Archive for the 'Strengths' Category

The LAST time I want to be FIRST


July 14, 2008 by: michelle

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post on Friday. Like a million others (or 425,000 others depending on who you believe) I was waiting in line and at the Apple Store for my new 3G iPhone – for a total of 7 hours!

Now, to be honest, I was ready for a long wait. I knew it was a little silly to be in line at 7:30 am, but there I was. I realized, of course, that being in line at 6:00 am would be truly insane and besides would only mean being a little closer to the door – with 2 hours more to wait until the store actually opened. But after waiting a year and 11 days, I was prepared for 3-4 hours in the thick of things for the thrill of being one of the First, even if it was the second time around.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the utter lack of competency and caring on behalf of AT&T. (My alternate title for this post was “AT&T made me cry.”)

At 10:30 and with just a few people ahead of us (my husband and owner of an original iPhone for a year and 11 days was with me to acquire his own bigger, faster, stronger gadget), I was pleased that my estimated hours of anticipation were right on the money. However, I was also nearing full-on panic because we’d been on the phone with AT&T for over half of that time. Not withstanding endless loops of IVRs and vague menus that naturally had no selection for “If you’re one of the million people we hope will buy a new iPhone this weekend – Press 7″, not a single one of the 11+ real live (supposed) people we spoke with could seem to solve this puzzle:

Hi, I use your service and send you quite a lot of money every month. I’m planning on buying something that I really, really want and know I will love that will enable [a.k.a force] me to send you even more money for even longer, doesn’t that sound great? can you help me? In other words, I’m a current AT&T customer with an iPhone, I’d like to UPGRADE to a Family Plan with another iPhone. Can you do that?

I’m sorry, Sir, you’ll have to buy your phone from an AT&T store. I’m sorry sir, we can’t help you. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…

Are you kidding me? How did they not foresee this particular scenario? Wouldn’t this be the very definition of “low hanging fruit”? Didn’t they imagine that lots of wives and sons and daughters and lovers and all sorts of iPhone-maniacs that have “family” would naturally think, “hey, honey, you should get one now too?” Apparently not.

And though I’m sure between my husband and I we must have read every blog, factoid, rumor and innuendo in the previous month, no where did we think that we would have to go to AT&T to get our new phones – or we certainly would have been in another line!

So there we were, the next in line, with no way to get a second line! Well, alright. Lucky for us we were at Montgomery Mall, where there is an AT&T store around the corner from the Apple Store about 20 yards away. So around the corner we go. Only to find a line full of other disappointed Apple fans. The lady with the baby carriage who had been a little ways ahead of us. A family with two kids whose cheerios and sippy-cups had long ago run dry. Oh, and the “Manager” of the AT&T store, informing us that they were sold out. He – another real live person – shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, made a face and said, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do.”

How sad. What a heartbreaking story of…uhm…I can’t think of the word…D’uh-ness? With over 5 million phones in the market, AT&T had hundreds of thousands of opportunities to turn current customers into loyal fans, and new customers into delighted buyers who loved the ease and sophistication of switching to AT&T. Instead, they became The Bad Guys, the ones keeping me (and lots of others) from what I loved and longed for.

But what’s worse, instead of Insidious Masterminds or Evil Geniuses, they just seemed ill-trained and un-empowered. A legion of bumbling henchmen and loser lackeys who are always the ultimate undoing of any brilliant plan. And they made me feel almost as stupid. They made me regret my feverish excitement about being the First. That’s the Last time. Because they also made me dig my heals in and refuse to buy my phone from AT&T. (I did not, I’m happy to report.)

I was ready to love them by association. Instead, every day in my contract with them is just another day closer to the end of their exclusive agreement. The day I jump ship. When will the cell-phone industry realize that indentured servitude isn’t the same thing as loyalty?

For toppers, now more than 48 hours later, my phone is still not receiving calls.

But tune it next time to learn why I can still love Apple, even though they broke my heart, a little.



Today was Michel(l)e Day


July 7, 2008 by: michelle

Image Palace Florists

I’ve lived near, worked around the corner or down the street and passed by Palace Florists at 19th & N near Dupont Circle for many of my nearly 20 years in DC. I don’t remember when I first noticed the sign, but for several years they have had a sign out front that reads “If your name is ______(fill in a name) come in for a free rose.” There is a different name everyday. They seem to roll through the alphabet.

It always makes me smile, but I’ve never seen my name before. Once I sent an email to my friend Lisa that worked around a different corner nearby to let her know it was Lisa day.

Well, today was Michele day. With one “L”. That’s what the sign said. I smiled, and also felt sort of desperate and full of anxiety and wondered would they turn me away for my extra-L? After all these years of telling people, “Hi, my name is Michelle with two L’s, like the song” would I come to regret the traditional French spelling? Would they card me?

As I entered the lushly green store, there was a female customer at the register. From behind one of the counters filled with beautiful arrangements appeared another woman who obviously worked there – the single rose in hand gave her away. As she notice my “gee-I-wonder-how-this works” look, she smiled brightly and asked, “Michel(l)e??”

She asked in the way you say someone’s name when you go out on a blind date or think you recognize someone from Jr. High, full of hope and anticipation. I didn’t recognize her. I felt that brief deer-in-the-headlights sensation. What a coincidence to run into someone who knew me here. How did she know me? My mind raced…then I remembered why I had come in to the store. ;-)

She must see that same look on lots of people’s faces each day. It turned out the woman in line was also Michele, with the requisite single L. But it turned out it didn’t matter. They didn’t card me after all. But they did gain a loyal customer. No more plain old FTD or 800flowers for me.

No, from now on Palace Florists will be a part of my family too – check out their tagline.

Strengths & SuperPowers – Kind Trusting Service, Engaging Anticipation



Welcome to The Burning Desire


June 20, 2008 by: michelle

Hello, and Welcome!

Today is the longest day of the year – here in the Northern hemisphere. That means more daylight hours to devote to doing what you do best and what you love the most.

What’s that you say? You can’t remember the last time you spent more than an hour doing what you do best? You hardly ever feel like you get to really shine at work and lately it seems like every day is so draining? Well…maybe last quarter there was that one great strategy meeting…or a few months ago you got to work on that special project for a couple weeks. But it’s certainly not an everyday occurrence, right?

Unfortunately, studies show you’re not alone. Over the last decade, the Gallup Organization has gathered information from the more than 10 million participants who have taken their Clifton StrengthsFinder profile. Data indicates that only 30% of respondents strongly agreed that they have the opportunity to do what they do best everyday at work.

So that means a vast majority of us spend a vast majority of our time doing things we may not be very good at, or even like very much. For employees, that means things like dreading going to work and spending a lot of time telling people about the terrible place they work. For companies it means disengaged employees and higher turnover. And for small businesses, it can be the root cause of stagnant business growth.

Like most superheroes, we all have a few things that we can do better than almost anyone – innate talents and signature strengths that make us soar high and shine brightly. (Okay, maybe not fly or wield a golden lasso, but, hey, we’ve got planes and polygraphs for that stuff now.) But in this Universe, individuals with the innate abilities for developing loyal customer relationships, strategic planning, innovative conceptual thinking, or mad number crunching can save the day faster than any magic bullet.

Yet the sad truth is that, also like many superheroes, we spend most of our time masking those talents or pushing them to the periphery, focusing our energies instead on our weaknesses or “areas for improvement.” Essentially, hiding our x-ray eyes behind our horn-rimmed glasses.

So, if you need rescuing from your mild mannered life – welcome to The Burning Desire. Here at TBD, you’ll find a fun, lighthearted approach to help you identify your innate talents and signature strengths so you can get more of what you want from life whether it’s a new and improved career path, better team dynamics and collaboration, or a new business venture.

Along the way, we’ll look at ancient wisdom, new research, and comic book philosophy to help you identify your strengths so you can ignite your passion, create focus and “unmask your inner superhero.”

You’ll also meet the “League of Legends” – thought leaders, business gurus, and Jedi Masters of everything from music to gardening to database developing, inspiring people who seem to live by The Burning Desire’s philosophy -

  • - Do what comes naturally and what you do best
  • - Do what you love the most and with the greatest of passion
  • - Do what you do to make the world a better place

Oh, and of course, you’ll learn more about The Burning Desire herself.

So tune in next time…