Techno Flubs

Earlier this week a new look debuted on this blog for the first time since it started many years ago. I wasn’t looking to change the design. It’s just. Well. You know how technology works.

Last month I received a call from the company that hosts our Web site and blog. These ‘check-ins’ come every six months or so… and Kathy shakes her head afterward when I tell her how much more money I authorized to spend.

This time? Our blog security was no longer supported (think: spam) and to update that meant moving to a new hosting platform and to do that meant the previous look no longer worked.

Of course, as with all things tech, the transition didn’t go exactly as planned. First it was the site will be down for up to 24 hours… then there was an unexpected two-week delay due to an incorrect setting… and finally something about an ‘incompatible CDN’ that, candidly, I still don’t understand.

All told I spent three hours working with their experts to resolve everything… and, as always, they were polite and knowledgeable. Plus, they gave me a discount afterward for the trouble.

Which is why I don’t hesitate to recommend them. They always come through in the end. Go Daddy!


Go Fourth

Vision is interesting. When Kathy and I started Success Handler, LLC – first client session 16 years ago September 25, if you’re counting – my focus was on coaching small business owners by phone… franchisees specifically, printers in particular.

A couple of years of experience and we segued into franchisors and I did some keynotes. In 2008, I had my first engagement with a corporate leader. Then came facilitating groups, working with teams – including traveling offshore to the world’s largest oil platform – training, strategic planning… and now… international coaching.

During the past few years, I’ve traveled to Canada a dozen times, worked with leaders in Amsterdam and Romania, coached by phone with Singapore, and soon will visit Lagos, Nigeria.

So… on July 3, I had phone coaching sessions with several international clients – all citizens of other countries. Every one of them took the time at the end of our call to say: “Have a great Fourth of July holiday.”

Think about that for just a minute.

Quite a vision, yes?


Conference Calls

For the seventh straight year, I served as executive producer this month for a franchisor’s annual Conference. Planning these events begins in October and really kicks in come January. There are a lot of moving parts, as you might imagine if you’ve ever attended one.

Instead of a keynote speaker, for the first time the client wanted to hire a comedian to serve as emcee and provide standup interludes. The speaker’s bureau offered 15 people – and none ‘did it’ for me, so they sent a second batch. I saw one name on the list, and without even watching his video clip told my client, “That’s our guy.”

How did I know? Well, I’ve shared his YouTube video – 15 million views – with a lot of folks. It’s one of the most spot-on satires of corporate America you’ll see. It’s also hilarious… and when we played it as part of a funny way to introduce him, the audience roared in laughter.

Throughout our prep phone calls and during rehearsals before each show, he was professional and easy to work with – this despite fighting off a bad cold and nearly losing his voice. Nary a complaint about that, by the way.

Folks who make their living speaking typically utilize canned presentations with some tweaking for the sponsoring organization. He took a different approach – developing several bits to engage with the audience… and even brought along a videographer and created a ‘man-on-the-street’ video with attendees that was hilarious.

So, if you’re looking for a speaker – yes, he has a keynote, if that’s what you want – or emcee for your next event, consider… Tripp Crosby. You can thank me later.


Worldly Knowledge

When I agreed to travel to Romania to work with the management team at two plants outside of Bucharest, I must admit my thoughts were: ‘What kind of former Communist country am I going to and why did I say yes?’ Most of the people I told said something like: “That seems odd. What’s in Romania?”

Then I spent a week there and my thoughts were: “Who knew?”

From the beautiful architecture of Bucharest, to the green fields and flowing hills near Ploiesti and Campina, to the incredible friendliness of the people, Romania was wonderful. (Heck, I even saw a shepherd tending to his flock right outside the second-floor window of the company’s headquarters.)

What did I learn?

There is an amazing five-star resort in Ploiesti that may have the nicest swimming pool I’ve ever seen… certainly the bluest water.

The area’s Mediterranean cuisine is delicious.

“Former Communist country” doesn’t mean antiquated. One of the plants has AI technology and a nearly silent manufacturing environment.

Life under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was demoralizing and repressive prior to the December 1989 uprising and his execution a week later. That said, the people I spoke with who were of age appear to have moved on. “We were hungry, but we figured out a way to survive… and about six years later things got better” was a common theme.

Most everyone I met had a high level of English. One person told me that he learned Romanian as a child, French starting in third grade, Russian beginning in seventh… and didn’t speak English until he was 27.

Bottom line?

My pretrip cognitive bias of Romania as a country that only offered the world Dracula’s Castle, Bela Lugosi and Nadia Comaneci was way off the mark… and that’s a reminder not to judge another place or people without first experiencing them for yourself.


Spoiled Broth

Recently I asked a lifelong friend (‘Joe’) to assist another friend (‘Jim’) with a social service project Jim was leading. With all of the other things going on in Joe’s life, it appeared he waited right up until the deadline to provide some guidance to Jim. “I’m leaving town for a week and won’t be able to help,” wrote Joe, “so here is a summary of what I think you should do.”

I was copied on that email and after reading Joe’s comments, I realized there were several things missing and a few items that needed clarifying. So, of course, I quickly weighed in with my ideas in a Reply All. Then about 10 minutes later, I thought: “Why did I get in the middle of this?” I just confused things for Jim even further.

Later that day, I received a text from Jim: “Tell me again why you thought I needed your and Joe’s help?” Point taken. Too many cooks indeed.