- How Smart People Get Promoted
There are far too many people hoping they receive a promotion soon. In some cases, the belief is that longevity with a company will eventually yield good news. I do know that advancements are sometimes given based on seniority, but having to wait until one gets older to receive a promotion is a strategy with a double-edge sword.
- Lots of Great Ideas But Zero Action
In my years working in corporate America, medical practices, and running my own business, I’ve heard a ton of great ideas; unfortunately, in most cases, no action is taken to make these ideas a reality. I’ve put together a short list of reasons why leaders, managers, and staff members decide it’s best to forget that something good can happen if...
- These 3 Credentials Can Ignite Your Career
As a corporate trainer, I spend many days teaching students how to prepare for certification exams. These individuals are fortunate because the companies that hire me pay for the entire training, including all the materials. I enjoy doing this type of work because the students are motivated to earning a professional credential...
- She Nearly Stole the Seasoned Jalapeno Dip
During the lunch hour, I decided to grab a ready-made salad from H-E-B, the main supermarket here in San Antonio. While the parking lot was full of cars, I was able to get around the store quickly. I found the prepared chef salad near the Deli section, and soon was making my way to the express checkout lane.
- She Warned Me Against Calling Her a “Lady”
I attended an online social media class taught by two women (Laura and Danielle). I was impressed with the information shared during the session, and decided to write the following email to the instructors:
- Signs Your Boss No Longer Believes in You
The desire to be wanted is part of human nature. We all know the feeling of walking into a room and having no one care. Some can remember being picked last for a kick-ball game while in elementary school. It’s emotionally painful when we attract little attention.
- Flight Attendants Gave Me Vodka, Bug Repellent, and Hair Spray
My flight from Newark to Bombay, India was mostly uneventful. I was fortunate, that United Airlines allows its frequent flyers a perk called “Global Upgrades.” In essence, if we book the ticket in the appropriate class, we can apply the upgrade, which means we can fly in Business Class. This particular flight is 15 hours, so moving up to the front
- She Came Solo, Danced, and Left Alone
Every few months or so, I am reminded of something I observed many years ago while a business colleague and I met for a cocktail after work in Philadelphia. Tony and I decided on a bar near his office to enjoy a good chat.
- Upon Hearing of a Demotion, He Quit!
I have a colleague who worked for an oil and gas company in Tulsa, and he recently informed me that he quit his job of more than 13 years after hearing that he would be demoted. Interestingly, he would receive a position of less stature, but his pay would remain the same.
- Cop Affirmed I Would Get a Speeding Citation
On a recent trip to Houston, I innocently violated the speed limit by 6 mph. From San Antonio to Houston, we take Interstate 10, and traffic moves at a good clip. The upper limit is 75 mph, and at some point, my foot pressed a bit too hard on the accelerator and, unfortunately, a Texas highway patrolman was vigilant when I made it over the hill.
- The Flight Attendant Was Pretty – No Need to Brag
My flight from NY LaGuardia to Denver was even better after receiving a complimentary upgrade to First Class. The 5:45 p.m. flight was on time, we would receive a hearty dinner, and I was looking forward to ordering a Chardonnay or two on this flight. These are perks of flying in the front cabin.
- Three Ways You Can be Happy at Work
For far too many people, going to work is a painful experience. In fact, getting up on Monday morning to start our week is a traumatic experience. While taking a shower, we are hoping the week flies by so that Friday can get here. We dread the drive to the office knowing that work is waiting for us.
- The Problem with Envy
Having a competitive fire is necessary for those wishing to excel. If we want to climb the corporate ladder, generate more sales, or separate ourselves from the pack, we need to be uncomfortable with our current situation. In other words, we can’t be happy sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to happen in our favor. We need to get in the ga
- Tips to Becoming an Excellent Conversationalist
While attending a church event, I noticed two men carrying a conversation. After a minute or so, I was intrigued with how well the young man (Ryan), roughly 28-years-old, managed the discussion with an elderly man (Don) who appeared to be in his 70’s.
- He Stole My Laptop – Now He’s in Jail
About a year ago, I was making my way through TSA security at San Antonio International Airport heading to Houston on a 5:30 a.m. flight. Going through security changed significantly after 9/11, and we are now required to remove our laptop from our bag and place it in a separate bin.
- 3 Strategies to Motivating Project Team Members
At the beginning of the project, project team members are usually excited about the work. The team is getting to know each other, and they are becoming more comfortable with their respective roles. For the most part, the project is being defined, which means that the hardcore work has yet to begin.
- 3 Strategies to Working with a Difficult Customer
The customer is always, right? If you ask Herb Kelleher, ex-CEO of Southwest Airlines, he will vehemently disagree with you. Kelleher was criticized in the 1980s when he put his employees first. In an interview, he described a situation where a customer slapped an agent who was working a flight.
- He Had Big Dreams But Settled For The Bare
After teaching a project management seminar, a student asked if he could speak with me in private. He wanted guidance regarding how he could apply this new knowledge to jumpstart his career. During the multi-day class, he was participative, showing excellent enthusiasm.
- How to Lose Friends and Frustrate People
I’m sure many of you know of Dale Carnegie’s popular book called How to Win Friends and Influence People. The advice provided by Carnegie has withstood the test of time, and those who apply the tips and guidance are reaping the rewards.
- Discussion with a “Compulsive Liar”
While attending a meeting in downtown San Antonio, I had an interesting discussion with a lady in her mid-20s (Christy). I’m unsure why she was assigned as a participant to this meeting because she was too engaged with Facebook on her Dell laptop. Nonetheless, as soon as the break was called, she and I had the following conversation:
- Border Patrol Asked: “Is This Your Car?”
A few days ago, I made a trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico, which is a border town right across Eagle Pass, Texas. This is a trip that I’ve made many times over the years, and I have noticed that security is getting tighter and tighter.
- The Interview to Select a Key Project Team Member
Managing projects is far from easy, but yet project managers are expected to deliver on time, within budget, and to the customer’s requirements. Project success is even more difficult today because of the uncertainty and complexity caused by technology and globalization.
- 3 Reasons You Should Leave Your Company
The fact is that we are not going to work in the same company from start-to-finish. I remember beginning my professional career at Shell Oil Company in 1990, and I thought that I would retire with the oil and gas company. It was a genuine but naïve belief.
- The Nuts-and-Bolts of Passing the PMP® Exam
When I prepared for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam, I failed to pay attention to the page containing the following information in the PMBOK® Guide: Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping (Table 3-1).
- She Said: “We’ve Slept Together, But We’re Just Friends.”
I attended a marketing seminar here recently, and I overheard the following conversation between a woman in her late 20s (Marcia) and a business colleague: MARCIA: These binders have a ton of stuff for us to learn. We need to do more social media in my company. I don’t think my boss even has a Twitter account, and he is a twit!
- When You Aren’t Wanted on Any Team
As a university instructor and corporate trainer, I often ask students to form small teams when working on course projects. For the most part, this is an easy process, especially because students will already know each other. Even when they lack acquaintance, they gravitate to people with similar interests.
- The Chubby Doctor Advised I Eat Less Cheese
Several years ago, I went to my annual medical physical, and after the routine procedures, I had a chance to chat with the doctor regarding my blood pressure, weight, and so on. Exercise has been part of my life since my days playing college baseball. It’s just something that I do nearly every day.
- “I’m 70 And I’m Quitting”
I had a terrific discussion with a successful businesswoman a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share it with you. Her name is Beth, and she rose to an executive position at a major corporate training organization. I’ve known Beth for more than a decade, and there is no doubt that she is a superstar employee. She is a natural leader.
- His “Cold Feet” Cost Him a Date
Here recently I was visiting Orlando, Florida. I wanted to make one more stop in Ft. Lauderdale before coming home, so I purchased a ticket on a smaller carrier that flies this short route.
Boarding the Flight
Upon boarding the airplane, I noticed that the flight attendant (Sandy) was quite friendly.
- Customer Experience: Difference Between Rude and Frustrated
Every one of us has been less than polite in certain situations. We understand that keeping our cool is important, but we are unable to stay in control when we feel that someone is being unfair or failing to pay attention to our concerns. For example, our order at the restaurant took far too long to deliver, or the customer service agent was...
- The “Millionaire” Who Warned Against Visiting Italy and Greece
I attended a New Year’s party in Austin and had the opportunity to meet some new people. There were a few family members in attendance, but most everyone else was a stranger.
- He Said: “I Wish I Had a Meaningful Job!”
While serving my church as an usher on the evening of Christmas Eve, I had a conversation with an acquaintance. I arrived early to the mass, which gave us a chance to chat. Sam is a jovial man, who makes it a habit to strike up a conversation with anyone. While I have not seen him sing in the church choir, he does have a great voice.
- 3 Reasons Leaders Fail
A leader is successful to the point that others will follow the vision. When employees are apathetic, we can expect the organization to fall short of its goals and expectations. Unfortunately, there are some leaders who lack the desire and commitment to make things better.
- Her Car Was on Fire and She Didn’t Know It
On a Tuesday afternoon, I was making my way from one meeting to the next. The San Antonio weather was nice on this particular day, and the warm sunshine made it even better. The quickest way for my 2 p.m. meeting was taking Interstate-35, which runs North-and-South through the Alamo City.
- Stop the Small Talk! The Meeting is Over!
Last week, I attended a business meeting scheduled for 90 minutes. In the past, this strategic meeting usually consumed all the allowed time. However, on this day, the discussion moved quickly, and we were done in a speedy 60 minutes.
- The Yawner Who Forgot My Name
I was invited to a planning meeting as a subject matter expert (SME). For this particular session, there were only three meeting attendees. I arrived about five minutes early, and proceeded to the assigned conference room. Mike, the meeting coordinator, arrived shortly thereafter. The other SME was running late, which gave Mike and I a chance to ch
- She Called Her “Wrinkles,” And It Went Downhill From There
Back when I served as Clinic Administrator of a major medical practice in Houston, I initiated an intern program for high school students. The plan was to introduce young men and women from Houston Independent School District (HISD) to the healthcare industry.
- 2 Topics You Must Accentuate in Your Interview
The job market is demanding today, and your responses in an interview impact whether you are going to land the job, or whether it will go to someone else. The “most qualified” person is not always the person who is given the job. While your work experience is important, your ability to accentuate several key points is critical.
- You Have To Pay For That Coffee!
While staying at a hotel in India, I had a unique situation arise. This particular establishment included breakfast for guests. In my case, I like to have my coffee early in the morning, and will usually go to the breakfast room right when it opens. I put on my Bose headset and work for an hour or two. In some cases, even longer, depending on my sc
- Old Woman Asked: “Who Left Their Car On Outside?”
By reading my blog, you notice that a lot of interesting stuff happens to me. I suppose these kinds of things are just part of life, but I’m surprised when others make it a top priority to intervene in the lives of others.
- The Self-Appointed Talker
I attended an internal company meeting as a subject matter expert. I was asked by the Director of Operations to provide feedback regarding a presentation given by a leader of the organization. He wanted to know how I could help his department align work to meet the company’s new initiatives.
- He Didn’t Bring Anything to the Potluck but Took Some Home
A group that I belong to decided to have a potluck dinner at the next event, and everyone agreed to bring something to eat or drink. I’m generally not too good at figuring out what to bring, so I asked around, and a friend recommended a cheese-and-cracker tray. I figured this was a safe bet because wine was going to be offered.
- The Lesson a Youth Soccer Goalie Taught Me
Over the weekend, I attended a youth soccer game here in San Antonio. This particular contest was played by kids ranging in age from 9-to-10. A boy named Caleb captured my attention. He was one of the best on team, and I could tell that he was going to do whatever it took to win the game.
- How I Prepared for a Commencement Speech in 25 Minutes
I attended the graduation of a family member, who recently completed his 4-year degree from a university in Central Texas. The graduation was scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m., and decided to drive up a bit earlier, which would allow me to get a good view to take pictures.
- I Rolled a Stop Sign and the Self-Appointed Cop Followed Me Home
Like in any other subdivision, there are several stop signs and speed bumps near where I live. The speed limit is a weird 21 mph. For the most part, homeowners in our area adhere to the law, and I haven’t observed any accidents since I moved there in 2003.
- He Inherited Grandma’s House and Sold It for $1.2M
I have yet another steam room story. It seems like this is where I hear some interesting stuff. The fitness facility that I frequent has separate steam rooms for men and women. When men are shooting the bull, they tend to open up a bit about what is going on in their lives.
- The Doctor Gave Her Only One Crutch
While heading to teach a Project Management course, I ran into a colleague making her way to teach a Database Management course. From a distance, I noticed that she was limping along with just one crutch. Knowing that she needed assistance, I approached her and asked how I could help.
- When Employees Quit in Large Numbers - A Conversation with Katrina
Several months ago, I had a discussion with a colleague who informed me that her entire department quit on a Friday when she was at a conference. She received a call from the HR department informing her that all five of her employees submitted their resignation.
- How to Manage a Belligerent Employee
There are some people on our team that are tough to manage. They have all the answers, and they are unwilling to play nice. During meetings, these belligerent employees do their best to show you how bored they are with the proceedings. For the most part, they arrive to meetings on time, but they are pre-occupied with other issues.
- Flight-Etiquette: Should I Tell the Lady Next to Me to Stop Eating?
Here recently, I was on a five-hour flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles. As it turns out, this United Airlines flight was nearly filled to capacity. A pre-boarding announcement was made for passengers to consider checking in their carry-on luggage. I needed my bags because I was hoping to shower at the United Club at LAX given that this was a red-e
- TSA Agent: “I’m Doing Terrible! Can’t Wait to Retire!”
While going through airport security, I observed a TSA agent wasn’t too excited about the work he was doing. While I get negative vibes from workers here and there, it’s unusual for them to tell me point-blank that they are unhappy.
- If I Were President: No More Micromanagers!
In me, you have a candidate that will be specific with my ideas. I understand that I might lose some votes with my policies, but it’s important that I share how I will change the American workplace.
- When You Must Say “Yes” to More Work
As a business owner, it is tough to turn down work. We know that new contracts are the lifeblood of our business. While current clients are an excellent source of revenue, we must avoid standing still. We cannot expect 100% loyalty, especially in a price-conscious marketplace.
- Why People Resign on a Thursday
I received an email last Thursday indicating that a client was no longer available because she served her resignation notice. She quit on a Thursday. I have yet to get the details regarding why she left abruptly, but I started to think why employees walk out the door before completing the notice period.
- Does Being Too Friendly Make One Stupid? The Moby Dick Story!
Here recently I went to the local Prometric Testing Center to sit for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam sponsored by the Project Management Institute (PMI). My exam was scheduled for 10:00 a.m., and I was anxious to get started.
- The Boss Says: “I've Got Your Back!” Does He Really?
At a departmental meeting, the boss (Dan) made it clear that he was fighting for their cause with upper management. The problem, though, is that bad news is followed only by more bad news. A year ago, several staff members were let go, and no one has seen a raise for several years.
- 3 Reasons Why Tom Was A Terrific Manager
Like top-notch employees, terrific managers are hard to find. In my last corporate job, I had the privilege to work for a smart, committed, and fair manager. While I’ve had other good managers in the past, I felt Tom was the best.
- Why Lack of Volunteers for Projects is a Leadership Problem
I participated in a webinar where a manager was leading the discussion. My role was mainly as an observer, but I would provide project management guidance when necessary. The manager forwarded the participants an agenda several days in advance, and most of us were clear regarding the expectations.
- She Didn’t Marry Him, But He Was Still Grateful
A friend recently invited me to a wedding between a couple who were both marrying for the second time. The Catholic ceremony was modest, and attended mostly by those who knew the bride (Martha) and groom (Daniel) well.
- 3 Signs You Are Staying in a Cheap Motel
Over the years, I’ve stayed in cheap hotels. In some cases, I didn’t want to spend the extra money on a nicer place, and sometimes I had little choice. As a college basketball referee for more than two decades, I’ve been away from my home many nights, which results in many hotel stays.
- Why Failing to Wear a Name Tag is a Leadership Problem
While on business in Baltimore, I rented a car from Avis. I happen to like the Preferred Member benefit at Avis because usually my car is waiting for me when I arrive at the destination.
- The Meeting Attendee Who Stop Participating After the Food Arrived
This past week, I was asked to participate in a lunch meeting sponsored by an organization looking for ideas to embrace emerging technologies. We were contacted via email regarding the meeting, and the coordinator provided a list of lunch options, which included sandwiches and salads.
- How to Become Irrelevant in 5 Seconds
As part of my work, I teach online courses. In some cases, this type of work requires that I speak to students on the phone. The calls are usually because the learner has fallen behind with their work, and they are offering an explanation regarding their substandard performance.
- 5 Reasons Why You Deserve a Raise
Many of us have a hard time asking for a raise. We work hard, and we generate excellent results. However, we are unsure how to approach our manager about a pay increase. I remember working for an IT shop, and I learned that most of my colleagues were earning nearly 50% more than me.
- Why a Naked Man Shaving His Head in the Steam Room is a Leadership Problem
I was recently in the steam room of the fitness room where I workout, and I noticed that a naked man with a razor began to shave his head. There were several of us in the room, and a few stared at him as he violated the policy. This particular fitness facility has private areas for men and women gym-goers.
- 3 Signs You Should Get Rid of Your Mentor
A mentor can make a big difference in your career. You want to find a person who is genuinely concerned about helping you succeed. Surprisingly, there are many people who wish you well, and can help you learn the ropes within your organization.
- 3 Names I Don’t Like to be Called!
We all have different names that we don’t like others to call us. For some reason, they don’t sound right, or they make us feel uncomfortable. I guess it’s similar to calling someone by their middle name, even though they’ve made it clear that they don’t like it. We do just to make life harder on them.
- How to Manage a Rude Customer
Is the customer always right? The general answer I hear is that the customer must be given the benefit of the doubt, and that we should do whatever possible to keep him happy.
- Here are 10 Reasons to Turn Down a Job Offer
In some cases, we need to walk away from a job offer. I understand that money can be tight, but assuming a job that we don’t like can cause more problems than it solves.
- Why a Broken Ironing Board is a Leadership Problem
It’s Monday morning, and I’m getting ready for several important meetings in the Los Angeles area. I selected a hotel right near the Orange County John Wayne airport because of its convenience. My morning was planned perfectly, including breakfast, a quick workout, and getting the wrinkles out of my clothes that come from packing in one’s luggage.
- Knowing the Right Time to Resign Your Job
There was a time when people thought they would work for the same employer – the forever. Today, it’s unusual to hear someone say they plan to retire with the company where they currently work. In fact, many people are applying for a new job within months of accepting an offer.
Backing Into a Job
- The Interview Response That Disqualified Me From a Job
Over the years, I have interviewed for my share of employment positions. In some of those interviews, I did well, and in some I fell short. For the most part, I am well-prepared, and have a good idea what the interviewer is interested in hearing. Unfortunately, it’s tough to prepare for every question or every scenario.
- Don’t Make Me Think! Just Tell Me What To Do!
Management theorist Douglas McGregor stated there were two types of workers:
• Theory X: People who are lazy, and inherently dislike work.
• Theory Y: People who love challenges, and look forward to productive work.
- Walt Disney Leadership 101: Plus It! The Water Bill Story
Walt Disney was a perfectionist. He was not going to settle for mediocre work from his imagineers. Because he knew the work so well, Disney was aware of the upper limits. Getting near perfect results was challenging for his staff, but that was the expectation that everyone had to meet.
- Avoid Giving up Your Seat on the Next Flight … Even if She has a Baby
A few months back, I was on a flight from New Delhi, India to Newark, NJ. The flight is terribly long, more than 16 hours. A month before the flight, I contacted a United Airlines representative to secure a seat where I could work comfortably. If one is not in First Class, either the bulkhead or exit rows work well. The agent informed me that I wou
- 10 Ways to Differentiate Yourself During an Interview
What do you bring to the table? What makes you unique? Once you get a chance to interview for a position that interests you, it’s important you mention what is important to the employer. In other words, avoid thinking about what matters to you.
- You Have to “Bitch” a Little to Get Your Way
Getting one’s way can happen in various ways. We have techniques, some that work, and some that are far less effective. While in the steam room at my fitness club, I overheard a conversation about how one gym-goer (Joe), and several of his comrades, were able to change a policy in just one day of non-stop complaining.
- The “Long-term” Director Suddenly Quits
Many years ago, I worked for an organization who couldn’t keep a director more than a year. In essence, the director was in charge of managing the day-to-day business of the company. Other than working into the evenings on some days, the position didn’t seem too tough, especially since much of the work was delegated to the competent staff.
- Improving the Bottom Line by Recognizing Good Work
Motivating your employees to succeed is much easier than you think. The problem with many managers today is that they spend most of their time micromanaging. I’m sure you know of the manager who is more interested in what you do wrong, and shows little concerns for your wins.
- The White Glove Treatment
I recently attended a conference, and was intrigued when a speaker discussed the White Glove treatment. He explained how his organization was inefficient in the onboarding process. He exclaimed: “Quite honestly, I can’t believe we have any business at all. We are so poor when bringing on new customers.”