Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Christmas Story

***Reposting from 2010***

It was 5:00 pm Christmas Eve 1989, and I was locking the front door of the supermarket where I was Store Manager.

Over the years, I had made it a tradition for me to be the "closer" of the store on Christmas Eve.

Inside the store, my employees were rushing around counting their register tills, sweeping the floor, and generally preparing the store for closing down, so they all could rush home to their families for Christmas.

At approximately 5:30pm, I heard someone tapping on the front door.

“I just got off work and I need to shop for my family", the gentleman on the other side of the glass door shouted.

“Sorry, we are closed.” I answered.

“Please, I really need to shop and you are the only grocery store open.”

In the background several of my employees yelled out to me… “Mr. Gambone, I hope you don’t let him in, we all want to go home.”

I turned to my office manager and said , “Cindy, I feel bad for this guy…will you stick around with me until we get him checked out.”

She looked at me with a frown, “Well, I hope he only needs a few things, OK.”

We let him in…he was very gracious, grabbed a buggy and started to shop.

“I’ll only take a few minutes,” he said.

Then all of a sudden, he turned around and looked at Cindy and me in desperation… “Shit!..I’m sorry for swearing, but I left my wallet in my overalls at work….I can’t believe this!!!”

He abandoned the buggy and started walking towards the front door to leave.

Cindy looked at me and said… “Well, I guess we can leave now.”

“Hold on!” I said… “Sir, you pick up what you need and come back the day after Christmas and pay us.”

Cindy looked at me as if I was crazy. The gentleman was overjoyed and continued to shop.

When he completed his shopping, Cindy and I checked him out and bagged his groceries. He purchased lots of milk, cereal, bread and basic groceries along with some gift-wrap and children’s toys.

We wished him a Merry Christmas as he left and Cindy and I locked up and went home to our families.

...............the gentleman never returned...................

Yes, I took some heat from my boss when he found out…but that’s okay. I knew in my heart that it was right thing to do at the time.

It is moments like this is my life when I am reminded of the words a mentor of mine once shared with me early in my career...“The good you do, will come back to you.” Lou Z.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may you and your family have a glorious New Year.

Bob Gambone, The Pecan Pie Guy!

Thursday, December 22, 2016


aka,  Conflictor!

We all know one:

1. "Conflictors" know something about everything, just enough to be dangerous.

2. Disagree with you on everything, in a passive aggressive manner.

3. Challenge your knowledge, in a condescending manner.

4. Devalues your time, while their time is precious.

5. Tells you others are not team players, while stabbing you in the back.

6. Creates a positive facade, and then is negative about your positivity.

7. A "Conflictor" is always right, and if you try to prove them will become mentally exhausted.

Bottom line; a "Conflictor" is a predator. When you are up they will get you down. And will you are down, they will take you deeper.

When a "Conflictor", by no choice of yours, tries to ruin your Holiday not try to handle them alone. One on one they will drain you. Bond together with people you trust and eventually the "Conflictor"  aka Scrooge, will get frustrated and move on to other prey.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

5 Reasons to Give

Giving makes us feel happy: Harvard Business School conducted a study in 2008 and found that when a person "gives" endorphins are produced in the brain creating what is known as "helper's high".

Giving is good for our health: Studies conducted by University of Michigan, University of California, and John Hopkins University conclude that "giving" reduces stress, help prevents some major diseases, lowers blood pressure and may add up to five years to our lives.

Giving promotes cooperation and social connection: When we give to others, we don't only make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them. "Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably." (from the book,  The How of Happiness).

Giving evokes gratitude: "When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but [other people's] as well. And in the process you reinforce their kindness and strengthen your bond to one another." (from the book, Positivity).

Giving is contagious: When we give, we don't only help the immediate recipient of our gift, we also ignite a ripple effect of generosity throughout our community.

This holiday season, however you choose to give; money, time, or special gifts... please keep in mind that your giving is so much more than a year end tradition. Giving is a process, "If you always give, you will always have."- Chinese Proverb

* Greater Good


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lou The Nabisco Guy

...A Holiday Memory...

Lou, The Nabisco Guy, never used selling strategies …Lou had a culture of “selling.”

I was 23 years old when I first met Lou. He was the region’s number one salesman for Nabisco from 1974 to 1985.

One day I was eating lunch with Lou and asked,

“Lou, so what do you do, to be so good at selling?....can you share some tips?”

Lou replied, shaking his head and smiling, “Bob there is really no magical tips, but I do have five core beliefs about selling.”

1.) Love and believe in your product.
2.) People like to buy, but not to be sold to.
3.) I never sell anything, I solve people’s problems.
4.) Never talk yourself out of a sale.
5.) and….Never close a sale, open an opportunity.

Lou died in 1985 from a heart attack at the early age of 63.

Lou’s culture of selling has lived on. Those who adopt it become very successful.

To be the best, you need to have more than just strategies, you first need a culture, a core belief.

Dr.Ivan Misner, New York Times best selling author and founder of BNI (Business Network International) says it best, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Around the holidays,  when I enjoy my favorite Nabisco crackers,  I always think of Lou…
Lou, The Nabisco Guy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rennerdale- Life Lessons

*** Top Rated Post***

It was the bottom of the sixth, two outs, bases loaded.  
My team, the Rennerdale Braves, was beating the Rennerdale Indians 4 to 3 in the last game of the local Little League World series when Mike Grimes stepped to the plate.

Killer moment for me. How do I pitch to him? Mike was the best, a homerun king.
I remember gripping the ball tighter than ever and throwing the ball harder than ever.

And then I heard the sounds of screaming fans as I looked over my right shoulder to see the last pitch I would ever throw,  fly over the fence…grandslam!

For those of you that have experienced heartbreak as a young child, I really don’t have to tell you how long I cried over that moment.

As I walked towards the family car my mother put her arm around me and said; "Now Bob, its only a game, and when lose, you will really appreciate winning even better.”

Back in the ‘60s only the champions received trophies. Losers walked away with tears and parents (in efforts to comfort their kids) saying things like, “It’s only a game”. 
Correct, it is only a game and by definition a game is; a competition played according to rules and decided by skill, strength or luck. 

Sounds like "life" to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Diamonds in the Rough- Not What You Think!

The other day I met with an amazing young business owner. She is in her early twenties, charismatic, passionate about people, and has a vision for success.
Throughout our two hour conversation, she reminded me of several other young entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure to meet with over my past seven years of business ownership.

People of my generation, I'm 61, often refer to Gen-y'rs" aka the "Millennials" as those lazy young people who expect to succeed without working hard. I know this, because I am guilty of it. Shame on us.
While I am sure there is some truth to our prejudice, that statement is a common thread in every generation, including mine.

Here are Seven Tips to help you identify "Millennials" that are Diamonds in the Rough- Today's Successful Young Entrepreneurs:

1. You schedule your first meeting with them and they show up and arrive on time!
2. During that first meeting, you recognize that they understand the importance of building relationships and are not trying to "sell" to you.
3. They have a vision and can articulate it.
4. People that have helped them,  are identified as their heroes throughout the conversation, and they credit them for their success.
5. You leave the meeting having learned something that you did not know yesterday.
6. You are intrigued by the fact that this young person inspired you, and rekindled your passion for your own success.
7. Finally, you realize that you were wrong about "Those Millennials" and are compelled to blog about it!

Thursday, October 6, 2016


A collection of  "Really?!" one-liners,  business owners or potential business owners have shared with me in my complimentary consultation sessions. Many became clients and I have helped them. The rest? Oh well,  I hope they found help somewhere.

Here we go...

"Do I really need a logo and branding, I thought only big businesses had that."

"Well, I want to make more money but I don't trust people."

"Do I have a vision and mission statement for my business? Not at all, do I need one?"

"I really don't plan too much or even have a strategic plan...I kinda just see how things happen."

"I want to open a restaurant because I love to cook, I'm a hard worker, and I have the support of my family...isn't that enough?"

"No, I have never worked in retail, but this new franchise opportunity this guy was talking about sounds great!"

" ...not sure if my business is up or down from last year, but I do know my bills are getting paid."

"What's a target market?"

"My point of difference? I offer great service."

"There is enough free help out there...I don't need to pay for it."

"What measurements do I have in place?...they are all right here (as he pointed to his head)."

" What is horizontal growth?"

"I have more clients then I can handle...I don't need any help."

I have so many more I can share, but you get the point. Now I admit, when I started my own business seven years ago I said some of the same things, that is why I hired a coach...enough said.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Betty The Barometer


Let’s call her Betty the Barometer.

Now this story dates way back to when my hair was still black and I looked more like Mark Spitz than Jay Leno. (not to say I can compare to either of them, but you get my drift).

I was assigned as the Grocery Department manager in a new store.
Towards the end of the second week, I was walking through the store in a terrible mood because the night stocking crew did not complete their assignments and my department was not meeting customer requirements... I probably looked like a chicken with my head cut off because I circled the inside parameter of the store several times barking out orders to my employees and completely ignoring the customers.

Betty, a very petite and soft-spoken meat wrapper with 23 years in the business, had been observing me in my state of frenzy while she was stocking the meat case with fresh cut meat... As I passed by her for the third time, she called out to me.

“Gambone! …come here for second.”

I quickly stopped in my tracks and started walking towards her with a huff and a puff.

“What Betty, can’t you see I’m busy.”

“You know Gambone, that’s your problem, you are too busy. You look like you are ready to explode. What happened to that smiling face I am used to seeing?...and hey, you didn’t even say hi to me this morning!

Well, I don’t know what’s going on in your head but you can’t let your employees and customers see that you are pissed off…we need you to lift us up, not let us down.”

I looked at Betty and said, “Wow Betty, thank you …I never would have thought I'd hear that from you….but you are right…thank you again.”

From that day forward, when I got in a bad mood, I would always check with Betty to see if my “mood” was actually coming to the surface.

We all need a Betty in our lives.

Ask yourself…Who is my “business barometer?”


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Question, What Am I Good At?

***Top Rated Post***

Did you ever say to yourself, what are my gifts? my talents?

A few years ago I had a meeting with entrepreneur who wanted to expand into another business. Her dilemma was that she was not sure what type of business to start.
I asked Patti,  "What are your skills?"
"Skills? I'm not sure", she answered humbly.
I knew right away that she needed my help.

I think we all struggle sometimes with identifying what we are good at.

Here are three questions you probably never asked anyone before:
  1. Ask three of your closest friends;  "What do I do that you depend on?"
  2. Ask three business associates; "If I worked for you, what would you have me do?"
  3. Ask three clients/customers; "What is it about me that made you decide to purchase my service/product?"
Write it all down and read through your notes several times. Take a few moments to think, and the question; What am I good at? ...will be answered.

Today Patti's new business is growing because she recognized her gifts and her talents and decided to do what she was good at.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Don't "Should" on Me!

Did you ever wonder why free spirited entrepreneurs don't like to follow the rules?

Well, its not the rules they don't like,  its the way the rules are often explained to them.  First; they need a WIIFM and second; avoid saying to them -  "you SHOULD have done it this way."

Here are 5 tips to avoid conflicts with free spirited entrepreneurs:

1. Ask "how can I help?", before helping.

2. Ask for permission to coach, before coaching.

3. When they ask you for help, ask them; "what have you done so far?"

4. Be an expert on not being an expert.

5. Most importantly, never say "you should have done it this way."


Monday, August 1, 2016

No More "Ugly"

Not the physical appearance at all...

...I am talking no more bad behavior i.e. ugly behavior.. I am talking about not accepting ugly behavior in the business arena.

10 - No More Ugly

1. Consistently late for meetings or no-contact / no-show.

2. Not completing projects on time.

3. Telling off-color jokes.

4. Texting / emailing during a business meeting.

5. False commitments.

6. Bullsh*t lies.

7. Negative, Debby-Dower, Gumpy Cats.

8. Conflictor* personalities.

9. Lazy, lazy, and did I say lazy?

10. Habitual procrastinators.



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Three Fundamental Core Values of Customer Service

1. Your organization's customer service strategy must add value to your customers' lives. Your customers must feel good about their relationship with your organization.
- Customer

2. Your organization's customer service strategy must add value to your employees' lives. Your employees must feel good about their relationship with your customers.
- Employee

3. Customer service is not work. It is an integral part of everyone's job, practiced by all team members, and modeled by leaders at all times.
- Team


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Who's In Your Space?

Jim Rohn said, "You are the combined average of the 5 people you spend the most time with."
Answer True or False

All 5 people you spend the most time with:*

1. are ahead of me

2. continually challenge me

3. support my forward focus

4. create an affirming atmosphere

5. get me out of my comfort zone

6. wake up excited

7. know that failure is not the enemy

8. are always growing

9. Love change

10.Growth is modeled and expected.

*** If you answered false to more than five of the statements, your current environment (the 5 people) may be hampering your growth.

* excerpt from The 15 Invaluable Ways of Growth


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Who's on Your Team?

Team dynamics fundamentally never change.
Yesterday I was reading an article about team dynamics, first published in the 1940s. Though the experts, yesterday and even today, don't agree on exactly how many roles there are and how to name them, 10 general personality types are consistently identified:

  1. Task Leader. May or may not be the designated leader; a nuts and bolts, roll-up-the-sleeves-and-get-busy-type.
  2. Social-emotional leader. Concerned with emotional heartbeat of the group; good at solving interpersonal problems.
  3. Tension-releaser. "Breaks the ice" with appropriate humor at the right moment.
  4. Information provider. Has research skills that stand out above all others. Could end up doing unfair amount of work.
  5. Central negative. Always plays the devil's advocate role in discussions but in a non-threatening manner.
  6. Questioner. Constantly seeks clarification and more information.
  7. Silent observer. Speaks little, observing and taking in all information. When he or she speaks up, people listen.
  8. Active listener. Listens attentively, sums up others' points of view. Good for keeping discussion on track.
  9. Recorder. Has good recording skills and little interest in participating in group discussion.
  10. Self-centered follower. Constantly questions opinions is a non-supportive way. Unlike the central-negative person, the self-centered follower is concerned only about personal interests.
So...which one are you?, or are you several?

For more team dynamic and leadership wisdom,  please read my book---

Pecan Pie: 32 Business Success Strategies Passionately Baked To Order!
"A must read!" Ivan Misner New York Times Bestselling author
BY IT NOW on AMAZON.COM  click on link below
Click here to purchase Bob's Book

Teamwork notes
“Copyright (9-23-12) by Robert V Gambone Sr.”

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Don't Just Sit There, Say Something...or Not.

Disagreement within a business team can be healthy, but should you always reveal your conflicting opinion?
Here a some guidelines:*

Do express your view when:

  • You have the facts to back up your opinion.
  • You don't believe the team has fully examined all possibilities.
  • You feel strongly about your opinion, even though it may not be popular.

Don't express your opinion when:

  • You really are not sure of yourself.
  • The timing is poor or the climate is wrong.
  • You catch yourself disagreeing only for the sake of disagreement - with no strong feeling about the subject.

"Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress" - Mahatma Gandhi.

*Teamwork  notes


Saturday, April 2, 2016

The $50 Dryer

*** Top Rated Post***

A client of mine recently shared a story with me. 

  Back in 1980, her family was struggling financially. One day their clothes dryer died and they had very little money to purchase a new one. So she visited the local garbage dump that sold used appliances.  She found a medium size unknown brand dryer for $50. The owner of the dump said he could not guarantee that it would work, however he did state that the people who dropped it off said it was still in fine working condition.

She took their word for it.

That dryer served her family for the next five years. In 1985 the family moved and had to leave the dryer behind. The new family that purchased her home offered $100 for the used dryer; my client denied and took only $50. That same dryer served the new family for the next three years. In 1988 the new family was expanding with three new children and decided they needed a bigger dryer. So they took the used dryer back to the same junk yard. When the owner of the junkyard saw the dryer he said, “I remember that dryer, does it still work?” The new family said “Yes, it works fine.” The junk yard owner gave them $50.

When I first heard this story, several words went through my mind.  “trust” “honesty”  “ appreciation” , even “serendipity”.
When I read it through a couple more times, I had an “aha moment”. The common thread here is actually “leadership”. You do the same…read it through a few more times and you will also have an “aha moment”.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Goals vs. Systems

What's the difference between goals and systems?

  • If you're an upwardly mobile employee, your goal is to get promoted. Your system is the performance appraisal process of your company.

  • If you're a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.

  • If you're a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.

  • If you're an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

Now think on this...

If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you get results?

Yes you would! The problem is, without goals you will never know if you effectively implemented and worked the system.
However, setting goals without implementing mechanisms to achieve goals (system) is like wanting to bake a pie without knowing the recipe.

Systems are better because you have the ingredients and the recipe and as long as you at least work the process you will complete the task.
Even though your target is unknown, you've done the work and can now set realistic goals based on your experience with the system.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Right Leadership Stuff!

***Top Rated Post***

Leaders need to have the right attitude, or the leadership will fall short.
Leadership is giving...inspire vs. done "with" people vs. work done "by" people.

1. Give up on perfection, make it better.
2. Believe you have more in you.
3. Falling is not failing.
4. Never make excuses.
5. Compare up.
6. Train people "who" to be,  before telling them "what" to do.
7. Train on skills;  you can't teach personalities.
8. Do what your best self longs to do.
9. Surround yourself with people who acknowledge your progress and challenge you to do better.
10. Let go of the past, strive to improve the future.

"When looking at four ounces of water in an eight ounce glass, the pessimist will say its half empty, the optimistic says its half full...the leader says-----who needs a drink?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Maripat Abbott - Guest Blogger

Yoga is a Leadership Summit For Your Body

Let's pretend your physical body is a corporation. Going through daily life, the mind leads your company by making decisions and taking action based on thoughts. The problem is, the mind doesn't embody good leadership qualities. It's a narcissist; it's always right, and doesn't wish to collaborate since it has all the answers already.

Many times, I begin a yoga class by suggesting that the students leave their mind outside-fire it for a while, so to speak. What happens as a result is a beautiful thing. For the first time in days, months or sometimes years, the body's coworkers- the muscles, joints, breath, even the heartbeat - listen deeply to each other. The calm in the room is palpable. Everyone feels it.

I've seen firsthand what's possible when the body is given a leadership role.- even if only for an hour. Students often arrive to class with their company in a state of chaos. It's evident by their contracted posture, hurried pace, tense facial muscles, and rapid speech. But once the mind has been laid off for a while, the demeanor of the body changes dramatically.

A yoga class can be one of the best leadership summits ever held, because the leaders are invited to step out of their minds and into the hearts for a while. This is a place leaders forget to go.

Maripatt Abbott
Certified Yoga Instructor
Certified Life Coach

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sherri Flaherty - Guest Blogger

Transitioning from a Corporate Leader to an Entrepreneurial Leader

     After 30 years of climbing the corporate ladder I recently transitioned to owning my own business as a real estate agent. While the core competencies remain the same, building your own business requires its own set of key competencies to be a successful entrepreneurial leader. If you are considering making the leap from corporate world to owning your business consider a few areas of focus:

Read- read about your industry, read about successful entrepreneurs, read blogs from people in business, develop your intellectual horsepower with a focus on becoming an expert in your new business.
Get Involved- attend meetings and seminars;  participate on committees, boards and organizations the create change in your industry.
Hire a Business Coach- a business coach is your accountability partner and will guide you through the process to build the foundation of your business.
Write Down Your Goals- focus on the few critical goals for success in your business, write them down on one page, keep them simple, 3-5 is ideal. Measure and monitor your success at least monthly. Inspect what you expect.
Build a Nest Egg- your first year in your business is your time to build your business. Have some money set aside to pay your bills for the first year so you can focus on building your business.

     It takes 10,000 hours to master a new job. The more you practice the better you will become. The core competencies of a leader remain the same- treat people with respect, hone your communication skills, listen, be honest, trustworthy and authentic.  Watch what successful people do in your business and what those that are not successful are doing- you learn from both.

Sherri Flaherty
The Flaherty Group
Real Estate Pittsburgh


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Be a Leader - Grow a Pair!

Leadership is getting people to do not what they want to do, but what they need to do.

Servant leadership is not kissing peoples' ass, it is leading people so they don't get their asses kick.

12 Leadership actions you need to put in place now before mediocrity infects your business team.
(Do Not accept mediocrity when excellence is an option.)

1. Create an environment where excellence is expected, enjoyed, and honored.

2. Hold people responsible and accountable for their actions.

3. Reward what you want repeated. Excellent behavior needs to modeled.

4. Always provide constructive feedback(criticism) individually, one - to -one.

4. Deal with irresponsibility quickly and fairly. Too much help doesn't help.

5. Ask open ended questions: Who does what by when?  What's next? What else?

6. Clarify and confirm. (don't ASS-U-ME).

7. KISS - Keep It Simple and Sincere

8. "How can I help?"  does not mean do it for them.

9. Empower, not Umpire.

10. Train to Retain.

11. Listen more, talk less.

12. Start accepting "I'm sorry" only as a polite gesture, NOT as an excuse.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Let's make 2016 a year to remember! 

Let's make 2016 --- "SWEET '16 "  a memorable chapter in our journey.

Here are SIXTEEN "One -Step-Outside-Your-Comfort Zone"(for many) strategies,  guaranteed to re-ignite your Leadership:

1. Once a day;  reward what you want repeated by telling a person more than just "hey, good job"...explain what you observed them doing and why it is important.

2. Have lunch with one of your competitors.

3. Write a poem and share it with a loved one.

4. Take yoga and meditation classes.

5. Run a Marathon, or 1/2 Marathon, or a 10K...or walk it.

6. Jump out of an airplane...with a parachute.

7. Volunteer/ donate to help a cause that your best friend believes in.

8. Ask your employees or business partners how you can be a better leader.

9. Reach out to an old friend that you have not spoken to for years.

10. Ask a good friend whats a good book to read, then read it. (if you've read it, ask for another)

11. Wake up 30 minutes earlier everyday.

12. Talk less, listen more.

13. Establish a relationship with a person more successful than you.

14. Create a new family tradition.

15. Learn a new language.

16. Journalize or blog about all of your above experiences.

" Life always begins one step outside your comfort zone." ~ Shannon Alder

*** Please share how you are going to make 2016 --- "Sweet '16" (comment below)  Thank you!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Vertical Growth Vs. Horizontal Growth

Business owners have a choice to grow their business in three ways; horizontally, vertically or a combination of the two.

What is the difference between horizontal growth and vertical growth?

Vertical growth:

  1. The business owner works entirely "in" his/her business rather than "on" his/her business.
  2. Micromanaging is very prevalent.
  3. Empowerment is lacking.
  4. Client/Customer saturation is inevitable.
  5. The business owner continues to work more and more hours to grow his/her business.

Horizontal Growth:

  1. The business owner keeps his/her friends close and his/her competition closer.
  2. Vision and Mission Statements are clearly communicated.
  3. Leadership prevails over management.
  4. Training systems, client/ customers service strategies, SMART goals, and Key Performance Indicators are implemented and systematically reviewed.
  5. The business owners finds him/herself working less hours "in" the business while the business continues to grow.
"Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus,  and the right people in the right seats... and THEN figure out where to drive it. " ~ Jim Collins (summary from the book Good to Great)