Archive for September, 2009

Blog Lesson #6: Take advantage of Widgets. I have added Flickr!

I brag on my team and franchisees all the time. I don’t know of another group of individuals who believe so passionately and strongly in each other and the brand they represent. What I don’t do often enough is thank each of them for all they do. I intend to correct this!

My photos on Flickr show the fun side of the franchisees. They work very hard all year long and really enjoy our banquet night celebrating each others successes. This year we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of COMPUTER EXPLORERS!

Yesterday I had a very uncomfortable call with a franchisee. It was a passionate call which required some very honest discussion. She was disappointed in me and my team. This is hard to admit as a franchisor and leader. But I strongly believe that if I’ve done something wrong I need to admit to it, apologize and  resolve the issues that brought us to this point.

Chris Brogan said “History is there to learn from, but not to obsess over. Make mistakes. Apologize. Repeat. And grow from your passion.”

Today we had a follow up call. We focused on a win-win approach and not the conflict. I believe we are in the right direction rebuilding our trust in each other. There is still much to do but knowing the passion that we both have and the team to support us we will have a positive outcome.

Blog Lesson #5 Don’t give up! Blogging takes commitment and a little dedication.

I have been exceptionally busy since my last post.  I watched my last child leave the nest. He’s off to Air Force Officer Training School. It’s so bittersweet. Three grown children off exploring the world on their own without me. It’s exactly what their father and I prepared them to do but where did the time go and how will we survive empty nest syndrome?

Last week I had the opportunity to do my own exploring. I traveled to a state I’ve never visited and conducted a presentation to The Entrepreneur Source. I have a confession to make…it was the largest group I presented to that wasn’t part of COMPUTER EXPLORERS! Another confession…I loved it! The presentation was on social media and I found it very exciting to share what I’ve learned over the last year.

Some leaders speak easily and better than others. I will admit I need practice and challenge myself to venture outside of my comfort level. I worked on the following presentation tips and pleased that I did my very best:

  • Know your topic and audience
  • Practice several times and rehearse in front of someone who can critique you (honestly)
  • Plan for the use of visual aids and equipment
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Stay in control
  • Speak naturally and most of all be yourself

All I need now is to schedule my next presentation!

Team Tuesday

Blog Lesson #4: If I need to look up my password then I’m not logging in often enough!

Twitter has Tweeple Tuesday. A day that Twitter users  make recommendations of new users on Twitter. It’s a great idea and I have participated often.

Today I decided to dedicate my time to Team Tuesday to take a moment to acknowledge what I believe is the best franchise team in the industry! Each member of the CE Team and extended Team plays a valuable role in our success. As a leader I know that when I’m traveling they will go over and beyond their responsibilities to keep things running smoothly. There are other departments in our organization and CE has the reputation of loyality, honesty, dependability and most of all passion and enthusiasm! We have the one for all and all for one spirit that is contagious.

Years ago when I was a franchisee in NJ I had the pleasure of  coordinating the COMPUTER EXPLORERS annual conference. The following is a quote (author unknown) I used and still believe in.

The great companies and Teams are those that share the similarities and celebrate the differences.

They seek harmony, not uniformity

They hire talent, not color or caste

They strive for oneness, not sameness

No one goes alone to the height of excellence

Your success will depend on others

And theirs will depend on you!

T: Together

E: Everyone

A: Achieves

M: More

So in the spirit of my Team Tuesday I want to introduce you to my CE Team and extended team. Read more about them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. They are worth meeting.

Cyndee Perkins, Curriculum & Program Development Director

Lorri Wyndham, Operations Manager

Kathy Muller, Director Sales Development

Donna Gordon, Administrative Assistant

Kris Sabo, Franchise Development Support Manager

Larry “Perk” Perkins, Director of International

Charmayne Redd, Director of Advertising

 Thank you CE Team (and extended Team) for all you do!

#FollowFriday Sept 11th

Blog lesson #3 Be accountable to posting new messages!

Like many I use TweetDeck. I have several groups and this week I suggest my Twitter Friends Group for #FF. This group is a listing of individuals that I have met through Twitter and had the opportunity to get to know personally either on the phone or at a TweetUp.

@4thGear I have not met Randy personally but I hope to soon. I really enjoy his blog on leadership. We had our first conversation last week and plan to speak again soon.

@adriandayton Adrian is attorney and has some of the best 1 minute videos on his blog.

@foiledcupcakes OMG Mari has the best cupcakes ever! I can’ wait til she ships to Houston.

@jeffmello Jeff is as nice in person as he is on line. If you are a sports fan Jeff is the one you should follow.

@joetheproducer I met Joe in Chicago and he was so kind to contact me afterward and help me with a little research.

@joyfulbathco Rochel makes Wednesdays fun with #bathday. She has a great product and is a delight to talk to and work with.

@julibarcelona Julie is a marketing professional. We met in Chicago at a TweetUp and I enjoyed spending time with her and getting to know her personally.

@julito77 is a publisher, marketer and serious sports nut. He is outgoing and very friendly on and off line!

@Justinthesouth Justin is a camp director and an all around nice guy. Always fun to meet Twitter friends and then have the opportunity to video Skype to keep up.

@sarahrobinson I enjoy reading Sarah’s blog and waiting to see what book she recommends next. Her recommendation of Trust Agents was spot on. I love it.

@tastidlite BJ is a real techie and social media guru. We’ve not met in person but I’ve enjoyed talking to him on the phone and looking forward to the IFA convention so we can meet face to face!

Blog lesson #2: Make a list of topics to discuss and mark the calendar as a reminder to update!

I have very fond members of the Labor Day weekends spent in New Jersey while raising my kids. We lived in a very close knit community Lake Pine where families participated in Lake Pine weekend (Labor Day weekend). The weekend events began on Friday evening when the adults gathered at South Beach (one of three beaches in Lake Pine) for a cookout followed by canoe races. Early Saturday morning residents met at the Club House for the 5k race. Local high school students and avid runners of South Jersey participated in the race. In the afternoon there were final construction details to floats and puppet show practice. The club house and grounds were set up for preparations of the big Lake Pine Day carnival and auction followed by the Parade and Puppet Show. On Sunday morning families young and old met on South Beach where children competed in sand castle contests working in teams to build the biggest and most creative sand castle. They were divided in age groups and everyone walked away with a ribbon. After a small break we moved to Main Beach for the peanut scrabble (children under 5 raced to gather the most peanuts tossed in the lake) and swimming competitions for children of all ages. At 10am Labor Day there was a parade. Fire trucks from several communities, classic cars, neighborhood floats started the parade and spectators followed to the Lake Pine club house for an auction, bake sales, carnival games and lots of fun.

Lake Pine was a wonderful community to live. The Labor Day weekend was just one weekend out of the year where everyone worked together for the greater good of the community. This particular event took a year of planning and many volunteers for success.

One of the reasons I have found social networking so rewording is because it has opened a door of an on-line community with new friendships and a sense of belonging. Communities like Lake Pine exist everywhere and the number of social communities in our cyber world is endless. If you are new to social communities and want to learn more about using social networks to benefit your life and business I highly recommend that you read Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Take a minute to visit the video blog of Sarah Robinson to learn more about Trust Agents. She suggests you race to your local book store or Amazon and get a copy as quickly as possible. She convinced me and I encourage you to do the same.

Twitter Follow Friday

Blog lesson #1: When establishing a blog in Feb and not posting the first entry until August be sure to post as a new entry!

Follow Friday (#FF)  as it is known on Twitter. #FF allows users to introduce those they follow and why. Here is my first list. It is limited to a few today with more to be added next week.

@DavidHandler is top on my list. I strongly believe that everyone needs a business coach. I have worked with David for several years. He is honest, ethical and dependable. 

@ginidietrich of Arment Dietrich is the PR firm for COMPUTER EXPLORERS but I also consider her a friend. I have worked with Gini for two years now. She has strong team members and over the years I have either met or worked with each member. Gini and her team makes me feel like I’m her top priority at all times. I know I am not the most important person on her list of clients or friends but that’s ok. At least I feel I am.

@TanyaFlynn is my Arment Dietrich account rep. We visit weekly and I’m not sure if she is more accountable to me or me to her! The PR and social media program is very important to COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE). It is comforting to know that each Thursday morning at 9:30 Tanya will call and we’ll efficiently run through our to do list.

@CesLSU became my first Twitter Friend. My family thinks it is very strange and I think his family does too. The beauty of this Twitter friend is he lives in Houston. It was a lot of fun telling our story at a recent dinner party he invited my husband and me too. The looks of confusion by his real friends was priceless.

@paulsegreto is a raving fan of COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE). I know this since he mentions us often in his blog podcast, tweets, etc. He has experience in franchising and is a social media expert. I look forward to his first presentation next week and I am confident he will do a great job!

@terrimcculloch is a network Queen. I think she knows everyone in the state of TX and has sent them my way! I believe secretly she wants to be part of the @CETeam and will soon find a way to make it happen. Until then I appreciate her networking expertise. She is someone to know, enjoy and follow.

@LorriW is the COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE) Operations Manager. Life would stop or at least experience a great loss if Lorri were to leave us! She is our social media  and operations expert.  Lorri loves to think outside of the box and implement new practices that benefit the corporate team but most of all the system as a whole.

@CyndeePerkins is Director of Curriculum and Program Development for COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE). Cyndee is a former educator and a franchisee. She is the education thought leader for CE. She understands education and how and what should be implemented into our programs.

@KathyM_ICED is the Sales Trainer for COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE) as well as other ICED brands. Kathy spends a great deal of time training, coaching and role play with the CE franchisees. Sales is so important to the initial launch as well as continued growth of CE and I am thankful to have Kathy as part of the team.

@Charmayne01 wears many hats. She is the Advertising Director for ICED. She is creative, dedicated, reliable and methodical about her work. Best of all she is funny and the first person I visit if I am having a bad day.

My list is short and I have missed many. Please visit again as I add some great people to follow.