Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can Companies Help Employees Care About The Company?

Of course, a company’s primary goal is fiscally driven. If the company is not in the black, it can't pay employees to work there. But, when a company's ONLY goal is fiscally driven, then what is the message being sent to the people who make that goal possible?

To quote Jack Welch, companies need three things to be successful:
fiscal responsibility
satisfied customers
satisfied employees

Companies are slowly beginning to realize the importance of listening to website visitors. It may sound like common sense, but companies are just recently coming around to the idea of gathering voice of visitor data in a reliable, credible way and using that data to drive business decisions. They are slowly beginning to see as an asset the investments they make in satisfying these visitors.

But when it comes to employee satisfaction, many companies are still woefully behind the curve. Employees are often viewed as a "means to an end" - to push widgets out the door faster and faster. In this economy, employers might think that their employees should feel lucky to have a job and work harder still. But there are other issues at play.

Many people are afraid about these economic times. They may have spouses or partners out of work or may be laid off soon, babies on the way, bills to pay, and they're scared. And when they're scared, they start focusing on their own - more immediate - needs. What if this happens...what if that happens....

As a result, customer service and quality of work begin to deteriorate.

So what can employers do? They, too, are feeling the financial crunch. Nobody is holding their hand and offering words of comfort. But CEO's, entrepreneurs, and other leaders have one key ingredient that many employees don't have - CONNECTION TO THE COMPANY. They feel connected to their companies because their voice is heard (often it's the only voice heard), they're decisions are final, and they are given room to grow and to learn new things.

So the real question may be, "how can we foster connection between employees and their place of employment?". How do we encourage their ideas, encourage entrepreneurial thinking - even for the lowest on the org charts, empower employees by sharing thought processes - the WHY of decision making. I certainly believe this is a two-way street. Employees have to step-up to the plate, but the company has to let them know their on the same team, and cheer them as they stand at bat.

It's time to remind employees that we are all in this together. Employees choose to work for the company. The company chooses to keep them employed. It's a relationship, and relationships need honesty, trust, and commitment. To attain this, each party needs to feel valued for who they are and for what they contribute.

If you treat employees like the partners they are, they’ll be more inclined to focus on customer needs and not their own. Focusing on customer needs will grow the business - satisfied customers are the best customers. This, in turn, will grow revenue dollars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Transparency in Government is a site that keep tabs on British politicians - creating more transparency and accountability in the Government. Does the U.S. have anything like this?

Loyalty Programs - Get all you're entitled to

Perkler helps consumers manage their loyalty perks.

From the site, "Perkler is an online community "for perks and people who love them," giving shoppers a central place online to manage all of their loyalty and rewards programs. "

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Power of Caring

I work for a wonderful company in Michigan called ForeSee Results ( As one of the first employees, my first day on the job occurred two weeks after September 11, 2001. We now have over 130 employees and growing - even in that economy and even in today's economy....even in Michigan.

You may not have heard of us yet, but you will. Why? Because most everyone who works here cares. We care if our customers are upset or need something. We care if our fellow coworker is upset or needs something. And when you care enough, you can do anything.

The company measures customer satisfaction of websites. If you go to or, you'll probably see ForeSee Results gathering the voice of the "little people" - the visitors to those websites who would not otherwise have a voice in how the site is run. We not only help the managers of those websites make more intelligent business decisions based directly on people who visit those sites, but we help the actual people visiting those sites - you and me. And we care when you complete the survey (how else could we collect this feedback). We care about what works for you on the site, and what doesn't. And we help your voice to be heard.

For managers of those sites, we help to differentiate between the voices that are loud merely because they're angry, and what's loud because it's important.

My job is to provide credible, accurate, and reliable voice-of-visitor feedback to the people in charge of these websites in a way that allows them to confidently prioritize web changes (based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index -

I don't get paid to write this, and I'm certainly not trying to sell anything. It's my voice in Michigan stating that there are companies and people here who care deeply about helping others and growing together.

What Really Matters?

None of us want individually what we are doing collectively.

How different would we be if the news portrayed good Samaritans as often as it portrays murderers? How different would we feel if television supported each of us for who we are - encouraging us to connect to each other, to support each other, to love each other?

What can our society be like if we stop listening to the absolute garbage the media pawns off as "news" and start understanding that the only true voice we should listen to is our own heart. Look around. Be kind. Love yourself, and be supportive of your hopes and dreams. Then, share that with those around you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In good times and In bad...........

Where is your faith? I don't mean "religion", I mean Faith - faith in ourselves, faith in our neighbors, faith in our co-workers.

Of course we know the economy is in a recession. It's probably a depression, but that will take another 10 months to figure out.

We don't need to go shopping. We need to be giving. Giving of ourselves, our canned goods, our clothing we've long since forgotten we owned. Knowing that we're making a difference. But how do we do this?

1. Shut off the Television. Remove yourself from the local news - it's just too depressing right now, and, more importantly, it's not telling the full story.

2. Give thanks. Look around you, and be thankful for your life....if you can't feel the thanks in your heart, look at the birds, your cat or dog, or the sky. Watch the sunset and the sunrise. Look up at the stars. Know we're going through this for a reason.

3. Listen to the reason. WHAT do we have to learn from the state of the economy? If America were a person, what would she be saying to us? Are we listening?

4. Find your strengths. Our ancestors (my grandparents) looked to the Great Depression as their call to courage. To band together, find their creativity (such as making clothes, stretching a bag of flour to feed the family for a months, etc), and succeed.

They had faith. This is not the end. Not yet. And we need to live every moment with love in our hearts and the knowledge that we will be ok.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Charity versus Giving

I've started thinking more aboutgiving - the at of sharing resources and knowledge to others who need it. Creating groups that build connection. For example, connecting nonprofit donation recipients with the donors of that money.

Connecting people who need jobs with those who have jobs to give (pink-slip parties)

Connecting website visitors with people who run website

Connecting Senior Citizens with technology to give them a voice in this world.

Connecting students with politicians to give them a voice in this world.

Think tanks maybe. But with more authentic connection??

Friday, October 17, 2008


"How we speak defines who we are", or is it "who we are defines how we speak". In any case, if my company comes across as cold, uncaring, profit-hungry, that is the face potential customers see.

If, however, I want to come across as a friend - a friend who understands what you've been thru, your insecurities, and your strengths, then I have to speak your language. Yet so many businesses fail to recognize this somewhat obvious point.

If I want to market to the Non-Profit Industry, I do not go in there touting my recent presentation of "how to make $50 in 50 minutes" (completely fictitious presentation by the way). I have to put myself in the shoes of someone heading a Non-Profit Industry. What challenges are they facing? What keeps them up at night? And How can I help?

I will build all of my presentations around that answer.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spending Smarter

Seth Godin said " If you're going across town, you're very specific: "188 Fifth Avenue, on the east side of the street please."

On the other hand, when you go on vacation, you tell people, "I'm going to Paris," not "we're going to 8 rue du Cherche-Midi." And if you're going even farther than that, you skip the city and country altogether and just say, "we're going to Africa.

Short version: If you want people to embrace your version of the future, talk about it like it's right around the corner, not on another planet."

SO, when we keep hearing the $700 Billion Dollar Bailout - that might as well be Mars. What does this mean to you and me? What should WE - the general public - be doing now to help lessen the hit we're taking in this market? The Answer: Spend Smarter. Make choices now about where you are putting your money - are you giving it to McDonald's to buy one meal or are you giving it to your local farmer to so you can feed your family for a few days?

Pay yourself first - this rule confused me when I was younger. I thought it meant I could pay myself first by purchasing a cool shirt I saw at Macy's. Then I realized that, when I do this, I am paying Macy's first. Follow the cash. Paying yourself first means putting the money in the bank - yes, the bank - and saving it for the smarter choices you will make when you do spend your hard-earned money.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Passion vs. Pragmatism

Do practical considerations block your passion? Should they? How do you know when you're being practical vs letting fear prevent you from your passion?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Listening to those who Shout

The voice of reason is often the softest spoken. If we don't listen for it, we will miss it.

The media are shouting. Shouting in praise of a candidate who has a radical muslim terrorists as friends. Shouting in praise of someone who is anti-white. Not just pro-black, but anti-white.
Where is the voice of reason? Who should we be listening to?

I would like to see Charlie Gibson interview Barak Obama in the same condescending fasion he used on Sarah Palin. Palin's son is entering the military - of course that doesn't mean she should be our next VP, but Mr. Gibson could have shown human decency and said "thank you" to Ms. Palin's son.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

JK Rowling's Harvard Commencement Speech

This speech is empowering on so many levels. It acknowledges - in fact, praises - failure and the strength gained from falling down so many times you lose track. May you find it as inspirational as I have:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Can we do formal reasoning with pictures instead of text?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Porcupine Mountains

I just returned from an adventurous hiking trip in Michigan's Upper Peninsula at the Porcupine Mountains State Park.

Bordering Lake Superior, it was a refreshing treat to wake up, walk out of the tent, and see the vast expanse of wilderness around me. The air was cleaner, the water cooler, and, yes, the flies a little meaner. But the trip itself was worth it.

After staying in a cabin the first night in Ontonagon at Superior Shore Resort (a wonderful place), I set up camp at Presque Isle Campground from May 28 - May 31, 2008 and made day hikes to Lake of the Clouds, Union Mine Trail, and many others.

Best bug repellent: Neem Oil - available at most Indian stores and some health food stores.

You can find more information on Michigan's largest State Park here:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Map and Compass

If I want to hang a picture on a wall, I know the tools I need: a hammer, nails, a level, and a drill to name a few. But if I want to believe in myself, to reach my full potential in life, what tools do I need? A map helps us to see the larger view of where we are in relation to where we want to be. A compass ensures we undertake the right direction to get there. Thus begins the journey....