Archives for November 2014

LinkedIn’s CEO Nailed IT: His Venn Diagram

Share Button

Jeff Weiner, the CEO of Linked in flat out nailed the Venn Diagram of people he most enjoys working with.

What leader worth their salt wouldn’t say “Hell Yea!” on this little picture?


People I enjoy working with

Isn’t WHO you work with everything in business?

What if you were surrounded by people that have only 1 element, how would it work?  Maybe there would be some value to the people or to the business, but probably not.  Probably 2/3 are the minimum needed.

3 out of 3 are probably the classic “A Players,” small in % terms but great in overall impact.

What Mr. Weiner’s Venn Diagram shows clearly is that it takes a mix of all 3 elements to really provide him the “Juice” or energy to really enjoy working with them.

Everyone should go through this exercise and rank their top 3 qualities of traits they like to see in others they work with daily.

Business is certainly about delivering results.  But results are a by-product of people coming together and working effectively with each other.  

Understanding what traits in others you appreciate is a great first step.  

Share Button

Branding Case Study: The Prize of Emotional Connection

Share Button
Starbucks vs. Dunkin Donuts

image credit:

I’ve always been a Starbucks addict.  The brand has been part of my daily routine for about 15 years and I bet I’ve been the first ring at 5:30am more than 100x’s in over 4 locations in 3 states.  In short, I’d consider myself a loyalist.  The routine stopped in March 2014 when I moved to NJ to acquire LM Foods and there just isn’t one between Pt. A (Gym) and Pt B (company).  The experience has let me learn a few things as my Venti Black Dark Roast went bye bye…..

I’ve become what marketers call an “experimenter.”  Open to new experiences.  A coffee Swinger if you will.  In general, Dunkin Donuts probably gets 75% of my coffee $’s, but that is probably falling to 1/3 fast.  For me, they are not Starbucks for a variety of reasons:

  • They simply haven’t figured out the “Third Place Concept” and the vibe that goes with relaxation.  I think I’ve taken advantage of the Starbucks leather seats <10% of the time.  But the vibe, even if I only feel it for 90 seconds matters.  Life is hectic, and escapism matters.  
  • Dunkin can’t seem to understand that selling 2 day old bagels is not smart.  And they make this mistake often, and when you tweet them about it?  Black hole, no response. Why bother having a Social presence if you fail to engage?  
  • Dunkin is one of the great franchises in America.  But you simply never know what kind of experience you will get when your greeted by your Dunkinista (is that a word?). When I’m one of the first customers showing up when its still dark outside, and am on trip #30, shouldn’t you know who am?  

There’s a funny thing that happens when a Brand does not earn an EMOTIONAL connection with its consumers:  They start to wander.[Continue Reading…]

Share Button

A Job: NOT a Choice on The Menu

Share Button

Nothing is more fundamental to a person’s life than their job.  It provides a means for basic life security needs, and if we are honest with ourselves, a major contributor to one’s own self esteem.

I think that ALL work has value in our economy and cringe when I hear people talk about minimum wage jobs with disdain or use the word “Mcjobs.”  Not only is it disrespectful to people working in those jobs, but its also disrespectful to someone who will one day LEAD people.  At least they have the opportunity too…..

Ask any unemployed person who is struggling to find work how they would value a job and you will be humbled right away.

But there’s a fact of life:

Some people view their jobs, whether minimum wage or professional, similar to how they view their next meal out:  

What am I in the mood for?  Pizza?  Burger?  Sushi?  They make a choice daily relative to their job as if it were something casual.

You see this attitude manifest itself when people do the following:

  • They go through the motions, doing the bare minimum to get by, never asking for feedback or questions when they get stuck
  • They pass up on opportunities to build relationships, which as my friend Ted Rubin says, is the new currency of today’s economy.
  • They actually are on the constant hunt for “what’s next” in terms of their next meal (or job) vs being obsessed with doing REMARKABLE work (and letting the score take care of itself.)
  • They would actually resign from a job without creating anywhere near the ROI for the employer (in other words before any acceptable amount of time, call it 6 months), when a new sushi joint opens up.

I understand this post is somewhat cynical, and I view myself as a staunch OPTIMIST.  Dare I call this the Old School coming out of me?

The fact is that there is no greater clash between Old School and New School than generational differences in the workplace.

When I started Hustle or Bust in December of ’12, I was the ripe old age of 39…..too young to be considered “Old School” and too old to be considered New.  Old School or New School however has nothing to do about age.  It’s all about mindset.  Approach.  The hunger that drives a desire to make a difference to the business and the people you are surrounded with.

Jobs Matter.  

There is nothing about a job that reminds me of the casual process of figuring out where to eat lunch today.

I will never forget how grateful I was too be awarded with my first few jobs.  I never enjoy a glass of wine without winking up to the sky and my beloved uncle who gave me an opportunity to work in his store.


The most wonderful part about Hustle is that it is a controllable.  It is a choice.  It doesn’t discriminate on your age, your bank account, or where you went to school, or IF you did.

Those that understand what Hustle is all about would never approach their job like they were choosing their next meal.  They approach their job as if their performance ENABLED their next meal.  

Share Button

The Brutal Reality of The Truth: Unavoidable.

Share Button

“You Can’t Handle The Truth!”

One of the great 3 minute segments of cinema history.  Can’t beat Jack!

Delivering the Truth can be brutal, harmful to one’s ego and self esteem.  But it is a leaders obligation to shoot straight with people.  

Jack Welch refers to it as “Candor.”

My previous company had a different spin on Candor:  “Candor Done Right.”  

The “Right” part was the critical piece.  Shoot straight, but don’t be a jerk about it.  It is a skill indeed.

What’s missing from the workplace however is not the “done right” part, it’s the lack of Candor to begin with.

  • Performance issues

  • Attitude problems

  • Missing deadlines

  • Not doing what they say they will do

  • Not having an edge, when an edge is needed.

All require Candor.  Straight Talk.  Telling it like it is.

If you have to chose between shooting straight with someone (and risk hurting their feelings) vs. avoiding a difficult conversation, SHOOT STRAIGHT.  Failing to do so is more cruel to the person than confronting issues head on.  

Share Button

The Annual Rai$e: Are You On Your Heels?

Share Button

Pay Raise

I used to have a running joke with a friend.  We would bark at each other while wondering the halls:

“Your raise will become effective when you do!”

We would giggle as we’d walk away with big smiles on our face.  Nothing like jabbing friends in the workplace to keep things lose.

Raises are one of the most watched moves among employees.  They tend to signal many things:

  • Am I like everyone else?  Better?  Worse?  By how much?
  • If the company had a great year, is that impacting raises?  What about a terrible year?
  • What about my colleague, who’s in the same exact job, but making more or less?

The list goes on and on.  Some people have resigned themselves to “negotiate at all costs” and whatever they are offered, fight for more.  That’s one strategy (tiring for employers).  Others just take what they are given, say thank you and move on (less tiring).

Both are common approaches.  And both are marginal.

What if an employee came to a business leader with the following:

“I think I can find you at least $200k to the bottom line.  It’s hard to get, will require significant new effort and I can lead it, maintain my day job but get you close to realizing it.  If you let me lead it and we are successful, at the end of next year would you bump me up to $X?”

Lets just say that “X” is substantially more than a standard raise, 2 or 3X’s the average increase.  Would the business leader do it?

Said differently, why would the leader NOT do it?

Why aren’t there a line of employees out the door begging for a chance to make real results happen, and as a result, accelerate their own compensation?

Because it’s not easy.  Because the people that can actually make it happen are rare.  They are the true Hustlers.  And they are what great businesses are built around.

The approach most people take is to HOPE somebody recognizes your contributions.  Sit back on your heels.  Assume that “management” will do the right thing.

The other approach is to get off your heels.  Put something on paper.  Paint a picture that big improvements that are quantifiable to the bottom line are possible if the leader just says “YES” let the Hustler go get it, and then reward the person for achieving it.

There are some employees that think the raise/money should come FIRST, before the impact is made.  In other words, pay me first, than I’ll deliver.

Negotiating from the position of “potential” is significantly weaker than one of Results.  

Leaders NEED people that are hungry and compensation is certainly part of that.  Leaders also need people that are HUNGRY for results, and need people around them hungry to drive those results.  Most great leaders would be dying to step up compensation for great results.  They just need people to paint a picture that they are the ones that will drive it.

Define what great results means.  Make it a no brainer.  Show how you will play a major role realizing them.  Measure it.  Take the risk away for the leader and ask for the money AFTER the results are there.  Negotiate based on $’s achieved.  Inspire a “no brainer” scenario.  Make it painful for leaders to say no.  

A common perception of a “Hustler” is to simply want more and more money at any cost.  My definition is all around the hunger to generate great results…..and money naturally follows.

What do YOU think?  What makes for a great pay raise system, one that is fair and motivating?  Would love to hear your ideas, drop a comment.





Share Button

A Wake-Up Call For College Students (Reeks of Opportunity!)

Share Button

Every now and then I’ll break my early routine and read the Wall Street Journal before heading into work.  Today I came across a massive head scratcher article:

“Numbers of Students Taking Internships Rises Only Slightly”

Small Gain Comes Even As Employers Increasingly Seek Real-World Experience

This is unbelievable.

How can a GENERATION live through the great recession and STILL not figure out a better way to tilt the odds of employment in their favor?  

Everywhere you look there are stories of college grads graduating with massive debt loads and struggling to find work.  It is well documented and in the “no brainer” camp that an internship and the real world experience it provides will give grads a significant edge.

So why would less than 50% of college grads make a conscious decision NOT to go out and get this experience?

Can you think of any good reason why a college student would make a massive investment in an education and intentionally avoid an opportunity to apply their education in the real world?

Lack of Hustle is never a good formula.  No 6 figure degree will compensate for lack of Hustle.  


So where’s the opportunity and silver lining?

Half the population of students are making a deliberate choice NOT to give themselves a proven edge.  They are making a substantial investment and ignoring the number one difference maker.  Not 10%…..HALF!

What a great position to be in for students to compete in when HALF ignore a massive difference maker.

What Hustler wouldn’t love to compete in a market where 50% of them ignore ways to gain market share?  NOBODY

How about a shameless plug for my beloved alma matar!

Northeastern University is the best kept secret in higher education.  Where else is it part of the student DNA to graduate with 2 full year’s of work experience!


The world is going through economic change that occurs at the speed of light.  A generation of college students have not changed their behavior.  That reeks of opportunity.  But only for those that get after it.  Hustle is a choice.


“Internships Are Increasingly the Route to Winning a Job”

More Industries Pick From the Summer Talent, Raising the Stakes

Share Button

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: