Friday, June 29, 2012

Are Everyone's Taste Buds Also Connected?

Yesterday for lunch, I met a friend at a restaurant that I've typically only enjoyed for weekend brunch, rather than one of my usual business lunch sites.  As I was walking in, some dear friends were also coming to dine, and were ultimately seated at a table right by ours.  Quite surprisingly, I learned late last night that my son and his friends had dinner at this restaurant.  And to top it off, when I got to work this morning, my colleague volunteered that she and another friend were dining at this same place for lunch. 

It appears that everything, including taste buds, are connected.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Corporate Pool for Syncronized Swimming

Syncronized swimming requires all swimmers to be in the same pool.  Yet for many corporations, each line of business is swimming in a different pool.  However, the communities in which a company operates do not distinguish between lines of business. Whoever a business leader knows in a particular company IS the company to him or her. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Caring with Limits to Sharing

This week a concerned colleague instinctively suggested a very compassionate way (host a blood drive) to engage coworkers and customers to assist a cherished colleague who is in the midst of serious medical treatments involving frequent use of blood products.  Her motives were pure and her assumptions that many would love to donate blood were accurate.  However, caring today includes many restrictions on information sharing.  And there are no longer opportunities to directly provide replacement credits for an individual's usage of blood products.

Though we can't share this colleague's information, our caring prompts us to encourage interested, eligible donors to donate blood and blood products.  The need is enormous and there is still no artificial substitute for blood. 

Each time we donate, we have the opportunity to save 3 lives.  Donating blood is sharing with unlimited caring.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When a Little Means a Lot

I've previously written about the impact of  $25 Kiva loans to enterprising business women and men.  Today I made my 22nd loan, this one to a group of female business women in the Congo.  It's exciting to perpetually invest a little, with potentially life-changing impacts to the entrepreneurs and their families. As is often the case, with those who attempt to help, my life has been greatly enriched by giving a little and seeing the the bigger difference these little bits have made to so many striving families around the globe. 

A little investment can change lives - of investors and of those in whose enterprises investments are made.  Investment is one of the many ways to help individuals and businesses prosper.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Random Encouragement

It's fabulous when we get needed encouragement from family and friends.  It's also great when we give and get encouragement from strangers and acquaintances. 

Yesterday morning, in heat that discouraged a normal cadre of walkers and runners, a stranger walker, said from across the street, that she admired me.  I turned to give her two thumbs up with a huge smile, and responded that we are both getting our exercise.

So many of us are doing the best that we can, and there are so very many opportunities to provide encouragement along the way.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Everyone Can Make Someone's Day Special

This busy week provided the opportunity to enjoy many diverse events including two evening gatherings at the same downtown corporate headquarters.  As I arrived for the second celebration this week, I recognized the smiling valet with appreciation for taking care of me a couple of days earlier.  Much to my surprise and delight, he chose to keep my car upfront so that I'd have no wait as I left.  This simple human connection made two people's days special.  This hard-working man afforded me unexpected special service and earned him a bonus.

We all have the opportunity through simple acts of acknowledgement and kindness to make someone's day special.

Friday, June 15, 2012

45 Ways to Make a Difference

45 Ways to Make a Difference

1.      Volunteer!

2.      Contribute financially to a non-profit organization.

3.      Join a non-profit friends group.

4.      Become an advisory board member.

5.      Serve on a board.

6.      Chair a committee.

7.      Plan an event.

8.      Make friends aware of the great work of your chosen non-profit organization.

9.      Walk, run or bike for an organization.

10.  Donate your new or gently used items to an organization.

11.  Vote.

12.  Bring someone with you to volunteer.

13.  Recycle.

14.  Collect non-perishable food items for a food bank or pantry.

15.  Give blood.

16.  Register as an organ donor.

17.  Provide toiletry items to a homeless organization.

18.  Be a mentor.

19.  Teach a class.

20.  Encourage a friend, stranger, colleague, family member or neighbor.

21.  Speak up for someone who needs an advocate.

22.  Discover new volunteer options. One Houston option is

23.  Take the magazines you’ve read to a nursing home or hospital.

24.  Organize a group of colleagues, friends or neighbors for a volunteer project.

25.  Conserve natural resources.

26.  Fund-raise for a non-profit.

27.  Assist a classroom teacher.

28.  Coach a team.

29.  Fund a classroom project. One option is

30.  Thoughtfully re-gift.

31.  Donate books to the library.

32.  Motivate positive action with a letter to the editor.

33.  Donate or recycle your old cell phone.

34.  Keep reusable bags in your car for shopping trips.

35.  Support a non-profit through social media.

36.  Donate eyeglasses. One option is

37.  Donate unopened contact lenses.  One option is

38.  Shop for a cause.

39.  Donate your hair. One option is

40.  Support our troops.

41.  Share knowledge.

42.  Send used greeting cards to St.Jude’s Ranch (

43.  Become a foster parent.

44.  Attend a fund-raising event.

45.  Make a donation in memory or honor of someone.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Speed Dating for Nonprofits

Today a philanthropy organization in Houston hosted an event that positively portrayed 7 nonprofit organizations in a time efficient manner.  The host venue was prominently profiled and the intro speaker highlighted another distinctive institution.  Then 5 distinctive but connected, collaborative nonprofits were each given 20 minute forums to share their story for 8 foundation and corporate funding representatives.  Just like speed dating, as the buzzer sounded, each group of 8 funders rotated to the next nonprofit.

Though every nonprofit would love to host site visits for funders, this was a fabulous introduction for many potential funders who might not have otherwise been exposed to the vision, mission and successes of these organizations.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Technology Desert

When we press send, we've been conditioned to expect that our email message has been delivered. 

I was reminded during a technology drought this weekend that there may be unforeseen circumstances that create delivery times of several days rather than several seconds.

This frustrating experience highlighted the importance of follow-up, follow-through and the need for multiple contact options for those with whom we want and need to communicate.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Success Tips from Teri Hawkins

Teri Hawkins, best-selling author, Money magazine Top 100 Female Entrepreneur and coach to such leaders as Lee Iacocca and Liz Claiborne, engaged and captivated attendees at Comerica's first quarter Women's Business Symposium. This incredibly savvy entrepreneur challenged us to be ourselves to achieve maximum success. Women, as a group, are extremely good at developing personal relationships. However, many women, relying on male role models fail to capture the value of relationship building in business. She thinks that relationships are more important than ever with the epidemic need to be understood.

Some of Teri's additional success tips include:

  • Let go of the need to always get things right.
  • Make mistakes quickly and learn from them. Some of Teri's best ideas have come from messing up. The cost of seeking perfection is extremely high.
  • The most successful entrepreneurs spend 95% of their time selling.
  • Seize moments to interact, learn and be heard.
  • Be sincere.
  • To overcome event anxiety, Introverts should arrive early and volunteer to help.
  • Be engaging when meeting new people. An engaging talker and engaged listener both have power.
  • 98% of communication is nonverbal.
  • Dress for who you are.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Experience v. Explanation

How many times have we been victim of or the perpetrator of explaining rather than creating the forum for an experience?  The answer is - far too many!  When we remember that people (we) like to buy but don't like to be sold, it's easier to halt the boring fact-filled presentations and actually listen and learn what a buyer (or we) expect from a relationship.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Digitally Protected from My Information

As an avid digital citizen, I have way too many logins and passwords.  And because the sites I access have varied security parameters, there is no way that I can use a universal login and password.  How I wish that I could do an iris scan for single sign on for all the sites I want and need to access!  Often I feel like the digital protections provided me reduce (rather than enhance) my access to the personal information I want and need to access.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Too Many Promotions

A friend who recently retired from a large corporation shared the funny, but sad observation that once an individual reaches a certain level, the only way he or she can be fired is to throw up on the chairman or make a $1 unauthorized company credit card expense. 

Regardless of present fit for the job, with so many supporters and promoting managers throughout the individual's career, a current manager is hesitant to risk being the one to announce that the emperor has no clothes.  He or she doesn't want to risk alienating colleagues who have previously promoted the under-performing individual.

It's savvy to be sensitive to our colleagues.  But it's costly for performance, productivity, profits and morale when we fail to replace ineffective managers.

Time, Talent and Treasure

We all have time, talents and treasures to give to and receive from others.  Willingness and receptivity are the keys to learning and growing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Okay to Change a Plan

At the first of the year, we developed an incredibly ambitious market development plan.  Though we spaced events throughout the year, we intentionally front-loaded the calendar to allow for maximum impact.  It's been a terrific five months, with more opportunities than our colleagues have ever had.  My focus on executing the plan initially kept me from making a welcome adjustment.  However, the announcement that we were rescheduling a June event until the fall was enthusiastically received by all involved.

Plans are essential, but reasoned adaptation can reap big dividends.