Loss ain’t a Loss, it’s a Lesson

No matter how blessed we are, we still find fault in what we haven’t accomplished yet.  We’re human…it happens… but it is important not to stay in a defeated mode.

Sean Carter a.k.a Jay Z always knows when to get me back on “motivation road.”  His recent album, 4:44, gave plenty of gems for us to take heed.  The album teaches the importance of assets and appreciation (The Story of O.J.) while highlighting barriers to success for certain groups of people (Moonlight) and how we can over come those barriers (Smile).

One of my goals in life as a parent is to leave a legacy for my daughter.  In Jay Z’s track Legacy, featured on 4:44, the song begins with his daughter Blue asking him “Daddy, what’s a will?”  I love how creative he is in the studio, explaining asset management to his five-year old.  While many of us will never experience the level of financial success as power couple Jay Z and Beyoncé, we have our paths to follow to reach what we deem as success.

So I close saying this, no matter how many “no’s” you’re told, just remember God has a bigger plan for you and that path was not meant for you at that time.  Practice patience, persistence and prayer and one day your lesson will soon be realized as an accomplished goal.

Happy Friday!

Blame it on the mi.. mi mi mi…millennials!

No matter what industry, it seems that the Millennials get a bad rap in the working economy: “They’re too lazy,” or “they’re non-grateful“. Growing up with technology has its pros and cons.

Photo credit of Jamie Foxx Vevo via Youtube

There is however a true difference between hard work and smart work. We hear Generation X and the Baby Boomers proclaim Millennials as not being hardworking because they don’t see the same efforts that they put into their work over 20 years ago. Well I for one am truly thankful for their efforts back then because it allows us to build on their foundation so that we can improve and streamline certain things. Faxing 20 people a press release when you can email the same release to the same 20 people in five minutes saves so much time.

Why does the gesture of saving people time not considered hard work? It is because of the hard work of the early adopters of technology such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that has saved thousands of hours of time to focus on more efficient work in the last 20 years.

WE ALL have the option meditate due to an app, WE ALL have the ability to bank due to an app, WE ALL can date due to an app, order food, buy clothing and supplies through online shopping. It is the frequent daily personal use of technology that gives the false illusion that only Millennials turn to our phones for everything, but that’s not true. Our impact is deep. We impact restaurant sales and we start companies and become entrepreneurs more than any other generation to this date. Side note: why are Millennials the true test of casual dining sales?  It’s not, on average, that we make more money than any other generation at this time, I’m just saying…

Millennials are discovering that we can improve on ways to be better and/or to save time, if needed. We value our time and we want to know that we make an impact in the work we do in order to be efficient as much as possible. It’s because Millennials are so hell-bent on efficiency that we’re affecting industries services such as how the restaurants cater to us. More restaurants are joining or partnering with Grubhub, an online ordering/delivering service of nearby restaurants, or even having chains explore their own delivery systems. Offering free Wi-Fi often gets millennials into popular chains such as Starbucks or Panera Bread to study or work…maybe that should be something all restaurant categories should offer in order to get “the Millennial money”. We need places other than the office to work and brainstorm as well as bond with our teammates. I wonder what restaurant chain will catered lunch meetings AT the restaurant. Imagine how much more money will get spend at that restaurant?!

Now I know that fast-casual dining restaurants are not in the business of delivering however…they are also not in the business to losing customers. It’s because of Millennials that we’re challenging everyone outside of the millennial category to figure out how to improve on what they already provide. Don’t depend on the Millennials to figure out a solution only to tear it down based on how you’ve always done things. 20 years ago you needed to be in the office everyday while today…employees can fight for a different stance with the availability of Wi-Fi everywhere!

I challenge all seasoned working class people….be more innovative with the ever-changing times and stop relying that you can coast on the way you’ve always done things.  You might can float for a while with current methods and processes but eventually your competition will figure out your model and modify it to be better so here is what you do:

Don’t get comfortable.

If I Gotta buy a Toyota Camry, Ima do it Cost-Effectively!

First of all, congratulations are in order to rapper Kendrick Lamar’s sister for graduating school. To accomplish such an achievement deserves to be acknowledged first and foremost. Second, the Compton rapper celebrated his sister’s graduation by buying her a brand new Toyota sedan as a celebratory gift. The rapper caught heat from many social media users, stating the rapper could have given his sister a much “nicer” car.

Many people worry about why others spend money the way they spend it. We associate top dollar spenders with high earnings and expect the rich and famous to automatically purchase expensive houses and cars but that’s not always the case.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Warren Buffet does not stay in a mansion but in his modest Omaha, NE home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Yes that’s right the multi-billionaire lives as humbly as he did decades ago. So why bother Kendrick? This is the same rapper that bought his own home in Eastvale, just outside of Los Angeles, for $500,000…HIS own home. Why would someone spend more money on other people than themselves, with no return on investment? More importantly, why are we judging someone who is being fiscally responsible so that his children’s children can benefit and further their financial education?

What can we learn from both Warren and Kendrick? Never spend more than you make and can continuously upkeep. Taxes associate with this gift is part of the upkeep. Gifts in excess of $14,000 for the tax year of 2016 come with taxes that you have to report at the end of the year. We will never know if Kendrick’s sister will pay the taxes next year for this “gift” and guess what, it’s not our business. Kendrick’s sister may not be in a position at this time to keep up with the maintenance of a $100,000 car. Furthermore, I’m sure Kendrick’s sister loves the gesture, no matter the type of car. Also it’s time to worry about our own spending than to judge how “nice” other people’s gifts that are given.

Don’t curve your curve balls, embrace them!

When it comes to an event, planning is crucial. No matter how much planning you do, especially in advance, you can bet something will always go wrong. It’s always good to have a backup plan however some issues are totally unexpected. Thinking on your feet is a major key! Mastering the art of problem-solving is critical when you’re experiencing a huge blunder.

Frustrated

Instead of complaining, be quick to find a solution.

  • The caterer cancelled at the last-minute? Have options that won’t need a long lead time to accommodate large groups such as Subway.
  • Your florist promised seasoned flowers that turned out to be in late bloom and can’t deliver as promised? Get alternative flowers or get fake flowers from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s….get real flowers from Walmart if you have no choice but make sure the florist gives you a hefty discount for your next event.
  • The venue double-booked but you already printed invites? Make sure you notify everyone on the invite list and that have RSVP’ed to understand any changes in venue or schedule.  Call them, email them, text them…make sure you communicate any and all changes to your guests!

Figure out how to solve the problem now and then find the best solution for the variable that caused the issue. Make sure you are made “whole” if someone unexpectedly changes or adjusts what was discussed and contracted out for the event.  Sometimes your solutions will not be glamorous but it will help you plan and prepare for future hiccups and continue on with your event.

Have your contracts ready!

Breaking Bad…News that is! How to Soften the Blow

uh-oh

It’s never good to receive bad news. To actually be the one to deliver the bad news can also bring an unsettling feeling to one’s stomach. No one wants to hear bad news without understanding how or why something happened the way did. Here are critical steps to cushion the impact:

1). Own up to the mistake if one is quickly identified. In the distribution industry, if a carrier missed a delivery appointment, then one would follow up with the carrier to understand what happened.

2). Shoot first, ask questions later. But shoot with precision!! Figuring out what your Plan B will be to finish the task at hand is vital. Being able to come up with a solution can help ease the delivery of bad news. Time may be of the essence in most cases. One example would be having a case of gloves go missing that is also no longer available at the vendor.

3). Research the nitty, gritty facts. Find an alternative approach, then figure out if multiple parties involved will be responsible. A “major key” (DJ Khaled would hopefully approve of the use of this term) would be to understand 5 W’s of the issue: who, what, when, where, why. Please don’t forget the “how.”

4). Summarize the timeline of the task. Summarize the timeline in an email. Doing this task can help clear any lingering confusion for all parties involved.

Being able to solve problems increases more opportunities for your personal brand. It make you a resourceful person and that makes people want to work with you more and more!

What key tips do you find most useful in delivering unsettling news?

How Alternative Facts can Question your Credibility

The 45th president of the United States was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.  This is the traditional passing of the torch from the current president to the president-elect.  One this cold, and rainy day President Obama handed off this role after eight years.

A viral picture of the inauguration crowd from 2009 to 2017 has gone viral.  It shows what appear to be a smaller crowd at Trump’s inauguration compared to Obama’s from 2009.

obamavstrump
Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Due to the significant attendance, President Trump decided to have Press Secretary Spicer hold a press conference.  During this press conference, Spicer attacked the media for reporting on inaccurate attendance information.  He cited metro usage and infrastructural issues during this day however it appears that his facts and figures were off.

According to PolitiFact, an un-biased  website dedicated to fact-checking, the Truth-o-meter read Spicer’s statements at the press conference were so wrong that his pants were on fire.

To make matters worse, counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. Going back and forth with Todd she stated something that would turn the same situation viral again via memes.  She stated, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,”

Todd then informed her that “alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.”  Conway then tried to pivot from the issue mentioning how Todd’s chuckle was symbolic of how the media has treated the Trump administration.

What does this tell us?

  • Make sure you’re facts are just that, FACTS. The word fact should not need an adjective in front of it to be true, unless you’re stating the CORRECT facts to fix reported falsehoods.
  • Make sure your entire team is aware of the response that will be issued so that no one will question your statement’s accuracy
  • Even if you pointed out a lie, you have to refrain from ridicule. Although Todd was right to hold Conway accountable for the falsehood, his chuckle was the ticket for Conway to use against that media outlet.  Although it is wrong, and Trump and his team have done it before, the press team at the White House could refuse to answer any future questions from any reporter from NBC due to the exchange between Todd and Conway.

Having the CORRECT facts can avoid any media blunders and future issues that derive from said blunder.  How do you think Trump’s press secretary and office can recover from the “alternative facts” viral statement?

The Critical Art of Delegation

This Christmas was extra special as it was my daughter’s first Christmas. We spend time at our separate families. At my husband’s grandparent’s sock party, we wanted to remember the activity of exchanging stuffed socks with goodies. There were over 30 people who were crowded into this small area trying to take a picture. The only way we could get everyone in a family photo was to get a Pano-shot, or panoramic.

pano-family

Of course being a millennial with an iPhone in front of the group shot, I was the first to be able to volunteer my services to this group picture. I got up, excluded myself from the group shot and took the photo. After it was done I heard at least seven people say “Let me see!” on top of others crowding around me to try to view it as well.

With all of the commotion going on, I decided to pay attention to one of my elders only who had requested to view it. My great Aunt Gail was the closest to me after the photo was taken and she requested that I send it to her. I also had about 10 other folks asking to send it to them. Not having everyone’s contact information made that task more difficult for me. I had asked my aunt would she be able to send it to everyone if I sent it to her.

Here is where time is critical: She requested that I sent it to one of her daughters instead as they had everyone’s contact number. This was a brilliant change of action! Aunt Gail wanted to make sure everyone had that special picture commemorating another wonderful memory however she didn’t want to put up with the task of sending it to at least 30 people. Maybe she wasn’t as tech-savvy or maybe she wanted to save her precious time to spend with her sisters. Either way, Aunt Gail requested that I sent the pictures elsewhere. I’m sure it got done because A) Mom’s direction is law B) I didn’t get anybody asking me to send the pictures after I announced the picture would come from Aunt Gail’s daughter.

This is a very good lesson we can take heed in our business lives. Sometimes we don’t have time to do certain things, even though we may want to do them. That is why we hire other people to focus on doing those tasks so we can focus on what we do best. You may want to strategically plan what gets put on social media on what is written in a press release but your time may need to be securing more business opportunities or more sponsors. Having subordinates or interns can mean the difference of making an extra $50/month to making an extra $50,000/month, or more!