Lipstick On A Pig (A rant by Joe Calloway)

by Joe Calloway

Lipstick on a pig – Exhibit A: A hotel in Washington, DC told me my roomlipstick-on-a-pig.jpg service order would be delivered in 30 minutes or less.  Over an hour and a half later, after making four calls to room service and being lied to four times, they finally sent my order along with a cart that had wine, cheese, fruit, desserts, etc. – as an apology.  I sent it all back – untouched.  I called the room service manager and we had a conversation about doing the job, training the people, and telling the truth.  Giving me a cart of goodies is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Lipstick on a pig – Exhibit B: My car dealer took four tries to fix my car.  Four.  In the meantime they were nice as pie, apologetic, provided me with a free loaner car – they did everything right, except fix the car.  Not doing your job well but being nice about it is lipstick on a pig.

Lipstick on a pig – Exhibit C: Flight to New York delayed because the flight crew was late to the airport.  The WiFi we were promised didn’t work.  One restroom was out of order.  But two weeks later I got a nice letter of apology from the CEO of the airline.  Yep….lipstick.  On a pig.

Nothing takes the place of consistent, excellent performance.  Nothing.  Apologies and treats are easy.  Being really good at what you do consistently takes hard work.

Don’t put lipstick on a pig.

Do the hard work necessary to create value, consistently deliver quality, and achieve excellence in performance.

“Whoah, dude, what happened?” How to avoid failing at the future….

by Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll-today

Ask yourself this question: do you work in an organization that just simply doesn’t get it? Who is oblivious, blind, completely unaware of just how much business model change is occurring out there?

Here’s the thing — there are three types of people in the world:

  • those who make things happen
  • those who watch things happen
  • and those who say, “what happened?”

I’ve often pointed this out on stage, and have emphasized the point, by suggesting that the folks who find themselves last on the list sit back and say, “whoah, dude, what happened? Where’d that come from?”

In other words, they’ve been completely blind to the trend which would cause massive upheaval within their industry, or refuse to accept the significant business model disruptions which are already occurring.

Guess what — it’s happening right now as a lot of financial institutions don’t realize just how quickly mobile technology is going to change everything in the consumer financial services industry! Or in countless other industries where the blindness of current market leaders is leading them to their own “whoah, dude” moment.

So let’s make it simple: when it comes to innovation, make sure that you are in the first camp!

Continue reading “Whoah, dude, what happened?” How to avoid failing at the future….

Mortgages Made Easy

by Terry Savage

Your home is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make – and the largest amount you will ever borrow. Yet, the mortgage loan documents have always been shrouded in mysterious legal language and complicated financial percentages. Now, that’s a thing of the past.

Starting October 3rd, lenders must present borrowers with two streamlined, easy-to-read documents that allow them to understand costs and compare mortgage products. For a quick tour of those documents go to Here’s what homebuyers (and realtors) need to know about the two new consumer friendly mortgage documents:

1. The Loan Estimate. The new Loan Estimate form allows you to easily see the facts of your loan – including the amount of the total loan borrowing, the monthly payment, all of the closing costs, individually broken out. It also clearly shows any unusual features of the loan –such as if it has an adjustable interest rate (with disclosure of how much the payment can rise over the life of the loan) or any prepayment penalty. And, it clearly displays the total amount of interest you will pay as a percent of the loan amount over the life of the loan.

2. Five Year Comparison. One of the most interesting new features of the Loan Estimate is the simple comparison of costs and payments over the next five years, and how much those payments have reduced the principal of the loan. That is the easiest way to compare loans side by side. Your goal is to pay out the least total amount over those five years – and reduce the loan principal by the greatest amount.

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The Only Report You Need to Run a Successful Business

by Gene Marks

I’ve been working with clients for over 20 years and, without question, the most successful of them rely on data to help them run their businesses. But you may be surprised with where the data comes from.

It’s not from a financial statement. For a small-business owner, financial statements are generally useless. They’re prepared months after the fact. They show a snapshot from a historical period that is usually long past. And they’ve been jiggered and reconfigured by accountants to reflect accounting standards that usually don’t have much connection to the real world for most of us. Banks and investors may look to financial statements as part of their documentation to approve financing. But smart business owners don’t. Instead they rely on another report. A daily report called The Flash.

The Flash Report is also a snapshot. Except it’s a daily snapshot. Its one page contains on it the most critical information that a business owner needs to run his or her company. What kind of information? That depends on your business.

But the core numbers are always there: cash in the bank, open accounts receivable and accounts payable, year-to-date revenues. Then there are other numbers that are particular to the business owner: year-to-date purchases, overtime that week, open orders ready to be shipped, backlogged orders, forecasted sales, machine hours that week, billable hours that month, Facebook likes, returns or complaints or leads generated that week.

You should know the numbers. These are the numbers you need every morning so that you have a pulse on your business. If you can’t tell me what these are right now, then consider this a wake-up call.

Continue reading The Only Report You Need to Run a Successful Business

Lighting the Pilot Light of Service

by Chip Bell

It happens in my house every year around the first frost. The pilot lights for the gas logs in the fireplaces get lit in preparation for winter. It signals that leaves will be falling, layers of clothing will be increasing, and the den and living room will soon be turned into a wonderland of nurturing warmth, dancing light, and rustic scents. It is the season of holidays.

The parallel in the retail world is the season of sales. Holiday shopping is punctuated by days bantered as black and decorations that seem to be put on display earlier every year. Layaway plans are in full force. We get constantly reminded of the number of shopping days remaining. Buyers are getting in shape for competitive shopping, wish lists, credit card receipts, long lines in stores, and countless “click to purchase” messages! It is the season of spending.

Will you be ready for the onslaught of customers who sometimes put wrangling over etiquette and show unfiltered greed despite the message of the holiday carols playing in the background? Will your frontline be ambassadors of a joyful experience or just indifferent automatons counting the minutes until closing time? What should leaders do to prepare for the season of burnout, sellout, and freak out? It starts with solid preparation by lighting the pilot light. Here are three ways to get your employees ready.

Talk About The Mission, Not the Chore

The task is typically clear to frontline employees struggling with grace under pressure. But, sometimes the mission can seem only like an arithmetic target…increase sales by 32%, gain 21% more revenue, or answer 27% more calls. Bricklaying is still just bricklaying if only the task is known. However, if the focus is on cathedral building it alters the calculus of commitment. Employees need clear assignments and expectations with realistic goals. But, talking about the mission of the enterprise and tying daily tasks to that grand cause enables employees to better weather the pressures of being on stage in front of a sometimes angry audience.

Continue reading Lighting the Pilot Light of Service