Celebrating 30 Years of FUN-damental Attitude Adjustment!

October 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on Celebrating 30 Years of FUN-damental Attitude Adjustment! 

A different kind of WOW! It’s hard to believe I am celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of my company.

1st Brochure Picture

In 1982, the Missouri Restaurant Association hired me to present “The Spirit of Service” seminars for their members around the state. When I got my first pay check no taxes had been taken out and I became self-employed! (I had no idea that was the plan) When audience members asked me for a card I realized I needed to create a company.

It’s been a great 30 years! I am so very lucky that I “fell into” a career I LOVE and am still passionate about.

My celebration gift to you is rolling back the price on all of my books, CD’s & DVD’s by 50%. And wait – it gets even better – shipping is free too! Check out the sale at https://fun-damentals.com/store/.

Also, I have added FUN-photos to my website that includes a lot more pictures from our travels. They are listed in ascending order and grouped in order. Click on any picture and it allows you to view them as a slide show. Pretty cool, huh!

I want to thank all of you who have responded with such wonderful and positive feedback on my WOW’s.  And I want to encourage all of you to continue to send me your thoughts.

Until then I hope you have FUN & fabulous rest of your year! Susan

Reader Responses

“It was so nice to see your newsletter! I can’t believe it has been 30 years since we worked together.  Best wishes for many more future successes!” – Brigid

“A HUGE congratulations dear Sooz!  That is a major accomplishment.  I just finished helping my daughter make her bath teas for her business.  Even though my antique business failed I am so happy and proud of women like her and you who just keep chugging along getting better and better at what you do.” – Elaine

“Way to go! Love the photos from the archives:-)” – Gloria

“Happy Anniversary! Time do fly when you’re having fun, don’t it? :-)” – Bill

“Congratulations. It seems like it was just yesterday that we first started talking about your great customer service fundamentals and attitude adjustment. Time has flown. I will always appreciate the work you did at the seminars we had at our trade shows. You are the best! Continued success to you.” – “Warrior” Joe

“Congratulations on your 30th Year! You Rock” – Em

Looking for the Best Pizza in San Diego

March 29, 2011 by · Comments Off on Looking for the Best Pizza in San Diego 

Pizza is very personal! I like a traditional Italian pizza — thin crispy crust lightly sprinkled with traditional toppings. I love meat and cheese but I also like the simplicity of  the Margherita too. I had the good fortune of once again speaking at the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas in March. It is the biggest pizza show in the country. One of my favorite parts is walking the exhibit floor seeing and tasting all the latest and greatest products. This year the best pizza by far was at the Roma booth (they’re distributors) and featured their new Bacio™ cheese. I would never order a plain cheese pizza but this was off the charts!

Bacio literally means kiss in Italian and they created a blend of mozzarella with a “Kiss of Buffalo Milk™.” The consistency and flavor made it one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. So far Sammy’s is my local favorite. Let me know who you think has the best pizza. And for sure if you are a retailer who is using the new Bacio™ cheese I need another fix!

Taking Ownership: Paul, the Cable Guy

April 15, 2009 by · Comments Off on Taking Ownership: Paul, the Cable Guy 

This is a copy of the letter I sent to Bill Geppert, CEO, Cox Communications on April 15, 2009.

I’ve been a Cox customer for the past 20 years because that is the only option I had for high-speed internet and cable TV. Since 2006, every DVR we had has never recorded an entire season without breaking and needing to be replaced. This means that all recordings are gone and unable to be viewed, which pretty much makes it a waste of money if we can’t watch the programs when we want to.

When it happened again in November 2008, I was told by Cox that if I was recording in HD it took up a huge amount of my hard drive. I assumed that was the problem. Wrong! In February, 2009, making sure we were not recording in HD, we returned from a three week vacation and once again found that the DVR was not recording correctly. The timer showed only partial recordings. I was livid!

And what makes it worse is that my husband had purchased a TIVO in December. When I called COX they explained that if I unbundled my package it would cost more money. Then I discovered on top of buying the TIVO box, we had to pay for getting their service. (A $700.00 investment.) We sent the TIVO back.

I have spent more frustrating time with Cox on the phone and on hold than anyone would believe. I did everything I could to stop using Cox. I tried to get an AT&T bundled package but it is not available in my area. I called Dish Network. If I could have switched to anybody, I would have in a heartbeat!

Cox scheduled a technician to replace our DVR. When I opened the door the first words out of my mouth were, “My husband said he pitied the poor person who was going to have to deal with me today.” To which the technician replied, “I am Paul and my job is to fix the problem and make you happy.” Yeah, right! Well he was so intent to show me that he really meant it, after he installed another new DVR he gave me his cell phone number and said, “If you have a problem, you call me directly, ANYTIME.”

Then the following week my HD froze and it couldn’t be rebooted by the office. (The week before it could be.) I called Paul. He came within two hours and told me, “These DVR’s are computers and they need to be rebooted just like your computer in your office. You have to unplug them every so often.” Now how come customer service didn’t tell me that over the phone?

Then the next week I received a coupon from Cox for a free Pay-Per-View movie for being such a good customer. Oh sure enough we couldn’t access the service. (More time spent on the phone trying to make it work.) So the next morning, I called Paul and he was over within the hour. That’s when he started the “diagnostics” to find out what the problem was. He said, “There is something going on here and I am determined to find out what it is and fix it and make you happy.” To which I replied, “I am so sorry I sent the TIVO back. At this point I don’t care how much it costs. I just want a reliable product.” He said, “No you don’t want TIVO, you just want what you have to work. My job is to make that happen.”

He ran a cable directly from the Cox box to the TV across the living floor and it worked. So it was the wiring not the DVR box. First mystery solved! So we called the company that installed all the wiring and cable and set up a time for them to come. Paul said, “I know what to tell them to do, I just can’t do it.”

And today Paul showed up with his supervisor on his lunch hour and worked with the wiring guys to figure out how to fix the problem. They spent two hours going over all the connections and discovered the problem and fixed it.

An hour later I received a call from Paul asking, “Is everything OK? Is everything working?” To which I replied, “So far, so good.”

I have to tell you, I never had a cable guy, let alone anyone else, care so much about making me happy. You would think his name was Paul Cox, not Paul Villarreal, and it was his company. Now if that is not a perfect example of an employee taking ownership, I don’t what is.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get jumping”

April 6, 2009 by · Comments Off on “When the going gets tough, the tough get jumping” 

hp-mainJumping – through hoops that is!

Jumping through hoops means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What does jumping through hoops mean to you? Is it a positive or a negative? Do you feel like you are jumping through hoops when a co-worker shows up late, or even worse doesn’t show up at all, and you have to cover for them?
Does jumping through hoops mean “knocking people socks off” with incredible service?

  • If you are in the hospitality industry do you feel like you’re jumping through hoops if you get bombarded with customers, guests, or members during a rush?
  • If you are in the retail industry do you feel like you’re jumping through hoops if you can locate an item for a customer at another store?
  • If you are a receptionist do you feel like you are jumping through hoops when you are dealing with multiple phone calls, trying to make appointments, and directing your walk-in customers, clients, or members?
  • If you are in the middle of a project nearing your deadline and your boss wants you to drop everything to start another project does that make you feel like you are jumping through hoops?
  • How does it make you feel to jump through hoops? Positive or Negative? Do you like the challenge and the added pressure of taking on the task? Do you feel anxiety or irritation? Does it feel like a waste of time? Do you like the sense of accomplishment when it is completed?

When I asked business associates what jumping through hoops means to them, their replies included, “It means going the extra mile. Doing whatever it takes to exceed your client’s expectations. But I only want to do that if they are nice and appreciate what I am doing for them.”

“Jumping through hoops means going above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a positive when you are presented with a challenge that you can handle. It’s always personally rewarding when I can fix a problem or get to be creative coming up with a solution. It’s a negative when one of my bosses decides we need to drop everything we are doing because he has deemed it an emergency.”

“Jumping through hoops to me means a mishmash of unproductive work that feels like a waste of time. I feel like I am jumping through hoops when I have submitted my report and/or findings only to be told to redo it. There are certain individuals that feel a need to keep tweaking everything until they get it right. At some point you have to stop because you can tweak it to death. And sometime that happens. Your projected does not get completed, it gets abandoned.”

“For me the ultimate jumping through hoops is being able to take care of a major problem for a customer and have them think you are God. It’s knowing who to call, where to find what they want, and getting it as fast as possible. It is having the resources at your finger tips and that’s all in the training and ongoing communication.”

“Jumping through hoops to me means being able to maintain when I am given a crazy, impossible deadline and on top of that having my client be difficult.”
“Jumping through hoops to me means creating order out of chaos. Staying calm and being stable and steady, not reactive. It’s being able to see the big picture and the steps needed to get there. Then being able to effectively lead my team through the maze.”

Everyone I spoke with regarding their interpretation on jumping through hoops had very strong opinions. And they saw it as either very positive or very negative.
So how do you make jumping through hoops FUN? I say adopt my Mary Poppins Principle. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. If you know it is inevitable that there will be times in your job that will cause you to feel like you are jumping through hoops why not be ready and accept it. Rather than whine or complain about it say, “I love jumping through hoops!”

One associate said, “You just do what you have to do to get through it. “ He had to attend a monthly meeting that he felt was a waste of time. Everyone talked about making changes but nothing ever got accomplished at these meetings. He used to start complaining the day before the meeting about how much he disliked it. Think about that? Spending 24 hours focusing on something you are dreading. So the next month when he told me he had “the dreaded meeting” the next day my reply was, “You love that meeting! Of all the meetings you go to that is your favorite!” He cracked up laughing and from that point on once a month he would say to me, “My favorite meeting is tomorrow!” And we would laugh. That is how the Mary Poppins Principle works. If you don’t like the taste of the medicine, put some sugar in it and sweeten it up!

Retaining & Motivating Your Winning Team

March 28, 2009 by · Comments Off on Retaining & Motivating Your Winning Team 

I continually hear from operators that today’s labor force is, “just not what it used to be” and that it has, “become harder and harder to find good help”. While this may possibly be true, there are people in this day and age who have been taught values and have a work ethic. It is up to you as a manager to find and secure them, to get this type of person on “your winning team”. Based on my experience as a trainer opening over forty restaurants for the Houlihan’s chain, I have found it’s up to the management to become leaders (or cheerleaders as I like to call them) and to educate and “cheer on” their staff. When it comes to retaining and motivating employees, the first person at whom to look is yourself. What kind of an example are you setting? Are you the type of person people want to work with and for, as opposed to against?

Once again, the first step is to hire the right people. In hiring 101, my first lesson is that, Attitude Outweighs Skill! As a training manager, I figured out rather quickly that it is easier to teach a skill than it is to change an attitude. I’ve seen managers hire only people that have experience. Unfortunately, a lot of the times the seasoned employee brings a bad attitude with that experience. I feel it is impossible “to motivate” someone. People motivate themselves. However, as a role model it is possible to “modify behavior”, it just takes a lot more time and work on your part.

So, assuming you’ve hired right, the next step is supplying knowledge and educating your staff. This requires clear and complete communication. You need to let your newly hiredpersonnel know from day one, exactly what is expected of them. You should be conducting meetings on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Make sure they have all the information they need to do there job. That means that they 1) have a complete written job description and information about the operation, 2) have sampled every item on the menu and any specials you are offering, 3) can describe the dishes, know the ingredients used and how the dishes are prepared and served.

Motivation is something within a person that incites him/her to action–Drive. When it comes to motivating, there are a number of incentives (behavior modification cues) that you can provide. Some of these are: money, promotions, employee achievement awards, contests with prizes, health care insurance, educational opportunities, tuition reimbursement, day care facilities, transportation, stock options or even a percentage of ownership. All of these come off of the bottom line, and if you’re like a lot of operators out there, that’s just not so easy to do these days.

So I like to look to Free Incentives, which are just as motivating if not more so and only require the investment of your time. Great leaders inspire their people to want to achieve and to want to be a team player. They “cheer” them on at all times. Leader’s delegate responsibility. They allow their staff to be part of the decision making process. People motivate themselves when they realize that they are valued and they have a say in their job.

Praise and recognition for a job well done is another great behavior modifier. Think about how often you correct or reprimand your staff as opposed to praising them. Unfortunately, in our society we are programmed from childhood with substantially more negatives than positives. Start “catching” your people doing things right instead of when they are doing things wrong. Create an environment that lets them know how much you appreciate them and how you couldn’t do without them. After all, that is the truth! If you could run your operation by yourself you would, but you can’t, so tell your people how you feel and reap the rewards.

Delegating responsibility is not about giving up your power and control. It’s about giving yourself less stress, which in turn will create a more positive environment. I believe when it comes to work, we should have fun and make money! My premise is very simple and basic. It is up to you to have fun in your work and to allow all of your people to have fun in their work as well. If you allow them that opportunity and you supply them with the knowledge and tools to do their jobs, they will be happier in their jobs, reduce your turnover and in the long run make you more money. This is called creating a win-win situation for yourself and your associates.

I’ve had my fair share of discussions with operators on how people are motivated and I continually hear that money is the answer. While money will motivate a good majority of your people, it is short term. Think long term, hire people who exhibit a positive attitude and who possess the behavioral style best suited for the job, constantly remind yourself that you are their “cheerleader” and role model, and don’t forget that your attitude and behavior will set the tone and has a direct effect on everyone around you. By following these simple steps you will be well on your way to retaining and motivating your winning team!

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