Especially in times of economic distress, your business faith will be tested.
It’s never wrong to do the right thing. Never. You treat people right, with respect, with a caring spirit and good things come your way. My simple definition of karma: What goes around, comes around. I’m not talking that you’ll win the lottery. Or that you’ll always be happy. Or that your life will be problem free. No, faith in doing the right thing means that you don’t have to worry about lies being uncovered. It means that your regrets will be fewer. It means you’ll have a clean conscience. It means that the gossipers have nothing on you. It means that you smile more. Really.Faith in business dealings is incredibly important. It’s not just about maximizing profits, reducing costs and beating the competition. Faith in business is trusting that your clients, vendors and customers share a common belief that when you all do the right thing, success will follow. It results in long term relationships that evolve into truly caring. And when you care, work becomes less of a job and more of a passion.Especially in times of economic distress, your business faith will be tested. Pessimism can yank you by the hair and try to snap your head back. You will question and second guess...read more
Customers true thoughts and suggestions make many retailers very uncomfortable and defensive.
Last week my wife finally splurged on herself and bought a nice pair of sunglasses. Maui Jim brand (thanks to our friend Mark who gave her a 50% off gift card) that have incredible lenses, clarity and craftsmanship. Really a work of art that your eyes will thank you for forever. So she shows me a choice of two different pairs she was considering, and wanted to know which one I liked best. I told her, she agreed, and that was the pair she ordered. They came a few days later. She tried them on and asked me what I thought. I looked, and told her they looked fine. She prodded further, asking me what I really thought, and since I was the one who had to look at her mug when she’s wearing them, she asked for my honest opinion. I said as delicately as I could (which for me is not very delicate) that the frames were a little thick. As I looked at her, it dawned on me whose glasses they looked like. I told her, they look like Al Franken’s glasses. And they did! Not that she looks like Al Franken, just the glasses did. (I know, what a dick I am!) She did ask my opinion, and she did ask me to be honest. Still, I think maybe I should...read more
In the back of my mind I knew it was too good to be true
Do you believe in Karma? I know I’ve touched on this subject before, but especially “during these unprecedented times”, it seems like everything we do has a consequence. As a young man, I didn’t really care or think about Karma. I did what I wanted, tried to be a good person and lived life like most 20-somethings. So, one day, not long after I got my first job out of college, I went down to the car stereo store (there were lots of those back then) and was shopping for a new stereo with a CD player for my 1986 Volkswagen Jetta. It was a sweet ride, and the first almost-new car I ever had purchased. As I’m shopping for the stereo, a guy comes up and asks me if I want to buy a stereo and speakers for something like 80 bucks. All I had to do was follow him out to his car to check it out. So, I did. And the stereo was cool, and a heck of a deal. In the back of my mind I knew it was too good to be true and probably stolen, but what the hell. I bought it, installed it and loved the sound. Didn’t give it much of a thought after that. I probably bragged about the “great deal” I had got. Such a dope. About a month later, I went out to my car in the morning. Shattered glass was on the ground and my stolen stereo ...read more
A guy walks in to see a therapist. “Let’s talk about your childhood.” says the therapist. “Do I have to relive that again???” thinks the patient. Sound like the start to a promising joke, right? I have a best friend who is a psychologist. A great one. I also have friends that regularly seek therapy as a way to help navigate life and attain a happy, peaceful stability. One thing that seems to be a norm in psychology is the need for the psychologist to dig deep into the patient’s past, reliving and trying to ascertain just what prompted them to seek therapy in the first place. It always seemed to make sense to me. But yesterday, my friend who has sought therapy regularly for several years was explaining how much he loved his new therapist. She’s easy to talk to, has the ability to relate and laugh with him, and most importantly is working with him to focus on the future, helping lead him to a happier, more confident and comfortable life.You can revisit the past – mistakes, happiness, regrets and more, but you can never change it. You can only change the direction of your life trajectory by looking forward. My wife shared a lesson with me last week: “Nothing erases the past. There is repen...read more
On behalf of the independent grocers all over the world, I’d like to invite you to just go. Pack your bags and hit the road. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. We’ve met your novel challenge by being innovative, improving safety and sanitation, procuring toilet paper from previously unused sources and made all kinds of adjustments to cater to you, Mr. Contagious. You have really brought out the best in us, but we were a pretty great group before, so you don’t get credit. So now, many months into dealing with your crap, we’ve had enough. More importantly, our customers have had enough. The summer has been a bust with you around, and the thought of you overstaying your welcome into the holidays is depressing. You’re a real buzz-kill. You’re probably really proud of yourself – contributing to a political shit-show, infecting millions of people and killing hundreds of thousands more – but crashing our party and overstaying your welcome is going to end soon. We’ll be better when you’re gone – we always rise to challenges – but it will not be because of you, it will be in spite of you.So in closing, please accept our invitation to leave before we call security to throw your ass out.Sincerely,...read more
Dreams have some kind of root in something real that has happened in your life. At least most of them do. I’m not talking dreams of success or romance or achievement – those are more goals than dreams – I’m talking about when you wake up and think that was a weird dream, where the hell did that come from? Yesterday I had blog idea blockage. I’m blaming it on Covid-19, like everything else. So in the early hours of the morning I had this dream. I usually forget my dreams, but I had to get up and make some notes so I’d remember it. In my dream, I was walking through Dorothy Lane Market with Norman Mayne, just checking out the store. I’ve told many people that I think Dorothy Lane is, in my opinion, doing the best job in the supermarket industry in the country. They definitely “Get it”. While walking the store, I ran into Karen McMullen, who is the Human Resources Director for Jensen’s Foods stores in Southern California. I asked her if she had met Norman, and she said, kind of with a dismissive shrug that she had, and that instead of being enamored with what he had accomplished with his stores, was thoroughly unimpressed. We started walking through the store and she c...read more
I heard someone say today that it’s the thought that counts, and that made me think that no, it’s the result that counts more than the thought, right? I can think good thoughts for you to be happy or successful, but if you aren’t and I only contributed good thoughts, then the thought definitely wouldn’t count as much as my action. So, I decided to look into the phrase’s origins. Turns out that it’s a proverb, and not just a phrase. It is attributed to Henry van Dyke, Jr., a professor, ambassador and clergyman around the turn of the 19th century. Henry was a friend of Helen Keller and the officiant at Mark Twain’s funeral. The full, original proverb is “It’s not the gift, it’s the thought that counts.” It’s nice to receive a well-intentioned gift, and instead of looking at the wrong size sweater that you have to return as a chore instead of a gift, it’s a reminder that someone actually cared enough to actually get you a gift. It’s a good reminder. Still, I have taken the lesson to heart and used it as a reminder that it’s not just the thought that matters in today’s world. It’s the result. Well intentioned isn’t enough when it comes to safety, quality and customer service in business. In our grocery store...read more
Thanks for the support and wonderful feedback from last week’s blog about my buddy Scott who has liver disease. The feedback and, well just the process of putting his difficult journey in writing helped shake him and all (well most, some are still mysteriously silent) of his friends and family into action. A fundraiser was started to help defray his medical costs and the support has brought this gentle giant to tears and humility. While he has lost over 130 lbs, this is not the way you want to lose weight. No one’s thinking “Hey, liver disease is a great way to shed 40% of my body weight! Look at my before and after photos!” We were talking about the importance of thanking everyone who has been so supportive, and the sincerity of the thank you came up. It’s easy to craft a well written thank you to respond to people – some of them total strangers – who willingly give you their hard earned money (especially in these times) and send the same message to everyone. Scott’s words to me: “I started doing thank you notes and I’m trying to make each word personal and not a generic thank you.” That hit me. Not make each note personal, but each word. It really was a reminder from a past b...read more
Sometimes it seems to me like all I can think to write about is leadership and taking care of your people. I forget that before you can make others happy and fulfilled, you have to take care of “yours truly”. This past weekend, my best friend from kindergarten was down visiting. We’ve been friends for 51 years. Yes, I know – old! He has always put everyone around him first. His kids, his parents, his wife, his friends. Selfishness (and self-care) are not in his vocabulary. And now he’s sick with stage 4 non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis. And he’s still trying to take care of everyone else first. It’s maddening and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a real reminder for me to share that you have to take care of yourself. You deserve to be number one sometimes. Whether it’s an extra day off, personal care or just having some alone time with your spouse where you can turn off your phone and do the things that make you happy. It’s what you want your employees to do, so why don’t you? It’s time to remind yourself that if you don’t self-care, who’s going to be around to take care of them?
I read the bi-weekly blog of a young man (wait, that makes him sound like a kid – he’s almost 29 I think) named Stephen Nelson. He’s a Certified Financial Planner and is always looking for insight and ways to learn, improve and share. He’s one of those millennials that’s responsible, kind, inquisitive and a great listener. He’s pretty funny too. Where a lot of millennials have been stereotyped as selfish, entitled and out of touch with reality (some have earned that stereotype, a lot haven’t), Stephen is the opposite.So today as I was pondering just what topic to write about during what seems like week 4,000 of Covid, I got Stephen’s blog and it totally inspired me. You can read his here http://perdiem.blog/theology-of-availability/. Most of you great leaders are not aware of how much weight your attention and the responses you give to employees and customers mean. You’re the president, or the CEO, Upper Management or the owner of a business that employs hundreds of people. You’re a rock star and a VIP. And although you may not see yourself as a celebrity or intimidating figure, to your employees you are the top...read more