Life Coach – "The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success" by Marcus Buckingham

The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success by Marcus BuckinghamThe Truth About You: Your Secret to Success by Marcus BuckinghamThe Truth About You: Your Secret to Success

Marcus Buckingham has a very practical “finding your passion” technique that I just started introducing into my life as well as my life coaching client’s lives: “ReMemo – the technique of revealing your strengths using your everyday experiences!” Finding your passion is a matter of spending one week and keeping a log of your emotional reaction to each activity as it comes up. Write down the activity, and check whether you feel “energized” or “weakened.” It’s refreshing and simple!

Personally, I feel very energized when I’m producing fashion photo shoots, among other fun things. I’ve produced a handful over the past few years and really get a kick out of bringing people who enjoy what they’re doing together for a project – photographers, models, hair stylists, makeup artists and designers. I also love discovering new modeling talent and introducing them to my trusted photographer David Howe and having him assess and educate them about posing, lighting, professionalism and attitude. Producing fashion photo shoots, workshops and promoting talent definitely makes me feel “energized.”

I first heard about Marcus Buckingham and ReMemo at the end of October 2008 through Susan Bratton’s DishyMix podcast: “Episode 70: Marcus Buckingham on The Truth About You, Career Intervention on Oprah and the Strength’s Revolution.”

About the Author: Marcus Buckingham is a multi-million-copy, best-selling author with over 3.6 million copies of his landmark bestsellers in print. Drawing on more than 150,000 interviews collected by Gallup over the previous 25 years, he developed the thesis for his strengths message that is changing the way the world approaches life and work. He has been the subject of in-depth profiles in the New York Times, Fortune, and Fast Company and has consulted with national and international brands, such as Toyota, Coca-Cola, Best Buy, and Wells Fargo. He is also a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Leadership and Management.

The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success by Marcus Buckingham

Business Coach – Customer service presentation for Plato's Closet Reno employees, part 2

Business coach customer service research. I just finished my second customer service presentation for Plato’s Closet Reno employees as part of my continuing business coaching research.

Owner, Hillary Schieve, was kind enough to invite me back to present customer service, part 2, and asked when I can present part 3 shortly after we wrapped up.

A quick 5 minute presentation put the employees on track for followup customer service presentations.

First Impressions – How Your Customers Perceive You


– “Hi, welcome to Plato’s Closet. If you have any questions, I’m happy to help.”
– This also helps prevent retail theft, as most thieves prefer not to be noticed upon entering the store.


– Dude, smile:)


– Treat customers like your friends. Be friendly☺ “How’s it goin’? Can I help you find anything?”


– Over the years I’ve heard, “I’ll only be nice to customers that are nice to me.”
– Not every customer is happy – sometimes their just goin’ through some stuff and they bring it in the store with them. That’s OK.
– Always smile and be friendly with every customer.
– Angry customers want to be listened to, too.


– When you’re behind the counter: Ask, “How can I help you?” if a customer is near the counter.
– When you’re on the floor: Ask, “Are you finding everything OK?” (even if it means interrupting them while their shopping; even if it means interrupting what you’re doing).

Business success at Engine Yard due to everyone's efforts to add value to the customer!

My brother, Lance Walley, is a very smart businessman. He is the co-founder and CEO of Engine Yard, based in San Francisco, which provides fully-managed Ruby and Rails hosting and deployment.

Lance recently mentioned the reason for Engine Yard’s success was due to every employee’s efforts: “I want to note that we wouldn’t be in this strong position without the efforts of everyone at Engine Yard!  Every time you add value to a customer’s life, you add value to Engine Yard. That means everything from restarting a slice to interacting at conferences to answering customer calls to making better software for our platform. There are so many facets on which we’ve all done very well. It speaks to the value we’ve created and to the potential offered by our leadership in the Ruby & Rails communities.”

Lance’s “adding value to the customer = adding value to Engine Yard” creed is especially helpful in this current economic down-turn. Customer service, at all levels of the business, is the only real differentiating factor that continues to elevate Engine Yard’s position and leadership.

Leadership Conversation at Harvard Business School – Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose (Show Date: Oct 20, 2008):
A conversation about leadership (and management) at the Harvard Business School centennial celebration with John Doerr – venture capitalist, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Jeffrey Immelt – chairman and CEO, General Electric, Anand Mahindra – vice-chairman and managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, Meg Whitman – former CEO, Ebay and James Wolfensohn – former president of the World Bank.

Click to watch (if video above doesn’t play)

Life Coach – Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management

Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management
Time management from Randy Pausch, whose doctors gave him 3-6 months left to live due to pancreatic cancer. A VERY practical approach to time management.

How to Be Successful Online, by Brian Gardner

Brian Gardner lists 5 things that were essential in establishing his online success in designing Premium WordPress Blog Themes. I also see the life & business coaching benefits of Brian’s list:

1) Establish a game plan
Part of this step is identifying not only what your good at, but also what you enjoy doing. A lot of us are good at our jobs, but if enjoyment isn’t there, life can really be a drag. …it’s essential to map out the direction you want to head. You might stray from time to time, and that’s ok, but keeping your eyes on the prize can really take you there.

2) Get yourself on the map
Take a chance, and email the owner of a site, and ask them if they need a redesign, or if you can offer your services at a discounted rate. …As I look back, there were two sites that I designed which, in my opinion, really helped me and my business take off.

3) Do favors for people
…whether it be to offer assistance at no charge, or simply do work for people at a discounted rate. …when you’re starting out, any exposure is good exposure. …I can recount at least two things I’ve done in the last year for people that have come back tenfold.

How To Be Successful Online, Part 1, by Brian Gardner

4) Be innovative, and take chances
So many of us (myself included) have a tendency to want to “mimic” those who are doing something successful. …but in my opinion it is far better to pioneer a concept, than to be a follower of one that already exists. Be innovative and take chances.

5) Put customer service on the top of your priority list
…I used to see customers on a daily basis, and I made it a point to get to know them – to learn their names, to know what they did, and to do little things for them that mattered. For as long as I am working in a business that deals with customers, I will do my best to put [customers] first. Make sure that they are happy with the product. In addition to that, it’s very important to set up an infrastructure for your business to accommodate your client base. Happy customers can be a huge marketing tool. They spread the word about you and your services and they refer others to your site. In other words, they can really help build your business for you. As long as you are willing to put them first, and to make them feel special.

How To Be Successful Online, Part 2, by Brian Gardner

Advertising Age columnist and author of "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000," Pete Blackshaw, cited my comment

August 25, 2008

Advertising Age columnist and author of “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000” (listening matters, credibility is king, and service is the best form of marketing), Pete Blackshaw, cited my comment along with people at Ogilvy advertising, Edelman PR and Tim Heath, Professor of Marketing, Miami of Ohio.

I’m super honored:) My comment is cited at the end:

————————- Full article from Pete Blackshaw ————————-

ARTICLE FEEDBACK REQUEST: I’m still mulling over this “employee as advertising channel” question for my next Ad Age column. Also, I may have turned some of you off with the term “advertising” in the question – and that’ a fair push. Of course, I’m not trying to probe whether employees should run around with “Buy my product” signs around their neck. I’m raising a tougher question for, say, the the CEO, CMO, or media planner around whether an incremental dollar should go into paid media versus employee training or incentives – the logic being that great experiences cultivated by employees can net as much or more favorable media (evident in word-of-mouth, CGM-social media digital trail, etc). Just as product quality and customer service are unmistakable talk drivers, I’m eager to better understand the degree to which employee behavior nets a similar impact. A few examples:

— If you carefully analyze the buzz/conversation for, the employees consistently figure into the playback. This reflects, I think, a very deliberate strategy by

— Southwest Airlines: The latitude they give employees to solve problems, sing a song on the airline, etc…consistently dials up favorable online conversation. Put another way, HR policies net media.

— Wireless Companies: Poorly trained employees consistently trigger a digital trail of nasty-grams across the web, especially in search results.

— Sun Microsystem: The legions of employee bloggers, one could argue, act as a de facto marketing force for the company. Not overt or intrusive but effective.

… Also see below some excerpts of some of the excellent comments I’ve received so far, especially by Miami of Ohio’s Tim Heath.


Amy Messenger (Ogilvy)
Pete, one thing you might consider further is how do you get employees to be incentivized, truly motivated, to take part in being brand ambassadors? Yes, they want to work for a company they are proud of and hopefully financial success from satisfied customers flows to everyone, but recognition is a powerful thing. Remember 10 years ago when United gave their frequent fliers coupons to give staff who had gone above and beyond in the customer’s view? Rumor had it that employees who turned those in actually got good corporate playback for that. This all by the way falls under the banner of viewing employees as one more channel to tell your brand story. They’re on the front line of customer conversations and brand stories. That’s public relations. So to tweak your premise, Are employees a PR channel? You betcha. Corporations need to get their PR, HR and Customer Care leads around the table.

Tim Heath, Professor of Marketing, Miami of Ohio
Seems to me that front line employees are critical for positioning brands, as are the consumers who use our brands. Harvard Business Review had a great article years ago, “Building Brands without Mass Media,” (citation at note’s end), in which the authors outlined how brand image and information can be managed without spending lots money on advertising. Haagen Dazs, for example, built its shops in high profile, prestigous areas to associate the brand not only with those physical spaces, but with the high-end consumers who shop there. If our consumers help define our brands with their own images and communications about our brands, then employees surely do so in spades. And that no doubt extends to back-operation employees as well to the extent that they are visible in their communities and/or our target markets.Employees probably also play a role beyond brand management and consumer communication. Years ago when “relationship marketing” was a hot topic, various people noted the critical link between employee turnover and customer loyalty. If you want loyal customers, make sure you have loyal front-line employees because these people build relationships with your customers and thus stimulate customer loyalty. Sure, most of us like brands or companies and feel loyal to some, but those relationships can be created and/or enriched considerably when we engage in personal contact with employees, social engagements rich with eye contact, physical postures and gestures, and immediate “give and takes” that are hard to emulate in e-space

One downside of the employee-as-relationship-builder model in some contexts is the threat of employees leaving the company and taking “their” customers with them, a threat that can be mitigated to some degree with “non-compete clauses” in contracts. (Joachimsthaler, Erich and David A. Aaker (1997), “Building Brands Without Mass Media,” Harvard Business Review, 75 (January-February), 39-50.

Rick Murray (Edelman)
Hmmm, advertising implies scipted and paid, so no I don’t think so. HOWEVER, I do think that a well trained, highly motivated workforce that understands the brand, their role in making it (and their compnany) successful, and who feels empowered to do just that, is any company’s most powerful and most under-utilized asset.

Reid Walley
I completely agree that there needs to be a shift from paid media to employee customer training! I recently gave a mini “Helping an Angry Customer” presentation to employees because the retail owner was getting some pretty heavy complaints from customers. Reputation is always built during the employee/customer interaction and if the employee is untrained both sides view the interaction as a “stand-off.”

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