“The Rules ARE the Rules!”

I had a most frustrating (and also, sadly, very common) customer service experience in Colorado last week. I was visiting my sister in Grand Junction for a few days, and we decided to take a jeep tour to the mountains to see the fall colors.

Fall colors in the Rocky Mountains

On the way to Ouray, CO, to get the tour, we had enough time to make a quick stop at a garden shop where Beth wanted to look at some flower pots that were on sale. We noticed that they had a small restaurant there, and while she was looking at the pots, I asked to see a menu since we had not had time to pack a lunch before we left. I explained that we were in a hurry as we had to be in Ouray at a certain time to get the tour, so could they get something for us really quickly — we only had about 15 minutes extra. The waitress said yes, so we decided the easiest thing would be two wraps.

The menu had avocado crossed out on the turkey wrap (mine), so I asked if I could still have it added since avocado was available on other things on the menu. She immediately said, “No, we cannot make ANY substitutes!” That should have been a hint! Then we asked if we could just get the wraps and not the sides that went with them, and of course, the answer was the same.

My sister then went to the general counter and paid for the wraps to save time, and again we reminded them about our time issue. We then waited and waited — all the while hearing them talking in the kitchen and every once in awhile one of the waitresses would even walk out and put silverware on the tables. But, still no wraps!

Finally, after more than 15 minutes had passed, I asked where our lunch was because we HAD to leave. At that point, the waitress we had dealt with came out and said that there was another table outside that was ahead of us, so they had not even started our order yet — a fact she had never mentioned when we placed the order. How long could it possibly take to make two wraps, one of which even had pre-prepared filling?

Of course, we were distressed, so we told them we wanted our money back and to cancel the order. The waitress went back and we could hear them talking in the kitchen which again took more time. She finally returned and said she would have to find someone to do that — another 5 minutes went by when at last the owner came out. She said the kitchen was separate, so the chef would have to give us our credit. At that point, my sister said, “Why don’t you just give us a store credit as I shop here often.”

“No,” said the OWNER, “I can’t do that. I will send the chef out in a minute.” After several more minutes, the chef came out and FINALLY credited my sister’s card. But in the meantime, we were without any lunch, we were late for our tour, and we were VERY unhappy customers — all because no one was willing to bend the rules!

The tour waited for us, and we ended up having a wonderful time except for being very hungry! ;-)

Our "tour bus"--made for a really rough ride on the mountain paths!

To learn more about how Barbara can help you improve your customer experiences, go to www.barbaraglanz.com.

The Healing Power of Music

Last night I saw a most touching and powerful movie titled, “Alive Inside.” It is a documentary about one man’s passion for helping dementia and alzheimer’s patients by giving them headphones and an iPad with their favorite music on it. People who had been completely unresponsive or had not spoken in years simply came alive — and all for the cost of about $40!
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Spearheaded by social worker, Dan Cohen, these deeply touching, life-transforming experiences were captured on film over the course of three years. You will laugh and you will cry, but most of all, you will wonder WHY insurance companies, nursing care facilities, and doctors alike do not support this inexpensive, joyful way to bring back memories and awaken senses instead of medicating these people to often become zombies.

This movie especially reminded me of my own passion as a young person. I was a pianist in high school and won contests all around the state, but I also loved people, so I did not want to be in a practice room for hours and hours a day; plus I realized I had the talent but was just not cutthroat enough to become a concert pianist. Thus, when I learned about it, Music Therapy seemed like a perfect fit for me.

At that time Music Therapy was a brand new field, so when I was choosing a college, there were only two schools in the country that offered it — the University of Kansas and UCLA. Having grown up in a town of 4500 in Iowa, going to California seemed like going across the world to me at the time, so I chose KU.

Although I loved my professors and the school, the first year was very discouraging for me. In those days in Music Therapy, they required you to learn to play every instrument there was. Having been extremely involved in my piano and often practicing 3 and 4 hours a day, I never had time to do this when I was younger. Therefore, it turned out to be a very humiliating experience. I will never forget how the girls in my sorority house AND my little brothers teased me when I was practicing “Merrily We Roll Along” on the saxophone for my final exam!

As a result, I ended up changing my major to Piano my sophomore year and then switching to English my junior year to become a teacher. I still kept my love for music, but, at least at that time, I thought I could give more back in the classroom and feel more sure of myself by teaching English and drama in high school and college. After watching this precious movie, however, I must admit that I am a little sorry that I did not stick it out. Watching these lives being transformed to find JOY and LIFE again was a wonderful blessing.

Now, I am thinking about how I can become more involved in this pursuit — buying some ear phones and iPods and taking them to local nursing homes and donating money to Dan Cohen’s foundation, musicandmemory.org. In the meantime, I am going to make sure that MY children have a list of all my favorite music because one day each of us may very likely find ourselves, just like so many aging people today, struggling to hold onto our pasts.

This precious movie proves that music CAN heal hearts and souls! Thank you, Dan Cohen, for the blessing you have brought to so many lives.

To learn more about Barbara’s beliefs and expertise, go to www.barbaraglanz.com.

Another Meeting???

Speaking at the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association in Baltimore

Speaking at the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association in Baltimore

Ever find yourself needing to hold a meeting and JUST dreading it?

You know what I’m talking about… the glassy eyes, the unresponsive faces, the doodlers, the far-away-day-dreamy looks, the dead silence after a question is posed, the annoyed or bored looks when you discuss difficult items… even the under-the-table-phone-checker/chatterers.

Do these all leave you with the eerie feeling that you aren’t exactly being heard and your audience is tuned out? WAY OUT?

YOUR time is valuable, and so is theirs! You already know that it is crucial that they:
A) Receive your information,
B) Participate fully and willingly in the purpose of your meeting, and
C) Take the actions that you need them to, QUICKLY (all in a timely manner.)

After all, you’ve all got a lot on your to-do list, right? If you are anything like me, that list is calling out to you and growing steadily even now. So, let’s get to it!

Three main points to getting the most out of your meeting, AND your team:
1) Be a planner! Plan your agenda in advance. Be concise and clear. Use examples where possible.
2) Incorporate some creative communication to surprise and engage your team. Visual, verbal, physical. Make it stand out.
3) Start with THE POSITIVE! Three minutes of good news at the beginning of the meeting will make your team more receptive to sharing, engaging and being productive.

My assistant told me a story about a large company she once worked for where meeting after meeting after meeting was held – to the point that if she attended all the meetings she was supposed to, there would literally be no time for her to complete her actual job function.

And, frankly, these meetings were boring–dry and all-business, meaningless, often redundant, with seemingly endless talking. They often ran over the time limit, and items that were on the agenda were not even discussed. Whiners would sometimes “take control” of the meeting and derail the speaker’s timeline. There was no humanity in it, no joy, no inspiration. Nothing was being solved, and it felt like a waste, she said. She often left these meetings feeling absolutely drained and somewhat diminished, even bewildered, thinking, “There go two hours I’ll never get back!”

Until, that is, the day that Lynn came to have a meeting! Lynn is a spit-fire. She EXUDES positive energy, has a giant smile stamped on her face (yes, ALWAYS!), and is clearly enthusiastic beyond measure. She knows her material, but it isn’t scripted; it seems, instead,it is seamless. She made a promise right at the beginning to her audience: “I’m going to be real with you. We’re going to have fun together! You are going to participate, so your phone goes in this basket over here! You will leave smarter AND you will know what to do.”

Lynn kept her promise, always, and held the audience to keeping their end up, also. Shirking or non-participation were NOT options, and it WAS fun! Lynn had them do exercises, and they always stood up to do an activity because she said, “You use 1/3 more of your brain when you are standing.” She had them participate in activities that either proved her point or that they could take back to their departments to use as training tools. There was ENERGY! There was LAUGHTER! There was productive REAL TALK and HONEST FEEDBACK! There were even FIELD TRIPS! People LOVED going to Lynn’s meetings and would look forward all month to the next one. People even came in on their day OFF to attend her meetings and always left energized, thinking, and inspired to take action.

It came to the point that if Lynn wasn’t holding the meeting, there was a silent sigh in the room. Everyone WANTED to go to Lynn’s meetings and do what Lynn asked them to do and work with Lynn to make a better project/product/workplace. She built trust and loyalty. She built a team, just by mastering the art of the meeting!

For more ideas on how to make YOUR meetings more productive, here’s a free
Video Q &A session addressing just that!

http://www.barbaraglanz.com/iquestions/iq34.html

It’s your precious time we’re talking about, so let’s make it COUNT! Have a great week, and a phenomenal meeting! You CAN DO IT!

For more helpful ideas, feel free to explore my website, www.barbaraglanz.com, where there are free videos, blog archives, speaking programs for hire, consulting, super books and DVDs and more- all to assist you with managing change, raising morale and retention, getting the most from your team, and improving customer service.

Every Day Is a Gift!

EVERY DAY IS A GIFT!

Yesterday I found out that a dear friend of mine had been in a terrible car accident Monday night as she was returning home from work. She was broadsided and had to be removed from the car with the jaws of life. Today she had surgery for a broken hip. How her life changed in a few moments!
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This morning I got a message that a dear family friend of many years had died suddenly in his chair in California. He had had no serious health issues, and we had just visited with him and his wife in July, going to water aerobics with him, a tennis match, and several dinners out, and he was his usual visionary self.

I was shocked to learn last weekend that another speaker friend from Canada had died, and I know several dear friends who are struggling with persistent and ongoing health issues that have recently attacked them.

All these things have reminded me again of how tenuous this life is. When at age 56, I had lost my father, my son, and my husband, it became clear to me that nothing is guaranteed – this was NOT how I had planned my life to be—yet life did go on, and as a result, I have learned to treasure every moment, even when things are not what I would like them to be.

And yet, perhaps like you, I constantly need reminders that every day IS a gift!

Here are some of the ways I have discovered to keep in touch with my gratitude for life:

Do something every day for someone else. I try each day to write at least one note of appreciation, either in a card or by email, to thank someone for the gift they have been in my life or to just let them know I am thinking of them. This helps me to focus on others and not just on my own needs. There is always someone in my life who needs encouragement and love, and doing something for someone else helps me rise above my own concerns.

Be fully in the present. When our baby died and was buried on Christmas Eve, I did not think I could ever be whole again, and many days I did not think I could even make it through the next hour, let alone a whole day. However, during that time a friend gave me a book that talked about “living five minutes at a time.” Not only did that practice help me get through each day and heal, but it also became a way of life for me. When I am with someone, I am FULLY with them and that is true of each experience in my life. I never want to be thinking about tomorrow when I have this precious moment today!

Rely on my faith for sustenance. If I did not believe there was something better beyond this earthly life, I could not have survived the pain of loss I have experienced. Pain is not only the price of love, but it is also the catalyst for learning and growth. However, without a foundation of faith in God, I think I might have become stuck in self-pity and bitterness. As strange as it may seem sometimes, I have learned that ultimately “all things DO work together for good for those who love the Lord!”

Have a theme for my year. A wonderful speaker friend shared this idea with me, and it has become a treasured practice in my life. Each year on January 1, I choose a one or two word theme for that year to keep me focused on what is TRULY important in my life. In past years I have chosen the themes of “Surrender,” “Finding Peace,” and one of my favorites, “Surprise Me Again, Lord!” My theme this year is “Rebuilding Relationships.” Because I have been so involved in a great deal of travel in my work, particularly internationally, I have struggled with keeping up with my friends all over the world, so this year I have chosen to focus on finding ways to keep in better touch with the people I care about. After all, relationships are really the only lasting thing in this life.

Keeping a blessings journal. For many years I have kept a blessings journal – often just a spiral notebook, but whatever the form, it has helped me to work through my feelings, celebrate my joys, and record my learnings, successes, and failures. I often write letters to God, and somehow, through this process, answers to my concerns and prayers often happen as a result. As I go back through past writings, I also see how God has worked even the most difficult circumstances for good.

As much as my heart is heavy today, feeling the pain of those I love, I also find myself steeped in gratitude once again for the possibility of love and joy each and every day of our lives. We just must keep reminding ourselves and those we love that we are ALIVE TODAY—and that is the most precious gift of all!

To learn more about Barbara’s life and work, go to www.barbaraglanz.com.

Touching Lives

Glanz-tastic!

An interesting exchange took place on Facebook this past week after Graphic Recorder Tim Hamons created and posted a visual representation of my Singapore talk. It truly reinforced for me that no matter where you are in the world, your words and actions matter! You CAN make a positive change and inspire others to do the same with very SIMPLE, no- or low-cost techniques!

The following is a friend of Tim Hamons’ commenting on his Facebook Timeline on the illustration he made of my work. I LOVE that Tim was able to take away SO much of my talk so easily!

Tanvi Gautam: This is amazing !! I could not make it due to another meeting but I feel like I was almost there. Thank you so much Tim ! Can someone please elaborate on the Pennies in pocket and good news points on the MSA model please ? thanks so much.

Tim Hamons: Hi Tanvi Gautam. Barbara Glanz was illustrating a simple model MSA: Models, Stories, Action Ideas…. Some examples of action ideas: Pennies in pocket- give your kids each 5 pennies to put in left pocket. Every time they give a compliment to someone during the day they move a penny to other pocket. The goal is to move them all across everyday. “Good News” is simply starting a meeting by asking everyone to share some “good news” as a way to begin the meeting.

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The questions then, are:
What can YOU do today to take action, inspire others and model positivity?

What Actionable Ideas has someone in your workplace or personal life done recently to touch lives?

Tell me YOUR story and ideas! I’d LOVE to hear from you!