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Editorial Results (free)

1. The High Cost of Chrome, Glass and Surfaces -

I resisted the computer age. I really did. Then one of my generation’s early adopters encouraged me to buy a Leading Edge computer. My life was forever changed. No more Wite-Out correction fluid or carbon paper. I was free.

2. ‘Shredder’ Without Cheese -

If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may have seen a snowboarder injure his ankle, finish that run and then do another, despite having what he later described as a “shredded” ankle. A lot of people think that’s heroic. I agree that it showed courage and determination.

3. Red Pen, Red Face -

Never, ever hesitate to look things up. This admonition is closely related to, “Never assume anything.” Both of those are why my face was red a couple of days ago.

I was editing a paper in which the author had written that two legislative bodies struggled over their “collegial” relationship. Here comes the red pen, because I knew it was contradictory to say they struggled over a collegial (friendly) relationship, correct?

4. Working for Yourself -

Who’s your boss? Is it your manager, client or customer?

What if the answer is you? To improve your personal power, imagine that you are the only person judging your decisions and your work. Only you are responsible for giving yourself a pat on the back or a coaching session. I’m not talking about being self-critical; I’m talking about being self-reflective, without regard for how others see you.

5. Walk a Mile -

We’re right in the middle of awards season – Golden Globes, Oscars, SAG, and so on. Politics and sequins aside, the performers are rewarded for their ability to capture the character’s point of view and driving force. That takes empathy; understanding or having compassion for the role. Personal power rests heavily on practicing empathy, at home, at work or in friendships.

6. A Whisper or a Shout? -

This month as I watched the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, I thought of someone who has true personal power – TV sports commentator and winner of multiple Olympic gold medals, Scott Hamilton.

7. Spit Out Your Gum -

A young man came to interview for an internship. When he arrived, the first two things I noticed were that he was wearing his sunglasses casually on top of his head and was chewing gum. Less than two minutes in, I’m thinking: gum + sunglasses = unprofessional. This is just one small example of how you can turn people off before they get to know the real you. I gave Mr. Cool what I hoped was a bit of welcome advice, sending him off for his next career adventure.

8. Personal Power -

Remember me? Throughout 2011, I wrote about engaging employees. In order to engage anyone, you need something I call personal power.

Personal power doesn’t have anything to do with your title or your scope of responsibility. You can hold important political or business positions with little or no personal power at all. People with big responsibilities have “position” power.

9. Instigators of Change -

The Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club is an organization that defies a simple description.

Is its purpose business networking? Community service? Career-building? Is it a civic booster, a promoter of nationally known speakers or a matchmaker between employees and employers?

10. Nichols Joins Spirco As Engineering Mgr. -

Matthew Nichols has joined Spirco Manufacturing as engineering manager.

Hometown: I currently live in Olive Branch. My hometown is Thaxton, Miss.

11. Walking The Talk -

This is my 52nd column for The Daily News. That’s right, I’ve been talking for a solid year about how to engage and inspire employees, how to build high performing teams and how to increase honesty and decrease stress in the workplace. It’s heady stuff, this advice giving.

12. Sales and Marketing Society to Hold 2011 Summit -

The Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South will hold its Sales & Marketing Summit 2011 Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 7:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Racquet Club of Memphis, 5111 Sanderlin Ave.

13. A Good Measure -

Concord Hospitality is a company in North Carolina that owns 83 hotels that fly a variety of brand flags. Company founder Mark Laport’s goal is to be the employer of choice wherever his company operates. To do that, he focuses on four pillars: delivering quality, living integrity, supporting community and growing profitability.

14. Cowboy Rules to Live By -

Roy Rogers. Now there’s a blast from the past. Known as the King of the Cowboys, Roy sang his way through radio and silver screen and even had his own TV show until 1957. He was accompanied by his wife, Dale Evans, and World’s Smartest Horse, Trigger. Those were the days when real cowboys wore fringe.

15. Tattoo You With Personality -

It sure would make things easier if we had our personality types tattooed on our foreheads, wouldn’t it?

Last week, when it just wasn’t hot enough in Memphis, I went to Texas (112 degrees) to visit my brother, Sean, an entrepreneur who has about five employees and assorted subcontractors. We were discussing an age-old topic: Why don’t our employees see things the way we do?

16. When Goodbye Isn’t Good -

For many managers, the toughest part of the job is parting ways with an underperforming employee. We’re so uncomfortable with the whole process of firing that we’ve resorted to other names, like laying off, separating and transitioning. But what may start as a desire to spare someone’s feelings can spiral into a destructive process.

17. No Laughing Matter -

Laughter in the workplace offers more than just fun. Health experts say humor can boost immunity, lower stress hormones, decrease pain and prevent heart disease. In fact, one good, hearty laugh can reduce stress and relax your muscles for 45 minutes. We can all use at least a giggle in our workday.

18. Handle Patients With Care -

I’m going to tell you what will sound like a fairytale. I have the pleasure of having an ideal family physician, Dr. John Avgeris, who has an ideal nurse, Cynthia Singler. They both have the perfect pairing of medical knowledge and patient concern.

19. EQ Spells Success -

EQ stands for Emotional Quotient, a.k.a. emotional intelligence, a characteristic that experts believe is imperative for a leader or a star performer in business. EQ involves being able to control impulses, read other people’s emotions and reactions and make informed decisions. That’s right: Whereas we used to think good decisions were based solely on intellectual and rational ability, today scientists understand that emotional judgments are also a key element of sound plans and choices.

20. Turn Weaknesses To Strengths -

I was reading in Psychology Today about a new book, “A First-Rate Madness,” whose author, Nassir Ghaemi, describes historical figures who exhibited symptoms of mental illness. Among them were Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, who, according to the Tufts psychiatrist, had “an eye for assessing tough situations because of their ‘depressive realism.’”

21. Present Yourself with Polish -

Before the advent of email and texting, we didn’t take many shortcuts in our written communication. Now, our finesse with messages depends on the size of our thumbs, the amount of time we have between flights and how much our viewers’ screens (or brains) will comfortably hold. What suffers is the refinement of our compositions.

22. You to the Rescue -

Are you doing more with less? It’s obvious from the looks on everyone’s faces that the stress of increased workloads is taking its toll. To add insult to injury, raises aren’t exactly free for the asking. If you’re doing more with fewer rewards, can you avoid burnout?

23. Co-Workers Will Flip Over Basics -

If you’re a young Olympics enthusiast you’ve probably seen Peter Vidmar, gymnastics commentator for CBS Sports and ESPN. But if you were around in 1984 you’d know him as the captain of that year’s U. S. men’s gymnastics team. He and his teammates are known for being the first U. S. men’s team to win gold, with a stunning upset victory over China. Under the scoring system in use at that time, athletes who turned in a technically perfect performance could rack up only a 9.4 score. To achieve a perfect 10, they had to demonstrate risk, originality and virtuosity. Go to teamusa.org to see their breathtaking performances and what happens when people surpass the technical requirements for winning. They won the hearts of the world.

24. Leadership Can Help Avert Panic -

Yesterday I sat in Bronte restaurant at the bookstore formerly known as Davis-Kidd. I looked around and thanked my lucky stars that it was business as usual in my favorite hangout. I’m one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of customers who waited anxiously to learn whether the store would remain open after the announcement that it would be sold by its parent company.

25. Word of Mouth Pays Dividends -

If you’re a small-business person, you’re probably multi-tasking, running your company and trying to master social media as an advertising or PR tool. I have a great way for you to use it combining an old-fashioned advertising method and employee satisfaction.

26. Bosses Need Love Too -

When was the last time you told your boss thank you for inspiring you? We expect to be praised, engaged and paid. We rely on our bosses to be our mentors, coaches and advocates. If a boss has 10 employees looking to him for inspiration and support, that’s a lot of responsibility – especially when he also has to direct projects, manage a P&L, create reports and keep his own boss happy.

27. Sixth Sense Reveals Motives -

One of my favorite miscommunication stories occurred when my boss was presenting a strategic plan to the executive committee. Ned, one of the key reviewers, sat rolling his eyes throughout, making my boss very concerned about any forthcoming approval.

28. Service Slips Destroy Confidence -

Important moments in life can sometimes be fraught with difficulty. My daughter, Colleen, last week engaged a department store to outfit my grandson, Gabriel, with a suit for his eighth-grade dance. Now this is not just any moment in life; it is a big deal. Because Gabriel is tall, she had to leave the jacket for the sleeves to be adjusted. Not a big deal, right? Until the phone call.

29. Storms, Floods and Life Lessons -

Here are a couple of short stories my friend Susan Drake (another Memphian) and I wrote several years ago. Considering what has happened recently, and what is happening now, I think it’s a good time to share them.

30. Performing With Passion -

How many of us have jobs that are so exciting we feel energized every time we go to work? Not many of us, I suspect. Unless you’re a skydiver or such, you probably don’t have an adrenaline rush throughout your day.

31. Employees Weigh In -

Want to know what employees think it takes to create engagement? Meet Ellen Schmall, receptionist at Adams and Reese LLP. Ellen says when she joined the firm it was her first real job, and she’s been with the company for 15 years. “When people see what needs to be done, they jump in and do it,” she says. Ellen believes people are engaged because, “We treat everyone the same. When you know people care about you, you will try harder to do a better job.”

32. Loyalty Beyond Reason -

Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of the ideas company Saatchi & Saatchi, wrote a book in 2005 called “Lovemarks: the future beyond brands.” It’s a story about what happens when consumers experience what Roberts calls “loyalty beyond reason.” He proposes there is an emotional buying response that surpasses how people feel about their favorite brands. Examples of lovemarks are Tide, Crayola, Coca-Cola and Lexus.

33. Forget Competition – Help Each Other -

Lots of geniuses work alone and make remarkable contributions to our world. I joke that if you’re playing Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy and you’re stuck for an answer, try Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson. They pretty much did it all.

34. Create a Calendar of Inspiration -

In my True Comic Genius Hall of Fame I count Steve Martin, the man who brought us a book titled “Pure Drivel” and starred in the hilarious 2009 movie “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep. Martin professes, “There is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.”

35. Hidden Talents Pay Dividends -

Do you really know your team and their capabilities? Do you understand what kind of work they like to do best? Could their hobbies or avocations come into play in your workplace? Are there skills they’d like to further develop? And how much better could your company function if you took the time to consider these things?

36. Going Deeper Than Teamwork -

It’s difficult to write a column about employee engagement and customer satisfaction when it looks like the whole world has gone totally crazy.

I won’t recount all the headlines that we’re all too familiar with at the moment. Suffice it to say that the only piece of good news is that Charlie Sheen has lost his position as the drum major of the media parade.

37. Avoiding Brain Whiplash -

Interesting stuff: One of the original inspirations for the Toyota Production System was a supermarket. According to Toyota, engineer Taiichi Ohno visited a U.S. supermarket and was impressed with how they delivered their goods in a “simple, efficient and timely manner.” Ohno took a look sideways and saw a whole new business model.

38. Adding Joy To Your World While in The Workplace -

For several days I’ve been working on a column that was absolutely weighty with important scientific business information. The more I worked on it, the heavier it got – and the more mind-numbing.

39. Finding Virtual Team Triumphs -

One of the funniest things that ever happened in our office is that once (before smart phones) when the power went out, two of our younger team members were stymied about how to get a phone number because their computers were down.

40. From Zooties to Superfantastic -

Can a motivational speaker really contribute to your company’s performance? The trick is to hire the right person with the right message for the right group. You’ve gotta know your audience and know your speaker. And just because a speaker is famous doesn’t mean they’re effective.

41. Takeuchi Joins Memphis Veterinary Specialists -

Dr. Ai Takeuchi has joined Memphis Veterinary Specialists and PetMed Emergency Center as the facility’s first hospitalist.

Hometown: Kugenuma, Japan, but I grew up in Trinidad, U.S., Indonesia and Singapore as well.
Education: University of Pennsylvania, VMD; Mount Holyoke College, BA
Family: I am in Memphis with my husband, Chris, and my son, Aiden, who is almost 4 months old. We have a dog named Bovie and three cats: Rex, Mika and Lailee.
Activities you enjoy outside of work: Eating good food; I’m a foodie and love trying new restaurants. I also love to cook, horseback ride, read books and go on hikes or long walks with the family and our dog, Bovie.
Who has had the greatest influence on you? My mom had the most influence over me. She was a “Tiger Mom” and raising me in different countries while upholding cultural traditions must have been a challenge. She always pushed me to excel and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support.
Why did you pursue a career as a veterinarian? At the age of 4, I went from wanting to be a bus driver to a veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals, and taking care of them is my dream job. They have no voice of their own and need someone to champion for them and take their interests at heart. They are all innocent little souls that need someone to watch over them.
What drew you to Memphis Veterinary Specialists? I wanted to work with boarded specialists who offered the highest level of medicine available. I enjoy emergency work as well as the challenges of complicated cases. It is imperative that I can give my clients a variety of medical options, including seeing a premier specialist.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishments? Whenever I can say I helped a family cope with their pet’s illness and was able to ease both their pain and help their pet. That is a great accomplishment for me.
What do you most enjoy about your work? Making a difference in an animal’s life and their family’s life. Being able to bring comfort to both the pet and the family makes my job fabulous. Even if the diagnosis is not a good one, at least I can answer their questions and help them make the right decision for their family.

42. Creativity Tops MBA -

Over the past 10 years, the IBM Institute for Business Value and IBM Strategy and Change has conducted four biennial Global CEO Study projects. The latest installment – titled Capitalizing on Complexity – surveyed about 1,500 CEOs in 60 countries and 33 industries. The topic they cited consistently as most important and challenging has been the increasing complexity of business. Well, no surprise there, as the word “global” has become integral in the dictionary of just about every business with the possible exception of my vet.

43. Shed Fear and Shine -

It’s interesting that the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” pops us just when trust in the workplace may be at low ebb. In 1987, Michael Douglas introduced us to the inimitable villain Gordon Gekko, whose greed and unethical actions mirror some true story lowlifes. He’s back.

44. Lions and Zebras and Stress, Oh My -

One of my healthy addictions is watching National Geographic TV specials.

Last week I wrote about the growing spotlight on employee wellbeing. This week I saw a National Geographic special titled “Stress: Portrait of a Killer.” Dr. Robert Sapolsky, neurobiologist at Stanford, has been studying stress for 30 years, and is proving that workplace stress creates a biological reaction that can kill brain cells, add fat to our bellies and unravel our chromosomes.

45. Wellbeing: The New Buzz -

The book “Well Being” describes a new Gallup research tool called the Wellbeing Finder that measures what they propose are five essential elements of “a life that matters.” The elements are career, social, financial, physical and community wellbeing. Ideally, we would experience high levels of satisfaction in all those areas. It doesn’t take a scientist to know that this isn’t often the case.

46. Ethics: No Ifs, Ands or Buts -

I had lunch yesterday with Judy Woodard Bell of InnerActive Consulting, who has written a number of blogs on ethics for her company’s website. We were discussing an ethical environment as a must-have for inspiring employees. She said she knows her behavior is on track when she has peace of mind. It’s a good barometer.

47. Let Diverse Opinions Rule -

The recent column “Becoming the Transparent Leader” sparked a number of comments from like-minded individuals who believe businesses benefit from employees understanding their company’s financial ins and outs.

48. Five Words to Live By -

Five words make any employer or client breathe a sigh of relief: “I’ll take care of it.”

I learned this from Dusky Norsworthy, owner of Behind the Scenes production services, when I was her client. If I had a problem, opportunity or suggestion, I would present it to her and she would quickly respond, “I’ll take care of it.” And she did. There were never any ifs, ands or buts. I became a devoted client because she made my life easier.

49. Pride Builds Employee Motivation -

My friend Kateri lived in Boston in 2004 when the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. It was pandemonium that night, and the rejoicing didn’t stop there. There’s just nothing like seeing the headlines the day after your team wins.

50. Becoming The Transparent Leader -

With the New Year upon us, many companies will be setting out their state-of-the-business reports to employees, along with goals for the coming year.

Now is the time to talk about being a “transparent organization.” This term has become popular in the last few years, and it means that a company offers its constituents insight deep into the workings of the business. There are several aspects of transparency.

51. Jobs, Holidays and Kindness -

To quote The Beatles, “I read the news today, oh boy…” The jobless rate is up to 9.8 percent. I hadn’t planned to write a column about the holiday season, but here it is.

I recently attended a meeting of a Memphis Area Career Transition Group. There are a number of these in the city, comprised of volunteer facilitators, people looking for jobs and some employed people who attend out of gratitude to offer moral support. The meetings are upbeat and full of resources such as resume services, cover letter coaching and, most important, positive attitudes.

52. Starring Back-Office Employees -

Forget for a moment the employees who talk to your customers. This column is not about them. It’s about all the other people who have to do their jobs without ever even seeing or hearing from a customer. They may work in maintenance or accounting, IT or human resources. And while their jobs ultimately affect customer outcomes, they do so indirectly.

53. Following Einstein’s Inspiration -

A couple of years ago I was browsing through the bookstore for new reference material and discovered a book called “The New Quotable Einstein.” Never having thought of Einstein as quotable, I was intrigued. Since I began flipping through the pages I’ve fallen in love with its contents.

54. Hot Dogs, Buns and Employee Feedback -

My daughter once told me about how she and her husband had a disagreement and afterward they were headed to the mall. He was driving and appeared lost in thought. She was pleased to think that he was considering their conversation. A few minutes passed, and he said, “Hey, I just figured out how to solve the problem that there are only eight hot dogs in a package, but there are 10 buns.”

55. Nasty Customers Should Make You Smile -

Poor service seems to always be on our radar, but what about poor customer behavior? I had a chance to watch that during a recent trip to Macy’s.

I was being helped at the checkout desk when a customer approached sales associate Emadeline Harris with an exchange. There are many ways I could describe the customer’s attitude, but let’s just say she had a chip on her shoulder and was on the offense. I tried to concentrate on my own transaction, but I was mesmerized by her loud and attacking manner. She all but accused Ms. Harris of trying to cheat her. I wish I had thought to use my video phone to record the event; it would make an awesome training video.

56. Training for Superhero Characteristics -

I venture to say no manager would believe their employees would do what I’m about to describe. But they did.

First, the “It would be better for me” story. At an airport departure gate, an elderly woman holding shakily to a walker was standing near the jetway entrance because she was under the impression it was time for people needing assistance to board. She was mistaken, as she clearly learned when the gate agent told her with a scowl, “It would be better for ME if you stood behind the line.” Did I miss something, or are customers really supposed to act in ways that make things “better” for the employee?

57. Turn the Tables on Service -

I want you to do an experiment: Put yourself in charge of your own customer satisfaction. I’ve done this, and it not only gives me a warm feeling, it also results in great service.

Next time you visit a drive-through, checkout lane or other “service station,” so to speak, make a quick assessment of the person who is serving you. Find something to compliment them on, preferably a personal characteristic. Tee up your most winning smile and offer: “You have a wonderful voice.” “Gosh, you have a great smile.” Or, if push comes to shove, mention their cool watch or beautiful necklace.

58. Employees Perk Up For Diverse Reasons -

If you’re an outdoorsy person, you may very well have purchased some type of outerwear from Patagonia, a sporting goods company headquartered in Ventura, Calif.

In keeping with its business – the outdoors – Patagonia is an active proponent of responsible environmental practices. Its commitment extends to allowing employees time off – lots of time off – to help out in the rain forest and other socially responsible pursuits. The company made this its hallmark, and it pays off in many ways, not the least of which is great PR.

59. Workplace Solutions Require Negotiation -

When I went to college I pursued a liberal arts degree, a course of study that did little to prepare me for the business world. Yeah, I could critique a piece of art, talk about Lewis and Clark, and understand a little French, but no one ever broached the subject of how to negotiate a business deal or cooperate in the give and take of project management. And then I went to work in the real world.

60. If I Had a Hammer -

Yesterday I listened to my sister describe the ingenious and absurd method she is using to keep her cell phone charged because she can’t afford to buy a new one right now. It involves a screwdriver, a rubber band and holding her mouth in just the right position. No telling how much time “MacGyver” spends jury-rigging the thing every day.

61. Embracing Outsiders as Insiders -

No business is an island.

Besides all the people who are on your payroll, there are many outside contributors who are essential to your success. They may be suppliers who print your marketing materials or tech people who support your computer needs. Without their dedication to your mission, you couldn’t achieve your clients’ goals.

62. Wear Your Values Like Cheap Buttons -

Zappos.com is an online heaven for people looking for shoes of all brands, sizes, styles and many at discount prices. An article in the September/October 2009 Psychology Today magazine explored the Zappos culture and found it to be happy and, well, by most standards, weird. Apparently weird is good, because 10 years after it was founded, the company ended up being acquired by Amazon for $900 million.

63. Do You Hear What I Hear? -

In mythology, Narcissus was a hunter renowned for his beauty but, unfortunately, doomed because of his extreme pride. He was punished by being consigned to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool, and he wasted away and died because he simply couldn’t leave the beauty of his own reflection.

64. A Proper Orientation: They Started Loving You Today -

Landing a new job is usually a cause for celebration, and an employee’s enthusiasm will seldom be greater than on that first day of work. Begin building momentum rather than letting their excitement drain away.

65. Why is Everyone Smiling? -

There’s a company 200-strong in Texas called Beryl, and it’s the nation’s leader in health care customer interactions and relationship management. That’s the long way of saying it’s a call center. In an industry where turnover is usually about 80 to 90 percent, Beryl’s is 17. And their client retention rate is 95 percent.

66. Light Their Fire: Get Employees To Say ‘I Do’ -

A whole industry has grown up around culture and customer service. No wonder. Studies show that 80 percent of employees are not fully engaged in their jobs. Eighty percent.

And what does that mean? Well, if your company is like most, when employees aren’t engaged it means the vast majority are only moderately loyal, they’re probably not selling, and they could even be doing your company harm.

67. Events -

The Shelby County Commission will hold committee meetings today beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St. For more information, call 545-4301 or visit agendapub.shelbycountytn.gov.

68. Downtown High-Rise Up for Grabs Soon at Roebuck Auction -

A 96-year-old Downtown building that has housed everything from furniture to military recruitment offices will have a shot at revitalization starting at noon June 22.

That's when the 12-story, 134,124-square-foot Tenoke Building will be auctioned off at Roebuck Auction Center at 4932 Park Ave.

69. Archived Article: Newsmakers - TMA Elects Surgeon to Board of Trustees

Local Surgeon Elected to Medical Association Board

The Tennessee Medical Association elected vascular surgeon Dr. Hugh Francis III to serve a three-year term on its Board of Trustees. Francis previously ...