LUV: Taking Customer Service to the Next Level

July 18, 2007 | Posted in Leading Hartfully | By

Just recently returning from a Professional Speakers Convention, where my Arizona speaker colleague who is blind, Larry Colbert was attending. He and his canine companion, Banner, are popular members of our local National Speakers Association chapter. I received this email and with tears in my keyboard just had to share this story of what happened to Larry on Friday the 13th. This is a testament that speaks to the heart of what customer service is all about. It’s not just about smile training, it’s the basic human compassion for another and to do the right thing in times of need, no matter what it takes, no matter if it’s in the training manual or not. That day, the folks at Southwest didn’t even know that Larry was one of their passengers, as there are lots of airlines in that terminal at Sky Harbor in Phoenix. They rose to the occasion anyway.

Rest assured this story has already been forwarded to the head honchos at Southwest Airlines to commend them and their people on doing the right thing. They truly live up to their stock market codename: LUV.

Grab a tissue and read on, then pass this along to your colleagues and friends in the customer service field. Thanks to my friend and speaking colleague, Beth Terry for passing along this photo of Banner the Wonder Dog.

Here’s a brief description of the event as written by Sandy DeNeui (girlfriend extraordinaire…)
– – – – – – – – –

Yesterday, Friday the 13th came with more than one miracle for Larry and his guide dog Banner. Larry and Banner were on their way to a speaking
engagement in Nevada. Larry took a cab from his house to Sky Harbor.

Somehow, and that looms as the huge unanswered question, Banner received a gash in his leg while riding in the back seat of the cab. Larry said that Banner yelped and jumped from the floor boards onto the seat shortly before they arrived at the airport. This was highly unusual because Banner is extremely well trained, but since Larry cannot see, he didn’t realize that Banner was injured, so he got his bag and holding Banner’s harness, proceeded into the airport.

Larry said that Banner just led him along as if nothing was wrong…. then a man (Phx airport security), stopped them and asked if he could help. I guess that is when the urgency of the situation came to light.

Later, Troy (South West Customer Service), the young man who saved Banner’s life, told me that Banner would most certainly have gotten Larry to the airplane and bled to death in the process if someone had not intervened. But the ground crew employees of South West Airlines took it upon themselves to change Banner’s fate.

Larry telephoned me and said… “I need your help, Banner is hurt.” I knew by the sound of his voice that this was a real emergency. I blasted out of the house and across town to the airport. On the way I telephoned the vet’s office to alert them that we would be coming in…. and carried an on going conversation with Larry and one of the South West Airline employees. When I finally arrived a police car with emergency lights on had cleared a place for me to park…. a walkway had been cleared through the throng of onlookers…. Banner was on the floor with Larry beside him, and eight or ten uniformed people some kneeling some crouching were gathered around Banner, who was in great distress.

Larry was splattered in blood from his waist down, there was blood everywhere and on everyone. Troy lifted Banner and carried him to the car. I
didn’t realize it at the time, but Troy’s hand was clenched around Banner’s leg to stop the flow of blood. Banner, Troy and Larry got in the back seat of my car and away we went. When we arrived at the vet’s three young women emerged with a stretcher and rolls of tape. They wrapped the leg right there, so that Troy could release his grip, but Troy who by then was like a family member, carried Banner inside, sans stretcher.

Banner underwent surgery almost immediately. He had sliced the major vein to his leg and nicked an artery, and those employees of South West Airlines who left their posts to render aid quite simply kept Banner alive until Dr. Bastek could work her magic. Troy told me many hours later that he was still in shock from the whole experience…. and that he felt a bond with Banner and Larry that he didn’t want to lose track of.

Larry took a later flight to Las Vegas for his speaking engagement. He said that the legend of Banner preceded him and that every South West employee he met along the way asked about Banner (who is recovering nicely).

All in all, it was a Friday the Thirteenth to remember… and a time to realize that there are everyday people out there just waiting to be heroes.
I saw dozens of heroes yesterday. I am attaching a photo of Banner that was taken just this evening at Larry’s house.

I had the honor of having Banner stay with me here in Mesa after being released from the hospital. Larry managed just fine with his “white stick”
on his engagement in Nevada. He said he missed the freedom that Banner allows him, and of course was worried about Banner too. The South West Airline employees sent Banner the flowers and balloon in the photo as a get well gift. I think he really liked it! What a weekend! Those employees were more than heroes….. they were angels in disguise.

“It takes action to achieve vision!” Larry C. Colbert, Speaker & Author Check out Larry’s new video at: <>

Banner+Get+Well larrybanner

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Beat Boredom at Work

April 23, 2007 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Have you ever been bored at work? I can’t remember being bored for the past decade since I became psychologically unemployable and started my own company. But I do remember those days in my W-2 job where I would be chomping at the bit to do something meaningful, take action, talk to customers or just have some forward motion. I’m thrilled to be interviewed for a recent article in Vitality Magazine – on the topic of how to beat workplace boredom.

My article isn’t shown on their website, so if you want a copy send me an email with the subject of Vitality and I will send you a copy of the article to help you energize your workplace environment. I would also suggest my card deck 51 Winning Ways to Have Fun at Work. It’s a real card deck that has a fun tip on each card, so you can play Go Fish and select an idea to improve workplace morale. And if that falls through, then you can always win some cash by playing a rousing round of poker with the cards.

Here’s a tip to beat boredom – find work that is in alignment with your authentic self, your values, your beliefs and the big picture you envision for your world. What is your big picture and how do you fit your knowledge, skills, abilities and talents into that big picture? Where is that delicious intersection of what the world needs and wants and your special gifts? Find that intersection and you will never be bored, in fact, there won’t be enough time in the day to do everything you want to do to move your vision forward. You may even find it hard to sleep because your mind is racing with new ideas of expanding and growing your dreams and desires.

Check out my other articles on fun in the workplace and improving motivation, morale and meaning at work at: Let me know what else you are doing to beat boredom at your workplace. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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Energize Your Life Through Job Satisfaction

April 18, 2007 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

How happy are you in your job? What is your job satisfaction? Duke University’s study found that job satisfaction was listed as the #1 factor in living a long life. Job satisfaction beat out 788 other factors as the key to longevity – beating out good health habits and good genes. Now there’s more evidence. The 2006 General Social Survey (GSS) at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago cites the most satisfying jobs are mostly professions, especially those involving caring for, teaching and protecting others and creative pursuits after interviewing over 27,000 workers.

Top 10 most gratifying jobs and the percentage of subjects who said they were very satisfied with the job:

Clergy—87 percent percent
Firefighters—80 percent percent
Physical therapists—78 percent percent
Authors—74 percent
Special education teachers—70 percent
Teachers—69 percent
Education administrators—68 percent
Painters and sculptors—67 percent
Psychologists—67 percent
Security and financial services salespersons—65 percent
Operating engineers—64 percent
Office supervisors—61 percent

10 least gratifying jobs, where few participants reported being very satisfied:

Laborers, except construction—21 percent
Apparel clothing salespersons—24 percent
Handpackers and packagers—24 percent
Food preparers—24 percent
Roofers—25 percent
Cashiers—25 percent
Furniture and home-furnishing salespersons—25 percent
Bartenders—26 percent
Freight, stock and material handlers—26 percent
Waiters and servers—27 percent

How satisfied are you with your job? What can you change if your current position if it’s not the most satisfying? What do you love to do and how can you incorporate that (appropriately) into your work? How about not having a job at all? How about making a living without a job? More on that topic later…..

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Fearless Selling: Tips to Building Your Business

September 30, 2006 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Wealthy Woman | By

The last segment in the series of Fearless Selling: How to Energize Your Marketing Strategies and Build Business Relationships.

When I launch a new product such as a card deck of 52 Ways to Have Fun at Work, then I send my clients a sample of my new product as a thank you gift for choosing to partner with me in business. When I see an article in a trade magazine that I think would be valuable to a client, I will send them a copy whether it is about my, written by me, or just on a topic that would be of interest that is sent along with a note that I’m thinking about them.

I always send a thank you gift to a client along with a hand-written note after every presentation in appreciation for collaborating on a program for their members or employees. I keep a stock of a variety of items on hand that represent the image I want to project for my business. I have had items customized for me, I’ve found items in catalogs and malls that had just the right flair and I pick up a bulk order of them, or I have made ceramic plaques with the phrases I use in my programs to give as gifts. I change items every year or two to keep it fresh and I keep track of what I have sent to whom so I don’t give a repeat gift.

Another way I’ve found to keep in touch by adding value is to offer clients or their customers a free tele-class as a premium. Clients can either offer the tele-class to their team members or they can offer it to their customers and use me as their thank-you to their customers. Bridge lines are inexpensive to rent and it gives me a chance to offer more information and services to my customers.

The best way I have found to keep in touch and to keep building on relationships is to add value to people’s lives and to save them time, money, effort, or energy, or at least give them information or products that will do the same for them. When I make contact, I make sure it will be welcomed.

What kinds of things are you doing to energize your marketing strategies and build better business relationships. Remember, you don’t necessarily do business with another business. You do business with people. I can’t say enough about the neatest product I’ve found to build business and personal relationships through Kody Batemen and his team have developed the slickest way yet to keep in touch with people using a click of a mouse to send real-life paper cards that are customized by you and that end up in their mailbox. The response from my clients and friends has been overwhelming to get something other than junk mail or from Ed McMahon in their mailbox. The coolest part about it is that the company is a pay-it-forward kind of company that promotes gratitude, acknowledgement, appreciation, and a celebration and honoring of somebody else’s life. I am happy to set up a free gift account for you to try it on for size and see how easy it is to touch somebody’s life through a customized greeting card. I will even pay for the postage. Give me a call to set up a 10-15-minute session so you can start sending out cards.

To Your FUNomenal Success!

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Fearless Selling Tips to Follow Up and Follow Through

September 13, 2006 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Wealthy Woman | By

I often get lots of questions about how I build my businesses when I work from home. I’ve created a list if ideas of things I do to attract and energize my business and create great relationships with my clients, audience members and members of the community. It’s all about people and serving them to the best of your ability and making the time to keep in touch with them as well as bringing them more value to their lives. Nobody likes spam. Here is the first in a series of posts that will have you building relationships and building your business, and energizing your sales and marketing strategies no matter what kind of business it is.

As an entrepreneur, professional speaker, and writer working alone; it’s critical to build strong relationships amongst clients as well as colleagues in order to grow your business and help others in the growth of their potential as well. Genuinely keeping in touch with your advocates and those you hope will become your advocates keeps business streaming through your door and keeps you connected with peers and prospects alike.

I’ve found that having a system for most things makes it easier to accomplish more in less time. When I keep to my schedule and system, then keeping connected to the outside world becomes a good habit. I have always been one to be leery of bugging people and not wanting to seem to shameless in my sales pitch, but rather to be of service and to bring value and needed benefits to my clients and potential clients. I use the theory of giving to get when I make business contacts through email, snail mail, voice mail, or in person. When I send something out of the office it is usually filled with valuable information, a fun new product, a notice of something of benefit to them in the future, or something tasty to eat.

Putting surprises in packages for my clients as a token of appreciation gives me great pleasure. I have found through experience that people love to get treats, especially chocolate. For client appreciation, I often send my customized gourmet chocolate bar that has my trademark tagline printed on the front “You’re Funominal! ™” along with a notecard thanking them for their business. ….

Stay tuned for more tips to add success and significance to your life and the lives of others….
Your Chief Energizing Officer –

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Mentors vs. Tormentors – 50 Ways to Ditch Your X (and Y) Employees

September 4, 2006 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Wealthy Woman | By

If mentors affect teams, then tormentors infect teams. As a keynote speaker and corporate teambuilding facilitator, I see quite a bit of infection swelling up in corporate America these days. It seems that leaders who learned their craft in the command and control school of management no longer have the affect on their teams of Generations X and Y (otherwise known as Millennials or the Oh-Oh Generation). Millennials were born 1982-2000 and 75% of them are born to Baby Boomers. They are the newest generation just entering the workforce. In fact, it seems that using the old school of management style is a surefire way to ditch your X and your Y.
So if you strive for high turnover, constant training and clamor to hold a title even more coveted than “Micromanager,” follow these simple strategies and you can claim the moniker of Tormentor. Be aware that choosing not to engage these methods may create a motivating workplace, retain recruits and positively affect your team.
1. Always refer to the way things were when you were their age or coming up through the ranks.

2. Insist on “my way or the highway” standards and accept nothing less.

3. Give raises and ensure they are inconsequential such as ten cents per hour. Raise the standard of living for the recipient.

4. Freak out or get very uptight when a VIP or other corporate mucky muck visits. Instill the nervous frenzy in the workforce and make them crazy with inane requests such as painting the dirt green so it looks good from the air when the big wig’s helicopter flies over (Unfortunately for the staff of that particular organization, I didn’t make that one up).

5. Demand that employees stay late often to work on projects you’ve not prepared. Assume that since they’re single, they don’t have a life and they wouldn’t mind staying overtime for the good of the organization.

6. For frontline staff, purchase uniquely ugly uniforms so they wouldn’t be mistaken for personal clothing. When they are sporting uncomfortable polyester, a hideous color or constricting uniforms, there is no doubt they are in a mindset of work (or prison).
I once had a boycott on new uniforms in Europe when the teal polo shirts I ordered translated into “Kermit the Frog green.” Our staff was not amused and went uniform-free until the correct color arrived. It seems looking cool is essential, and Kermit wasn’t cool to 23-year-olds.

7. Insist on large or unmanageable nametags that get in the way of their duties, hang down and pose a safety hazard, turn upside down, or poke holes in the their aforementioned uniform.

8. Never solicit ideas and suggestions when making decisions that affect the team. Decide by yourself and give the order down the line. For a special effect, send it out in a memo while you’re out of town.

9. Solicit ideas and suggestions from your team and then take credit for those ideas or others that come your way.

10. Pick a favorite team member and give them all the work, praise and glory. It’s much easier to just focus on one person than trying to pay attention to so many other people. The others will catch on sooner or later……

Stay tuned for the next installment of how to be a tormentor at work. Until then, have a happy Labor Day! If you have a story of a mentor or a tormentor you’d like to share – please change the names to protect the innocent or the not-so-innocent. Your story may be published.

FUNominally Yours –

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New Books on the Streets and Online

August 23, 2006 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it – there are two new books on the website at One is by a friend of mine, Marsha Lindquist called Why Are You Still Working Your A** Off? A Guide to Life Beyond the Cubicle. It’s filled with her insights and strategies to get a life outside of work and to make it meaningful. It’s filled with her wit and cheeky wisdom on the subject – she’s a ball of fire. It will make you think about what you’re doing – making a living or making a life.

Another book that will be on the site soon – is one that my colleague and speaker buddy, Jeff Tobe had compiled with about a dozen of us experts on the subject of communication. Titled The Communication Coach II – Communication Tips From the Pros for the Pros. It’s chalked full of high-level information for those who want a more advanced look into this thing we call communication. Perfect for HR professionals, managers, teachers, or those who just want to understand their neighbors, co-workers, spouse or teenager. Well, maybe not their teenager…you be the judge of that one. Let me know what you think of it – we’d love your feedback about how it helped you communicate better and also what you’re doing to not be working your a** off.


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Keep in Touch With Online Snail Mail Cards

May 2, 2006 | Posted in Living Hartfully | By

I’m on FIRE with excitement over another new way to keep in touch with everybody. Having moved about 13 times in about 20 years, it’s hard to keep up with everybody. I’ve just signed on with Send Out Cards – a fantastic way to keep in touch with clients, customers, partners, friends and family with the click of a mouse and it sends a real card they can hold in their hands from their snail mail box. You can customize the inside with your own greeting, your own photos, and your own handwriting and signatures. I even have Madison’s paw print as her signature. They give you 4 signatures in the program. All this for around a buck a card – and that even includes postage. All the cards are created one at a time, stuffed into envelopes, stamped, and mailed out of Utah – all you do is select people from your contact manager – which you can import from your other contact managers, create a message, click and send. No more going to the card store, waiting in line at the post office, or finding stamps…you can send a card in less than a minute. The longest time it takes is to select from the more than 5000 card styles they have. I will soon have my own personal collection on the site – I’m creating as fast as I can! Check it out – it’s awesome. Cards can only be mailed to US addresses…I think they can do APO’s, but no overseas mailing. If you want to test-drive the system, let me know and I will set you up with a free gift account – I will even pay for the postage.

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