The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Sunday, August 01, 2010
Volume 16 | # 365
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If the power to do hard work is not a skill, it's the best possible substitute for it. » James A. Garfield

Life Lessons on the D Train

Life Lessons on the D Train

Some folks like to take "adventurous" family vacations. They go hiking or rafting or camping. I recently took my family on a slightly different type of adventure trip. We spent a week in New York City.

We may not have had a campfire at our Times Square base, but the hot dog vendors did give us a steady whiff of campout cuisine.

On the downside, my kids now have total disregard for traffic lights. My younger son exclaimed, "This is so cool! You make up your own rules in this city!"

On one subway ride, we found ourselves being entertained by a four piece mariachi band. These guys were hustling and lugging their instruments from car to car between stops.

On another ride, two young men turned on a jam box and began cracking jokes and doing various back flips and acrobatic moves within confines that would have impressed Cirque De Soleil. As soon as they were done and the applause started, they quickly passed a hat and sprinted off to another car.

In both instances, I gave my sons money to give the performers. Exiting the subway, one of my sons asked if singing and dancing on a subway were those folks' jobs. I told them, "Well, yeah… I guess so." He replied, "Who hired them?" I said that nobody hired them. They're just hustling and doing what they can to make a living.

Had I known those performers would foster the "teachable moment" I had while walking with my kids, I would have upped my donations. I explained to them that the folks who succeed in the long run are those who, if they aren't in the situation they like, work their tails off to create a new situation.

One son asked, "How much money do they make?" I told him I didn't know, but they probably have good days and bad days. Some days you work hard and don't see much from it. Some days you do.

"But the key," I stressed, "is that you don't sit on your tail, but you get out there and give your best effort every day."

Most of us have jobs that require a little less running, hustling, and sweating than those subway performers. But what's true for them is true for us.

There are some days when our best efforts don't bring the results we'd like. And then there are others when we "get lucky." But those lucky days never seem to happen unless we're out there hustling.

Good day or bad, are you hustling today?
 

Overcoming Reservations

Overcoming Reservations

Through the years, whenever I’ve been asked which hotel chains I prefer, my standard answer has been, “Whichever ones are the clean ones these days.”

Folks who spend lots of nights in hotel rooms each year tend to pay attention to which chains have updated and refurbished their sites most recently.

On a recent trip I had to book a room at a chain I have intentionally avoided for a few years. Five to seven years ago, they had some of the newer, nicer properties. These days, their facilities are looking a little “long in the tooth.”

I wasn’t surprised by much of what I found. My room’s carpet, furniture, and bedspreads had seen better days. The coffee pot and hair dryer gave me flashbacks of yesteryear. The modem in my room didn’t work. The air conditioner in the room set up for my presentation worked only sporadically.

And yet, if I’m in that town again, I’d give the place another shot. Nine times out of ten, the numerous “facilities deficiencies” I encountered would have had me swearing off that location and possibly that chain for years to come.

So why on earth would I ever consider giving them another try? For as “worn” as the place was, it was exceptionally clean.

The carpets were worn, but well vacuumed. The tile in the bathroom had a few scratches and chips, but was clean – even in the corners. (My wife has programmed me to notice.) Nothing in the room even seemed dusty.

The front desk folks were off-the-charts upbeat and friendly. The maintenance guy who attempted to fix the modem in my room was super polite and seemed genuinely sorry that he couldn’t get it to work. Then, they were happy to move me to another room right away.

The young lady in charge of setting up meeting rooms, without being asked, had a crew set up another room as soon as she became aware of the air conditioner problems.

All staff members I encountered in that hotel seemed to actually care about doing their jobs. And I was reminded that it’s the “moving parts” (otherwise known as employees) of a business that make the greatest and longest-lasting impressions on customers.

Whether your facilities are the newest or oldest in your market, remember that it’s your “moving parts” that will most define customers’ experiences.

What will yours experience today?
 


Every company's greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company. » Michael LeBoeuf

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