Do your client gifts go awry?

Many companies like to show their appreciation for loyalty by adding extras to their repeat customers’ experience. It’s common in hotels to upgrade their loyal customers with in-room treats. While I never expect these, I appreciate them even if the item isn’t to my taste.

However, it’s rare that these gestures actually backfire. I know this is the exact opposite of the intention of the hotel management, but it can happen.

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The longing for connection

I believe a fundamental human longing is for connection. Most of us get this need met through friends and family, and sometimes we look for connection through brief interactions with strangers.

I guess I was wanting to connect with the elderly Japanese couple seated near me in the shade at an ancient temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand. It was warm and we all apparently wanted a respite from the heat. I gleaned they were Japanese from their son’s talking to them when he deposited them near me.

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Are you being helpful — or hurtful?

Sometimes our friends and colleagues ask us for feedback. Other times we think our feedback will help them see a blind spot that we think they should know.

But no matter if the input is asked for or not, we’re never quite sure how it will be received.

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Travel Angels Redux

A few years ago, I wrote another piece about travel angels. What are they?

When I travel, especially abroad, I am touched by the kindness of others. I call them my travel angels. We had many in our week in Myanmar. In Hong Kong, on the way from the airport to our hotel we had three.

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Been inspired lately?

Lisa (in purple) helped start the savings group

A few weeks ago I visited some projects our Together We Can Change the World foundation supports with SE Asian disadvantaged women and children in Myanmar (Burma). In addition to visiting several schools, we visited an inspirational group called Women for the World.

In their small village outside Yangon (formerly Rangoon) a group of 30 women started a savings club several years ago. Tiring of their inability to escape squalor on their husbands’ meager $5-$8/day earnings, they played the lottery as the only way they thought they could rise out of poverty. All of their money went to rent and food and they had nothing left over to save to invest in their own homes. The banks wouldn’t loan them money as they made too little.

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How long will you tolerate dysfunctional behavior?

I heard a story recently about an executive displaying highly dysfunctional behavior. She is high enough in the organization to get away with not being disciplined or fired. But she’s not emotionally mature enough to understand how her actions have negative ramifications on those around her.

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Do you create your own stress?

“I hate my mailman!” my friend exclaimed.


“Because I was expecting an important package and he just left me a notice in my mailbox. In fact, I saw him earlier in the day in another part of the condo complex.”

My friend lives on the fourth floor of a condo building with a communal mailbox station on the first floor. There is no office for deliveries to be left.

“Did you expect him to deliver it to your door?”


“Has he delivered to your or your neighbors’ doors in the past?”


So my friend expected someone to do his job differently than he’d ever done it because the package was important to her. And since she’d seen him earlier she had the opportunity to discuss picking up her package from him, but she didn’t take the time to do so.

And now she’s upset. At him. Not at herself for not ensuring she’d receive the package that day.

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Is your self-reliance dooming you?

A pal has been a supervisor at our local hardware store for 8 years. He recently shared a story about Eric, the new general manager — someone who’d never worked in a hardware store and was hired about 6 months ago.

Eric is a nice guy, but he doesn’t see how he’s causing himself to fail. It appears that Eric has a lot of confidence since he never asks anyone else for input. The result is a messy store, frustrated staff and irritated customers. His numbers are suffering as a result.

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