Sunday, July 28, 2013


Growing up in the 60’s in a little town called Rennerdale continues to fulfill my story telling moments with family and friends.

One of my favorites is the story of Richard and Gary (names changed), both my age, and two of my best friends growing up.  They lived at the further end of town near the train tracks by the water filled quarries.
Richard had 4 brothers and three sisters…Gary had two sisters and three brothers.
Both dads worked for the railroad, the families ate what was in the deep freezer from hunting season, well water was a given, along with no TV and hand-built outhouses (outdoor toilets, basically a hole in the ground).

At the age of 9, I was fascinated by Richard and Gary’s lifestyle.
So much so, I would always ask my mom if I could stay at their places for the weekend…and I did, many times.
They experienced so many things that I never did; hunting, trapping, fly-fishing, handmade toys, five kids in one bunk bed, and NO TV!
To this day when people ask me; have you even eaten rabbit or groundhog? I can honestly say, YES!

Recently I reconnected with both of them on Facebook.  In separate messages to each one, as we went down memory lane, I told them I was intrigued to hear of their success.
 “Gary / Richard", I said,  "I am so happy to hear that you found success, especially since you were so poor growing up.”
Both replied to me after a short pause,  with almost exactly the same words, “Well Bob, we didn't have a lot of fancy things, but we never considered ourselves 'poor'."

To this day, that has been my “Ah,ha” life reflecting moment … and it reminded me of a quote from 
 Art Buchwald, “The best things in life aren't things.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Want to be a bore? Here's how

Researchers at the University of Chicago asked students to rate 43 boring behaviors. Here are the top eight. They'll earn you the label of being "chronically boring": *

  • Complaining about one's own problems (health, finances, relationships) and not being interested in the problems of others.
  • Talking constantly about trivial things, always including unimportant details, and repeating tired old jokes.
  • Showing no emotion, failing to make eye contact. and talking in a monotone.
  • Seriousness- never smiling, joking, or making light of things.
  • Tediousness, especially talking too slowly.
  • Low participation. Never joining in conversation and always just going along with what is being said.
  • Distracting behavior, including frequent use of expressions such as "you know" and "just saying".
  • Self-centeredness. Always talking about your own life, experiences, and interests.
Credo to live by: "Be interested first, then you will become interesting."

*Teamwork notes

Monday, July 1, 2013

Big Al


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.