Sunday, October 8, 2017

BIG AL - A Look Back


The story was, you hated him, feared him or loved him…I was all three.

His name was Al. 

Al started in retail when he was thirteen and fifty years later died in action.

Al was an old school retail manager who believed that no one could be trusted and everyone should put his or her career first before family.

Al worked 80 hours a week, was a master micro-manager and believed that his day was not over until he fired someone or at least made an employee cry.

Okay, so you ask, WHY did I love this guy? Not for any of the above things, that is why I hated him and feared him. I loved him because I was able to translate his prehistoric management style into lessons that I still utilize today.

Three Lessons from Big Al

1). Al used to say, “The best and easiest recognition program is to have NO recognition program at all.”
            Translation: Employee recognition programs must be managed,  be fair and be consistent or your results could actually weaken employee morale.

2). When Al said, “Just because I’m pissed off at you, doesn’t mean you can walk around here with your tail between your legs.”
            Translation: Wear a smile and have a positive attitude; no one wants to work for a “Debbie-Downer” manager.

3). One day Al looked me right in the eyes and said, “I’m too old to change now Gambone, what you see is what you get…”
             Translation: I always knew where I stood with Al. Al taught me that leaders need to be right up front with people by providing balanced,  fair and concise feedback.

My 18 months as Al’s co-manager was very stressful, yet very rewarding.
Take a few moments to reflect on your old boss, teacher or coach…dig deep and I am sure you will find a few sunny days somewhere in that storm.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Taking a Stand in the Desert

***This blog post is dedicated to my MUSE***

Don't try to change people who are:








and especially if they make you feel...


Trying to change these people is like Taking a Stand in the've got no where to go my friend, it's a lose-lose situation.
Here's 5 Lessons from Dan Rockwell (paraphrased)

 P.I.G.S  - People Ignorant of Gaining Success

1. With P.I.G.S. you'll get bacon, but never eggs.

2. Training won't help. If you want eggs, find some chickens.

3. Rewards won't help P.I.G.S. act like chickens.

4. If  P.I.G.S. can't take you where you need to go, replace them with chickens, or buy a new farm.

5. Even if you could convince P.I.G.S. to go to chicken heaven, they wouldn't thrive and neither would you!

Time for a change....GET OUT OF THE DESERT!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Back of My Boyfriend's Harley

"I get my best ideas when I'm riding on the back of my boyfriend's Harley!" ~ Linda H.

I know... sounds like the lyrics of a bad or maybe even good country song. The point is, we all need to find "that place" where we can open our mind to fresh new ideas. We all have that magic place, we just need to go there more often and then take action. 

I am guilty,  and I am sure you may be at times, of coming up with ideas and then being fearful of implementing them or at the very least sounding them off a trusted advisor. 
Why? Maybe we are afraid of what people will think. Or doubtful that the idea may even work? 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Great minds discuss ideas. Weak minds dismiss them". 
John Keynes reminds us that "Ideas shape the course of history, especially our own."

So go to your "idea place" more often. Whether it is on the back of a Harley, your daily run (mine), sitting on your porch, or whatever works for you... go there, take that idea and share it, try it, just don't let it die. 

"Remember, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. If you want to arrive at a new destination, you need to take a new path." ~ John Maxwell


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Change? 1-2-3

Frank A. , God rest his soul, was the best "back-room" manager and the best leader when it came to changing the culture.

I first met Frank in the early '70s working third shift at my first Giant Eagle.

He was often transferred around from store to store to train and motivate the night stocking crews.
One of the first things he did when he went to a new store was to clean, scrub and wax, and paint the backroom.
" You got to show them that you have arrived." Frank would always say. "Physical changes first, something they can see... then after you get their attention, things will start happening."
It worked! I saw it for myself. After Frank arrived in our store, production dramatically improved.

Are you looking to make a changes in your business? Continuous Improvements?

Whether you have employees or are an army of one. Home office or brick and mortar.
Implement the following

Three steps for successful " physical change".

1. Change your appearance: new hairstyle, new clothes, loose weight, etc..

2. Change your work environment: start meeting at a different location, redecorate / remodel your office.

3. Never ever use the word "change". Call what your doing "continuous improvement". (Only leaders like the word change.)

Three steps for "Leadership Changes"

1. Ask more questions, listen more-tell less

2. Encourage ideas from the newer employees and non managers

3. Be willing to admit mistakes

In the words of my old friend Frank... " You don't have to ever say we are changing things around here... just show them that the improvements work and change will follow."


Monday, July 3, 2017

Calling All Entrepreneurs - INDEPENDENCE DAY!

*** Top Rated Post***

Entrepreneurs! many times have you heard this:
"When are you going to get a REAL job?!"
...and to make it worse, most of the time, the question comes from our family and loved ones.

Well, it is time to fight back and claim your INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Here are eight inspirational quotes from entrepreneurs , just like yourself, to use as ammo against the pessimists that challenge you.

"When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure."
- Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

"The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer."
- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's

"Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced. Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation, the changes and their symptoms that indicate opportunities for successful innovation. And they need to know and to apply the principles of successful innovation."
- Peter F. Drucker, "The Father of Modern Management"

"Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make."
- Donald Trump, real estate and entertainment mogul

"The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it."
- Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies

"Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain." ~ J. Susan

"Everyone falls, not everyone fails." D. Hardy

"I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others... I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent."
- Thomas Edison

AND....Just in case someone says to you,
"You're no Thomas Edison."
Simply reply..."You're right, but who was Thomas Edison before he became "Thomas Edison? "

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I Worked Really Hard Today...

*** Top Rated Post ***

Really?  when you hear someone say that, what does that mean?  I'm sure we've all said it and heard it.

Working hard- does that mean long hours? Sweating like a pig? Experiencing physical pain? Maybe becoming mentally exhausted?

Or... Its hard work because I really don't like to do it.

Or...I really do like it, and when I work hard I feel pleasure...maybe even want to reward myself, or expect someone else to reward me?

Is your definition of hard work the same as someones else's definition?  Probably not.

Do you deny yourself hard work? Do you deny that you ever work hard?  I often say, I never work hard because I love what I do...but I can still work hard,  right?

SO...are you expecting an insightful answer from me about what "hard work" really is?

Sorry....that would be hard work. (smile)

Saturday, May 20, 2017


 A good friend of mine, Jim Shorkey*, will tell you that arrogance is a sure road to leadership failure.

3 questions and food for thought---

1. Why do I act like I know something when I don't?
---  "The need to appear competent prolongs incompetence." ~ LF

2. How often do I get defensive when questioned?
---"Stagnation is the consequence of defending rather than exploring." ~JM

3. Am I the smartest person in the room?
 --- If you answered yes...then you are in the wrong room.

"The pursuit of excellence includes the acceptance that you aren't there yet." JM

The best leaders are the best learners. I say, ask the stupid question. Leadership is about being vulnerable enough to say,  I don't know. The more you ask the more you learn.

Excellent leadership begins with humility.

Humility enables development... arrogance destroys it.

*Jim Shorkey, creator of the Jim Shorkey Auto Group (7 dealerships throughout Pennsylvania)
and Life Success Coach.