Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shut Up About The Golden Rule

Yesterday, in a seminar about marketing to Millennials, the Golden Rule Issue came up again.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The discussion centered around customer service and someone said, “The basic philosophy in customer service should be The Golden Rule.”

When I said I didn’t think that was true it got really quiet.

We were having the seminar in the community room at a Pizza Inn (I know, nothing but the most lavish venues for me!) and I asked the questioner, “Tell you what, if I asked you to go to the buffet and get me a plate of pizza what would you bring back?”

He said, “Pepperoni, sausage, cheese and maybe some of that desert pizza with cinnamon and icing! I love that stuff!”

(Is your mouth watering?!)

I asked, “Why those choices?” 

“Because that’s what I like and I think that’s what most people like. Those are the most popular choices.”

I said, “So, you would be doing to me what you would like to have done to you, The Golden Rule, right?”


I said, “Ok, if you did that for me I’d thank you for your kindness and then tell you that I have a reflux problem and can’t seem to eat pepperoni, sausage or bacon without having a reaction that feels like a heart attack.”

I asked the group, “What’s the solution here?”

They agreed that taking a moment to ask what I liked would be the quickest way to get me what I would like and could eat.

What they revealed—in a very practical way—is The Platinum Rule.

Do unto others the way they would have it be done to them.

In customer service, in any kind of relationships (personal/community/global), the key is The Platinum Rule.

Someone quickly offered the thought, “But there are some customers who want everything for free! How do you deal with them?”

You suggest that your product or service is not for them. You can’t make everyone happy. You can’t serve everyone.

And yes, this point goes to everything from individual relationships such as marriage, to global relationships between nations. 

People want what they want, and what they want may not be what you want.

Do unto others the way they would have it be to them.

If you're smart (and I think if you're reading this you're really smart!), you'll take a moment to think about the relationships in your life. What do they want?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

100 Days to Go

100 Days.

Here’s the cool thing about today. There are 100 days left in 2015.

So, whataya gonna do with 100 days?

You know and I know that there’s some dream/project/idea/ambition/responsibility/job/…some something you’ve been promising yourself (and, maybe others) you would get done this year.

100 days.

Today is a great day to create a plan to make the dream a reality; to fulfill the responsibility. There’s something that, at the end of the year, if you complete it, you’ll be able to look back, feel great, and say, “I did it!”

100 days.

I’ve got a couple of projects I’ve been working on and I have to say that I need to pick up speed on them. So, I’ve got a calendar and a marker and I’m going to number the days as they pass and hold myself…

***you know what? I just started to write, “try to hold myself responsible”….and that ain’t it. Trying doesn’t get it done. Here’s what I’m going to do: By January 1 I will have 3 books on Amazon. One novel and two non-fiction books. Also, I’m working on a project called Liar’s Gold, and by January 1 it will be up and running with a website.

100 Days.

If I don’t have those projects completed I pledge to donate $500 to a political candidate whom I believe is absolutely worthless. And I’ll write about it and confess to the failure and donation right here in the blog.

If you know a worthless candidate to whom YOU would not want ANYONE to contribute money send me a comment at and I’ll see if your worthless candidate is the same as mine.

100 Days.

So, there you go! The challenge has been issued, the punishment laid out. The reward will be seeing these projects completed.

100 Days. 

What will you do with them?

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Rhythm of Slack

Recently, two seminar attendees offered truths I’ll be passing on to others for years to come.

The first was a new supervisor who noted that some of his employees had gotten into a Rhythm of Slack

(If, for whatever reason, you aren’t familiar with this use of the word slack, it means, characterized by a lack of work or activity)

He said, “They do just enough to keep their jobs, and they’ve been doing that for years. So, they’ve gotten into a rhythm of slack and it’s almost impossible to pull them out of it.”

I started looking around at my life and realized that, in some areas, I’ve gotten into a rhythm of slack. Now, it isn’t that there aren’t some areas of life in which it’s fine to put yourself on autopilot. In fact, as humans we do it all the time, it’s a way to conserve energy for the really important things.

But, most of us profess to have certain goals in life; accomplishments that would mean a lot to us and that we want to see realized. Then, we slide into a rhythm of slack and, years later, we say, “Well, it would have been nice if that had happened, but it just didn’t work out.” The reason it didn’t happen is because we got slack.

Look around. Have you eased into a rhythm of slack in important areas of life? I know I have. Seems like a good time to pick up the pace.

I’ll tell you about the other comment in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hack Your Life

Here goes a flat-out endorsement. 

As much as I appreciate you reading the blog, as soon as you are through reading this you need to go to You’ll find tons of great suggestions for work, travel, health, and other important life issues. 

The thing I love about is that almost all the articles are in list fashion so you might not be able to use everything you read, but there’ll be something in there that was worth your time.

I know there are tons of sites begging for attention, like this one, but is worth a moment.

See ya there.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Please! BLUF Me!!

Yesterday, my brother and I spent about 3 hours on a roadtrip to do some family business. I don’t get to spend enough time with him and we both enjoyed laughing and talking about what’s going on in life.

Joe has two life experiences I do not; he has two daughters (I don’t have children of my own), and he served in the Navy (I didn’t have the honor and privilege of serving in the military).

We were talking about talking, about communicating information to people so they get it. I’m probably bad about giving too much information. I believe having the background can often help someone place the event/fact/instructions within the framework of their lives in such a way that it sticks more easily…see, that was probably more information than you needed/wanted.

Joe said that in the military there’s a communication strategy known as BLUF…Bottom Line Up Front. 

He said, “It’s different than when you simply say to someone, ‘Let me cut to the chase.’ To me, that phrase seems to infer that you don’t care so much about them as you do about getting on with the situation for your own good.”

I thought that was a pretty perceptive way to look at what a lot of folks see as a simple communication tool.

“But, if you preface the situation by explaining, ‘In the military there’s a strategy called, Bottom Line Up Front, where you give the end result desired or what will seem to happen at the completion of the project at the beginning of the conversation. Do you mind if I start with the Bottom Line Up Front?”

As he explained, it’s a good, caring, courteous way to pare away a lot of extraneous information and, in fact, get to the bottom line…or, the chase, if you like that better. Then, you can ask if they need clarification, more info, or a different way to explain. If they do, give them what they need; if they don’t, great! You’re ahead of the game on time and effort.

The Bottom Line at the End here is, my brother is one of the best people I know…and smart. But, don’t tell him…it might go to his head…and then I’d have to give him the Bottom Line Up Front.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How Old Do You Think?

The new Cigar Afianado magazine has an interview with Academy Award-winning actor, Robert Deniro. I know he’s a wonderful actor, I love his work, but if you’ve ever seen an interview with him you know he’s a terrible interview. Looks uncomfortable, gives monosyllabic answers, always seems like he’d rather be anywhere but where he is. I keep thinking that for most interviews, they could simply use an empty chair, or print the question, then print a blank space where the answer would be.

Having ranted about that, though, he offered a profound, one-sentence answer to a simple question.

Deniro is 72 and was asked: How old do you feel?

He said, “I feel as old as I think.”

No pun intended…or, pun intended, if you like…think about that.

“I feel as old as I think.”

How old do you think? I think pretty young…I think. And, thinking young can happen if you are open to new ideas, always exploring, have some regular contact with younger people. 

You don’t have to memorize all the random young actors/actresses, musicians, YouTube stars and athletes in the news. But, when a name pops up your response should probably not be, “Don’t know who they are and don’t care.” That sort of response gets you isolated.

My friend, Elaine, has a great strategy for one area of life…music. As she travels she spins through a wide range of stations and listens to a little bit of a lot of different kinds of music. I’m always amazed when a song comes on that I’ve never heard and she’s singing the words.

How old do you think?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Burgers, Baseball and Being Better

Once a year the folks who run the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Duke University sponsor a get-together at a Durham Bulls game. Yesterday,  at the event, I had the great pleasure of reconnecting with a number of folks who have been positive forces in my life.

If you don’t have the opportunity to be around people who’ve been supportive of you, you need to create a situation like that. It reminds you of the good things about yourself (for many folks that happens waaaaay too seldom) and prompts you to think about new, creative, positive ideas…well, at least that’s the effect the function had on me.

If you are fortunate enough to live with someone who is positive and supportive, as I am, it’s easy to take that sort of feeling for granted because you experience it every day. If you’re lucky like that you need to show them you appreciate their caring.

But, if you don’t have the type of support that pushes you to new heights, you’ll have to cultivate positive relationships and do a consistent job of staying in touch.

Too often, we get invitations or opportunities to attend functions in which we can recontact with good people, but the possible negative feelings or contacts keep us from the good stuff. Don’t let the bad outweigh/overcome the good.

Fall is coming. Depending on your interests that can mean all kinds of events at which you have the opportunity for reconnects and new relationships. Take the chance! If you don’t, you can end up one of those old, negative whiners who spends all their time at home saying, “No one ever calls!”