The ONE Thing Every Brand Needs to be Successful

If you don’t know by now from some of my posts, I’m a huge Beyoncé fan.  Beyoncé made headlines soon after her 35th birthday for postponing one of her shows from her Formation world tour per doctor’s orders. Unfortunately, thousands of fans were affected in the process. The songstress just came off the first leg of her Formation world tour with little rest. In addition to her multi-city stops in her second leg, she schedule two award show performances: one at the 2016 BET Awards and her most recent at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.

Courtesy of Beyonce and Parkwood Entertainment via Billboard.com

As Beyoncé accepted her award for Video of the Year for her music video “Formation” which dropped back in February, she struggled to keep a steady tone as she spoke. She just gave the performance of her life and it is obvious during her acceptance speech that her vocal chords were exhausted. It sounded like she was beginning losing her voice. It shouldn’t have come as no surprise her singing abilities for the MetLife Stadium concert in New Jersey would have been deeply impacted as well as the remaining shows to soon follow after, had she now decided to postpone her show.

Touring for months on end can take its toll on a performer. Not being able to do your job really sucks and the songstress made sure she thanked her fans for their patience via her Instagram profile.

Janet Jackson is another artist who was ordered to postpone her recent tour per doctor’s orders. The singer is now pregnant with her first child, at the age of 49. Getting pregnant itself is a miracle, especially after a certain age. It was important for her and her husband to start a family and her body doesn’t need the added stress.

Sir Richard Branson takes a holiday every August to ensure health and happiness. The billionaire offers unlimited vacation to his employees and believes if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.

From a 2014 survey of over 1,000 employed people, 41% do not plan on using all of their vacation time. The top 5 reasons people leave vacation days unused:

  1. Fear of returning to a mountain of work (40%)
  2. The belief that nobody else can do the job (35%)
  3. Inability to afford taking time off (33%)
  4. Fear of being seen as replaceable (22%)
  5. To show greater dedication to the company and the job (28%)

America has fostered a workaholic culture; some to show their dedication while others feel that no one can adequately aid in their duties if an issue arise that they’re not there to solve themselves. Whether you feel pressured to “show commitment” or you can’t afford to take off, you must step away for your own sake. Stress can cause burnout and resentment towards your daily duties. Returning from even a brief leave of absence can make you feel refreshed with a new view of how to execute the things you need to do.

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Being PResumptouous: Assuming Incorrect Behavior

Please excuse my French in this next sentence.

Have you ever heard of the phrase: To ASSUME is to make an A$$ of our U and ME (ASSUME get it?)  Well I want to go over a time in the work place where I made complete @$$e$ of not only myself but my co-worker.

AAUGH!
This is how I felt after I assumed incorrect behavior. Photo courtesy of http://peanuts.wikia.com/wiki/Aaugh!

Let me give you a little background on how I was to contribute at this particular job.  I was hired in a new position created by my boss and trained by my now co-worker/equivalent. I was to help my co-worker manager the day-to-day operations of their large account, of which contributed to the highest sales of the company out of all accounts.

This particular co-worker has one account while our other co-workers have an average of 6 accounts.  I was promoted a year ago to the same position of all my co-workers(and trainer) but with a contingency: I still have to help my co-worker that trained me.  This was due to a hiring freeze at my company so my old position was never fulfilled.

Now this co-worker is very Type A: very much into the details and stresses if they overlook one detail the co-worker will then stress themselves and the others around them. Essentially they do not trust others to do their job if it affects how they have to do their job 99.9% of the time, following up with several phone calls until their requests becomes a priority, even when it can wait.

This particular day however my co-worker came to see me.  They asked me what I was working on and I told them: working on our account reviews for our boss, that requires a lot of research into our last 5 period sales.  This person was telling me that they were glad I was working on that project our boss asked us to do.

I made the terrible mistake of cutting this person off, before they could finish, to let them know I would not be doing this particular report for their customer.

Now before you shame me to death, hear me out!  We all have busy days to manage our customers.  The majority of the time this co-worker will normally come to my office to ask me to assist them with something, but not always.  Sometimes I’m visited by this co-worker to ask me about my weekend/day or to vent however 90% of the time it is to ask me to help them with something.

This particular co-worker however is always under some sort of “stress.”  If you were to ask this person how they were doing midday, they would cry out loud saying “UGH I have so many things to do!”  Then we would hear of the laundry list of things they have to do. Now to give this frantic co-worker credit, they do deal with a lot of things from their ONE customer but the point being is that the co-worker brings onto themselves unnecessary stress.   However I can see how each of my co-worker’s management styles differ.  Other than myself, no other  co-workers would not be able (or want to for that matter) deal with this customer.

I’ve aided in helping this co-worker out, even at the disadvantage of the tasks I handled for my own customers.  I respectfully aided my co-worker even in the smallest of tasks that they requested (but not most efficient use of my time in my requirement to still aid her) so my co-worker could worry less and because this person taught me everything about the business.  Every time I hear her pace (yes I have designated this co-worker with their own walking pace to my ear) I prepare myself to help her at that very moment.

Back to my story: After interrupting what my co-worker had to say, they corrected me, quite frankly I might add for one who was upset, in saying they was not asking me to help them, and began walking away.

I quickly realized how I was completely wrong for assuming something so I got up and followed her, calling out to immediately apologize.  This person shut their office door 2 seconds before I could arrived so I knocked and opened the door slightly to tell her I was sorry that I misunderstood.  She then stated she had an email to send and she would call me later.

UGH! I felt like a complete dummy.  I got very upset with myself for being presumptuous that I sent her a quick email basically stating I’m sorry for the miscommunication, knowing she would read it and went to grab lunch to eat while working.

After pondering on it at lunch, I realized how she disrespected me when she walked away as I was trying to apologize so I tried to recall the email that I sent to resend the email to her to also let her know I felt disrespected.

A couple of hours later she replied essentially stating to imagine how disrespected she felt when I cut her off when she only intended to complement me on how happy I was being able to do my reports, as she could not get around to doing hers yet.  She also said she understands miscommunication and to move on and not worry about it.  I felt even worse but still curious as to why she came to see me in the first place.

Talk about drama!  Although I felt that it could have been resolved when I went to her office, I am glad that we have moved passed it to continue the flow of our work relationship.

Moral of the story is: Listen more than you speak.  I’m the master at this as I grew up being quiet and shy, which is why I was so disappointed in myself when I interrupted.  I knew better.  Listen to all the facts first before you assume behavior.  It may be normal to expect something however it could really be something entirely different from what you expected to receive.  Also, speak up if you feel that your use of time is being used inefficiently.  Had I learned how to wean my co-worker from giving me tasks she could easily do, I would have never had to assume anything.

Bonus:  On that day, before I co-worker emailed me back, my boss knocked on the door and came into my office, but not before closing the door.  Immediately I began to panic, thinking my co-worker said something to my boss, but I decided to wait to see what actually came out of his mouth; a task I’d wish I had done only a few hours earlier.  I expected the worse but actually received a raise.  Talk about waiting to hear all the facts!

Team Building

The past few days, I’ve been in Southport, NC with my company (Good Health Natural Products) and we conducted our yearly Sales Meeting there at the Wingate Hotel. We had meetings Tuesday and Wednesday from each department of the company and each sales person on future endeavors.

I was kind of excited to go to Southport because my favorite author had written about Southport in his latest book, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. It’s a small town near the Cape Fear River. I’m so fortunate to have gone with the company.

On Tuesday after our meeting, we all were schedule to do this team-building exercise. The agenda: SAILING!!! The CEO split the company into three teams and he called the the Gators(mine team and the winners) the cros and the sharks. Each sailboat has a captain and a first mate who where experienced sailors. We ventured off into the Cape Fear River and got a quickie lesson from our captain, Kevin. He worked on Wallstreet for 15 years before moving to Southport to teach people how to sail. He loves sailing!!! It’s his passion so he was an amazing teacher and very patient and helpful. There were four Gators on my team and each of us had to take turn doing each task: steering/driving the boat, in charge of the mail said, and the two jibs.

They told us not to worry and that the boat will not dip and turn over into the water but the first gust of wind we caught, my side of the boat went towards the water and I almost panicked. Luckily I requested a life jacket at all times or I would not have gone on the boat 🙂 Our boat came to so many times going into the water that if all the people were not on the same time as the boat dipped, many of us would have gotten soaked, which is what happened to one of the other boats lol.

My very first task was to steer the boat while everyone else did the harder jobs. Steering took a while to get use to at first. To go left you had to steer right and vise versa. To tact (or to turn the boat around) as the driver I had to move from one side of the boat to the other while the jibbers took turns pulling the ropes to shift the sails. Kevin said I was a natural at driving the boat.

I then had my turn at the mail sail but it was when I got to the jib that I started having trouble. When you tact the boat, the people working with the jib that to simultaneously pull the rope and loosen the ropes on opposite sides of the boat in order for the sail to switch sides. There were plenty of times where I had gotten my jib tangled and I felt bad for doing that but it wasn’t about me. It’s about the team and thank goodness for my team for helping me and guide me on how to do it correctly.

After we got our practice in, it was time to race! It was simple, the first boat down and back wins a prize.

My team was able to grab first place and keep it.  It was then that another team boat caught drift of the wind and sprung ahead of us, winning by a hair.  It was so close.  It was still early so we decided to race again so the winning team could defend their championship.  They declined, afraid to lose the championship so we raced the remaining team and won.  Winners received a wine bottle holder made out of an old sail.  It was then I learned that old sails from sailboats are not thrown away but are always used to make something else.  My captain’s sister made them and she also makes totes!

After eating, we hung out at the pier while we were served a “country down boil.”  We had crab legs, jumbo shrimp, corn on the cob, and so much more delicious food.  I was so glad they boiled everything because I’m not allowed to eat fried foods while on my new diet/workout plan.  The food was delicious!

My team couldn’t have won if there was not constant communication and an effort to work as a team.  It is hard to sail a boat, or even run a business alone but if you have a team working together to acheive the same goal, then everything will come to you. As the motto of my middle school once was, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”