Company Blog

I Want To Play, Coach

by Adam Zack — December 1, 2021

The key to winning is doing the prep work, which is work.

Mike Krzyzewski (pronounced Shuh-shef-ski, if you can believe that), also known as Coach K, is one of the top college basketball coaches of all time. He has won 5 national championships and has the most wins all-time in NCAA tournament play. He’s in the conversation for greatest coach in history, not too far behind John Wooden, the best ever.  I was listening to him on a radio interview this week, and he made a statement that doesn’t just apply to basketball, or sports, but to our everyday work and even our lives in general. He was talking about his players, and he said that everyone wants to play, but everyone doesn’t want to prepare to play. Preparation is the hard part. Preparation is doing the homework, hitting the gym, eating right, not partying, practicing. The fun, the glory and the adrenaline is all in playing the game, but the key to winning is doing the prep work, which is
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Thankful 2021

by Adam Zack — November 24, 2021

Learning that expectations are judgments and are based in the past and render me blind to the present.

20 months into a pandemic and I’m still thankful every single day. For the blessings, the challenges, the successes and the failures. The stresses, the a-holes, the worry and the uncertainty. There’s a gift in every interaction, and something learned from everything that I screw up and the ones I do right. Thanksgiving Day is one to especially reflect on how truly great we have it in America (and Canada, for you Canucks reading along, you had your day in October). How lucky we are that we can sit down at our computer or look at our emails on our phone and our biggest worry is that our battery might run out of charge soon or your operating system needs an update. We have it good. So as I look forward to Thanksgiving Day with family, friends, food, wine and football, here are 10 things I am especially Thankful for this year.
  1. I continually strive to be a better listener, and have got past the point of being pissed when the person I am talking to doesn’t.
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I Owe, I Owe…

by Adam Zack — November 17, 2021


They have literally made us a better person.

Pretty much everyone I know hates to be in debt. There are debts like your home mortgage that may take 30 years to pay off. Or credit card debt that you just can’t quite get paid off every month, sometimes because of an unexpected expense and other times because you just weren’t responsible enough to live within your means. I tell young people regularly that one of the best pieces of advice ever given me was from my dad, and that was to get a credit card when I turned 18, use it regularly to build my credit, but to always pay it off EVERY month. It was advice I listened to and has proven to be very valuable. Sometimes we owe a debt to a friend for doing us a favor like helping us move or going out of their way to help us. Those are fuzzy debts that, at least in a reciprocal relationship, are not kept on a tally sheet. We do have debts that we will NEVER be able to repay. All of us, in some way, are indebted to someone who, through their words or actions have made an indelible mark on our lives. They have contributed greatly to our character and who we are as a person. They have given us happiness, a sense of accomplishment, pride, or wisdom. They have literally made us...
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by Adam Zack — November 10, 2021

And what else?

I got a call last week from the extremely employee focused Bob LaBonne Jr. Bob is the leader of LaBonne’s Markets, a four store chain in Connecticut which specializes in fresh food and exceptional service. How does he consistently maintain that outstanding level of service? He treats his employees with a level of care and respect few can match. So after he read my blog last week, Bob called and wanted to share a tool he had learned and used for helping employees who may be losing their motivation or may be stumbling a little from the level of performance that they have delivered in the past. It’s called A.W.E and stands for And What Else? Say you have an employee that has been with you several years, but recently has been frequently tardy and doesn’t seem to care as much as he used to. The A.W.E technique requires that you call them aside for a meeting to find out what’s wrong. You tell them you noticed that they seem unhappy and that there are performance issues, and ask flat out what might be bothering them. They give you an answer, and you respond “And what else?” Usually another answer wil...
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Getting to Know You

by Adam Zack — November 3, 2021

A reciprocal relationship is satisfying and rewarding for everyone involved.

It’s a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought
That if you become a teacher
By your pupils you’ll be taught
As a teacher I’ve been learning
You’ll forgive me if I boast
And I’ve now become an expert
On the subject I like most
Getting to know youGetting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me
– Rogers & Hammerstein from the movie The King and I. Sung by Julie AndrewsI don’t think enough can be said about the most su...
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Motivating the Motivator

by Adam Zack — October 27, 2021


The only one who can motivate you is you.

It’s hard to be a leader. I have a list right in front of me that I look at most days with 10 reasons why it’s hard to be a leader. (If anyone wants to see it, just shoot me an email As a leader, we are constantly working to inspire, teach and motivate our team. It’s a never-ending job that has got increasingly more difficult, challenging and stressful over the past couple of years. Good leaders do it naturally, and the feeling of pride and accomplishment as you observe your team members thriving is the reward. But as the chief motivator, what happens when you let stress and frustration into your picture? How do you motivate yourself? I think it’s incredibly difficult once you’ve lost your motivation to get it back. I think that sometimes it’s cyclical, and the pressure is short lived, soon replaced by that great feeling you get when your team spiritually lifts you up by actually practicing the motivational techniques you’ve shown them over the years. The only one who can motivate you is you, and maybe sometimes we are a bit ha...
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Extra times 7

by Adam Zack — October 20, 2021


Unexpected, deserved and sincere.

You know how good it makes you feel when unexpectedly and without prompting, someone you care about and respect hits you with some words of praise or appreciation? Something other than “You’re doing a great job.” or “Thanks for taking care of business.” Or “Thank you for cooking dinner.” Something that is both personal and insightful. It can be a compliment, observation or comment on an insight that is truly personal. It catches people off guard, lets them know you care and literally makes their day. And it doesn’t have to be work related. It can be something toward your spouse, your mom, your sister or one of your kids. It happened to me recently and I decided I needed to do it more, and regularly. First, I thought I’d set myself a goal of 15 times per week. Then I set 10. Now I have revised it again to just 7. That’s one time per day. Or it could be 3 times one day, and 4 the rest of the week. The key is that it has to be meaningful to others. Unexpected, deserved and sincere. It can be a gesture, a phone call, a written note, an email or a text. The goal is to stagger them with kindness and insight that only someone who is truly observant and can know and say. ...
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Hype Expectations vs Reality

by Adam Zack — October 13, 2021


We often see excellent retailers developing incredible marketing materials and then nailing their execution.

When I was 17 my best friend Bob and I heard a lot about this new movie that had come out called Chariots of Fire. It was supposedly action packed, fast paced, critically acclaimed and a great sports story. All things that were right in our wheelhouse. We went on a Friday to the theater at the mall to see it, our expectations very high. Also, at 17 we thought we knew a lot, but like pretty much all 17 year olds, we didn’t know squat. So we get to the theater, popcorn and Cokes in hand, and the movie starts. First, it is very British. And in our limited world exposure, that meant boring. Second, track and field is boring, especially to 17 year olds. And third, it was long and slooowwwwwww. We left thinking it was the worst film we had ever seen and how our high expectations had not been even close to being fulfilled. We generate high expectations for our customers when we plan exciting and interesting promotions and ramp up to them with spot on marketing, word of mouth and thorou...
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by Adam Zack — October 6, 2021


You have the choice every day regarding the attitude you will embrace for that day.

It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away – U2I never really thought that a good day, or a bad day, had more to do with my attitude going into the day than with what my interactions with the day’s people and challenges brought. I was always the constant in the equation, and the actions of the people and situations I dealt with largely determined whether I’d have a great day or crappy day, right? I didn’t put enough stock in my attitude going into the day. I didn’t fully realize that if my day started with optimism, appreciation and energy that the rest of the day was likely to follow. Even more impactful was that as a leader the people around me were keyed to my attitude and followed suit. This was all brought into focus with an article on attitude shared with me recently. Thanks Linda for seeing how this could help me, and in turn help others.ATTITUDEAttitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failur...
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Youthful Enthusiasm

by Adam Zack — September 29, 2021


Enthusiasm for life is essential for mental and physical health.

When I was in my early 20’s my good friend Karen and I would go out late at night and play the Purse Game. You know, where you tie a piece of fishing line to an old purse and throw it out into the road and wait for someone to drive by, see it and stop. Just before they got out of the car to look for it we’d yank the line and pull it to where we were hiding by the side of the road. We just thought it was the funniest thing ever to see these people get out of their car and look for this purse that they swear they’d seen. One night, in fact the last night we ever played it, we hauled the bag in and waited. This man has a flashlight and comes over to where we are hiding, shines his light on us and says something like “Aren’t you a little old to be playing the Purse Game?” We were totally embarrassed and thought, “You know, maybe he’s right.”

Everywhere we go around San Diego, California it seems we are surrounded by youth. Millennial families with little kids that scream with delight every time their feet touch a wave. Gen-X kids on skateboards in the parking lots while they smoke cigarettes. High schoo...

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