all take some of these same concepts and apply them to our lives?  I think we can...and should.  Amazon’s “content” has to do with framing, displaying, explaining, and providing products in such a way that makes it easy and convenient for consumers to purchase them online.  That’s their goal and mission in life. 
What about us?  Whether we’re doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, sales people, leaders, coaches, teammates, friends, and/or loving family members…we all have our own “content”.  Our content gets published by way of the conversations we have with others, the emails we send to our teams and leaders in the organization, the lessons we prepare for and ultimately deliver to our classes, the service we provide to our Guests, and the proposals we pitch to our clients. 
I like this definition of content from dictionary.com:
Content – something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.
We all “express something through some medium” in one way or another every day.  Sometimes we reach others with our content, and other times it goes in one ear and out the other.  If you’re running into roadblocks or having trouble getting through to them, remember that content is king…
We should ask ourselves if our “content” makes it relevant to them.  Do we make it easy or difficult for people to work with us?  Do we save them time and make it convenient?  Is our work or our leadership something others would recommend?  Do we dynamically cater to others’ needs, making it about them?  Do we give them the “why’s” behind decisions we make or views we have?  Do we meet them where they are…and pull rather than push?
Content is King…go OneMoreStep and make your content something others will want to recommend and you just might make a difference while you’re at it.
Have a great day.
Taylor

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Be Curious...


Be Curious…
Curious George...he was on to something
Bored?  Is MONOTONOUS becoming the universal adjective that can be applied to every aspect of your life – career, relationships, family dynamics, and/or social life?  It happens…it’s ok.  We’re all in the same boat.
OneMoreStep Thought for this week: When things get monotonous and boring…or better yet, before things even get to that point – be curious
Ask. Understand. Learn. Improve. REPEAT.
Ask questions…who, what, when, why, how
If we focus all our attention on the person staring back at us in the mirror, we run the risk of getting bored very quickly.  However, when we focus on asking questions of those around us – family, friends, coworkers, staff, leaders, Guests, customers – we add to everyone’s experience.  All of a sudden we have dialogue rather than a monotonous monologue that can tend to be all about us…too much of that is boring for them and for us.
Understand"seek first to understand, then to be understood” – Stephen Covey
When we’re inquisitive with sincere, genuine intentions the most amazing thing happens…we begin to understand.  When it comes to the people in our lives, we understand why they said what they said, why they felt they way they felt, what really motivates them, when they prefer to do what they like to do, how they like to be treated, and who they really want to be.  When it comes to other areas of our lives like our jobs or our goals, we understand just what skills will get us to the next level.  We understand more of the why’s behind the decisions our leaders make and the direction our organizations are going.
Learn…"the moment you stop learning, you stop leading.” – Rick Warren
If we ask questions with every intention to truly understand…we’ll absolutely, positively learn new things.  If we’re constantly learning new things, won’t we be sharper, smarter, more knowledgeable, and in turn, more impactful?  We should also ask ourselves – what can we read, with whom can we speak, and what can we do to constantly learn new ways to do things…new ways to make an impact…new ways to become the leaders we all strive to be.
Improve…"excellent firms don’t believe in excellence…only in constant improvement and constant change” – Tom Peters
Learning combined with action yields improvements.  Constant, steady improvements, by definition, make things better.  We rarely hear folks say, “I’m so tired of things getting better…” So why not take what we learn and put it into action?  With the right frame of mind, we can actively seek out ways to improve our relationships, our finances (both personal and at work), our health, our quality of life, and the coolest part – in doing so we just might improve someone else’s life along the way.
Be curious…Ask.  Understand.  Learn.  Improve.  At the very least…you won’t be bored!
“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.  And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.” – Walt Disney
Have a great day.
Taylor

Monday, November 21, 2011

Give "thanks"


Give “thanks”
What better time than the week of Thanksgiving to highlight this OneMoreStep…simply saying thank you.
OneMoreStep Thought for this week: When people help us out, sacrificing their own time and energy to do things for us…we should take the time to recognize them by saying “Thank You” to let them know we appreciate them.   
Go OneMoreStep…say it…and mean it…Give “thanks”.
It sounds like an easy one…a no brainer that should be second nature, but so often people – students, teachers, professors, employees, peers, parents, and even bosses feel unappreciated.  People all around us feel unnoticed and feel like they have “thankless” jobs, or they feel as though their loved ones don’t appreciate what they do for them.
What a great OneMoreStep opportunity to lift someone’s spirits, brighten their day, and make a little magic…all we have to do sometimes is simply say, “thanks”. Everybody has stuff.  So who knows what they may have going on in their lives.  Who knows how they may be feeling about their comfort level or job security at work.   
Something as simple as a genuine, heart felt “thank you” could be the difference that matters to someone…it could be that little ray of sunshine that keeps his or her head held high in an otherwise depressing day.  It could be the two words they never really heard in their last job, their last relationship, or their last friendship that didn’t really work out.  It could be the very thing that reinforces their behavior, whatever it may have been, which inspires them and keeps them working hard and/or feeling the magic at work. 
What if we don’t say “thanks”
If we miss it…if we fail to take the time to say “thanks” we certainly run the risk of making a negative impact rather than a positive one.  People may not expect it, and they may not even think they need to hear it…however, if we don’t take time to thank them they will definitely notice.  When they notice our failure to thank them, that’s when we run the risk of losing their respect.  That’s when people leave organizations.  That’s when friendships fade out.  That’s when trust and credibility are lost.  That’s when meaningful relationships turn into mere acquaintances. 
When we recognize and appreciate the things people do for us, we should go OneMoreStep and say “thanks”.  Write an email.  Write a handwritten note on nice stationary.  Seek out opportunities to pass out hugs, handshakes, & hi-5’s.  We should do whatever we can, whenever we can to not only say it, but mean it…Give “thanks”
Something as simple as a “thank you” might make someone feel like a million bucks, just knowing that their efforts, their contributions, their friendship, their love, their presence, their leadership, or their inspiration is appreciated
Go OneMoreStep…give “thanks”.
Have a great day.
Taylor
Thank You’s” for the road...

Thanks Mom and Dad for your unconditional love, support, and guidance for 32 years…I am a lucky man, with so many things for which to be thankful…none of which mean more to me than you.
Thanks to my best friends, for the continued friendship, inspiration, smiles, laughs, and leadership…you all make life more fun and I live for our classic weekend rendezvous.
Thanks to my coworkers, team, and leaders at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  It’s a simple business, but often hospitality is not very easy.  People certainly do make the place…and we have some great people. Relationships and our community make it easy to go to work every day.
Thanks to Mark Sanborn and Eric Chester for inspiring me to write this blog, lead, inspire, teach, coach, create value, reinvent regularly, and move ‘em up and over…I appreciate your literary work, but most of all I appreciate your friendship, leadership, and mentorship…true “FREDships”.
Related Posts:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's a Small World...be happy

It’s a Small World…be happy
This week I was on vacation in Orlando, FL.  For ten days I didn’t leave the friendly confines of the 48 square mile, 27,000 acre - Walt Disney World Resort.  
It started with a buddy’s wedding that brought many of our closest friends together for four days in the place where we first met over a decade ago.  
As if things couldn’t get any better, I then met my entire family for what we called an “old fashioned family (Griswold) Disney vacation”.  What a great week of fun, magic, and memories we’ll hold on to for years and years.
While I’ve certainly entertained many thoughts and had time to ponder several things this week, I’ll share one thought here…
OneMoreStep Thought for this week:  It’s a Small World…often we’re caught up in the day-to-day, the stress, and the uncontrollable externalities that affect our ability to think clearly and positively.  We should focus on the important people in our lives like friends and family that we love, places or activities we enjoy, and simply the things about life that make us happy.
...our tour guide
My three-year-old nephew, Henry, was of course the centerpiece of our daily vacation itinerary this week.  When he first arrived at Walt Disney World he was a bit excited, nervous, and quite anxious about his surroundings.  Understandable.  
He’s only three years old, and with castles, parades, shows, attractions, beloved Disney characters roaming about waving, hugging, smiling, and hi-5-ing every Guest in sight…sensory overload is certainly an inevitable result for a little fella. 
I’m 32 years old and often suffer from the same issue – I’m quick to get excited, nervous, and/or anxious in certain situations.  Little Henry is only three.  In his first couple of days at Disney World his excitement, nerves, and anxiety led to fussing, crying, and moments of unhappiness. 
Then he found his happy place…
One happy little fella
We took Henry on the "it’s a small world" attraction…that changed everything.  From that moment on, Henry was either riding the actual attraction (smiling ear to ear and loving it), reenacting and singing the song from the attraction, or asking if we could go ride it again…all the while smiling, laughing, giggling, dancing, and in a state of utter happiness.
On the second or third trip “around the world”, as we cruised through It’s a Small World, I leaned over and asked my mom why Henry likes this attraction so much.  She replied, “It just makes him happy…”
I thought to myself…why couldn’t we all find our happy places…in our own lives?
A OneMoreStep for all of us…
Compare a three-year-old child’s sensory overload at Walt Disney World to our own situations – lives, careers, trials, and tribulations.  How often are we excited, nervous, and/or anxious about people, places, situations, outstanding projects at work, or life’s uncontrollable twists and turns?  Quite often. 
We should take a moment when we’re excited, nervous, and/or anxious and think about the people, places, or things in our lives that make us happy.  Focus on those things.  (Philippians 4:8...which essentially says,  “Think happy thoughts”.
Over a decade of memories...and still going strong
We all have big problems, big projects, big mortgages, big rent payments, big financial issues, and big goals…but remember at the end of the day, if we boil it down, peel the layers back, and think about what really matters…
We often realize that what we think are the big things really do pale in comparison to those few very important people, places, or things that mean the most to us.
My happy thoughts are my family, my friends, my church, and places like Walt Disney World/Disneyland, and they make me the happiest in life.  So when my nerves, excitement, and anxiety are getting the best of me, spending time with, talking to, or thinking about how much my closest friends and my family mean to me puts things in perspective.
What are your “happy thoughts”?  When nerves, excitement, and anxiety start to creep in, focus on those things that really matter…things that truly make you happy
The Fam...at "it's a small world"
When we do this we find that amidst all the “big” problems we have in our lives, only a select few things in the world really matter.  
It’s then that we realize that even though life can get tedious and problems seem big, it really is just a small world after all…so be happy.
Have a great day.
Taylor


Matt & Nini sporting Wildcats gear...also a happy thought

Thursday, November 3, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Rob


FRED Friday…Meet Rob

I met Robert Thomas MacRae twelve years ago while interning at the Mothership in 1999…we were both Cast Members on the Walt Disney World College Program. (Quite possibly the best summer ever…) 
Since that summer Rob and I have not only kept in touch, but we’ve also spent a few years as roommates, been there for one another as we pursued graduate school at the same time, endured the doldrums of unemployment together, and the coolest part - we’re still the best of friends to this day. 
Like many of my closest friends, Rob is a FRED for many reasons.  When I think about the attributes that make Freds, FREDs…one of my favorites is the idea that you can re-invent yourself regularly.  Rob has re-invented himself regularly since I’ve known him.  He also goes OneMoreStep, and inspires, motivates, and encourages his friends to do the same…I’m glad I’m one of them.
In 2006 many of my friends and I lived in Orlando and worked for Disney…for many of us, that had been our goal for as long as we had known each other.  The weather was great.  We not only had great jobs, but we were also passionate about our product – Disney...let’s face it…tough to beat it.  Rob wanted more.  He wanted to learn more, do more, and experience more…so that he could one day add more value to his relationships both at work and in his personal life.  He decided to pursue graduate school for an MBA.  
Of course we visited for the Harvard vs. Yale football game
Rob prepared, studied, and committed to his goal of getting into his top three prospective business schools (Harvard, Yale, & MIT) with more focus and dedication than I’d ever seen out of him before.  Long story short…he got into all three, and he ultimately chose Harvard Business School, and went on to graduate in 2008 with his MBA, just like he planned.  He re-invented his life, just like he planned.
FRED Moments I’ll Never Forget…
A few of us who are close to Rob supported him and cheered him on as he went through his several-month-long application process/journey into Harvard.  In doing so, we were inspired…FREDs also have a way of inspiring those around them, sometimes without even trying.  Rob does this…
Inspired, I decided that I too would embark on a little re-invention of myself of my own…I also made the decision to pursue graduate school.  I had the undergraduate grades, I had the professional work experience, I had the work ethic…but what I lacked (and still do) was the ability to excel at standardized tests, a necessary evil and in my case, potential hurdle, to gaining admission into any reputable graduate school.  I was most concerned with the math section, which never has been my strong suit.
I remember the day the light bulb went off…when I decided to give it a shot and embark on the application process.  Rob was the first person I told.  It was months before he would leave Orlando for Harvard.  He didn’t skip a beat.  He immediately grinned, gave me a quick nod of approval, and began encouraging me.  I told him I was concerned with the GMAT (the standardized test on which a phenomenal score is all but imperative for admission to any MBA program). 
Right away, Rob said, “…I’ll help you…we’ll work on it…” and for the next several weeks Rob sat with me at his kitchen table in tutoring session after tutoring session.  He spent many a night, many an hour, and what must have been many frustrating moments teaching me test-taking tactics, quick math tricks, and other application process pearls of wisdom.  He could have been anywhere else…at Epcot, at a bar, at a pool, at the gym, or on the couch…but he chose to sit there with me…teaching me, helping me, and encouraging me.
The day I took the test, it was almost as if Rob was channeling my anxiety and nerves.  I remember walking out of the testing facility, and I no sooner got to my car and Rob was already calling me…”well…how’d we do?”.  I told him my score, which didn’t exactly crush it, but it was higher than I’d scored on any of the practice tests up to that point.  Rob’s first reaction, “That’s good…I think you’re in with that score!”  Encouraging, as usual.
I got into both schools I was pursuing, and I’m not sure I would have without Rob’s encouragement and inspiration.  I’ll go one step further…without Rob’s inspiration to re-invent regularly, I’m not sure I would have gone to graduate school, moved to Las Vegas, or even have conjured up the courage to write these blog posts. 
Thanks, Robert, for being a FRED since the day we met in 1999, and inspiring so many of us to re-invent ourselves regularly.  Life is much more fun, fulfilling, and rewarding that way…in fact, it truly does make the ordinary extraordinary

OneMoreStep down the aisle for Rob…
This all started with a mouse...

I was happy for Rob when he pursued, and ultimately graduated from Harvard Business School, but I’m even happier for him now.  This weekend I’m privileged and honored to stand in his wedding at Walt Disney World, as he re-invents his life yet again…
Congratulations, Rob and Lindsay…and thank you for inviting me to be a part of your special day.  Let the memories continue!
Have a great day.
Taylor

 Related Post:

Don't Give Up


What is FRED Friday?

In my favorite book, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn tells an inspiring story of how a man named Fred goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role as a Postman for the United States Postal Service.  I love this book.  Since my mom sent it to me in 2004, I've purchased the book for friends, coworkers, and girlfriends...I've even purchased and hand delivered copies of the book to several executives at both Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Practice...


Practice…
We can always find something to PRACTICE

Growing up I played basketball.  My high school coaches would tell us, “GS…GS…GS…” That stood for – Game Shots…Game Spots…Game Situations…

It meant that before, during, and/or after practice when shooting around while warming up or working on our game, we should practice “game shots”, in realistic “game spots”, and prepare for real life “game situations”…as opposed to clowning around with NBA-esque lay up lines, shots from half court, or crazy whirling dervish shots that we would probably never do in a real game situation.  It was all about capitalizing on every second of our time on the court…practicing.

OneMoreStep Thought for the Week:  Even if we’re not 100% satisfied with our current situations with jobs, relationships, or life in general…we should embrace present day opportunities, no matter how big or small, as PRACTICE…for the next thing, the next job, or the next meaningful relationship.

Sometimes life is just not quite what we had in mind.  We’ve dreamed about this moment, this job, or this opportunity for a long time…but now that it’s actually happening we find ourselves tasked with doing random things for random reasons for random people. We often wonder if our roles, our contributions, or our efforts are really valued or even appreciated.  We think to ourselves, “Really…I have to do this while they get to do that…?  This is what it’s all come down to?”

Think of it as practice

In what ways can we step up and lead when nobody else wants to take the reins?  What crucial conversations with staff, students, leaders, coworkers, Guests, clients, or customers can we embrace as practice today that will prepare us for tomorrow’s challenges?  What decisions that our bosses usually make can we try our hand at making so that when it’s our turn…when we’re the managers, directors, vice presidents, and leaders of the organization…we’re ready and will have practiced thinking like the leader?  What relationships can we foster, nurture, and develop today that will make a difference down the road?

When we embrace every single day and every single situation as practice for the future, we begin to think about things differently.  We begin to find solutions rather than dwell on problems.  We become the ambassadors of PMA (positive mental attitude) among our communities, teams, families, and organizations.  We worry less and focus more.  We find ourselves driving more business, executing initiatives, and truly adding value to those around us. 

Every opportunity around every corner in our day-to-day routines, no matter how big or small, can be a chance to practice…but it’s up to us.  When we focus on capitalizing on every opportunity to practice, we learn new things, further develop our abilities, and we perfect our skills.  Practice makes perfect.
So when we get frustrated…when we get down…when the easy thing to do is to just give up, mail it in, and throw in the “mental” towel…we should go OneMoreStep, mentally, and practice something.  Chances are, no matter what the situation, we can always find something to practice

"The Bellagio was practice..." -- Steve Wynn


One for the road…

The reality…

When we get down on our luck, frustrated, and disappointed in how it’s all turned out…it’s usually because of a discrepancy between our expectations and reality.  The difference between our expectations and reality is misery. 

So while making it a point to practice today to prepare for the future can be productive…it’s important to remember a little secret…

This isn’t practice…this IS the show…this IS real life…this is the reality…TODAY

So by all means capitalize on opportunities to practice, but DON’T MISS IT…don’t miss today.  Opportunities we fail to capitalize on today quickly become things we regret tomorrow.  That’s the reality…

Have a great day.

Taylor

Related Posts:

Friday, October 28, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Mike


FRED Friday…Meet Mike

I met Mike Moshenko about one year ago.  Like me, he moved to Las Vegas to be on the opening team at The Cosmopolitan.   

Mike has gone OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role on the Identity Leadership team (our department) since day one.  I’ve enjoyed his leadership style, his personality, his compassion, and his servant heart.

Before moving to Las Vegas, Mike worked in Table Games for 11 years at Motor City Casino in Detroit, MI.  Needless to say, running a loyalty-marketing program, leading a team of over thirty people, and working hand in hand with several partner departments…in the ever changing, ever dynamic, never a dull moment, sometimes…no…always crazy casino marketing environment, was quite a change. 

Mike came to me early on with concerns about “leading” and “managing” this many people in this new environment.  I remember him telling me, “Honestly, Taylor…any feedback you can give me on anything at all…please give it to me straight…I want to get better.” 

Mike and I have enjoyed an ongoing dialogue since that very day.  I remember telling him that this job can and probably will get annoying at times…but at the end of the day, it’s about people…so make it about them – either Guests or the folks on our team.  From the time he joined the team, Mikey has truly made it about them.

Over these last 12 months, if I’ve walked by the Identity Membership booth and seen Mikey hugging or hi-5-ing members of our team once, I’ve seen it 1,000 times…no exaggeration.  I get feedback from folks all the time about how “Michael is always there for us”, “Mike helps us out when we’re busy”, “Mikey is always approachable”, “Mike teaches us knew ways to do things”…He makes it about them.

Rarely have I seen an individual create relationships with people quite as frequently or quickly as Mike.  He values people and loves making magic.  Once on his day off, he made a special trip to our off-site warehouse location to give restaurant gift cards to a few folks with whom he partners on a daily basis to order our supplies.  OneMoreStep Moment, it gets better – before he went to purchase the gift cards he found out what each of their favorite restaurants were (in routine conversation), and he made sure to buy gift cards to their favorite restaurants. 

Even OneMOREStep…they weren’t all the same restaurant!  He went to multiple restaurants to purchase multiple gift cards for his partners…just…because…because they were such a big help to him and he wanted to do something nice.

In a One on One meeting a few months ago, Mike came to me and said that he loved our team and enjoyed working with us, but his passion still remains with Table Games.  He was honest and told me that he’ll stay in our department as long as we need him to, but if/when an opportunity ever opened up in Table Games, his true passion, he’d like to be considered.   

We both put our relationship skills to the test for a couple of months with our Table Games partners…and I’m proud (yet sad) that Monday, October 31st, Mike will join our Table Games team at The Cosmopolitan. 

He has always dreamed of working in Las Vegas in Casino Operations, in the Table Games department – dealing cards, relationship-ing with Guests and coworkers, and of course being a leader among his peers.  As of Monday, he’ll be living his dream.  I couldn’t be happier for him.

Mikey Story for the road…

Thursday evening was my last night working with Mike.  I gave him a thank you card as part of his "going away", and I was chatting with him as we often do before I leave work for the night.  A Guest came up and tapped us both on the shoulder and asked us if she was heading in the right direction for the buffet. 
I snapped a quick shot of Mikey literally going OneMoreStep...nailed it

Mike stopped me in mid-sentence, “T. Scott, will you excuse me one second…”, then he turned on a dime, put his arm around the Guest, and said with a smile, “I’ll walk you right up to the Wicked Spoon myself, how’s that…

The Guest and the rest of her party smiled as Mikey of course engaged them in what was undoubtedly great conversation as he personally escorted them to their dining destination for the evening.

I just stood back…smiled to myself…and thought about what was happening.  Mikey’s leaving us the same way he joined us – making it about them.  Loving.  Serving.  Leading.

Thank you, Mikey, for your leadership and compassion in our opening year.  It has been an absolute pleasure. 

Have a great day.

Taylor

Wondering what FRED FRIDAY is? Visit the original FRED Friday post here to find out what I mean by a "FRED"...Click here - FRED FRIDAY

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's About People


It’s about PEOPLE
MAKE IT ABOUT THEM

Who gets worried?  Who has anxiety?  Who gets frustrated?  Who gets upset?

Every single one of us…

OneMoreStep Thought for this week: Most of the time when we’re worried, anxious, frustrated, or upset with someone or something…we’re making it about us.  Often times it serves us well to stop, take a deep breath, and make it about them…when we focus on “them” we add value, make people happy, make magic, and we begin to live much more fulfilling lives in the process.

Every industry, every profession, every occupation, and just about every scenario, when we peel the layers back, at the core of everything – it’s about people.  The reality is that nothing really gets accomplished, in any business, profession, or situation without people making it work...whatever it is.  So we should make it about “them”.

Focusing on people results in stronger relationships, deeper connections, and more enriching experiences for everyone involved.  It’s when we get caught up in our own “stuff”, focusing on our own goals, our own reputation, and our own resume that we slip into that mental trap.  You know the one…the one that every single time leaves us worried, anxious, frustrated, and/or upset. 

What happens when teachers and professors focus on inspiring their students rather than dazzling them with their own content or message?  What happens when sales people focus on their clients’ needs rather than their own bonus potential?  What happens when leaders focus on developing the talents of each individual on their teams?  What happens when front line Guest Service folks focus on making it right for their Guests and clients?  What happens when volunteers focus on the people they’re truly impacting rather than their own time they sacrifice to do so?

Pure, old-fashioned magic happens…every time.

So when we’re worried, anxious, frustrated, or upset about something or someone…whatever the situation, whatever our profession; we should remember that it’s not about “us”, it’s about “them”…it’s about people.  Focus on them.  Who can we teach…who can we coach…who can we make smile…who can we make happy…to whom can we reach out and lend a helping hand…

One for the road…

Last week I interviewed seven people on our team for an open Supervisor position.  Work has been stressful lately…in early…staying late, grinding on “important things” like overall marketing strategy, budget decisions, personnel moves, and improving processes.  Granted, these topics aren’t anything out of the ordinary, nor do I think my focusing on them warrants special recognition or consideration.  However, they have been my focus nonetheless.

The conversations I had with those seven wonderful individuals last week opened my eyes and woke me up.  I asked all of them interview questions, but each interview turned into great conversations.  I found myself listening to stories of experiences at work with their peers, their leaders, and some even had great examples of magical moments they’ve created for our Guests.  Not only was I impressed, I was moved. 

Sure…it sounds corny, but I was moved by the passion, devotion, and emotional connections they’ve made during the course of our opening year.  They smiled as they spoke.  They laughed as they reflected.  They were genuine in nature.  It was a very touching experience for me as I realized…this isn’t about strategy…this isn’t about budgets…this isn’t about processes…it’s about people.

I’m fired up to make it about people today…and something tells me that just about everything else will fall right into place from there.

"You can dream, create, build, and design the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality." -  Walt Disney

Have a great day.

Taylor

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Annoyed today, Expert tomorrow


Annoyed today, Expert tomorrow
Annoyed today, Expert tomorrow - a Silver Lining thought

Do you ever get annoyed?  So do I…probably too often.  We all do.  Whether it’s something with “her” or “him”, things happening at work lately, or how about if/when someone is upset or disappointed with how we handled something and they offer their feedback.  Even if they have a legitimate reason to offer their feedback, it’s never fun to hear where we fell short or how we could have done something better…annoying.

OneMoreStep Thought for the Week:  Those times when work and life get tedious and annoying, we can look for the silver lining.  Don’t be so quick dwell on the “annoying” part.  Why?  One day a similar situation will arise, and we’ll be asked or expected to come through on a similar project at work, or be looked to for advice or comfort from a friend or significant other…so we may be annoyed today, but down the road we’ll be stronger and smarter having encountered the annoying experiences…so we have an opportunity to be an expert on those topics when they present themselves again.  Annoyed today, expert tomorrow.

We’ve all been there, and many may be feeling annoyed at the moment.  It’s normal.  We’re all human.  It usually happens when external factors that we can’t necessarily control come into play.  This is the annoying part.  We’re forced to think of ways to get around the obstacles, perhaps overcome confrontations with bosses, coworkers, Guests, students, or clients, and often times it takes a few OneMoreSteps, mentally and physically to do so.  That can be the annoying part, but only if we let it.

Next time we’re in the moment…that annoying moment, we should take a deep breath, take a step back, and look at the big picture.  What can we learn from the situation?  What can we learn about ourselves?  What can we learn about meeting people or situations where they are, and overcoming obstacles?  So that down the road, next time those same annoying circumstances arise, we can be experts. 

There’s a positive spin on an otherwise annoying situation.  A mental OneMoreStep to hang on to and give a try next time we get annoyed.

One for the road
It wasn't so annoying after all...I loved these ladies

I remember several years ago I wasn’t thrilled with my job at the time.  I was working for a hotel in Orlando, FL – Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.   

We had just gone through an opening in 2002.  Our processes were still being worked out, our computer systems often gave us fits as they frequently went down, and some of the organizational behavior dynamics were difficult  to work through to say the least. 

I had applied for a job back at the Mothership, and during the interview I found myself rattling off nugget after nugget of many things had learned during my time at Gaylord Palms. 
I had opened the property as a Housekeeping Manager and then was asked to transition to a Bell Services Manager after the first 18 months.  I had been a part of so many operational changes, enhancements, and improvements, as a front line leader on the floor in both departments.  I learned many things that we fell short on and didn’t necessarily have ironed out as well as we could have at the time we opened the hotel.  

So during the interview I realized just how much I was learning and had learned during my time at Gaylord Palms.  Things that were tough to swallow, projects and initiatives that were tough to lead, and people that were tough to work with – were all annoying…but I found myself speaking about the topics as a bit of an expert, having gone through those tough times.

I didn’t get that particular job back at the Mothership at that time, and it turned out to be a blessing.  I returned back to my job the next day more confident and comfortable than before…realizing that what was annoying before had truly prepared me and made me stronger for having experienced those times. 

I guess it’s true what they say, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”’

Have a great day.

Taylor

Friday, October 7, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Brandan, the Problem Solver


FRED Friday…meet Brandan, the Problem Solver
Brandan...the Problem Solver

(And, yes…that’s how he spells it…)

Last weekend, on Sunday I had a little issue with my car.  I hopped in the driver’s seat, turned the key…and…nothing happened.  Nothing…nada.  Dead.  I tried to jump the battery, yep, still nothing.  Dunzo.   I resorted to calling a tow truck and visiting a nearby car care center.


That’s when I met Brandan…

Brandan met me with a smile, leaned over the counter, and right off the bat gave me a, “Hi there…how can I help you today?”  I gave him the rundown, explained the situation, and gave him all the information for my beloved 2002 Toyota Camry…AKA, The Black Pearl.  Looking back on it, I think Brandan definitely picked up on what undoubtedly came across as my sheer terror, concern, and stress for my car. 

It’s no secret…I know nothing about cars, other than I like them to start, run, and play country music and/or AM Sports Talk Radio as I drive them from A to B…and I happen to love The Pearl.  She’s a beauty.  Brandan had an almost calming demeanor as he took care of the initial paperwork to get things entered into the system. 

I, of course asked Brandan forty-eight questions, including - What do you think could be the problem?  Do you think we could get it fixed today?  How much do you think it will cost?  How long do you think it will take?   

I was a nervous wreck, as usual…concerned for the future of the Pearl.  Brandan gave me answers to all of my questions, set me up in the computer, told me how it works, and promised to give me a call to, at a minimum tell me what the diagnostic tests show. 

His team was extremely busy.  Every other car care center in our part of town is closed on Sundays.  So as I looked around I saw cars in every bay getting fixed, cars lined up outside on deck, next to be fixed, and multiple cars parked along the side of the parking lot in what seemed like a queue line waiting to be fixed.  At this point, I had zero faith in my car being fixed by the end of the day. 

After about an hour, I called to follow up.  Brandan was busy, but his colleague promised to give him the message that I called.  Fair enough.  About another hour passed, so yep…I called again.  Persistence wears resistance, remember…This time I got Brandan. 

“How we look’n, B-Man”, I asked him…Brandan told me that one of his guys was under the hood at that very moment, and he would definitely have answer for me as to exactly what the problem is with the car before 6pm…but he said it may be the following day before his team could have it fixed.  I wasn’t thrilled with that last part, but I was glad they were at least looking at it.
Another hour and a half passed, and just when I was about to breakdown and call him back for an update…sure enough, Brandan called me. 

“It’s your starter…you’re going to need a new one put in…which we can do for you, but it’s already 5:30pm, and I’m still in the weeds with several cars before yours.”   He gave me the price for the part, the labor, and laid out how long it would take to complete the task. 

Then…he went OneMoreStep…

“Would this be bad if you didn’t get your car back tonight?” Brandan asked me.  I told him that I’d love them if they could squeeze me in so I could have my car on Monday, but if they couldn’t fit it in…I’d totally understand.  Brandan said ok…and asked if he could call me back in 15 minutes.  I said no problem.

Then…he went even OneMoreStep…

Brandan called me back in 15 minutes on the nose…I answered the phone as if it were an old buddy calling me…our relationship had reached that level in only a few hours, thanks to his personality.  Brandan was excited to tell me that my car would be fixed before he and his team left for the night…

“Nice…so you have the staffing?” I asked.

His response…”Nope…I’m gonna do it myself…I want you to have your car tonight so you don’t have to worry about it tomorrow.”  Mind you, Brandan is not one of the mechanics.  He manages the customer service out front...he truly went OneMoreStep.
The Black Pearl...she lives to sail another day

FRED…Linchpin…a OneMoreStep that made my day…

Brandan didn’t have to do that.  He didn’t have to take the time to rearrange his team’s schedule, his own schedule…nor did he and his team have to stick around over two hours passed the end of their closing time to put the finishing touches on their customers’ cars.   

They did it anyway.  They solved problems for people…problems that they didn’t create…the solved them anyway. 

Thanks to Brandan and the team at Tire Works Total Car Care on Silverado Ranch Blvd in Las Vegas…you created value, you solved my problem, and you have a customer for as long as I live in Las Vegas because of it. 

Meeting Brandan and experiencing his service truly inspired me this week to seek out ways to solve problems for people…even the problems that I didn’t necessarily create.  Think how great it is when people solve problems for us…now think how much of an impact we can make if we do the same for our coworkers, bosses, Guests, students, clients, and customers…

When you think you’ve done enough this week…Go OneMoreStep, and solve a problem you didn’t necessarily create.

“Freds create value by doing more than is necessary and exceeding our expectations – most of the time for no extra pay.” – Mark Sanborn, The Fred Factor

Have a great day, and Happy FRED Friday…

Taylor
 

What is FRED Friday?

In my favorite book, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn tells an inspiring story of how a man named Fred goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role as a Postman for the United States Postal Service.  I love this book.  Since my mom sent it to me in 2004, I've purchased the book for friends, coworkers, and girlfriends...I've even purchased and hand delivered copies of the book to several executives at both Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Stay hungry...stay foolish" - Steve Jobs


“…stay hungry…stay foolish” – Steve Jobs
2005 Stanford Commencement Speech...he made 'em better

We lost a great one yesterday.  We lost a visionary, a genius, and a leader that flat out made us all better.  Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the age of 56, from pancreatic cancer.  If this ever makes its way to his family or folks that work for or are associated with Apple or Pixar…I’m truly sorry for your loss.

Steve Jobs, in his journey from childhood to the CEO and founder of what have turned out to be two of the most successful and valuable companies in the history of the world, simply made things better

He not only made people around him better, he made technology better.  A modern day Edison, Einstein, and Franklin, his innovative ideas and game changing inventions have changed the world.  The i-pad, i-pod, i-phone, and the Mac suite of products have made personal computing easier, more fun, more engaging, more dynamic…they’ve simply made everything better. 

Sure we’re not all geniuses like Steve Jobs.  You and I may not be able to do things like drop out of college, create a new computer system in our parents’ garage, found a tech company, get fired from a tech company, buy a couple different companies only to be hired back by said company that fired us, and not only make them better…but make them the best, the most valuable company in the world…

But can we make things better?  Sure we can.  It’s a choice.  We can all make the choice to enter each day with the goal of making people around us better…we can actively seek out ways to make our organizations and teams better…we can wake up each morning and proactively work on the relationships in our lives to make them better…if we choose to do so. 

What does Steve Job’s legacy mean to me?  He made things better, for all of us.  Sure he was a driven, achievement oriented individual, but could he have created all of the game changing products by only focusing on himself?  I don’t think so.  I truly believe that he had to envision a guy like me sitting on the couch one day surfing the net…people like you and I who are on the move day to day and how much we would value pulling up a weather app, a video game app, or our i-tunes as we jump on a plane, ride in a subway, or as we walk through the mall.  He created things for people to make their lives easier and solve problems for us before we even knew we had them.  He made things better.

Steve Jobs made technology better.  He made animation better.  He made people better because down the stretch after being diagnosed with cancer, he lived each day as if it were his last.  He ended a 2005 Stanford University commencement speech with, “…stay hungry…stay foolish…”

So as we reflect on Steve Jobs’ life, accomplishments, and contributions…let’s take his advice.  Stay hungry…stay foolish.  Go after your dreams with reckless abandon, live each day like it’s your last, and whenever possible – aim to make things better…make people around you better…make your relationships better...and pretty soon those with whom you come into contact will walk away, remembering you as someone who truly made an impact and made things better.

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs…thanks for making things better. 

Let’s go OneMoreStep today, and make someone or something better…

Have a great day.

Taylor

Monday, October 3, 2011

Persistence Wears Resistance


Persistence Wears Resistance

"Persistence wears out resistance, or at least that's what protesters say." - Tarik Minor

In the past two days I’ve read a book, watched a movie, and heard good news from friends that they finally got what they wanted – one got a new job…another locked in a date with a girl.   

A common thread running through each of these was the value of persistence.  It seems the power of persistence really does wear down resistance

OneMoreStep Thought For the WeekOften times our own ideas, goals, aspirations, and desires don’t align with the current circumstance, people, or obstacles that stand in our way…but persistence, if practiced professionally and in the right way, really does wear down resistance.
RESISTANCE

Seth Godin illustrates in his best selling book, Linchpin, that resistance is the cross section where Could Have, Should Have, & Would Have overlap.  He says resistance comes from our “lizard brains”, the mentality of playing it safe so we don’t stir the pot…making excuses for not going forward with something…afraid what “they” will say or think…

Resistance comes in all shapes and sizes…any of these familiar?

·      The boss that refuses to listen to our suggestions
·      Those coworkers that continue to slack and refuse to be team players
·      That #1 seed girl or guy that doesn’t seem to be nearly as interested in us as we are in them
·      The client that fails to see the value in our sales pitch
·      The judge that doesn’t see our side of the story
·      The student that refuses to study or give his or her all in learning new material
·      The people on our teams, as leaders, which insist, “they’re right…and we’re wrong.”

When met with resistance of any kind, whether it is one of the above scenarios or our very own “Lizard Brains”…we have two choices.  We can quit and give up at the first sign of adversity (or resistance), OR we can be persistent

Being persistent doesn’t necessarily mean being pushy.  That gets us in trouble pretty quickly.  Pleasant persistence, put to practice in professional, respectful ways is what creates value, fosters relationships, and results in that spark…that magical connection when everyone wins.

So when you’re met with resistance this week, this month, and for the rest of the year, remember that persistence wears resistance.  If you feel passionate about the topic, the initiative, the opportunity, or the goal, even when it’s the unpopular direction…DON’T GIVE UP.  It may be a StairMaster opportunity to meet them where they are, spend some time engaging in healthy conversation, and you just might walk back up the steps together. 

As long as we strive to do the right thing, at the right times, for the right reasons, in the right ways…Persistence can be the OneMoreStep that ultimately makes the sale, convinces the boss, influences the stubborn coworker, and/or inspires our students or teams. 

No matter what the resistance, whether it comes from our own hesitation or external factors outside of our control, we should...stay the course, play our game, remain steadfast, and persistently pursue the emotional, physical, and relational outcomes we desire.

So Go OneMoreStep…be pleasantly PERSISTENT…


Two for the road…


I went to see Moneyball this weekend, a movie inspired by the Michael Lewis book originally published in 2003, staring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.   

The book and movie are based on the true story of how Oakland Athletics General Manager, Billy Beane, used a new, different analytical, “sabermetric” approach to assembling a competitive major league baseball team.  Much to the surprise, dismay, and resistance of Billy’s staff of scouts, assistants, coaches, and manager, Billy stayed the course.

Billy was persistent in using stats and metrics such as on-base-percentage and slugging percentage as better indicators of offensive success than the common, mainstream stats such as stolen bases, runs-batted-in, and batting average.  This strategy would allow them to be competitive, despite financial constraints with a limited payroll.

Billy’s strategy was met with so much resistance that he had to make bold moves, trading players who were making strong contributions but just didn’t quite fit the new system.  He was forced to have many tough conversations with members of the media, the organization, and especially the team’s manager who refused to buy into the system. 

Billy’s persistence paid off, as the 2002 Oakland Athletics won as many games as the mighty New York Yankees.  The Oakland Athletics, at one time during that season, won 20 games in a row, a winning streak that broke a long standing Major League Baseball record.  They did it with a $41 Million payroll…vs. the $125 Million payroll of the New York Yankees…and they achieved success with a strategy that was first met with resistance, but ultimately accepted in the end…

Persistence wore down resistance for Billy Beane…

 
Up, Down, or Sideways – a timely, inspirational book by Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn was kind enough to share his new book, Up, Down, or Sideways with me; the book went on sale over the weekend.  As the OneMoreStepRevolution community knows, I love Mark Sanborn’s books, The Fred Factor, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, and The Encore Effect.  

His latest book is a comprehensive strategy which includes what he calls – 3 Mindsets and 6 Methods that, if practiced with persistence, allow us to be successful no matter if times are up, down, or sideways.

Mark gives us great illustrations, examples, and stories to back up the lessons and pearls of wisdom that will not only make us successful, but also allow us to develop key relationships, produce lasting value, and continually innovate for our organizations and ourselves.  However, merely buying into the concepts and mindsets doesn’t quite get us there…it’s when we persistently practice the things we’ve learned along the way, parlayed with the tools that Mark offers in his book, that ultimately allows us to succeed when times are up, down, or sideways.  

The book left me with a feeling of HOPE and INSPIRATION...and motivated to continue my journey for success and fulfillment, doing the right thing...with persistence...

“…persistence turns productive behavior into positive habits…” – Mark Sanborn, Up, Down, or Sideways

Have a great day.

Taylor

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