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.


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

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.


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.


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…


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.


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.

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.


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