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Category Archives: Leadership

How to Maximize Your Potential in the New Year

How was your year? Are you looking for change in the new year? Here’s one super simple tip to find more fulfillment in your life. I’ll give you a hint: it’s about maximizing your mornings.

Randy Fox is a Professional Speaker, Leadership expert, Best-selling Author, and NCAA basketball official who inspires organizations and individuals as they seek to maximize their potential and performance. It is all about people with Randy, who brings ultra-high energy to the stage, or on virtual with his undeniable passion for people, and an engaging approach to motivating and inspiring others to achieve great results. To book him for your next event contact 888-766-3155 today!

Learning the ABCs of Leadership at 16

Whether you’re heading up a team of 100 or just a team of one, the more you step into a leadership role, the more you’ll excel, and the more you’ll provide value for those around you. The term “leader” gets thrown around a lot, and often gets bogged down with so many details, that we overlook the most foundational A, B, C’s of leadership; AwarenessBeing Flexible, and Connection

Who would’ve guessed where I would have witnessed the power of a true leader and the impact they could have both on team engagement and customer service. This life lesson happened at the tender age of 16, while working in a local ice cream parlor chain, in my hometown of Elmont, Long Island; a gazillion years ago.

 Scene opens. It’s my first job with working papers, curfews, and all. While I was “good enough” at the basic operational aspects of the job, my real strength was my people skills. I definitely got the schmoozer gene from my Mom, Edie. And you could bet your bottom dollop that when combined with my two favorite things in the world; conversations with strangers and ice cream, not necessarily in that order, my shmoozer gene went into full tilt.

In a matter of moments after taking customer’s orders, I managed to hear their life stories, dietary needs and aspirations (yes you can go low cal/low fat and still engage in the festivities) while joking with the kids, making up silly voices and play games with them. Who says you can’t multi-task and Sparkle at the same time!

Since we pooled the tips, the other workers weren’t thrilled with me even though I definitely pulled my weight. Ironically, there was not a lot of room for fun in this joint. They were very strict across the board from very specific protocols on how to address customers, wipe the counters and memorize the exact initials for all 55 flavors. Mint Chocolate Chip was MCC! No periods no commas, nothing else but MCC. And if you wrote down anything else, you’d be written up. Lots of rules; lots of chores; and two hours of clean up every shift. Ice cream became not fun, very quickly! How is that possible?

The manager was a lovely guy who, while appearing laid-back, had a deep emotional intelligence and understanding of efficiency.

One Easter everyone poured in after church. There were lines out the door and lots of crying children. We were short-staffed and sweating it. I’ll never forget what he did. Amidst the mayhem, he gave me a few plastic hand puppets that were freebies, he moved all the families with young screaming kids into the same section, and told me to put on a puppet show.  The other employees started to whine. “Why does Lois get to have fun while we’re working so hard? We shouldn’t have to split the tips with her?”

He shook his head and said, “You don’t understand. Lois is working just as hard—even harder, in fact, because she’s under more pressure. Her work just looks different. If we don’t quiet the kids down, three-quarters of the customers will leave and you’ll be twiddling your thumbs for the rest of the day. Do you want that?” Of course, they all shook their heads, “No.” “But if she quiets down the kids and entertains them, then everyone will be happy. They’ll stay longer, order more, tip generously, and we can accommodate the rush. Reluctantly, everyone agreed.

Step-by-step, he threw away the official manual and broke all the rules. He moved everyone around into positions that highlighted their strengths. One girl, who knew the cashier keys by heart, was put on the register. He utilized the big guy who could carry eight sundaes on a tray by leveraging his sweat equity. He moved the other girl, who could recite the acronym of all 55 flavors in her sleep, to the role of the head ice cream scooper.

An entire third of the restaurant with families of screaming kids was moved over to my section and was transfixed by the puppet show. Instead of crying, they were literally squealing with delight. Their parents were beyond grateful for the reprieve. Other people came by to listen. They kept ordering more food. The rest of the team was on fire because they were utilizing their best skills and what they enjoyed doing most. We felt like superstars. We were like this fast-food fireworks show that was lighting up the sky.

Customers felt our energy and focus. That day, I learned the magic of what is possible when, like Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, says, when you put the right people in the right seat on the right bus: the bus moves on its own. 

While it may be important for employees to expand their skill sets and stretch themselves, it’s a far more effective strategy to celebrate and utilize each team’s strengths and be willing to change. Put your team members in positions where their natural talents shine. By doing that, they get to celebrate their unique contribution and everyone wins!

As a leader, how often do you apply the A, B, C’s of leadership: Awareness of your team’s strength, Being flexible to move things around, and Connection with your team. 

Lois Barth is a Sparkling Funny Motivation Keynote Speaker, Human Development Expert, Coach, and Best-selling Author. She delivers powerful solutions in a playful way!  “Where there is laughter, there is learning”, therefore Lois’s principles and tools for what she calls “trans-fun-mation,” are delivered in a very playful yet powerful way, mixing in thought provoking Lois-isms to enhance learning and retention. Book Lois today. Whether Onstage or Online (Virtual) she is still In Person! https://bit.ly/2K4ljhx

3 Soft Skills Every Leader Needs!

Leadership today is tough. You have a lot on your plate and demands on your time. Whether you are managing a sales team, running a company, or just leading yourself. There are deadlines to hit, goals to surpass, and employees to retain. So how do you know where to focus and how do you manage your time? It is tough.

To be effective as a leader, you have to understand what’s important and learn which actions you can leverage — prioritizing those skills and strategies that will bring the greatest return on investment. These are the 3 top soft skills you will need.

  • Listening – I know you have heard this one before but hang on and read a little further. Listening is powerful on multiple levels. First, if you listen to people, listen to your employees and customers, they will tell you exactly what they want. What they want, how they want to be led, how they want to be sold, what they value – in essence, if you listen to people, they will tell you how to do your job as a leader, and do it most effectively.

Second, listening is how you show people you care, that they matter, and that you value the relationship you have with them. When people feel heard, they feel important, and that is a powerful motivation.

And lastly, when you listen to people, you may get some great ideas. Great ideas on how to grow your business, service your customers, innovate and change, and perform more effectively

  • Vulnerability – be open and honest with employees and let them know you are all in and committed. Years ago, I made a critical mistake in my new role as a sales rep. My mistake cost the company quite a bit of money and a long-time customer. I didn’t have the courage to tell my boss, and when he found out, I was sure he was going to fire me. He called me to his office and told me to take a seat. I was shaking in my shoes.

But instead of scolding me, he told me a story about when he was my age, in a new role, and the critical mistake that he had made and how it had the same negative impact as mine. He shared that his boss, rather than fire him or yell at him, had walked him through the mistake, talked about how it happened, and used it as a significant learning opportunity. He had never forgotten that, and he wanted to share the same lesson with me.

That is vulnerability at its finest. My boss not only showed empathy and understanding for me, but he also made himself human. He was soft enough that I could connect and listen to him while being strong enough to make me respect him, and vow never to do it again. I left his office feeling more bonded to both the company and my boss.

  • Connection – and last but not least is connection, or as I like to call it investing in the emotional bank account. Early on in my career, I had a great mentor who told me that one of the most important things you need to do as a leader is investing in relationships. Connect with your team members, get to know who they are as people, what’s important to them, and take an interest.

He explained that if you make those investments early on, and you keep building them consistently, you will have plenty of savings in the emotional bank account. So, when you need to make a withdrawal, the consequences will not be as painful. What he meant was, as leaders, we are not perfect. We will make mistakes, miss opportunities, or have to ask something of our team members that is tough to ask. If we have built these relationships first, invested our time and energy in our team, they will invest in us when we most need them to.

Again, being a leader today is challenging. There is so much competing for our time and attention. But if you commit every day to increase your ability to listen, be vulnerable, and connect with your team and your customers, you’ll become an even more effective leader.

Meridith Elliott Powell, Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author, and One of the Top 100 Sales Experts on LinkedIn is an award-winning leadership and sales expert. Meridith’s cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge will make your audience laugh and learn as she walks you through the sales and leadership strategies you need to succeed. Meridith Powell is one of the most sought after Sales Strategist and Leadership Experts! Book Meridith Powell today: https://bit.ly/2Vvm4XG

Why Nonprofit Board Prospects Say No!

Do your nonprofit board prospects say No, when they are approached? When someone declines an invitation to join a nonprofit board, it could be for more reasons than the organization might assume.

Board members participating in my “Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed to Do?” survey were asked the reasons why they would not accept a board position. Their answers revealed “No” could actually have meaning that goes much deeper than “not enough time” or “not having a connection with the cause.”

Survey responses indicate a board turn down may be symptomatic of significant organizational issues.

According to survey participants, here are five specific red flag concerns having a negative influence on board prospect decisions:

  • The board isn’t organized, and its goals aren’t clear.
  • The current leadership is a turnoff.
  • The current staff or board members are a turnoff.
  • There’s a personal giving requirement, or there’s too much fundraising.
  • It’s a board in name only, and not enough would be accomplished.

Here are three action steps to take when too many board prospects say No:

Consider the possibility that your nonprofit’s efforts are being compromised by a less than positive reputation or a damaging perception, and address it.

Create a dialogue in your recruitment process that allows honest feedback when a board prospect isn’t responding positively.

Conduct a self-evaluation to determine possible causes when negative responses seem to be a trend.

When someone doesn’t accept an opportunity to serve on your board, be willing to get a candid assessment. Accept those comments as constructive criticism and a first step toward taking corrective action.

Understanding why prospects say Yes helps ensure successful board recruiting. However, understanding why they say No can be equally important to the overall success of achieving your nonprofit’s mission.

What are some of the reasons you’ve encountered as to why board-member prospects say No? Comment here on this blog as Hardy is interested to hear your thoughts!

Speaker and Author, Hardy Smith works with nonprofits and associations who want an ongoing culture of performance. A master storyteller, organizations across America have benefitted from Hardy’s extensive career in the world of Nascar racing. His involvment with nonprofits, volunteer and community based groups nationwide has earned him the title of: “The Guru of Nonprofits!” Hardy offers: Keynotes, Seminars, Workshops, Leadership Retreats, and Strategic Planning Sessions! Book Hardy today: https://bit.ly/2ZFALqb

You’re Missing a Great Game!

basketball hoop.jpg

“You’re missing a great game!” This is something you often hear yelled at officials by displeased basketball fans from the heights of their seats. Somehow they believe the screaming of insults to people in stripes will make the calls better. I am still puzzled by this logic.

It actually makes no sense at all.

Being wrong doesn’t make you miss a great game; not showing up does.

Did you catch that truth?

Missing a great game starts when you don’t show up.

In the same way, enjoying the great game of life means we show up. We play. We are open to discovering the lessons and principles that will help us along the way. We learn, we keep going, and we fall in love with life.

You have plans for your life. Plans to accomplish your dreams, goals, and passions. What will be the difference between you enjoying the great game of life or missing it?

Here is what I know to be true:

Once you decide to take something on, to go after something that matters, to make a difference, this is the biggest step you must take to enjoy the great game of life:

Start!

Simply begin.

Take one step, even if it is small.

It is amazing how experiences become far less monumental than we think when we just put one foot in front of the other.

What step will you take today to make progress in your professional and personal life to ensure you don’t miss a great game?


Randy Fox is a Professional Speaker, Leadership expert, Best-selling Author, and NCAA basketball official who inspires organizations and individuals as they seek to maximize their potential and performance. It is all about people with Randy, who delivers presentations that are built on heartwarming stories, inspirational quotes, humor, and memorable content that engages, inspires and resonates with people for their journey of success. Randy brings ultra-high energy to the stage, with his undeniable passion for people, and an engaging approach to motivating and inspiring others to achieve great results. To book him for your next event contact 888-766-3155 today.

Connected Leaders Get Their ASK in Gear!

Leaders encourage new team members to ask clarifying questions surrounding a project, protocol or procedure.  Connected leaders take it one step further and reassure individuals to reach out for support or help when needed. Yet, too many individuals still hesitate asking for what they need to succeed demanding that leaders change their approach.

According to an article in Harvard Business Review, a call center experiment may hold clues to creating a safe and supportive “asking” environment.

The Challenge: The company’s rapid call center growth (tripling in size over a five-year period) left insufficient time for training to support their financial advisor clients. Wanting to look good in their supervisor’s eyes, new hires hesitated asking for help or saying, “I don’t know. Let me find out.” This increased call volume as clients chose to call back until two out of three answers received were alike. The leaders gave their teams a clear vision: Change whatever it takes to prevent clients from living by the three-call rule.

The Experiment: First off, management made it safe to experiment by keeping, but not compensating, call center service agents on metrics for four weeks. To show they were serious, white lab coats were distributed and input solicited. The first experiment resulted in a “Bat Signal” agents could press when needing informational support, but they still hesitated as the device clearly signaled they needed assistance. In addition, everyone assumed someone else would jump in to help, leaving the requestor helpless. Even after someone was assigned as Bat Manager, other demands often meant they weren’t at their desk to receive the signal.

The experiment shifted to a private “Bat Chat” channel where new hires could directly connect with specialized departments, but that also failed. However, when the “Bat Chat” channel was launched to the entire call center, everything changed. Although management anticipated that new hires would be connecting and asking for support from each another, that wasn’t the case. Turns out, only when seasoned team members modeled the behavior and asked each other for additional support, did new hires follow suit.

As the article’s author Joe Brown noted, “When they were just another voice in a crowded room, they felt safe to ask questions. So, the key wasn’t in giving newbies special treatment, it was making them feel normal in saying, “I don’t know.” And a nice added benefit of the Bat chat? Those long transcripts became a searchable library of answers for future service agents.”

My Takeaway for You: Leaders must get their own ASK in gear if they expect others to feel safe enough to follow suit. Put your pride on the side, show your vulnerability and ask for support when necessary. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, but you’ll be leading the way for others to do the same.


If you are looking for an award-winning, funny motivational speaker that can also deliver solid content in a way that evokes change and produces results, Colette Carlson is the one for your next event!  To have Colette at your next event call us today at 888-766-3166 or click here: Book Colette Carlson

Develop Differently-Abled Employees: No-Excuses Leadership

Develop Differently-Abled Employees: No-Excuses Leadership

By Doug Lipp

Sandra, the factory employee I’m observing, works tirelessly and methodically at her station.

Reaching into a large cardboard box filled with hundreds of teabags, Sandra pulls out enough bags to fill tea-bag-sized indentations in a tray situated in front of her on the workbench. Once she fills each indentation—15 for this job — she carefully transfers the teabags from the tray into a smaller box destined for supermarket shelves.

Over and over during her shift, Sandra accurately fills the smaller boxes with the consistency and reliability of a computer-controlled robot … yet she is blind, cannot hear, and cannot count.

Sandra is blessed to work for an organization called Pride Industries. Founded in a church basement in 1966 in Auburn, California, Pride Industries hires and trains people with a variety of physical and mental challenges, the “differently-abled” in our society.  Using massively creative training programs, Pride Industries helps turn an often ignored group of people into purpose-driven, contributing members of society.

The overwhelming success of PRIDE has proven what its founding leadership team suspected all along: When people are nourished by the power of purpose, and set up for success via well-designed training, their spirits soar, their talents blossom … and their disabilities disappear.

So, you can only imagine how I recently responded to a complaint voiced by an owner of multiple restaurants across the United States: “These young kids today can’t count change for our customers.” Look in the mirror, buddy, your lack of leadership is where the problem resides.

Business owners, leaders, managers and supervisors need to stop playing the victim card. It’s time to move from the excuses-laden, creativity-killing position of, “No, we can’t do that because,” to the possibilities-rich mindset of “Yes, If.”

Sandra would be the first to agree.

Doug Lipp is on a crusade to help your audience strengthen their corporate culture, boost business performance, and unapologetically, have fun while doing it. As an International Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author of “Disney U”, Former Head of Disney University Training Team, and Executive Coach, Doug is one of the most trusted and respected business speakers and coaches in the world! He is sought after for his expertise in helping organizations build adaptive, world-class service cultures that fuel growth and long-term success. Doug leaves his audiences with a blueprint for creating and perpetuating a culture of significance unique to their organization.  Call 888-766-3155  today to hire Doug for your next event!