3 Ways to Separate Yourself

separate-yourselfEach summer I attend my sons’ youth soccer games. Little kids’ games are extremely entertaining. They play what I call “the huddled masses” soccer, where a herd of children swarms the ball tripping over each other in the process. It’s wildly fun to watch.

Parents shout at their child to “kick harder” and “run faster”, hoping their kid can separate the ball and themselves from the pack. Any time a kid accomplishes this feat he or she generally is seen racing toward an open net and for an easy GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!

Businesses face a similar frenzy, getting lost in the masses while attempting to claw, kick and scream to be recognized. Having a good product or quality service isn’t enough; you must find distinct ways to separate yourself from the pack.

Here are 3 ways to separate yourself:

Understand the Business You’re In

Years ago I worked for a minor-league sports team. We started with the misconception that we were in the football business. We were wrong. As a sports team, we competed against movie theaters, concerts, amusements parks, miniature golf and other sporting events. We were in the entertainment business.

We needed to convince customers to spend their money attending our games over other forms of entertainment. Once we understood the business we were in, our marketing improved, each game became an event, and eventually ticket sales increased.

Be Known for Something

What do you want to be known for? What makes people think of you first?

When I want sushi, I think of Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City. To me, they are the best value for good sushi. There are cheaper sushi restaurants. There are higher quality ones too. Simply Sushi decided they would be known as the best value. This definition often wins my lunch money.

McDonald’s is known for the Big Mac. Burger King is Home of the Whopper. They offer other menu options, but they’re known for one main thing.

Trying to be all things to all people may result in not being known at all.

Be Social

Many professionals and businesses still struggle to know what to do with Social Media. It’s okay to start simple and build your strategy from there. Social Media should be used to entertain, educate and engage.

Think of social media as another communication channel. Yes, it requires an investment in time, resources, and creativity. Your investment will be part of what separates you from your competition. Find ways to be different. Be interactive. Be memorable.


What other ways have you found to separate yourself?

– DJ

5 Lessons Learned from Working Out

5-lessons-learned-from-working-outOne year ago I started working out at the gym. A first for me… ever. I’m proud to say I’ve stuck with it all year.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

Results Take Longer Than Expected

My first three months I focused on eating healthy eating, cardio and strength training. Initial results came fast, then became more difficult. The next nine months were a battle, but I stuck with it. I learned to measure success differently, beyond just weight loss. I measured success by lifting heavier weights, by doing more repetitions, and increasing cardio endurance.

Changing how I measured success enabled me to continue to see results.

It’s Still Not Easy

Waking up at 6 am is both a habit and a struggle. I often wake up sore and fatigued. I thought that would pass. It doesn’t. In the beginning, I was sore beyond imagination. Now it’s a good sore, but it’s soreness nonetheless. Furthermore, I’ve dealt with various injuries: plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and a sore shoulder rotator cuff. Muscles heal, injuries pass, but new ones arise.

Bottom line, it’s still not easy.

“Easy” was never the goal.

It’s a Journey, not a Destination

Every fitness goal achieved come with a deep sense of accomplishment. Which is not the same as feeling like I’ve “arrived”. There is almost more to achieve. While I focus on reaching milestones, I learned to enjoy the journal.

The destination is merely another level, that leads to a curve in the road and another challenge to conquer.

Support is Crucial

Surrounding myself with supportive people has been extremely beneficial. Alienate yourself from detractors and negative people.

Some days I couldn’t have done it without great friends and family cheering me on!

It all Depends on You

Yes, this seems contradictory to the Support point. While support is vital, your success is 100% dependent on you – your attitude, your drive, and your efforts.

It’s all on you!

– DJ

Tchau 2016

qogm32016 has been a challenging year, to say the least. While every year has it’s ups and downs, this one takes the cake.

The good news is that it’s about to end.

2017 represents a fresh start. Sure, it’s nothing more than a flipped page on a wall calendar, but a new year always brings new hope.

So I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year!

May 2017 be a year of celebrating accomplishments and enjoying the journey!

This picture of my son reminds me that not every triumph should be measured by games won or even home runs hit.

It’s okay to celebrate just getting on base.

The Enemy of Good

enemy-of-goodMany of my favorite movies involve epic battles between good and evil. I enjoy cheering for the good guys and relish seeing the bad guys fail. After all, evil or bad is the enemy of good.

In a recent meeting, I learned that “Good” has a more sinister nemesis. I was presenting on a project that took more than four months to complete, twice as long as projected. A colleague of mine asked why the project had taken so long. He said a month earlier he’d seen the project and thought it was completed. I explained that while it was quite good at that time, several individuals gave feedback on multiple ways to make it better; resulting in the delay.

“Ah yes, always making things better” he commented.

Better is the enemy of Good,” he said.

It got me thinking “Were the changes worth the delay?”. Even more troubling “Was it even better, or was it just different?”

I believe in continual improvement. However, this colleague brought up a good point:

How often do we get bogged down trying to make it better, when in fact, we’re just hindering results without truly knowing what improvements to make?

In 2017 let’s do good work! Let’s generate good results. Then let’s make smart changes to drive greater results!

3 Holiday Work Traditions that Should Go Away

holiday-work-go-awayThe holiday season is full of fun and exciting traditions. I truly love family traditions at Christmas time.

Holiday traditions at work… that’s a different story.

Call me a Grinch, but here are 3 all-too-common work traditions that should simply go away!

  1. Ugly Sweater Contest
    • I’ll never forget one year when an older woman in the office received the prize for the Ugliest Sweater Contest. To the horror of HR, they learned she was unaware of the contest – that was simply the sweater she wore to work that day.
  2. Pajama Day
    • Do I really need to explain!?
    • It’s hard to take a grown man serious after you’ve seen him in a full-size one-piece pajama with footies.
    • Not to mention the individual who shows up in scantily clad PJs that borders on lingerie.
  3. Gifts to Coworkers
    • Gifts are a kind gesture. When gifts and treats start to pile up however, anxiety builds and peer pressure to give quickly spews through the office. And what if you forget to give something to every single person… heaven forbid!
    • If your team feels inclined to share holiday joy, consider a treat table where anyone can place a plate of goodies to share. It doesn’t require everyone to participate, nor add worries about exclusions.

Holiday parties, team lunches, and decorating cubicles and office – I’m fine with those things. Just keep it professional and don’t create added anxiety to what can already be a stressful time of year.

Do you disagree? What about any other holiday work traditions that you think should be abolished?


What does Google say about you?

As a hiring manager, when considering a potential candidate, I often Googled the person; typing their name into Google to see the results.

One time Google showed a candidate was being investigated for credit card fraud. A huge problem considering one of our largest clients was Bank Card Services.

What does Google say about you?

Try it. Go Google yourself.

(Uh, that sounded awkward)

As a business leader, thought leader, manager, marketer, sales representative, company representative, etc., you should be controlling your personal and professional brand. Seeing what information is available online is a good practice.

Use this as a basis to build your brand reputation throughout the year.

Then just for fun, Google your co-workers. Be warned, once I Googled a co-worker and found information for him on Mugshots.com. Not good.

Hiring is like Selling a Home

pablo-20This month marks 10 years living in my current home. The first place we lived as a married couple, was a condo. We used a realtor to sell it. He did a great job organizing Saturday open houses so we could show the place to as many people as possible, Hours and hours were spent walking people through the rooms, and answering questions. Eventually, we sold the condo and bought a starter home.

After seven years our family outgrew the starter home and we decided to sell it in order to build a home more suitable to our family’s needs. This time my wife and I decided to sell it on our own, nothing against Realtors.

Again we decided to hold an open house. This time the announcement included as many details as possible, such as selling price, the year built, the size of the home, the size of the lot, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, paint and carpet color, brand of the appliances, schools near the home, distance from the freeway, and more. The idea being to give potential buyers tons of information about questions they’d inevitably ask.

When the day came for the open house we saw far fewer people than expected. In fact, only a handful showed up. However, two couples expressed interest in buying the home – seven days later it was sold to a young couple looking for a starter home, in a good neighborhood near certain schools, where they hoped their children would one day attend.

See it wasn’t about finding lots of people to look at the home. The goal was to find one person willing to buy and with the financial means to do so. In this case, the young couple who pulled up in the small rusted car – they were the ones (and they paid in cash – no loan needed, but that’s another story).

20161207_152446-01Hiring is no different. Hiring is about finding one person to fill a specific role. It’s not about a bringing in dozens of applicants and vetting them all out – It’s not Celebrity Apprentice. It is about finding one person willing to work for your company, in that position, for that pay – who has the current skills and future potential, and that fits into your company’s culture.

Again, the goal is to find the ONE.

Once you’ve found someone who meets your criteria – offer them the job. Don’t spend any more time. Don’t risk losing them. After all, they might end up finding another “home to buy” that’s just as appealing.