Friday Food for Thought

Not My Job…

I just finished a book on customer service in the hospitality industry.  All the lessons in the book can be related not only to every industry, but to everybody.  The author dives into culture, employee engagement and customer value. One of the lessons learned in the...

Happy…

On July 4th, we celebrated Independence Day. The celebration of this day began in 1941, despite Independence being declared on July 2nd, 1776. Two days later, thirteen states adopted The Declaration of Independence, which states that certain rights are unalienable:...

Empowered Leaders Empower Others

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, changed the company’s dress code policy by paring a ten-page document down to two words: “Dress appropriately.” Seems easy enough but it wasn’t: The Human Resources department deemed it unclear. Really? Two words aren’t clear? One...

Everything We See is Perspective, Not Truth

I recently saw a video on Facebook where a family was treated horribly by a waitress at a restaurant when ordering a meal. The waitress serving them was one of the rudest individuals I had ever witnessed. She spoke down to this family, berated the children and refused...

Your Limitations are False

Did you see that news story this week about the raccoon in Minnesota that climbed a 25-story building? He was first found resting on a ledge 20 feet above ground level, at which point he was retrieved safely and brought back to the ground. The raccoon then proceeded...

When is Enough, Enough?

How much is enough? This is the question a few friends and I were kicking around a few weeks ago when we were enjoying a lighthearted conversation about what that meant. While we didn’t necessarily come up with the answer then and there, we did manage to pin down what...

What Do You Attract?

If I were to tell you that you could have whatever you wanted, would you believe me? You’d be skeptical, right?  But law of attraction tells us that it is, in fact, possible. What exactly is the law of attraction? While most people have heard of it, many don’t really...

The Obvious

Memorial Day is the last Monday of the month; this year it falls on May 28, 2018. Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer. Memorial Day is a day when we remember our soldiers. These are all obvious facts. Some of the less obvious facts about this...

Energy Out = Energy In

A few years back I was in Vegas—and as they say, when in Rome… So I was gambling—craps, to be precise. The first table I played was not working out—for anyone there. Everybody was losing. The more we lost, the more miserable we became. The more miserable we became,...

Step Outside the Box

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who told me her daughter wanted to invent flying cars. While the idea of flying cars has been around for longer than I can remember, it was this little girl’s reasoning for it that captured my attention: she...

Great Life Lessons From a Bad Round of Golf

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and I was looking forward to meeting a friend for a round of golf—my first of the season. While it had been nearly six months since I’d swung a club, I was looking forward to a pleasant return to the links. That’s not what I...

The Job of a Milkshake

Clayton M. Christensen, a Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, has suggested that all things, even products, have a job to do. Christensen tells the story of a fast food company who wanted to increase milkshake sales. This company...

Work-Life Harmony

Today we live in a connected world. On the surface, it seems like a good thing, and in many ways, it is. But the ease of connectivity has also made it harder to delineate between work and personal time. The fact is, expectations are now higher. We are expected to...

The Honesty in Truth

Recently, I got an email from a friend that I hadn't seen in a while, and this is what it said: "Dear Vijay, I would like to be able to speak freely to someone that makes me feel safe, shares some of the same values, and who won't be afraid to provide insight and...

What is the Key to Happiness?

Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development—a 75-year study on what makes people happy. The study tracked the lives of two groups of men for over 75 years, and...

Good or Great?

During a recent conference in Washington, D.C., I saw signs all over the DC Metro touting their Back2Good campaign. It seems their new promise to riders is to become more reliable and more accountable to build customer confidence. While this promise does have merit,...

You: Your Greatest Asset

What’s your greatest asset? If I had to guess, I’d say many of you responded with answers like “car,” “house” or “family.” Makes logical sense; those are the areas where you’re likely investing most of your time and money. You do regular maintenance on your car to...

Service

Last week, I had the good fortune of traveling to Lisbon for what I would call an eventful trip filled with ups and downs. To start, my red eye over was not good. Bad weather gave way to a bumpy flight (and even a lightning strike), and I got little to no sleep. After...

Introvert or Extrovert

During a conversation with a friend at a recent networking event, I happened to mention how much I disliked those types of events---because I'm an introvert and I find it difficult to form deep connections at large networking events. My friend almost spit out his...

Help

Why is it that most of us tend not to ask for help? I had a conversation with a friend about this last week. He was telling me that he had offered help to his recently graduated daughter, but she turned him down; she wanted to do it herself. A few days later, I had a...

Regrets and Priorities

2018 has not started well for me personally. Already this year, I’ve lost family members and friends—and close friends have lost family members and friends. They say bad news comes in threes, yet from where I’m standing, they seem to be coming by the dozen. I'm not...

Are You the Problem or the Solution?

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a conference in Washington, D.C. for the 10KSB (10,000 Small Businesses) Summit alumni. With 3000+ in attendance and another 2000+ watching online, the conference centered on ideas and strategies to help support the...

Leadership and Humility

Eagles won the Super Bowl LII! Who would have thought? They were huge underdogs. There are so many great stories that came out of this championship game worth talking about---from Nick Foles' rocky start in 2013 to his leading role in the Eagles' Super Bowl win and...

Fear of Success? Dream Big!

Are you afraid of success? Yes, I know it sounds crazy; how can one be fearful of success? But I'm asking in earnest---are you? I am astounded by how many people fear success---even more so than failure. The brain is wired to fight fear, but it's not wired to deal...

“Can I?” Or “I Can.”

Two simple words, when reversed, mean totally different things with totally different outcomes: "Can I?" versus "I can." The first is asking permission---from oneself or from others. It comes from a place of doubt and self-limiting beliefs. It means we seek, or even...

Obligation or Love?

Why do you do what you do? Do you do it out of obligation or love? Sometimes it's one or the other. Sometimes it's both. For example, when you call your parents on Mother's or Father's Day, or on other holidays, do you call them because it's expected of you? Probably....

Slow Down to Go Faster

The Eagles are in the playoffs and the fans are going nuts. I believe it's been a while since they've won a division title. I recently had a chance to have cigars and bourbon with Fred Barnett, a former wide receiver for the Eagles. After a few minutes of pleasantries...

Goals

Happy New Year. As January accompanies us into a new year, with it brings a new sense of focus, new resolutions and new goals. A couple of years back, I encouraged the J2 team to create vision boards to facilitate a more inspired goal setting exercise, which I wrote...

Pay it Forward

A couple days ago, I had to upgrade my phone; it had slowed to a crawl---which, in the technology-driven world of today, is just short of unbearable. Surprisingly, I found the upgrade process not as seamless as it could have been---namely the lack of efficiency in the...

Perspective

The other day I was late getting into the office. I was behind a car that took a little longer than it should have after having been stopped at a red light. So I leaned on the horn. It was just then when I realized that the gentleman in the car in front of me was...

Locked Mind

There is a story about Houdini, the great escape artist, trying to escape from a prison—and it goes something like this: Houdini was invited by a small town in the British Isles to try to escape from their newly built prison cell. Houdini, who'd mastered similar feats...

Culture Matters

I just returned from a trip to Nicaragua to learn more about cigars—a passion of mine. While there, I had a chance to visit a couple of different factories. The one that really grabbed my attention was Drew Estates. Though only in operation since 1998, this relative...

My Thanksgiving Gratitude

Many of us spend Thanksgiving with friends and family eating lots of turkey, watching football and napping. On this day, we also spend time reflecting on what we are grateful for. 2017 held a few personal challenges for me and I am thankful for all of them. They have...

Innovation – A New Way to Think

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Jeff Hoffman speak. He talked about how he came up with the idea for Priceline. It came about in two ways. He began questioning everything, no matter how mundane. He got that idea from his 5-year old granddaughter. He...

Jugaad

Last week I attended a conference, the theme of which was “Jugaad.” Jugaad is a Hindi slang word that has several meanings: frugality; doing more with less; thinking and acting flexibly. Jugaad isn’t about being cheap, but about being resourceful. It’s about doing the...

Change Ahead

Paul Getty said “…experience could be your worst enemy”. Sounds counter intuitive. But it’s not. Having managed lots of projects, from software implementations to custom development, I consistently hear, “We’ve always done it this way.” Yes, there may be merit to...

Authenticity

Think about the people you’re most drawn to. Is there a common thread? Are they mostly kind? Funny? Hardworking? Share the same hobbies? I took a mental inventory of the people I’m most impressed with and there’s no readily apparent trend. One friend is passionate...

Recharging Your Battery

This week I was off my game. I had a lot of commitments and found myself completely drained by Wednesday. While my schedule is generally packed, it doesn’t usually take this much of a toll. How did I cope? Caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine. When I finally got a...

Three Truths

“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” —Chris Pine Every conversation has three truths: Your version, the other person’s version, and the actual version....

Today Not Tomorrow

“Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.”  —Thomas Jefferson We tend to procrastinate for various reasons: Fear of failure, doing an unpleasant task, lack of self-confidence, etc. The list goes on and on. I recently read a post from a friend that asked,...

Laughter

We all could use a little more laughter in our lives. Unfortunately, we live in an angry world. Many people have short fuses which often escalate into an unusually high amount of violence over what I consider to be extremely small things. Our always connected world...

Childhood Dreams

It’s been 10 years since Randy Pausch delivered his “The Last Lecture” speech, and the message is still as powerful today as it was back then. Randy’s speech was titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. His list included: Being in zero gravity Playing in the...

Ichi-go ichi-e

Treasure every moment! Recently a dear friend’s father passed away from a sudden heart attack. A couple of days later I received news that the executive director of a group I belong to also passed away suddenly. In both cases, they showed no signs of any trouble. The...

Labor Day

Just as Memorial Day unofficially signifies the beginning of summer, Labor Day unofficially signifies the end of summer (though schools seem to start earlier every year). Labor Day celebrates the labor movement in the United States and the contributions the workforce...

Walls

Our society has put up way too many walls. It is safer and easier that way, protected from the tough world we witness every day. The downside is that these barriers hold us back from growth, both personally and professionally. Recently, I heard a podcast by Brené...

Lean Into Discomfort

As an entrepreneur, every day is different and hard to predict. All my days are incredible—some incredibly awesome, some incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, sometimes I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders. Dealing with all this...

Placebo Effect

We can manifest our future with our thoughts. We’re all familiar with the placebo effect: the positive result that’s incorrectly attributed to a treatment or action. We hear about this most often as it relates to medical research, with some patients mistakenly...

Mental Block

I few years back, I lived in a rural town close to the DE/PA border. The nearest grocery store was five minutes away, but further south from where I lived. Instead of going to that store, I would drive to another town 20 minutes away to buy food. The stores were...

Simplify & Purge

Recently I was at a retreat with a group of incredible entrepreneurs discussing our challenges within our business, personal, and family lives. This group is one of my sounding boards and we get together once a quarter. One item we discussed was simplification. Seems...

Passion

It’s summer. Most folks in the Philadelphia area head to the beach on weekends. I do as well on occasion. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to walk into the Iron Room, a place that touts one of the largest collections of whiskeys in the East Coast. I was skeptical,...

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