Monday, December 30, 2013

Be strong on social media

Recently, I've led or participated in a few threads whose subjects are rather controversial.

I have been shocked at the taunts, lack of civility, meanness and cruelty that occurs when those on the thread think you're WRONG. There is no middle ground with some of these "haters."  But, you must be strong, maintain your position and if it gets too snarky, just leave it alone. It just isn't worth it.

I read somewhere of a guy who thinks folks who stay on Facebook all day trolling and commenting, are boring and don't have great lives.  When I was at the other end of that venom, I thought of his statement.

When I was under siege, I maintained my cool, stayed strong to my position and withstood the onslaught.

But, when I dip my toe in this territory again, I will think long and hard about whether it's worth it to engage.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Leverage your power

I've been banking at Chase since forever.  So, I have established credibility.  But, last week, an employee didn't provide a document for me.

I went into complaint mode, threatened to pull every cent and just flexed my muscles.

I contacted the former manager whose excellent customer service convinced me to bank there and add $$$ and accounts there.

She took care of the problem.  Not only did she get on this errant employee with no customer service skills, but she came by the bank and provided the service.

Had she not intervened, I'd have changed banks.

My applause to Sheena Bankston who is the quintessential example of a professional par excellence who understands the value of going beyond -- and then beyond -- the call of duty to be an example of and to exhibit awesome customer service.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Just say no - You're worth it

I was invited to a relative by marriage's house for Thanksgiving.  Last year, it was a nightmare because one her brothers is a former resident of the penitentiary system -- as in a former prisoner.  I had to be careful what I said and gentle about my questions until I didn't have a great time.  Plus, he was in for a serious crime so I was a little queasy.

I know you're supposed to be charitable around the holidays but, this year, I reflected on last year and decided it was an opportunity for ME time so I decided to "JUST SAY NO."

After all, I believe I'm worth it.  Instead, I spent the day with good friends and had a wonderful, marvelous time.  So, sometimes, being around relatives is not always the answer.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Flying in to Support a friend

Went to Dallas over the weekend for a 60th birthday party a friend hosted. It was a costly trip when considering the airfare, hotel, gift, dress, baggage and transportation costs.  Plus, I got a nasty cold.  But, was it worth it?  This friend has sent me so many clients over the years that I felt it important to be there for her.  So, it was another investment opportunity that outweighed the costs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pull the talents of your team

I oversee a team of about 16 women with varying talents.  However, as a person used to working alone, I tend to always rely on myself.  That is not a good leadership quality but I'm trying to adjust and use them.

Recently, I needed some creative flourishes on a document.  I went into graphic arts web sites to pull it together.

Then, it occurred to me!  I have a team!

I put the word out and two of the most talented set to the task.  The end result was one of the most graphically dynamic presentations I've ever seen.

Pulling from the talents of your team yield eye-poping results and provides a leadership lesson:  the importance of delegating.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It pays off in the long run

I hosted a great dinner party on my lawn on Sunday.  It was table for 25 and everyone -- but two invitees - showed up.  The conversation was awesome, the networking was fabulous and the overall event benefited me. The backdrop of the creek set against trees in my yard was perfect. There were toasts, testimonials about me and general good feeling.  The investment in food, decor, rented chairs/tables, work on the house, renting a driver to pick up the equipment -- was well worth it.  It was great to see everyone having a good time.  And, the kudos are coming in fast and furiously.  I don't know if it will reap any dividends, but it will pay off in the long run.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The extra touch - So Important

A former client recently wrote a book and I was out of town and couldn't attend the gala book signing.  Last weekend, I learned she was signing at a venue that was way -- far away.   So, I jumped in the car and made the long ride.  She was so glad to see me and was so gracious in introducing me and complimenting me.  I got my book, with a gracious message from her.  More than that, I put in the extra touch and extra effort that is so endearing.  That was worth the ride.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Deborah Hersman - NTSB Chair - The Perfect Spokesperson

I've been watching the account of the tragic plane crash.  If you want an object lesson on how to be a perfect spokesperson, watch Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.  She handles the press conference masterfully by taking the question, repeating it and answering it succinctly and with clarity. She has a grasp of all the facts, will admit if she doesn't know the answer and pinpoints when she'll have the answer.

When she closes the press conference, she thanks the media with the hope that they'll get it right.  She is always poised and, even against the backdrop of this tragedy, she is measured and calm.

She is an object lesson of the ideal spokesperson during a crisis.

Enjoy the simple pleasures

Yesterday, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy a few books.  It was such a perfect day that I decided to chill and have a frozen yogurt while reading my newspapers.

Sitting outside of the gelato store against the sun and blue sky, engaging in my favorite pleasure (reading), and eating the coconut-cream-flavored frozen yogurt, I realized how much I was enjoying myself just watching people having fun and basking in the nice weather.

For a moment, there was sheer bless and I realized how lucky I am to have such a great life.

Monday, July 1, 2013

If it's too hard

Recently, I was invited to attend a church service by a friend.  I really wanted to go but was advised that because of the church's popularity, I'd have to get there REALLY early.

Sunday morning, I got up, not feeling my best.  I would have gone but then there was the warning to get there early.  I was already late.

Then, she'd told me that if I didn't get there on time, I'd have to find parking a few blocks away.

That was the deal killer.  If she'd really wanted me there, she'd have made arrangements for my parking.  In the end, I didn't go.


It was too hard.

If you want a special person to attend something, made it easy for them.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A comp is an investment in the future

I love giving gifts.  Recently, I was given a comp ticket to a wonderful jazz-inspired event.  I'd met the executive director at a function and we had such a great meeting that she offered me two tickets.  Well, I found out what she liked and then bought it and put it in a pretty package and presented it to her at the event.  In addition, I also bought raffle tickets and pitched for one of the auction items.  So, the gift giving and the donations are my contributions.  Plus, you can be sure I'll support this event next year. So, this comp ticket is an investment in my support of this event next year.

Monday, June 17, 2013

When you're not paid, get creative

For three years, I worked with a client that had difficulty paying.  However, for the first two years, I was paid -- although slowly.  Because of the nobility of the mission, I continued in the third year.  That was the end the sponsorships fell through and I wasn't paid.

I thought about suing because we had a signed contract.  However, because she was struggling, I opted not to.

So, to recoup some of the losses, we abided by IRS laws to convert some of what was owed into a donation to the charity.  So, that helped allay some of the downside of not being paid.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fund Me, Kick starter

Lately, I've gotten more requests for money from these various outlets asking for help with a mortgage, to get a book published, to build a playground, to help with an event.

It seems this is the trend.  It is best to vet these thoroughly and not be lured by the urge to help.  I helped a friend on the verge of foreclosure who needed $20,000 but only raised $675.  So, my money goes to waste. I had resolved that I'd lose the money so I wasn't upset.  But, it was a waste of money that I'll never get back. So, she's onto foreclosure.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Respect a company trying to do the right thing

I recently bought a refurbished printer from an outlet that does that sort of thing.

When it arrived, the print was smudged, meaning I couldn't use it.

I called ready to do battle with the company. The owner was so accommodating and nice and so customer-service oriented.  He took care of the problem and refunded the money and was very apologetic.  I melted and... As a result, I've decided to find a way to do business with him again. That is the upside of doing the right thing in business.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Learn the Language when in another country

I'm learning French.  Why?  Because I'll be going to Montreal for a conference and when in another "country," you have mastery/leverage/caché when you learn their language. By July, I'll be fluent and in a more powerful position to do business and make French friends and influence people.

Monday, April 22, 2013

You can be far away and take care of business

I was in Scottsdale, AZ last week during the flood in Chicago.  From my phone, I was able to access a plumber, schedule him and handle that.  Then, another tenants' wall buckled and that was handled.  Then, an official died and I had to generate a press release.  Thank goodness for the latest technology. I was able to attend to everything and no one knew I was on holiday.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Know when to hold...know when to fold

After over 20 years of owning a rental property in Harvey, Illinois, I let it go.  I've had good tenants and really horrible tenants.  The last group was in a category all to themselves.  That house has been robbed, completely stripped by thugs and the taxes are astronomical for a crime-infested city.  The leaders have no concern about the City and if you go in and complain, they're defensive.  Plus, the Mayor and all his relatives are in key positions.  A few weeks ago, the tenants left the place in such an infested state that my handyman threw up.  Orange juice was splattered on the walls...weeks old meat was rotting in the fridge. Junk and garbage were piling up.  I almost cried.  At that point, I decided to let it go and told my handyman.  He said he'd like the house and I practically gave it to him.  He is so deserving and he needed a place.  All of it will work out next year come tax time because I took a hit.  But, it was an ah ha moment that told me it was time to fold.  You've got to when to let it go because the stress is not worth it.  I folded but in the process helped someone else.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thank EVERYBODY -- in writing.

I recently conducted a PR workshop in Memphis for Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.  From the time I got off the plane, I was treated like a queen and all of my needs were accommodated.  They were willing to extend themselves -- and did.  When I ran out of stockings, they took me to get some.  When I wanted to get a photo of me at the Lorraine Motel, they drove me there and took the photo.  All totaled, 11 members touched me.  Today, I'm writing 11 THANK YOU NOTES to all of them.  Not an e-mail but a genuine note on stationery.  It is the right way to express appreciation.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A death too soon

I'm always speechless and numb when I learn that someone died before their promise was realized.  Such is the case of Marco McMillian.  I can't say I knew him well but I met him and was struck by his leadership demeanor.  And now he's gone...and brutally taken away from us.  Let's extend a prayer to Marco, Ben Wilson, Hadiyah Pendleton, Blair Holt and the thousands who died too soon -- and at the hands of another black person.  When will it end?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Build on success

Just completed a successful event with A Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum.  Now that it is over, it is time to build on success.  I've thanked all of the media that attended and then followed through on post requests. Since the Museum is having an event in August, it is important to keep the contacts close so that in trying to get media for that event, you don't have to re-establish connections.  It's all about building relationships.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Save on phone bill

When traveling abroad, use Magic Jack instead of any other service.  For 2 cents a minute on Magic Jack, I was able to call back to the office at my heart's content. The same call on the cell would have been about $2 a minute.  Do the math.  For only $99 a year, it's worth it.  While in Senegal, Nassau and St. Maarten, I have taken advantage of the low price to stay close to the office and to any messages.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tap all your resources

If you're promoting an event/cause/person -- WHATEVER --  remember to leverage your social media sites by announcing/publicizing it there. And, speaking of leveraging:  Support the A Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum's benefit on Sunday, February 17.  It's a way of paying tribute to those African American union leaders who have made so many strides.  This year's major honoree is Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.  Remember, she led a ten-day strike against the almighty Rahm.  Her success culminated in new gains for teachers and the "firing" of Jean Claude Brizard.  This is a BAD sistah. Her being honored is enough reason to come and support this event.  The Museum is the only one in the world that glorifies the triumphs of the Black Union Movement.  It's located at 104th and Maryland in Chicago and it is a true tourism and Black History jewel!

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's always important to say "THANK YOU!"

Alpha Kappa Alpha had a most successful Founders' Day in Baltimore.  Even with the Deltas celebrating their Centennial, we managed to snare some good media coverage.  Replace "good media coverage" with "phenomenal media coverage."

Today, I'm thanking everyone in that market who wrote about us and gave us valuable coverage.  Why?  Because it's the right thing to do.

There's another reason:  A few years ago, a reporter from New Orleans did a great story on us when we were there for Leadership.  I thanked him for the great piece.  Two years later, he was in the Philly market.  Because of that "thank you," he remembered me and did another great story on the strength of that gratitude.

So, it's worth the time to show appreciation.  With such a fluid industry, that reporter could wind up in another market.  Then, the thank you pays off!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When traveling

Traveling is a nightmare.  That's a given. However, it is best to take the opportunity to exercise your breathing techniques and your yoga.  Rather than getting aggravated, I've adopted the Zen mode in traveling -- and it WORKS!