Sunday, May 24, 2009

How Well Do You Know Me?

Are you reading this entry because you want some hints to my Facebook "How Well Do You Know Me?" Quiz?

Well, I'm not going to give you all the answers, other than you could find some on my website and if you follow me on Twitter. But since you found my blog, perhaps these clues will help you.

* I have more than 150 WDCC pieces.
* In high school, I saw 'The Empire Strikes Back' more than 5 times in the theatre.
* I don't like sitting in the back row of church.

That's all ye get, Matey!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Persona

Here's something fun. I just took a personality quiz on Facebook. It's pretty spot on. Click on this:

See my Personality Profile

The results for my college major was exactly what I took! And when you change the drop down for my "closest US state", while not CA, it did pick another top favorite.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Highway (Or Skyway?) Robbery

So get this. I had to book my CEO's and my tickets to New Orleans, or NOLA, for a trade show at the end of June. I've been keeping an eye on the prices, and they've been high. Well today, the prices dropped to something pretty reasonable.

I started looking for flights for my CEO, and he decided instead of coming in on Sunday, he'd fly in with me on Saturday. Oh the joy I felt. [That was sarcasm in case you missed it] His flight changed from $355 to around $500.

Having booked his flight, I was working on my own. He kept interrupting me about some stuff, so about 10-15 minutes later, I go to work on my flight. Take a look at how much it had jumped up. Yep, that's right. That says $1,004! Are you kidding me?!?!?

I had to do some creative booking, so without direct flights, I got my airfare to around $550. That's just insane!

Memo to me: The next time you're booking flights, close the door to your office. It can save you $500. And that's even without Geico.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hailing Frequencies Open, Captain

Having taken the day off from work today and being a huge Star Trek fan, I decided I'd go see the new movie after I had finished my chores at home.

I love going to the movies by myself. I can sit where I want, leave after the credits, and really enjoy the experience. This time would be a little different. Some parents brought a baby to the movies. Really? If it were a kid's movie, I'd understand a little bit. But a newborn?

The theatre wasn't crowded, but it wasn't empty either. There were plenty of seats for personal space. So when a guy decided to sit right next to me, I thought it strange.

Then a pungent odor of smoke hit my nostrils. It wasn't pleasant. i was feeling more uncomfortable. But thankfully, the movie was beginning. Wait. What was this clown next to me doing? He pulled out his cell phone! That's it. I got up and moved down my row. He actually gave me a look like he was offended!

My sister and some other friends told me to cut some slack to the parents who brought the baby. The baby didn't bother me as much as the smokey smelly cell phone guy. Dude, start running. Phasers set to stun.

Oh, about that picture. The next day I took a "Which classic Star Trek Character Are You?" quiz on Facebook. I wound up being Uhura. Guess that quiz knows I like to talk a lot, but I told everyone no more walking around the office with my cordless headset. So that's me being sassy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I'd like to wish my Mom, and all moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day today!

Love ya Mom!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Exchanging One Zoo for Another

For a year that is slow in sales, I can't find enough hours in the day to get all my work done. And with a looming deadline for the SHRM show in less than seven weeks in NOLA (that's New Orleans, LA for y'all that didn't know), I had to find a way to take a couple of days just to recharge.

So, what better place to escape the zoo at work than to go to the Minnesota Zoo? After living here for over 17 years, this is actually the first time I had been to our zoo. I have been to the Imax outside of the zoo plenty of times, but it was fun seeing this zoo.
While not as large as the zoos with which I grew up (LA and San Diego), and of course no comparison to Disney's Animal Kingdom, I did have a good time.
After all, I didn't go to work, but I did still see some of my coworkers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Be the Napa Rose

Like many of you, I have customized my iGoogle, and of course it's loaded with Disney content. Well, one of my widgets had a link to something that I MUST share! I've added the link, to which I recommend you go. However, I want to make sure that I can go back to this article, so it's pasted below.

I gave Jeff Kober, the author of this article, positive feedback, and he provides great words of wisdom in today's 'gloom-and-doom' world!

Be the Napa Rose!

Be The Napa Rose

Thursday, April 30, 2009 Jeff Kober, staff writer,

One of my favorite places to take clients and friends when I'm at the Disneyland Resort is the Napa Rose restaurant at Disney's Grand Californian Resort. Many of you have enjoyed a terrific meal at Napa Rose, which celebrates the food and cuisine of the California Wine Country. Many are fascinated with observing the continual activity and bustle of the show kitchen. I prefer twilight views that overlook Grizzly Peak and Disney's California Adventure.

Few know, however, what a "napa rose" is and why the restaurant is named for it. What do napa roses have to do with winemaking? Napa roses are planted at the head of long rows of grapes. While in and of themselves they are very beautiful, their purpose is not centered on show.

Rather, they are sentinels for the grapes that follow down the vine. You see, Napa roses are very susceptible to disease, to pests, to fungus, and to other factors that could potentially harm grapes. Farmers need not study every vine to know the status of their vineyard. Rather, they simply have to look at the Napa roses planted at the head of the row. If the roses are faring poorly, it is a sign that they need to pay attention to the grapes located in that end of the field before things become worse.

So it is in business. Leaders must be the Napa rose of their organization. They must be the sentinels that observe the trends and patterns around them. They must be on the lookout for competitors or critics to those who would threaten the well-being of their organization.

In many ways, over the years, Disney has been the Napa rose—in some amazing ways. For instance, they are very prepared in the event of a major hurricane. They have a tremendous plan in place to not only prepare, but to monitor the storm, care for their guests, and get the operation back in business as soon as possible afterward.

More proactively, Disney has been the Napa rose in anticipating opportunities in the marketplace, such as getting into the cruise line business, or building the vacation ownership business. They saw possibilities, and they pursued new markets.

Still, one wonders who failed to watch the roses as the economic clouds moved in. There is no question that economic times are tough. And as armchair managers, it's always easy to look back and say what should have been done after the fact. But great leaders simply anticipate the challenges their organizations might face, and prepare for such situations long before they make an impact.

Critics for some time in and out of the Disney Company have talked about the layer of fat that existed—especially in management circles. This has been particularly true as parks on one coast managed matters almost entirely indifferent to what was being done on another coast. There was no sharing of knowledge, much less streamlining responsibility and accounting.

What if "One-Disney" had been thought through a couple of years ago when times were going great? What if organizations were streamlined, and unneeded personnel given opportunities to leave when there were more options for them, and more time to prepare for them to leave? What if existing personnel were directed toward new positions that better met the future needs of the organization, rather than hire additional personnel that would create excess in uncertain times?

Instead, the result is that such cutbacks come at a time people fear in finding work elsewhere. Therefore morale plummets, and people become anxious about the future. Even those who didn't get laid off are not focused on creating "One-Disney." Rather they are pondering what they're going to do to make sure it doesn't happen to them next time.

The result? Is anyone focused on what matters: Helping the resorts succeed in uncertain times? Creating great guest loyalty? Building new attractions that guarantee park attendance? Engaging cast members in being the best they can be?

That said, some say layoffs are not only intended, but would have been demanded, at times like this by share holders who want satisfaction in knowing that Disney is trimming things at a time when the company's fortunes are in reverse. But a better question would be: Shouldn't we have been satisfying shareholders all along with the knowledge that the organization was always running in a manner that is lean and mean?

Again, such reflection might be just armchair management. But, remember, this isn't about Disney. At the end of the day, it's about your organization. Be the sentinel that warns of impeding challenges before they happen, rather then after the entire vineyard is fraught with challenge.

Be the "Napa rose." It's how you lead the magic.

J. Jeff Kober consults with businesses and public sector organizations to improve customer service, teamwork and leadership practices. His keynotes, seminars, and workshops help people take best-in-business ideas from Disney and other great organizations and adapt them to their own practice. His newest book, The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney is available at Also, imagine having your company pay you to spend time at Walt Disney World, shop at Nordstrom, or spend the night at Ritz-Carlton!

Go to to find out how you and/or your organization can benchmark great Orlando businesses on your next trip.