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!

The Plan-Ahead

About a year ago I wrote about one’s image and standing out. With the holiday season approach, a good way to maintain and further progress your image to your clients is to plan ahead. Expecting the unexpected is key.

As an account manager in the food distribution industry, it is imperative that our operators follow strict rules.  We don’t want to mess with the integrity of someone’s food.  Knowing that sales will go up, being extra stocked during key holidays is essential.  Some operators will shut down upwards of a week while others, like myself, work only taking the actual holiday off.

Not only do we have to deal with possible freight and transit-time changes, but we will have price changes, promotions and expedited orders to manage and see through to the product ends at its intended location.  It can be overwhelming during the holidays but there is no need to stress.  Why you may ask? To reduce stress, make a “plan-ahead” plan can:

  1. Help your customers know what to anticipate coming down the pipeline
  2. Help yourself stay on track and have a to-do list weeks in advance
  3. Tackle some tasks earlier than anticipated so your list gets smaller and smaller closer to your deadline

A “plan-ahead plan” can simply be sending a reminder email to your client about the anticipated changes that you’re aware of or a quick internal meeting to tackle the necessary steps to keep track of a promotional item.  Doing this can in turn bring other changes to the client’s attention that may need immediate action before your task can get completed, such as a new UPC number for a box of napkins or an invoice discrepancy with a distribution center.

Another example of a “plan-ahead” action would be to push up delivery dates to your distribution centers a week in advance so that the carriers could have more time to spend with their families during the holidays.  Informing the distribution centers ahead of time about this adjusted delivery schedule would mean that these centers would need to stock up to ensure no disruption in the supply chain.  It would also mean that the carriers would anticipate more loads to move the weeks leading up to the holidays.

Having your departments interdependent on each other really helps with the checks and balances.  We may have to delay a price change to recoup lost funds or research recurring issues that happen every year during the same time period.  This will keep everyone on task and help prioritize.

Do you have a “plan-ahead” plan without realizing?

The NEW Tortoise and the Hare: The Right Tools and Mindset

Apologies for not posting this past week.  I was on vacation and wouldn’t you know…I learned a humble business lesson!

la

Along with my husband, I was out and about in the streets of Los Angeles: going to ComplexCon, a LA Rams game and a LA Lakers game.  We also visited the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other things.  I think both of us learned valuable lessons in having the right mindset and the right tools

MINDSET

We were so excited to go to the LA Rams game.  This was the first season the team was back in LA since the early 1990s.  Traffic was crazy and the cost of parking close to the arena was out of this world!  We found parking a few blocks away in an alley for half the price.  Not bad and we get our extra steps in for the day.  Healthy!

After we purchased our LA Rams memorabilia and ate, we found our seats.  We sat behind a dedicated Rams fan that stood up during every play.  Behind us was another Rams fan that “sprayed” every time he yelled.  My patience was wearing thin.  I really wanted to say something however I reminded myself first of all, where I was and that I cannot focus on the negative as it did not out-weight the positive: I was at a Rams game!

We actually networked with all of the people sitting around us who had ties to North Carolina.  The world is truly small.  The wife of the man who kept standing up in front of us had a friend that loves to coupon from Greensboro (where my husband and I met), the man behind us (who didn’t spray when he spoke) was actually from Raleigh, and the man beside us had family in High Point.  I got many compliments on my custom shirt my husband designed, in support of Todd Gurley, who was from our hometown (Shout out to eastern North Carolina).  It didn’t hurt our networking either when everyone found out we were there to support Todd Gurley instead of the Carolina Panthers.  Traders much?

I learned that patience is something to pray for as you never know who a person really is until you meet and engage with them.  First impressions are important but they shouldn’t necessary always be the foundation of a relationship/friendship.  Sometimes you have to dig deeper to find substance.

TOOLS

Having only packed a carry on, to reduce possibility of loss/delayed luggage neither one of us didn’t pack any comfortable shoes.  Needless to say my husband and I underestimated how much walking we were going to encounter.  By the third day, my feet were begging from a break from my Vans and Converses.  We obliged and both bought comfortable walking shoes for the remainder of our trip.

Knowing your circumstances and preparing with the proper tools is invaluable, otherwise it will be a costly consequence.

Learning through living life is lovely!  Sometimes in order to more forward aggressively, you need to slow it down a bit.

FYI I had to get a brace for my left foot to wear for 4 weeks! : stress fracture.  The right tools are very important to have to avoid professional, and sometimes physical injury.

Diversify Your Abilities to Multiply Your Income: The brief Kevin Hart review

Forbes has announced that after ten years, Jerry Seinfield is no longer the highest paid comedian. The newest comedian to claim the title in 2016: Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart’s fame has increased drastically just over the last five years alone. From comedy shows and tours to movies, this man knows no limits. He is the first comedian to sell out arenas such as Madison Square Garden.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 06:  Actor Kevin Hart attends the premiere of "The Wedding Ringer" at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 6, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 06: Actor Kevin Hart attends the premiere of “The Wedding Ringer” at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 6, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Don’t get it twisted, Kevin has been grinding for years. Even with his television and film debut in 2002, his talents slowly progressed over the years into more prominent support AND leading roles. He isn’t afraid to take risks as long as he stayed working. His resume has credits from every year since 2002 with no gaps! Instead of taking a break in between projects, Hart works as if he is still struggling and taking mini-vacations along the way.
A great quote to keep in mind about Hart’s mentality: “Everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to do the work.” This can be seen on his twitter profile and also is featured as a chant with his opening acts while on tour on many of his comedy specials now on DVD.

His latest venture: KEVMOJI by Kevin Hart. YES! This man is now following the steps of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian to release an app of Kevin Hart emojis, or image stickers, to use when texting. The app sells for $1.99. The KEVMOJI app rose to the number 1 app in iTunes, 5 hours after it was released. The rising mogul featured a pinned tweet with a link to download the app on his Twitter profile.  I wonder if David Beckham found Hart as funny as I did during this campaign shoot for H&M.

Kevin Hart is officially everywhere and he shows no signs of slowing down nor being limited. Applying this type of creativity and work ethic can be very beneficial to other brands. Kevin Hart’s new movie “What Now” is currently playing in theaters, which was released October 14, 2016. The comedian is currently filming the remake of “Jumanji” and is being consider of playing Santa Clause in “Dashing through the Snow” a Disney Christmas comedy.

Whether it’s collaborating with other brands or influencers to generate brand awareness, having a “no-limit” mentality proves to generate desired results, and revenue as seen by Hart, if used effectively.