Sunday, April 16, 2006

Marriage - Coaching - Life

On Saturday I spoke with two couples concerning marriage issues.

Both couples have similarities. As you know, I do not disclose personal information on my clients or potential clients, so I will not mention their exact issues, just the dynamics that make up so many marriage disputes.

When two people come together to form a union, marriage, they bring with them expectations. As long as those expectations are respect, love and honesty, there will not be a problem. The problems or issues come in when one or both partners bring with them faulty thought patterns, commonly called baggage.

So one year or twenty years into the marriage, this baggage or thought patterns start to develop into major disputes, soon divorce seems like the only way out.

What can a couple do? Is divorce the only answer?

This was my conversation last night with a couple. Sure you can tell them, preach to them or advise them to be thankful for what they have. I find that easy to say, especially after my wife's accident. Unfortunately that is like printing a warning on the package of cigarettes. It just does not work.

So what is the answer. First, most couples issues boil down to three issues, based on two dynamics. The two dynamics of life are , Fear and Love. Either you Love to do something or you Fear the consequences if you don't do it.

The three dynamics are wanting events your way, the way you feel they should be. The second dynamic is not trying, not experiencing life the way you should. The third dynamic is simply, trying to get others to fill your voids.

As a Life Coach, I see this very quickly in couples. Last night I noticed these dynamics at play in both partners. Ok, so now we know the dynamics at play, now what, what do we do?

There are several methods to help a client. As always you can try mental health therapy. I am not a fan of traditional mental health therapy. You can try Somatic Emotional Release work or Emotional Unwinding. Either method works well. This work, a byproduct of cranial sacral work and MFR, is designed to unleash the unresolved issues that you are holding in your tissues.

I use this work and have found that most clients release the emotional baggage and start to feel better physically. If you would like more information on Life Coaching or Somatic Emotional Release work, please feel free to call my office at 706-864-7000.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Meth = Death

Tonight I took my family to a special meeting held at the local high school by the Lumpkin County Sheriff, Mark McClure. Sheriff McClure is a unique Sheriff in the State of Georgia. He along with all the local judicial system, from Judge Jeff Lowe, the Magistrate Judge, to Superior Court Judge David Barrett, even Chief Judge Hugh Stone were all present.

The forum was designed to speak to the local community, to address drug addiction, especially Meth. This drug is like a cancer, it is taking over rural North Georgia. It is a major problem and there is no simple answer.

The panel consisted of county commission chairman, school superintendent, juvenile judge, superior court judge, drug task force members and John Cagle, the head of the GBI office in Cleveland Georgia.

This forum was very interesting and informative. Although I am disappointed that the system does not try alternative methods of treatment. I know of a local coaching group in Colorado that offers Life Coaching to individuals while in prison.

Afterwards I spoke to Superior Court Judge David Barrett. I asked the judge about treatment programs and therapy available to the prison population. Sad but true, there is little help for prisoners. Maybe I need to start a coaching program for prisoners. It is being offered in other jurisdictions, maybe Lumpkin County is a good place to start in Georgia.

If you know anyone on Meth, as Sheriff McClure said, " you can't stop them, you can't make them want to change," All you can do is show them you care. Offer to help them get help.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Velveteen Rabbit & Coaching

The Velveteen Rabbit
More Than A Children's Book

By Jeff Wasserman

On the weekend of March 30th through April 2nd, the childrens production at the Holly Theatre in Dahlonega Georgia presented " The Velveteen Rabbit." This play was based on the book first published in 1922 by Margery Williams.

The book follows the life of a stuffed bunny, made of inexpensive fabric and filled with sawdust. The bunny arrives in a well-to-do little boys nursery. Along side of more expensive toys, the bunny feels naturally shy and insecure. The bunny longed to fit in with his peers. Actually he hoped to become special to the boy.

Abandoned after the excitement of Christmas, the rabbit befriends, the wise old skin-horse. He explains to the rabbit that the boy will eventually love him and make him real. As the story goes, the horse is right, the Velveteen Rabbit is selected to keep the boy safe and secure during a serious illness.

A special bond or relationship develops between the boy and the rabbit. Along with the experiences the two share together, the rabbit transforms from a toy to something Skin Horse calls "real." Skin Horse claims that real is what happens when you become your true self, not a contrived, shiny, pretend thing and are loved despite, and maybe even because of, your imperfections.

The Velveteen Rabbit is much more than a children's tale, it is a classic metaphor. This story has the power to provoke our deepest desires, inspire reflection and remind us of the basic truths in life.

In the children's theater production of the Velveteen Rabbit, at the Holly Theater, Valerie West, the director, adapted the play to include a little girl as Andrea, instead of Andrew and a female rabbit spirit. Adapting in life is the key to a happy and successful life. As the old saying goes, " if you have lemons, make lemonade."

The play was wonderful and the entire cast and crew did an excellent job. Both of my daughters were in the play, Sara playing the rabbit spirit and Rachel playing a wild rabbit in the woods. Denali Hazen played Andrea. On Sunday, after the play, Denali presented my daughter Sara with a book by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, titled The Velveteen Principles.

When we returned home, Sara started to read the book. Sara read one chapter and came running into my office to explain that the book closely resembles Life Coaching. I opened the book and immediately noticed the similarities. Life Coaching is all about seeing yourself in the mirror of life, or seeing yourself as others see you. It is like a reality wake up call.

In the Velveteen Rabbit, story and play, the reality wake up call is called being real. Being real is truly being yourself and not a version of something you think you are suppose to be. In coaching we call this, living your authentic life.

This theory is based on our own individuality. Being real is different for everyone. Whether speaking about living an authentic life, living the coaching lifestyle or being real, one thing is the same. We are all striving for a feeling of happiness and contentment. We are always looking for work that is engaging, relationships that feel satisfying and genuine love so we never feel alone in this world.

As in the book and play, once you are real, you know that everything you say and do matters to others. It helps you understand pain and pleasure. You will want to help ease others pain and bring pleasure to your loved ones. It helps you strive to leave your mark on this earth.

In the book, the Velveteen Principles, Toni Raiten-D'Antonio lists 12 principles. This is especially interesting since my healthy life program using 12 similar principles which I call coaching strategies.

# 1) Real is Possible. - Being real is a quest to resolve your doubts and clarify your own identity and self-worth. In the play, as soon as the Rabbit learns what real is and the Rabbit believes it is possible, he/she starts to show signs of being real.

# 2) Real is a Process. In the play, the rabbit looks up to Skin Horse as a role model. Skin Horse explains the process of becoming real. He describes it with such authority, with such precision. In life, many people hire a Life Coach to help explain the process of living your authentic life. Change and transformation is a process in the play and in real life.

#3) Real is Emotional. Individuals have feelings and emotions that keep them from being real. In the play, the Rabbit maintains an emotional longing for being real. Skin Horse explains that you must have a clear understanding of your emotions, in order to be real. In Life Coaching, the coach explains the dynamics which hold you back from being real or living an authentic life.

#4) Real is Empathetic. When you are not real or not living a real life, you have difficulties understanding and relating to others. In the Velveteen Rabbit, the other toys all see their imperfections and are living their life as a toy. Skin Horse on the other hand, is real, he is able to express his kindness and caring.

# 5) Real is Courageous. In the story, Skin Horse explains to the Rabbit to have courage, to expect a little pain, to face his/her challenges. In real life, achieving what you want in life, living a authentic life requires you to overcome challenges, ridicule and resentment. Like in the play, you might even shed a real tear or two along the way.

#6) Real is Honest. Skin Horse is honest and real when it comes to talking to rabbit. The only reason the Rabbit leaned on Skin Horse is because he is so honest throughout the entire story. If you want to be real, you need to be honest to yourself and to others.

#7) Real is Generous. Generous is more than just giving material possessions to those who need. Generous is about caring for others health and happiness. In the story, the Rabbit is more concerned about the boys health than the fact that he is being taken away to be burned. Being generous is not about gift giving, it is about offering your support, caring for others and lending encouragement.

#8) Real is Grateful. In the Velveteen Rabbit, the boys love played a huge role in the Rabbit becoming real. The Rabbit understands that he should be grateful. Being grateful is more than saying thank you, it comes from the heart.

#9) Real can be Painful. Transforming into being real, or living an authentic life is a complex process. The Rabbit learned from Skin Horse that awakening in life, to becoming real is sometimes painful. In our lives, moving toward an authentic life, living the life of your dreams can be a painful experience, but once you reach your goal, the pain becomes part of the process or journey.

# 10) Real is Flexible. In the play, the Velveteen Rabbit sees the wild rabbits playing in the garden. The Velveteen Rabbit is not sure he can hop like the other bunnies. Once he forgets his limitations, he is able to hop just like the wild bunnies. You must release your self-imposed limitations and be flexible and accepting to change.

#11) Real Love Endures. The Velveteen Rabbit becomes real due to the boys love and affection. This entire story is based on endless love both from Skin Horse and Andrew, the little boy.

#12) Real is Ethical. The story demonstrates that in order to become real, to live the life of your dreams, to live an authentic life, one needs to be ethical and content with ourselves.

The story of the Velveteen Rabbit is a terrific example of why we should all live an authentic life, based on our own self worth. Being real is living a life that reflects the values and principles outlined in the Velveteen Principles by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Best Run Business in North Georgia

World Class Customer Service
From A Local Family Owned Business.

By Jeff Wasserman

In today's competitive world, you seldom encounter a business that exceeds your expectations. I had the pleasure of meeting and doing business with one such company. A few years ago I was setting up an office in Dahlonega and was in need of a new desk and other office furniture.

Every time I take my vehicle to Hardy Chevrolet in Gainesville for service, I can't help but notice the bright and cheerful building next door. The name on the building says it all, Office Pro's. Inside you will find a large two level showroom of new and used desks, chairs, book cases and supplies. The building also houses the school supply division, School Tools.

As a Life & Business Coach, I work with individuals and business owners who are looking to clarify their companies mission statement and connect with their customers. These business owners are searching for a method to improve the company culture, motivate their employees in order to offer their customers a excellent shopping experience. If you can offer your customers a memorable, hassle free shopping experience, you have developed a customer for life.

The owner's of Office Pro's have found the recipe for success. This family owned business, started by John & Marsha Jones, and their sons, Bill, Bobby, John IV and Tim. The Jones's family along with 30 other wonderful and dedicated staff members offer the most unique, relaxed and memorable shopping experience I have ever encountered.

As a Life & Business Coach, I often speak to groups of business owners, corporate managers and professional sales people. I stress the fact that little things make the sale, not the amount a business spends on advertising. Office Pro's is a great example of this theory.

When you walk through the door, you are always greeted by a caring and professional employee. Not a high pressure sales tactic, so often seen in furniture stores, but more like a welcome to our home greeting. The warm greeting is always followed up by an offer of a hot cup of coffee, individually brewed for freshness. On warm days, a cooler filled with ice cold bottles of water are yours for the taking.

The sales staff is always there to help and suggest, but there is no high pressure at Office Pro's. After viewing the new and used inventory in this large 45,000 square foot showroom, the sales staff is there to answer any questions. John Jones is always walking the showroom making sure the customers are being helped by his staff.

Mr. Jones has a talent for closing the sale. On the day I visited Office Pro's with my wife to buy a desk, I was overwhelmed with choices. New, used, wood, metal, just so many choices. I decided I would leave and visit the other national office supply stores located in Gainesville Georgia. Mr. Jones and his son Bill offered us a option never before offered to me by any retail store. If we leave and need time to think, we can go to lunch and if we return the same day, he would deduct our lunch off the bill. This was unique and a terrific offer of good will and smart business.

As you start to leave Office Pro's, even if you do not buy anything, they offer free newspapers to their customers with " Compliments of Office Pro's" stickers on each one. What a wonderful free inexpensive marketing tool. They even have free phone books for customers who need an additional phone book.

The Jones family and their staff have created a wonderful business and leave customers with a memorable shopping experience. I often speak to small business owners who complain that they can no longer compete with the large national chains. I make suggestions and offer advice on how to build customer loyalty, but many business owners prefer to spend a great deal on finding new customers instead of focusing on retaining the ones they have.

If you visit Office Pro's in Gainesville, be sure to check out their large selection of school supplies in their School Tools section and if you need a sign, talk to Tim Jones at Promotion Signs in the front of the building. From desks, to signs, the Jones family will take great care of you. And if you are not happy after the sale, they will make it right.

As you can see from the example at Office Pro's, if you own or manage a business, you can offer World Class Customer Service for little or no money. It does not take a huge advertising campaign to compete with the national chains and large corporations. In fact, you are doing yourself an injustice if you try to compete with these large companies on marketing. The secret is with the extras, paying attention to the little things in life.

I have worked with clients who put their business cards on a packet of flower seeds. Most perspective clients will not throw away a packet of seeds, but they might throw away a business card. I once worked with a client who sells his product to the construction trade. He was at a loss on how to get his message out to prospective clients. I suggested he buy a few dozen donuts, put his business card on the box and deliver them to the job sites. No one will pass up a fresh box of donuts.

If you have a unique business marketing idea you would like to share, please e mail me or call. I am always looking for successful businesses to spotlight. My theory is simple, do something for the customer above and beyond what they were expecting and you have a customer for life. I call this theory, Under Promise - Over Deliver (UPOD).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sweet Tomatoes

I love to eat at Sweet Tomatoes. It is a national salad restaurant chain. I visit the one in Alpharetta Georgia. I often speak with the managers Todd and Chad. Although I think there is a general manager, but he has never spoke to me.

About two months ago, I had a problem. I told Chad that I was disappointed with Todd's decision concerning a coupon. Chad made a excellent customer service decision, he went into the office and sent Todd out to resolve my problem.

Todd did a great job resolving the complaint. He also gave us two key chain discount cards for future visits. The cards are for 10% off all future visits on adult meals.

Since that time, I have experienced nothing but trouble with his cashiers. I have complained and complained, but nothing has improved. Other customers have heard me and also shared their complaints, but again, nothing has improved.

Last week I visited and Valerie was the cashier and she told me she would give me the 10% off on both meals, since I had both key chain tags, but only rang up one discount. I went back and complained, but Valerie stood at the register and said that she was only giving one discount since both tags were on the same key ring.

I said that is ridiculous. She laughed and said, too bad.... and then smiled and started to speak to the next customer in Spanish. I am not sure what she was saying, but from the little Spanish I know, I believe she was explaining to the customer why I was complaining.

Talk about a manager who works hard but accomplishes so little with staff like her.

Wait till my next article on customer service.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Life Coaching Designed For Children and Families

Today I stopped by my children's school to drop off a snack for what they call " Fun Friday." It is an incentive to get children to behave all week long. If a child does not behave during the week, they are not allowed to participate in the activities and treats.

As I walked down the hallway, there was a familiar face sitting outside the classroom. This boy from my daughters class was sitting outside the class and restricted from participating in the fun.

I had mixed emotions, I see how Life Coaching helps people see life from a different view, a much larger view. I also see how much stress this child causes his teacher. She is a sweet and wonderful dedicated teacher, but I can see she is at her wits end with this young man.

She has sent this boy to the office so many times, but it has resulted in limited temporary results. Can Life Coaching help at the elementary school level? I think so, I see first hand how great Life Coaching works with teenagers. Coaching outlines the options, and risks, the client makes the choice. Life Coaches never tell clients how to live their life.

Most school districts hire counselors to work with troubled youth, but are these youth really troubled? I don't think so, mixed up maybe, confused possibly, but more than likely, unable to express themselves. If a Life Coach could visually show a youth why they feel the way they do, imagine what that could do for a child who is confused.

He or she could gain clarity in their life, set goals, move forward, just like adults who utilize Life Coaching. In coaching we often say, if your current situation is not working, maybe it is time to try a different approach.

My favorite saying is, " don't ride a stationary bike and expect to get somewhere."

Maybe it is time in public school to try the coaching approach. Let children learn at a very early age why they have inner conflict and what the underlying dynamic is. If you are a teacher or administrator, please feel free to write me with your comments and suggestions.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Customer Service 101

As many of you know, I am writing a book on customer service. It will be used in business coach training as well as by owners and managers of companies who are interested in operating their business based on positive customer loyalty, using a system I call, "Under-promising and over-delivering." ( UPOD )

My book is based on fundamentally sound business coaching techniques as well as good common sense. Many of the examples are taken from my personal life. I have included my worst customer service experience, Wolf Camera to my best customer service, Inter-continental Hotel in Atlanta Georgia.

I am planning on writing my April monthly article on this same topic.

As a follow up to my story about Publix Grocery Store in Gainesville Georgia, I can't believe how a store and its employees dropped the ball in a chance to reconcile a problem. For those of you in retail, take this as a lesson in poor customer service. Remember in coaching we say, a problem can be turned into a goal. In this case, the management had a chance to turn a problem into a positive public relations exercise, instead of a public relations nightmare.

You may recall in my previous post about a problem at Publix in Gainesville Georgia, on Thompson Bridge last year. The deli was not marking the time on the chicken so they could sell the chicken all day long as fresh. On days when they did mark the time on the chicken, they sold it way past the " sell by time."
I stopped in at 5 pm and bought two boxes of chicken for my family, with the fixins ( a southern term) along with a cart full of groceries. When I got home, the chicken was to be "sold by 2 pm." I was afraid to feed it to my family, since we had no idea if the heaters maintained the chicken at a safe tempreture for an additional 3 or 4 hours.

I went back the next day to complain and found the chicken boxes that day unmarked, no " sell by time." I complained, but they would not replace the chicken from the day before. I left my name and number and the manager did not call me back.

When I was in the store a week later, I complained again, the manager said he was sorry, but that is all he could do. I stopped in again and told him that I thought he showed a poor choice of customer service options and after growing up shopping at Publix, I would not be back.

I was speaking at a seminar in Florida, telling this story, a guy stood up and said he was with Publix, he had been with Publix 17 years and never heard of a similar story. I assured him that he could call the manager at the Gainesville store and he would confirm the story as accurate. I finished my speech and he apologized for this managers customer service or lack of customer service.

About a week ago, my wife asked me to go to Publix with her. They sell a few products that Kroger does not carry. I agreed, but when we were finished shopping, spending over $100, they bagged the groceries and pushed the cart my way. I asked the cashier if they stopped pushing the cart out to your car, a Publix tradition. She said they did not have enough help.

I stopped at the courtesy counter and complained. The customer service manager told me that she knew who I was and that she had read my article a few months ago. She told me that it is the Gainesville Georgia Publix managers policy to only offer to push carts out to your car if you are old or a female. Talk about not treating all customers the same.

She also went on to say that she was personally sorry for the problems I had in the past, but the manager chose to handle the problem his way and there was nothing else she could do.

I do not understand this manager, he works for a company that promotes pride in their service, quality products and most of all, " complete satisfaction." The founder of Publix, Mr. Jenkins would not be proud of the way this manager handled my complaint.

In my book, this Publix manager ranks number three in worst customer service of all time.

If you work for Publix or shop at this store, please feel free to e mail me for more details of this experience.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Family Tree

Happy Valentine's Day.

Last week I was talking with a friend, who is also a teacher at the local elementary school. She was telling me that kids today do not quite understand what a family tree is. When I grew up, if you were lucky you had two sets of living grandparents, you also had a Mom & Dad, brothers and sisters.

Today with divorce so common and blended families, children are not sure how to draw a family tree. This comment resonated with me. As I study my client base over the past few years, I see so many issues, problems and challenges that have roots back to elementary school.

The more I think about our society as a whole, I realize that we need to promote life coaching in elementary school. If you break down the most common problems, you will find that the underlying dynamics can be identified into 12 categories, and if you organize them, I think you will find that they fall under 4 areas of our lives.

One of those such problems seems to be, most people are never happy, always looking for more. Never satisfied. Some people would say, people today are not satisfied with what they have. Others would say they set their goals too high and yet other professionals would say, "if you want less, you will have more."

I am not saying there is one correct answer, what I am suggesting is that as a life coach, you should promote striving for more, for excellence, yet, learn to appreciate what you have and how far you have come.

Going back to our young children today, I think we need to teach them how to handle challenges using a life coaching model, instead of discipline. We need to teach our children to filter out what is important, to see reality or the truth in our problems, to go back to the old saying, " its all about you."

If you are a concerned parent, educator or responsible corporate executive who would like to see this idea grow and flourish, please feel free to contact me.

Have a great week.

Friday, February 10, 2006

So much to say, so little time to blog

I have fallen behind in blogging. One of my new years resolutions was to blog daily. Since my wife's accident, I have not had the time to blog, I have been playing Mr. Mom and Dad. Here are several updates all at once.

My articles will be appearing again in 400 Edition. Due to my wife's injuries, I took a few months off from writing my monthly article. February's article is on a friend who passed away last year. His birthday was on Monday and I wanted to remember him with my article.

I am currently talking with several radio stations. In the past, I hosted a call in radio show, Life Coach Radio. I am now working on a deal to host my show, but in a audio and visual mode. The shows would be available on the radio as well as recorded and available in video format on-line.

I am in the final discussions to take Life Coach News to a printed format. The original idea was to publish a monthly or quarterly print magazine, but due to limited free time to devote to the project, we moved Life Coach News, On-Line. Now this year, it will be on-line and in print.

One more project I am working on this year. I am going to publish a e-book on customer service. As many of you know, this is a favorite topic for me. The e-book will consist of several personal experiences in the retail world. Stores included in the book will be Target, Wal-Mart, Eckerd Drugs, Wolf Camera ( I bet you could have guessed that one.), Publix grocery stores, Kroger, Costco, BJ's wholesale club, Home Depot and The UPS store.

Restaurants discussed in the e -book include IHOP ( wait till you read this story) O'Charlies, Steak & Shake, Red Lobster, Applewood in Gatlinburg Tn., Sweet Tomatoes, Wendy's and Mc Donald's.

On-line retailers in the book include, Book-a-million, Harry & David's, Amazon and Victoria Secret.

The reason all of these projects are so far behind schedule is my wife's injuries due to the accident. For anyone reading this blog for the first time, here is an update on my wife's accident. In the fall of 2005, while driving her new Suburban southbound, on Georgia 400 a truck driven by Mr. Gregory Nick Holloway lost control, hit an 18 wheeler, crossed the grassy median and hit her head on at a high rate of speed.

She was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. Since that time we have accumulated over $ 40,000 in medical bills, out of pocket expenses and rehabilitation treatments. Mr. Holloway had minimal state limits of $25,000 with Nationwide Insurance. The claims representative from Nationwide mislead us into thinking they were interested in settling the claim quickly and fairly. Neither of these two statements are true or accurate.

It is now 5 months since she was injured and Mr. Holloway's insurance carrier, Nationwide Insurance has not reimbursed us one penny, not one cent. Now the Nationwide claims representative states that he does not feel the claim is worth policy limits, even though the limits are only $25,000.

The saddest part of this whole story is that Mr. Gregory Nick Holloway has never apologized to my wife, never sent her a get well card, never even tried to say he is sorry for almost killing her. Mr. Holloway's insurance carrier, Nationwide Insurance should be ashamed, five months after the accident, $40,000 in expense and they have not paid one cent.

I now understand why so many people hire an attorney right after an accident.

I will keep you posted on our progress with Mr. Holloway's insurance carrier, Nationwide Insurance.

Until next time, please wear your seatbelt.


Friday, January 13, 2006

New Year - New Ideas

I am sorry if this blog post is long, but so much has happened since my last post. First I want to give my readers a update on the past year. As many of you know, my wife was injured in a serious auto accident on September 19th. She was traveling on a four lane divided highway and a pick up truck traveling in the opposite direction lost control and hit a auto hauler. The driver then went through the grassy median and hit my wife head on at a high rate of speed. She suffered serious and painful injuries.

Since that day, I have learned first hand what it is like to deal with an insurance company. The man that hit my wife, Mr. Holloway did not call, e mail or mail an apology. Ok, so Mr. Holloway has insurance with Nationwide. I have spoken with the Nationwide claims adjustor many times, e mailed and written to him. As of today, January 13th, 2006 Nationwide Insurance has paid nothing on our loss. So much for all the television commercials.

Due to my wife's injuries, we had no choice but to delay the fall 2005 coaching class. The next class will start on January 17th. My wife normally handles the admissions for the coaching program as well as the tuition payments. Since she was not able to follow up with the students, it was necessary to cancel the class. I am sorry to all the students who were not able to attend the October class due to her injuries.

While giving public speeches many years ago, I started what I call my top ten best and worst customer service stories of the year. This has somewhat grown into a tradition. It really just started out as cocktail conversation when I visited with guests at the resort. This has grown very popular now that I am teaching the 52 week business coaching program.

Since my wife's accident I missed writing my November, December and January article for 400 Edition. I have fallen behind in writing my weekly coaching column. So for all my friends who regularly visit my blog, here is a list of just the top winners and losers. I won't go into detail here for the top winners, but I will briefly list the reasons for the top losers.

( see top five below)
Air Trans Airways -
Home Depot -
Target -
Hampton Inn

( see top five below)

Wolf Camera and Video - No doubt, they win the award. David Ritz, CEO / President of Ritz/Wolf Camera should be ashamed of how his company reacted and responded to a customer complaint.

Publix Supermarket - Gainesville Georgia ( Thompson Bridge Rd.) Big disappointment for such a well run company. Manager made poor choices in customer relations and even after having several opportunities to correct the problem, lost a customer for the cost of 2 roasted chickens. ( Read my next blog, the follow up to publix)

IHOP - Julia Stewart, the CEO of IHOP does not follow through. Talk about using a form letter to respond to a customer. I don't think she reads her mail, she just sends the standard complaint letter out. IHOP management needs to wake up.

Eckerd Drugstores in Georgia.- District manager does not return phone calls. How can you complain if you call them and they don't call you back.

General Motors / On Star - Talk about getting the run around. When my wife's air bag went off in her Suburban, the On Star unit did not work. She tried and tried pushing the red emergency button, but no luck. It did not work. This is after we paid $16.95 a month for On Star service. I complained and complained. Talk about run-around. Bottom line, the product allegations department got involved, they came back with, " there is nothing we can do" if you don't like it, hire an attorney and file a law-suit. I think Rick Wagner Jr., CEO of GM, needs to take a good look at why GM is doing so poor.

Now on to 2006.

I have several projects planned for 2006, including a video production for the coaching trade. I am writing a book, a novel of sorts, but this is more for fun than anything else. All of these things are on hold until my wife heals and returns to her daily life.

On the bright side, I recently took a trip to Florida to visit my father. On the way down I was thinking about how the local school district handles disruptive children. My daughters come home with stories at night and all I can think about is how much using a coaching approach would benefit young children. Similar to Dr. Glasser of the Glasser Institute. He uses a positive approach to teaching.

So there I am, on the way down I-75 when I look out my window and there is this boy putting his head out the window. I was in South Georgia and due to construction the traffic was moving very slow. So I decided to using my coaching techniques on him. He was just having fun, not hurting anyone, but I could see how some drivers who are stressed and aggravated with the traffic could take it out on this boy.

So when I was along side of him, he was acting silly, so I pulled out my digital camera and snapped a picture. I think it stunned him. He shifted gears, instead of aggravating me, I think I aggravated him. A few miles down the road, I unrolled my window and asked him and his mom for their e mail address, I was going to send the picture to him. He was shocked and skeptical about giving out his e mail address. So true to my word, I am posting it on this blog. I hope it shows up on your screen. His name is DJ.

So DJ, this one is for you. ( Sorry for the delay)