Sunday, April 24, 2011

Start Fresh

Start Fresh

Those of us in the Christian faith celebrate Easter today.  Easter Sunday has been one of my favorite days of the year for as long as I can remember.  When I was little it was cool because I always got new clothes and shoes to wear to church, people gave me lots of candy, and Sunday lunch at my grandmother’s house was always kicked up a notch.  Russell Stover’s jellybeans were the icing on the cake.

Over the years, of course, I have learned the true meaning of Easter.  Every year I’m touched by the story and by the spirit…as I’m reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that was paid for me…and for all Christ followers.  The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to those of us in the Christian faith, reminds us that no matter what or where ever we are in our lives or careers…there is hope.  Today is also about finding new meaning in the midst of the mess of our everyday lives.  God loves us, and a larger plan for us exists…even in the midst of our everyday monotony. 

If you don’t celebrate Easter, pardon the reflective thoughts on what it means to me.  Thanks for reading anyway.  Though Easter is my inspiration for this post, I’ll share a OneMoreStep thought that could apply to everyone, regardless of their faith or religious beliefs.

OneMoreStep thought for this week: 

If you’re in a rut…bored with the same old routine, same old job, same old people, and the same old-same old - Start fresh.  Embrace a new way of thinking.  Take a new approach. Believe in yourself…Start Fresh.

Like everyone, I have a few favorite places – my parents’ swimming pool back home in KY…Key West, FL…Epcot…and Central Christian Church in Henderson, NV.  Today Senior Pastor, Jud Wilhite, delivered a sermon entitled, All Things New.  The key takeaway was that God wants to make all things new in us and through us.  The same old, same old…and the everyday monotony can all of a sudden feel new and different, if we simply change the way we think.

If you have lost touch with family or friends…if you’ve fallen behind in your faith…if you’re bored of your current job…if you’re bored of your current relationship with a significant other…if you’re bored, in general…if your dreams and aspirations seem unattainable… there’s no better time than Easter to START FRESH, with a new way of thinking and a whole new approach:

·      The family members or friends with whom you’ve lost contact…start fresh. Go OneMoreStep…make the first move to reconnect.

·      As life gets monotonous, and if you’re feeling lost among the mess of it all…start fresh. Go OneMoreStep and try out a new church next Sunday

·      If your job has become a grind, lacks meaning and/or a sense of fulfillment…start fresh.  Go OneMoreStep…embrace a new way of thinking about what you do for a living.  You may find new ways to make a difference or new meaning to your role in the organization.

·      If the relationship with your significant other has become stale and lost ‘that love and feeling’…start fresh.  Go OneMoreStep…take a new approach, and focus on the good stuff; bring the magic back

·      If negative thoughts are creeping into your head, making your dreams, goals, and aspirations seem unattainable…start fresh.  Go OneMoreStep…make a new rule for yourself to only focus on the positives, rather than the negatives…PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).

I read a great book a couple of years ago called The 4:8 Principle, written by life coach Tommy Newberry.  It unpacks a simple yet powerful verse in the New Testament, written by the apostle Paul…Philippians 4:8, which simply encourages us to not only think about, but also to focus on all that is positive.

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”Philippians 4:8

So when negative thoughts creep into your mind…and when you find yourself in a bit of a rut…go OneMoreStep.  Start fresh…with a new way of thinking and a new approach.

OneMoreStep…new way of thinking story for the road…

In the year 2000 I spent the summer at Walt Disney World for my 3rd Walt Disney World College Program Internship.  I worked at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, as a Retail Host.  That’s Disney-ese for… ‘I worked in a gift shop’.  The summer prior I literally had the time of my life, working at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with 25 other college age, summer interns and living at Vista Way, an apartment complex with 3,000 other Disney College Program interns…to say it was fun would be the understatement of the century.  It was awesome.

The first week of my internship at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, I remember calling my mom to whine about how “this summer would not be as good as the last one.”  My reasoning…a well thought out array of negativity, ranging from “the people at work are all old and no fun” to “I’ll never learn anything working in a gift shop” to “my roommate is some random guy I met randomly last summer and will probably be weird.”

Mom’s advice…you guessed it.  Change the way you think about it.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  She said, “…now, Taylor…you can find something fun about every single one of those people at work, if you try…and I’m sure you’ll have a good time with this ‘Matt’, if you give it a chance.”

The next day, I took her advice and actively thought about how I could make the best of what I thought was an unfortunate situation. 

With that new approach, I not only sought out and found value in several of the “older”, full-time Cast Members, but I also developed very close relationships with many of them.  I also learned a great deal about how to run an efficient operation.  They were pros.

Once I took the time to engage with my managers, I realized that they were some of the most talented and well respected leaders in all of Walt Disney World Retail, as our shop was the fourth highest revenue producing location on WDW property.  My management team and I developed such a great relationship that they leveraged their network to help me land a Management Internship with Disney’s Contemporary Resort upon graduation.  So immediately following undergrad I found myself in a leadership role at Walt Disney World, at the age of 21.  That never would have happened without the relationships I made with my leaders in the Summer of 2000.
" all started with a mouse." - Walt

Once I gave this ‘Matt’ a chance…I bonded and connected with him on a whole new level.  We became the best of friends by the time that summer internship was over, and we would go on to be roommates in Orlando, off and on, for the next 10 years.  We were first roommates 11 years ago.  To this day, not a day goes by…and I’d be willing say that no more than one hour goes by that I don’t email, text, Tweet, Facebook, or talk to Matthew Glenn Olsen. 

Needless to say, I’m glad I took a new approach, and my mom’s advice to start fresh in Week 1 of my Summer–2000 internship.

Start fresh…with a new way of thinking and a new approach this week.

Have a great day.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Jennifer Le

FRED Friday…meet Jennifer Le
She loves making people smile...but hers lights up the room

I found another Fred, and I didn’t have to look very far.  Jennifer Le is a nail technician at the Sahra Spa at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

A few months ago I suggested The Fred Factor to a coworker…she is a manager at our spa.  Maria not only purchased the book that day, but she finished it that night…and quickly passed it along to some of her staff as well as one of our executives.  If you “know”, you “know”…reading this book makes you want to immediately pass it along.  Maria told me I had to meet a “Fred” on her team at the spa, Jennifer Le.  Recently Maria shared a Guest letter and some stories about Jennifer, simply being Jennifer…going OneMoreStep and making good old-fashioned magic for people.

Meet Jennifer...

Jennifer is married and has three children at home…a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 1 year old.  However, when the team needs her to come in early or stay late, they can count on Jennifer to be there for them.  Her manager, Maria, tells me that Guests absolutely adore her because she puts 110% into every single nail service, conversation, and interaction…both technically and emotionally.  While I’ve never had a manicure…ever…I’m told it’s quite a laborious process, taking up to an hour and a half every two weeks, if kept up the way one’s nails should be kept.  (Jennifer tells me I “definitely need it.”)  Jennifer goes OneMoreStep on a regular basis to make sure that each and every Guest’s expectations are not only met, but also exceeded.  While she works, she engages each Guest…on a personal level, and we have several Guest letters and emails to prove that people love her for it

Maria told me, “Jennifer is a selfless person and genuinely cares about each person with which she interacts.”

One Guest wrote in to share her thoughts, which included the following verbatim comments:

In particular, I wish to recognize the exemplary service provided by Nail Technician Jennifer Le.  Her dedication to the job and visiting spa guests is something that all Sahra spa staffers should strive for. She specifically stated that it was her desire to give me the perfect set of gel nails, and that motivated her to excel in this particular work assignment even further.”

“Wow…needless to say, I was impressed. Such a young girl yet so mature and accommodating to guest needs.”

“I go to these 5 star hotels all the time, and it is very hard to find a spa staffer with the motivational level to that of Mrs. Le. She is wonderful… her professional touch is what will keep me visiting the Sahra Spa over and over again.”

A Touching OneMoreStep story about Jennifer…

Jennifer also works on private clients on her days off from our spa at The Cosmopolitan.  One of Jennifer’s coworkers’ house caught on fire a couple of weeks ago.  Nobody was hurt, but his family did lose many of their belongings.  Jennifer happened to be working with private clients after working a full day at our spa that day, and she made an extra $100.  Jennifer gave her coworker the money to help with his loss. 

When Maria asked her about it, Jennifer said, “I can’t replace his memories or his room but at least I was able to help with relieving a little stress financially…and that made me feel good…even though it wasn’t that much, I felt like it made him smile.”

I met Jennifer Le for the first time today.  I sat with her for about 15 minutes as she worked on a coworker’s nails…for free…just because.  In the short time that we chatted, I found myself answering several questions…she asked me why I write this blog, how to go OneMoreStep even for people that don’t appreciate it, what keeps me going, etc.  Sure I asked my share of questions…where she was originally from, how long she had been a nail technician, etc. However, as I walked away from my conversation with her, I realized…she was genuinely interested in me, rather than trying to come across as interesting herself.  That is Relationship Building 101.  She focuses on making relationships rather than completing transactions.  Epitomizing all that is Fred.

Before I left, I asked her why she puts so much into her work, and why she loves it so much.  She said, “…because I get to talk to people all day long, and I love to see them smile when they leave me…I also love the thought of them looking at their nails days after their service and maybe smiling again…”

I was having a tough “corporate America” week…until I met Jennifer Le today.  It’s not projects, initiatives, and financial results that make the true impact that matters.  Going OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep…serving people, caring for people, and making magic for people makes the impact that matters.  If we focus on the latter, financial results will happen for us anyway.  The difference - we’ll touch people’s lives in the process.

I can’t wait to get to work tomorrow so I can approach my job like Jennifer Le approaches hers.  Gonna make people smile…

"The best Freds are true artists at taking ordinary products or job responsibilities and services and making them extraordinary.  They are real-world alchemists who practice the art and science of 'value creation'.  Freds create extra value by doing more than is necessary and exceeding our expectations - most of the time for no extra pay."  - Mark Sanborn...The Fred 51

Have a great day.


PS:  Wondering what FRED Friday is all about?  See the first FRED Friday post here...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lead with LOVE

Lead with LOVE

Would you rather laugh or cry?  Would you rather feel awesome about yourself or doubt your abilities?  Would you rather receive encouragement or condescending remarks? 

My guess is that we all would answer – laugh, feel awesome, and encouragement, respectfully.  So guess what…our friends, families, coworkers, Guests, customers, students, and bosses all would rather laugh, feel awesome, and receive encouragement as well.

OneMoreStep thought for this week: Lead with LOVE.

Those of us in leadership roles at work, at church, at school, or in the community should lead with love.  Those of us that are not in a leadership or management position can still lead with love.  Mark Sanborn’s best selling book, “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader” unpacks this concept that anybody, anywhere can be a leader.  I whole-heartedly agree.  That said, when we lead, we should lead with love as opposed to leading through fear or intimidation. 

Lead with LOVE…make it about them

Focus on them.  If we do it right…it should be all about them, not us.  How can we make them smile?  How can we make them happier?  How can we get them further along in their career?  Leaders of teams can make a huge impact in the lives of each person on their team, if they lead with love.  Rather than focusing on our own agenda, our own goals, our own “reputation”, and our own success…focusing on them makes the impact

It sounds dramatic, but all of us have the opportunity to impact and change people’s lives…if we want to.  We all have the choice to respond to an email with condescending remarks, or rise above and handle the situation in a more professional manner.  We all have the choice – do we take the extra five minutes here or there to teach, coach, and encourage others, or do we simply navigate our way through our busy schedules focusing on our agendas, our lists, and our own self serving goals.

When we lead from a place of love, we create magic.  We create magic for the people around us.  We create magic for our organizations because if we do it right, the organization will be successful; achieving desired financial results, etc.  The extent to which we can bring ourselves to care…to truly, genuinely care about making others smile…making others laugh…making a difference that matters to them might just be the OneMoreStep that makes somebody’s day, makes somebody smile, or even changes somebody’s life.  We all can do this…if we lead with love.

OneMoreStep stories for the road…
The crew...I love em!
I’m blessed to have a great job, at a great hotel, in a great city.  I’m most thankful for some of the people I have the privilege to work with.   

In my role, I lead a department of roughly 35 people.  While they’re all leaders, five of them are in supervisory roles in the department.  They lead with love.

Opening night at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was December 15th.  So naturally December 14th was somewhat of a marathon day, putting the finishing touches on everything, preparing, and troubleshooting last minute stuff.  I LOVE the day before opening night.  It’s the final day of “pre-opening”…when you can walk through the hotel, watching everything sparkle with no Guests in the building.  The next day, the lights come on, and it’s showtime…from that point forward Guests will be in the hotel every single day and every single night.  So the day before opening is always exciting.  You feel anxious, excited, nervous, determined, and extremely emotional all at once. 

Tom Bastek and Mike Moshenko went OneMoreStep…and then another OneMoreStep on December 14th.  We all started our day at 7am sharp.  I held a team meeting…a quick huddle to fire up the troops for what we needed to be an efficient, productive, and intense day of last minute preparation.  The message was that we get one chance to make our opening night successful: there’s only one opening night…we have to be great.  We were so fired up.  We crushed through the day, and found ourselves in a bit of a predicament at around 8pm.  We had a couple of outstanding items on our list, and we realized we hadn’t even begun to complete them. 

We needed to print out thousands of Identity Membership cards in preparation for thousands of arrivals on opening night.  So needless to say, it was a daunting, time-consuming task, which seemed impossible given our time crunch.  We also realized that we had never received our marketing collateral – brochures, key packets, property maps, etc.  Since we are in the marketing department, it’s semi important for the loyalty-marketing program to have marketing collateral on opening night.    We had only known each other for one month at this point…so needless to say we had no clue how our warehouse process worked, and barely knew where the warehouse was. 

OneMoreStep moment…
About 18 hours deep...they were still SMILING!

Tom stepped up, and said, “I’ll take the cards…I know it’s late, but we have to get it done.”  He had been on his feet for 15 hours, but there was no way he was going home until the job was completed and checked off our list.   

He painstakingly printed out card after card after card…at our Identity Membership booth for the next four hours.  The next night, on opening night, we were prepared to handle the masses.  Thousands of Guests flooded into the hotel when the doors opened at 8pm, and everyone came right to us for their Identity Membership card.   

We were ready...all because Tom went OneMoreStep.  I’ll remember that night for the rest of my life.  It was pretty cool.  We had just met a month prior, but couldn’t stop talking about how much we loved the hotel, the people, and our product.  Tom continues to lead with love everyday.
Mikey...on a MISSION

Mike stepped up as well.  As we brainstormed just how in the world we were going to get 25+ boxes of marketing collateral from the warehouse (I had no clue where it was, or how to get there) to our desks…Mike said, “Hey I drive a pickup truck.  Why don’t we just load it up with our stuff, and bring it back here tonight.”   
Mikey's truck...came up HUGE that night

That’s exactly what we did.  Mike and I saddled up in his truck, backed it up to one of the loading docks at the warehouse, and did our thing.  On opening night, we not only had all of our brochures and collateral at the Identity Membership booths, but we also picked up enough collateral for our partners in Concierge…also Mike’s idea.  He was leading with love then, and he continues to do so in his role every single day at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

While I’m at it, here’s three more…
Danielle & her nephew, her pride and joy

Danielle Stevenson is also one of our Identity Membership Supervisors.  Just last weekend, I passed her in the casino at around 3pm on a busy Saturday afternoon.  Confused, I said, “um, you’re here early…” To which she replied as she hustled right passed me, on a mission, “I’m just taking care of something…” 

Later that night, I asked what in the world she was doing, arriving three hours early for her shift?  She had dealt with a Guest issue in one of our retail locations the night before.  The guest wanted to use his Identity points to purchase a few shirts and was unable to complete the transaction.  So Danielle came in three hours early for her shift last Saturday, took care of the comp in our retail location, picked up the shirts for the Guest, and personally hand delivered them TO THE GUEST AT MANDALAY BAY, where he was staying!  That’s OneMoreStep…and that’s leading with love.
See...they LOVE her

Lisa Cocco is also one of our Identity Membership Supervisors.  Lisa is our resident mother for the department.  All of our staff lights up when they see her coming around the corner, and I certainly do the same.  They all love her because it’s so apparent that she loves all of them.  This was clear yesterday when Alicia came into work for her shift.  Alicia’s grandmother had just passed away. Alicia had called Lisa earlier in the day to work out scheduling issues for the funeral, etc.  Lisa of course made the necessary adjustments to her schedule and took care of her.  

I happened to be meeting with Lisa at her desk when Alicia arrived for work.  She came into the back office, set her purse down, and made a bee line to Lisa…she buried her head on Lisa’s shoulder, wrapped her arms around her for hug.  Lisa hugged her…was there for her…and clearly loves her.  She leads with love.
Jules...always smiling

Julie Margeson is our Membership Trainer.   She is tasked with training our Identity Membership team on processes and all necessary computer applications.  She doesn’t stop there…in the last four months Julie has devoted countless hours meeting with and training ALL of the departments in the hotel on our Identity Membership program.  She comes in early, stays late…comes in on days off if need be, and she does it all with a smile on her face.  She loves her job, and she loves her coworkers.  She leads with love.

Thanks to the team for leading with love every day.  You make it easy for me to strive to do the same.

Have a great day.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Don't Give Up

Don’t Give Up

“We can accomplish all our dreams if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney

We all have goals.  We all have dreams.  We all have aspirations.  Yet we all encounter adversity, roadblocks, and setbacks. 

OneMoreStep thought for this week:

As life takes its inevitable twists and turns…when adversity sets in and our goals, dreams, and aspirations seem unreachable…don’t give up.

Didn’t get the job?  Didn’t make the sale?  Didn’t get the promotion?  Didn’t get approved?  Didn’t get recognized for your work?  Didn’t get the girl?  Didn’t get the guy?  Didn’t get noticed?  Didn’t get hired?  Didn’t get in?  Didn’t get exactly what you needed or wanted?

When adversity sets in, we should have faith, create value for others, and trust in our ourselves. 

When the going gets tough, have faith.  Have faith in yourself, and more importantly have faith in a higher power that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. The grass is greener exactly where you are standing.  So start there.  Think about what you can do to create value for others.  Dig in…and go to work.  Focus on “them”.  Make magic where you can, however you can, for as many people as you can.  When you think there’s nowhere else to turn, nothing else you can do, and hope is all but lost…go OneMoreStep:

Push yourself, mentally, to write that extra email…make that extra phone call…develop that relationship…make that connection…attend that church service…work the extra hours…listen that extra five minutes…whatever you do, don’t give up.

 Goals.  Dreams.  Aspirations.  With the right approach, they’re all attainable; no matter what roadblock, setback, or adversity we encoutner…DON’T GIVE UP.

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher."
-Oprah Winfrey

I love people, in general…however, those that have spent time with or around me know that I love ‘my boys’.  Who knew that a dynamic, diverse group of 18, 19, and 20 year-old college students that met on summer internships at the Walt Disney World Resort would become so close over the years?  We did.

Just like everyone else, our group has certainly battled through adversity in one way or another.  The boys have inspired me over the years…because they refuse to give up on their dreams…

The boys at Anthony's wedding...with Sonny's dad in the mix.  A great night.

Hope these stories inspire you as they’ve inspired me…I’m so proud of these fine young men, and they mean the world to me.  They’re my best friends…You’ll see why I love and admire them…

Steve Barkofski

Upon graduating from the University of South Florida with a 3.9 gpa, Steve found himself unemployed, out of a job.  He refused to let it get him down.  He got a job at Publix Supermarket as a stockperson for several months to pay the bills.  He now is self-employed and runs his own graphic design firm, Barkofski Design, is married to a beautiful bride, and lives the dream in Windermere, FL.  He has to turn away work because so much of his time is spent on design work for his number one client…The Walt Disney Company.  He didn’t give up.

TJ Christensen

A graduate of the University of Delaware, with extensive sales and marketing experience with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Wyndham Worldwide, TJ found himself unemployed.  He is now the Director of Business Development for Accesso, an emerging software company in the theme park industry, married to a beautiful bride, and lives the dream in Windermere, FL.  He didn’t give up.

Brady Sadler

A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Brady found himself in a job in the middle of New Hampshire following the best year of his life working at Walt Disney World.  Despite doubts around living in New Hampshire, he became the Director of Sales for the Manchester Wolves arena football team at the age of 24.  He now is a partner in two entrepreneurial ventures, dishKarma and 138 Music & Entertainment in his downtime.  In his day job, he serves as VP, Business Development & Marketing for Griffin, York, & Krause an advertising and PR firm in Manchester, NH…and is an absolute ambassador of PMA (positive mental attitude).  He didn’t give up.

Anthony Chiovari

A graduate of Illinois State University, Anthony found himself in a job that kept him away from friends, family, and the love of his life.  He decided to go out on his own, created his own company, and has become a successful entrepreneur.  He owns his own business, and he not only weathered several years of long distance romance with the love of his life, he married her in August of 2009.  They currently live the dream in Scottsdale, AZ.  He didn’t give up.

Rob MacRae

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Rob set his sights on graduate school while working for Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando, FL.  He spent countless hours studying for tests, completing applications, writing essays, and traveling to admissions interviews.  He ultimately was accepted and completed his MBA at a little institution in Boston, MA…Harvard Business School.  He didn’t give up.  Despite extensive real estate development experience with Intrawest, Walt Disney Company, and Trammel Crow, Rob found himself unemployed, out of work.  He’s now an executive for Radiant Partners, LLC, a commercial real estate company, living in New York City…and is engaged to his beautiful fiancĂ© whom he originally met while at Walt Disney World in 2004. The wedding is later this year at the Walt Disney World Resort.   He didn’t give up.

Chuck Wicks

A fellow Florida Southern College Moccasin, Chuck left his friends and family in Orlando, FL to pursue a country music career.  He found himself in Nashville homesick, lonely, valet parking cars and writing songs to pay the bills for over three years. 

Chuck’s debut single in 2007, “Stealing Cinderella”, was the biggest debut for any new country artist in all of 2007.  His first studio album, Starting Now, peaked at #7 on the charts, and four other songs have been top 40 hits, including “All I Ever Wanted”, “Man of the House”, “Hold That Thought”, and his newest single “Old School”.  He currently resides in Nashville, TN, travels the world playing his music, and is currently working on his sophomore studio album.  ( He didn’t give up.

Matt Olsen

A graduate of Clemson University, with extensive work experience at Walt Disney World as well as in the hospitality and apparel industries, Matt found himself unemployed for over 246 days between 2010 and 2011 (35 and a half weeks…but who was counting).  He is now the Director of Licensing at MJ Soffe, LLC, a privately held apparel and fashion firm.  He manages the licensing and partnerships with two of his favorite brands, The PGA Tour and the Walt Disney Company.  Living the dream.  He didn’t give up.

Sonny Ritacca

A graduate of Aurora University, Sonny endured a tough 2009, as his employer at the time dealt him a challenging set of circumstances.  He pursued an MBA at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business while working full-time, traveling back and forth between South Bend, IN and Chicago, IL.  He is now a Regional Sales Manager for  Avis Budget Group, Inc., leading a sales team across 14 states, and responsible for managing a $70 million book of business.  He didn’t give up.

Thanks to ‘the boys’ for inspiring me to go OneMoreStep over the years.  I’ve been thinking about all of you recently.  In 2010, I found myself unemployed...out of work.  All of you kept my spirits up, and encouraged me not to give up.  I'll never forget that.  I miss you all.  I’m proud of all of your accomplishments, but most of all I'm proud to be your friend.  I look forward to our next rendezvous…

See ya real soon…


Thursday, April 7, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Van...

FRED Friday…Meet Van…

In the Co-Star (staff) dining room at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas we have our very own Fred.  His name is Van. 

Van works in the staff dining room.  Thousands of Co-Stars pass through this dining room on a daily basis…hustling to get downstairs, make it through the food line, and ultimately find a seat at a table for their lunch break.  Some folks have a full hour, some have thirty minutes, and some have a quick 15 minutes to get food, find a seat, and get back up to the grind.  Folks working on the day shift are lucky enough to experience Van…

Van works the dining room…and I mean he actually works the dining room.  Cleaning tables, wiping down chairs, and assisting everyone as they return their trays to the conveyor belt, Van works the room.  Occasionally I’ll look up and see Van across the room, completely engaged in conversation with a fellow colleague…and 99% of the time that fellow colleague has a smile on their face.  Van brings it out in people.

Often times Van can be found right at the doorway; greeting, welcoming, and shaking hands with everyone as they enter the dining room.  I love it.  I always go with a, “what’s up, Van…how are you sir.”  Every time his face lights up with an excitable smile, and he gives me a compliment on my tie, shirt, or suit…every single time.

Last week I went to lunch with several members of our team.  Some of us had already sat down, but quickly realized that we didn’t have enough room for two more ladies that were on their way to the table.  Van overheard us talking, stopped what he was doing, started rearranging tables for us, and turned a four-top table into an eight-top…so we could all sit together.  Mind you, this was at the noon hour, which is the busiest time in the dining room.  We thanked him profusely, and all Van said was, “oh goodness, no problem at all…this way you all get to eat together.”

The other day the iced tea ran out before one of my friends could get a glass...Van brewed another pot, and tracked her down in the dining room to make sure she had her tea.  He also goes from department to department collecting glasses that are taken from the staff dining room...DURING HIS OWN BREAK TIME!

The staff dining room is on the basement level, and it has no windows.  However, we have a ray of sunshine that greets us, welcomes us, and makes us smile everyday…his name is Van.

Today I asked him how he manages to stay so happy.  Without hesitation he turned to me, gave me a half hand-shake / half-hug, and said, “…I go to church, my brother…”

All I could do was smile…

Have a great day.


PS:  Wondering what FRED Friday is?  More here -

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Touch People

Touch People

I recently went to the Academy of Country Music Awards.  Great event.  Great atmosphere.  Great music.  Great people.  As I listened to country song after country song, I thought to myself…"how touching are some of these lyrics."  These songs often tell stories, paint pictures, and make us think about life, love, family, and things that matter. I love country because not only is it great music, but its lyrics are also very touching. 

What if more people proactively made an effort to touch people.  Wouldn’t it be great?  More people would smile.  More people would be happy.  More people would genuinely feel better about life.

The OneMoreStep thought for the week: touch people.

Seek out ways to enhance relationships.  Connect with the people in our lives more often.  We should share with those people just how much their friendship, relationship, and/or partnership means to us.  Once we’ve told them, we should show them, letting our actions speak louder than words.  Putting the focus on “them” rather than on “us” will almost always result in touching people in a positive, uplifting way.


Touch people…literally.  Whether you lead a team, teach in the classroom, coach a sport, or sell a product or service…devoting time out of your day to stop, take five, reach out and truly connect with team members, students, players, and/or clients makes an impact that matters.  Make it a point to touch base with that member of your staff that is quiet, reserved, and keeps to themselves.  They might be waiting for you to do just that.  Take the extra 10 minutes out of a busy day to place a phone call to an important client with whom you’ve been unable to reach because of scheduling conflicts. 

If in a Guest Service role, think relationships not transactions.  Connect with your Guests in ways that matter to them, and set yourself and your organization apart from the competition.  That friend with whom you've lost touch recently...rather than Facebook, text, or email, give them a call.  It might mean the world to them that you cared enough to take the time to call.  Touch people.


While connecting with important people in our lives, we should share with them how much we truly value our relationship with them.  So often we get complacent in our relationships because our daily interactions and conversations with folks become so routine.  It’s easy to quickly take for granted how helpful some people are, and we forget to tell them how much we appreciate them, care about them, and how much we truly value the impact they have on us at work and/or in life. 

Next time you see that person whose friendship, partnership, and/or relationship means the world to you…go OneMoreStep.  Tell them just how much they mean to you.  Be specific.  Give examples of why and how what they do for you or others makes a positive impact.  That just might be the spark they needed to hear.  Your words of encouragement and positive feedback might just touch them in a way that is truly different that matters.  They will smile.  They will stand tall, proud, and be motivated to keep doing what they do…all because you went OneMoreStep.  Touch people.

Show Them

Actions truly speak louder than words.  So when you think you’ve been clear in telling those important people in your life how much you value them…go OneMoreStep, and show them.  What action can you take that will truly speak louder and be more impactful than anything you may have told them. 

A handwritten thank you card, note out of the blue, or an email copying significant people in the organization?  A small gift, or token of your appreciation or gratitude can make someone’s day when they need it the most.  Listening to their suggestions, and going OneMoreStep to implement some of their suggestions can also show them we value them and their thoughts.  How about taking time to learn more about them: their favorite restaurant, their favorite vacation destination, and/or their favorite sports team.  What if we hit them with a gift card, tickets to a game, and/or an opportunity to visit their favorite city or attractions?  That shows them we care, and that we truly appreciate the impact they have on our lives.  They will not only smile because it makes them happy, but they’ll also be truly touched by our actions.  Touch people.

Take time to connect with the important people in your lives this week.  Share with them just how much you value them, and when you think you’ve told them enough…go OneMoreStep.  Show them how much you appreciate them.  Actions speak louder than words.  Soon you’ll have a smile on your face, and you will be happier…all because you touched people.

Have a great day.


" ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and momma...but this is country music...and we do..." - Brad Paisley