Four for the Price of One

By Ron Rosenberg

Most people understand that technology, remote workforces, and quality outsourcing have significantly leveled the playing field and eliminated many of the "economies of scale" that used to be the exclusive domain of very large companies.

But despite this, it's still tough being a small business these days. People can be reluctant to work with you because they secretly wonder if you're going to be the next casualty to fall as a result of the recession, and they don't want to be left hanging if anything happens to you.

Fortunately, there's a way to make yourself appear to be much bigger than you are, like when more...

Why Change is Difficult

By Ron Rosenberg

Find out the two most important reasons why change is difficult.

All we hear about these days is change—managing change, driving change, initiating change.  We put ourselves and our organizations under incredible amounts of stress in attempting to drive change from the top.

It may be helpful, however, to take a step back and look at two of the reasons why change is difficult:  1) people are familiar with the old ways and 2) people are comfortable with keeping them that way.

Let’s look at the first case: familiarity with the status quo.  As I describe a situation, think back over the last year, the last more...

Doing Something Nice: Memory Skills for 6th Graders

By Ron Rosenberg

A nice gesture to a group of sixth graders helps them improve their test scores and provides some unexpected rewards.

Sometimes we do nice things out of a sense of compassion or obligation.  But doing something nice often brings unexpected rewards.

As a part of our program, “Getting to the Heart of Customer Satisfaction™”, I often include a module on memory techniques.  The participants in this program learn skills on how to retain new information and how to remember names and faces.

My 11-year-old son was having a tough time learning the names of all the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses for an upcoming social more...

The Wine Contrarian

By Ron Rosenberg

Serendipity is fun. Within about an hour of finishing my article in the last issue of this newsletter, where I talked about the importance of being "contrarian" in your thinking, I found an interesting e-mail in my own inbox. This one was the weekly e-mail newsletter I got from a wine shop we like called Chapel Hill Wine Company, and its owner, Todd Wielar.

I enjoy his newsletter because he provides good updates on different wines; but more importantly, because he write in an irreverent, almost tongue-in-cheek style. Bottom line: I enjoy reading his e-mails each week. (Something to consider in your own communications!)

So more...

Team Scrabble

By Ron Rosenberg

With all the talk about working in teams, a quick examination of most compensation and recognition systems reveals that it is still individual effort—not teamwork—that gets recognized and rewarded.

With a slight adjustment in attitude, teams could turn this around.

A few months ago, I wrote an article about a former colleague who adapted his company’s traditional review process to focus on team versus individual results.  I received several interesting replies to this.  The most interesting of these was not related to work, but was centered around a family situation at home.

This person wrote about how his family spent time together playing different types of more...

Saying “Thank You!”

By Ron Rosenberg

Sometimes we get so busy we forget to thank the people who work with us.  A few weeks ago I received a very powerful “thank you” for something I hadn’t even done yet.

Those of you who have been receiving the newsletter for a while will remember that my son and I were planning to ride in the MS-150 in September.  This was a 150-mile bicycle ride to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

My son had raised over $300 from our neighbors, family, and friends, and from his friends and teachers at school.  The day before the ride I received a call more...

A Tale of Two Bagels

By Ron Rosenberg

Your attitude in dealing with customers can make a huge difference in your business.  An inappropriate level of customer service will cause you to lose business.

There are two national bagel store chains near my house, almost exactly the same distance away.  They offer the same basic varieties, the same types of cream cheese, and the same extra items.  But that’s where the similarities end.

At one store, the people working behind the counter seem as if they could care less about working there.  When my turn comes to approach the counter, I’m greeted with a less-then-enthusiastic “Next.”  They rarely smile; they never recognize customers more...

Cutting Back...or Charging Forward?

By Ron Rosenberg

Business is slow; revenues are down; and people are panicking. But it doesn't have to be this way. Consider this excerpt from an article I just saw in our local paper:

A Raleigh advertising agency, founded nearly 25 years ago, has filed for bankruptcy protection and on Friday laid off 15 employees. As the recession worsens, they have seen a "significant reduction in our clients' marketing budgets for 2009," said their CEO. Clients also are putting off longer-term projects. "There was not enough to keep us afloat," he said.

Why is the advertising agency filing Chapter 11? Why are their clients' budgets being slashed? Why more...

I Hate This Thing!

By Ron Rosenberg

We're training at a new facility these days, the Rex Wellness Center. It forms the perfect "third point" on our triangle: our house, our office, and now our health club are all within three minutes of each other. Makes for very efficient planning of a day.

Of course, since the facility just opened about three weeks ago, everything is new - kind of like the fitness equivalent of that "new-car smell." And, in particular, it's nice to have new bikes for the indoor cycling ("spinning") classes. The best part about these bikes is that they all have a cycle-computer display on them, showing RPMs, more...

Passion Makes the Difference—James Taylor vs. The Who

By Ron Rosenberg

Being passionate about your work makes the day go by quicker, helps you be more productive, and generally makes you more fun to be around. When you lose your passion for your work, everyone around you knows it!

We can see an excellent example of this in the music industry. Growing up in New York City in the ’70s I had the opportunity to see many concerts. Two stand out as contrasting examples of passion. In 1975 I saw James Taylor at Tanglewood in the Berkshires and The Who at Madison Square Garden.

The Who was really at its musical peak, and the band’s leader, more...