Category Archives: Work

The Way Social Media should Work

There are a number of reasons to use Social Media. And as some of my non believing friends will remind me, there is no reason they will ever use it. Let me present a case to you where Social Media is great in an industry that is often criticized for poor custom service.

On Fathers Day I had to travel to Novi for a work training trip. Except for missing my family, the trip was going great. Learned a great deal on a new software product, picked up some local flavor in a small restaurant have a local beer.

My return was on Tuesday. Flight from Detroit to Chicago and then the connection back to Milwaukee. 7:11PM departure from Detroit getting back to Milwaukee around 9:42 with the transfer.

IMG_4558Then a text came in from United Airlines while we were finishing up training: Your 7:11pm flight to Chicago is delayed due to awaiting aircraft.  UA3617 now departs Detroit 9:30PM and arrives 9:54pm.  Problem now is that I am going to miss my connection. This text came in around 3:45.  My ride to the airport was coming to pick me up in 45 minutes, and I was still in the training class.

The driver from All Star Transportation was great. He picked up me and another guy on time.  The other guy was going ot Kansas. I get in the car and I get another text from United that my flight is not leaving at 10:06 and getting to Chicago at 10:30PM.

This is when I jumped on Twitter.

I send a status update to @United. Within 5 minutes a Twitter Ticket Agent responded. I made up TTA, not sure that is what they are really called. My guess is that the scenario I described happens all the time, and that a heavy client centric company like an airline figured out that this is a great way to further service the clients. Create some new positions, and people do not need to wait on hold on the phone for hours.

Agent ^EY from United was able to have me re booked on a different airline in my 45 minute traffic filled ride from Novi to the Detroit airport.  Now all I needed to do was to take a shuttle from the United terminal to the Delta terminal. In Detroit they are about a 10 minute shuttle ride away.

Made it home on a non-stop flight on Delta at 7:54PM a good two hours ahead of my originally scheduled flight. Social Media and excellent Customer Service the way it is suppose to work.


Anniversary of Freedom

07282008It was 6 years ago today.  In fact it was probably right about this time, 10AM.  I got called up to my bosses office.  I remember it like it was just yesterday.

It was a blessing in disguise.  I was relieved of my duties at the company I was working.

My team along with another team had just finished back to back migrations.  We upgraded Email systems and then converted Server OS’s- both of which involved touching every workstation in the company.  We even had a celebration dinner to mark the conclusion of these two massive projects.  The team I was on was working 50+ a week for close to 8 straight months.

Nothing stung more than knowing that you were just a number, not a valued employee.  Loyalty meant nothing.  Having 4 consecutive “Exceeds Expectations” on your performance reviews meant nothing.

The rest of my team was let go two days later.

I had figured something was rotten and was going to happen soon.  Two days earlier we were at the local pool with the kids and I told Michelle, that I think they are letting us go.  I started asking too many questions on Monday, so instead if letting me go on Thursday, they let me go on Tuesday.

But the upside was I got a clean start.  I was able to make my Family a priority again.  And anytime I catch myself being too wrapped up in my new job or wrapped into Swimming, I take a step back a remember August of 2006 when I got to spend an entire month with the kids.  And by the way, I got paid to hang out with my kids because the severance covered me until October.

I take a step back and work on being the better Dad and better Husband.  That is because that is what is most important.  I sometimes slip but I go back to today, 6 years ago, when my eyes were opened a bit more to what is valuable to me.


Air Travel

Granted, I do not travel a great deal via plane. But I have a couple pet peeves when I do travel.  And since I missed my connecting flight because of some “paint chips” according to the Captain, I had some time to reflect on my recent travels while sitting for 3 Hours in Detroit.

1. The Loud Cell Phone Talker – I don’t care what your sales numbers are for the year are so far. And I could really care less how fired up your guys are about the next sales promotion. Do me a favor, stop thinking about yourself for one second and be part of society as you walk into me because your phone call is so freaking important. Thanks for nothing jerk.  Did I mention that this was still in the terminal?  And then to carry the conversation onto the plane.  Wish I would have thought of this earlier:

2. Bring the Kitchen Sink – Spend the $25 and check your bag.  It is WAY TOO BIG to fit into the over head compartment. Are you in that big of a hurry that you can’t walk past baggage claim to get your luggage.  Most of the times I travel, by the time I get there the luggage is coming off the plane and waiting for me at baggage claim.  Your one carry on is way too big, but your second one that is suppose to go under your seat has no chance.

3. Stand up on Arrival – As soon as the plane lands they stand in the aisle.  Maybe you need to stretch you legs, maybe.  But I think that those people think that by standing and grabbing their over sized bag immediately from the overhead that somehow the 34 rows in front of them will get off the plane quicker. Really? You think the Mom with two kids could care less that you are two rows behind her and were standing now for 19 minutes. Doubt it.

Life I said at the beginning, I do not fly that much.  But every time I do fly, I see the same things.  What would George say?


Fun

And I am not talking about these guys either.

Fun

Recently had the the time to talk to the kids on individual car rides to and from practice and school.  And I asked them both the same questions.

“Are you still having fun swimming?”

Because to me, if they are not having fun, there is no need to keep going.  Now, I did preface it for them that they could say they are not having as much fun as before and I would not be upset.

Both of them said they were still enjoying it.  Not always was it fun.  But they both realized that to get better they would have to work, and that sometime work was fun.  Luke did say that there was not enough time in the middle of sets to talk to his buddies, but that meets were great because there was a great deal more time to talk.  I am sure that Coach Micheal would appreciate that based off the story I heard after this last Sunday’s meet.

Anna said that she looks forward to the “soccer” break and then summer when there are other distractions going on.  But is looking forward to next high school season.  In the back of her mind, and she did say this, that she is worried about sport burnout. Because, let’s face it “swimming practice gets boring at times”.

Always good to get the reality check once in a while.  Swim On!


End of the Year

The calendar year has come to an end.  It seems like it has been 12 months filled with swimming, soccer, Girl Scouts, and people passing away.  And although the last quarter of the year has been filled with tears and sorrow, it has also brought the immediate family closer together.

Back in January, I started coaching at Waukesha Express.  This is the team that both my kids belong to.  It was a great Expressopportunity for me personally to develop and refine my coaching skills.  And since both kids are there a great deal, we have extra time to bond.  Anna is now on the Senior team, and Luke is in Silver and moving up.  Kids are really finding themselves in swim, still have fun, and are making some great friends.  Watching them progress is great.  And they have learned lessons about making commitments to the team.

Men’s golf trip to Orlando with my brother and Family Vacation to the Dells with the Mollets took place in February and March.  Trip to Orlando allowed me to retain my GASER Cup Championship and form Team SEACOW!  Trip to the Dells with Mollet is just one in a long string of extended family vacations with a great family.

Also in the spring, I had my term as PTO President at Bethesda come to an end.  Great experience working with good people and aLuke super Principal.  At the same time I was becoming the Wisconsin Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (WISCA) President.  Some think it is an honor, but it is just more of drawing the short straw 🙂  We are trying to set some direction for the future of high school swimming in Wisconsin.  Have been coaching for 23 seasons, and I thought it was time to give back more to the sport I really enjoy.

Summer came and that meant Girl Scout Camp.  Another great year of leading great young adults and turning them into leaders.  Michelle and Lynnette run one of the largest volunteer based camps in the country.  I run the canoe station.  While at Camp, Michelle and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Most people would rather be in some far away remote resort, but I can think of no other place we would rather be for our anniversary.  It defines who we really are.

Anna and MeWe then moved to the high school swim season starting.  But this time with an added twist.  Anna was going to be on the team.  She got to see both the good and bad of the sport.  She got to see the good and bad of being the coaches daughter.  All in all it was a great 14 weeks.  You are only as good as the staff you put together, and my staff was off the charts great.  I think that I thanked Sarah, Elle, and Alex almost every day for being part of the coaching staff.

There was a little fire at the high school on August 1st, so we were out of our home pool for an entire month.  There were some concerns if the school would open on time.  But it did and Anna started high school.  Luke started middle school.  4 months into it now and both are doing great.  Anna went to Homecoming.  Luke is making some new friends while still being able to see his Bethesda buddies once in a while.  The transition went much smoother than I ever thought.

Grew a moustache for the 2nd straight year for Movember.  And for the 2nd straight year I was able to raise over 400 dollars for Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer Awareness!!

As soon as the Girls season ended, I started coaching the Boys team at Waukesha North/Kettle Moraine/Pewaukee.  And although I kid that everyone was more excited about me coaching this team than I was, it has turned out to be pretty fun.  It is a strong willed group of young men, that want to get faster.  Sarah is my assistant and once you spend 28 straight weeks together you really get to know a person.  If I ever had a sister, I would want her to be like Coach Sarah.

Grandma and MomMy Mom had a stroke at the end of August and passed in the middle of October.  It was a rough time all around.  So many emotions.  So many great memories.  Had a fun time remembering things that I forgot and learning things I never knew by looking through all the photos.  Gave a little speech at the dinner after the service that makes me cry just thinking about.

And then just this past weekend, my grandma (Mom’s Mom) had her memorial service.  She was 90.  My Aunt, Mom’s sister, reminded my Grandma to say “Hi” to my Mom when she sees her in heaven.  Most of the family that was in town in October was back in town for this service.  I told most of them that I don’t need to see them for a couple of month, well, at least under these circumstances.

Michelle is still working at North High School.  She is on her third boss since starting, but I think this one is going to stick around for a while.  She is still running Girl Scout Camp.  I think for three more summers.

Luke is playing SC Waukesha soccer, swimming for Waukesha Express, is taking improve classes after school, and is deeply invested into Minecraft.

Anna is swimming for Waukesha Express, looking forward to high school soccer, and is still reading a great deal.

Here is to 2014 being just as exciting and adventurous as 2013.  And hoping that all of you have a great New Years.


Olympics are Over

Yes.  The 2012 London Olympics are over.  But for me, once swimming was over, the Olympics were over.

We watched most of it over the span of the past week.  I purposely tried to stay off the internet so I could watch and be surprised at the results.  And I did a pretty good job at it.

One thing that I did notice, and it took a conversation with a friend to really point it out (Thanks RJ), is the difference between week 1 and week 2 of the Olympics.

Swimming, Gymnastics, and Track for the most part are defined as individual sports.  But swimming and gymnastics are so much more team oriented and track is definitely not about that.

In the number of interviews with Phelps and Lochte and Soni and Franklin after they swam, the comments were mostly about wanting to get the rest of the team fired up for the next race or relay event.  Not much chest pumping or “look at me moments”.   A small interview with Andrea Kramer and then cool down and move on to support the team.

Track on the other hand, wow!  Win the race, point at your self, grab your country flag, then run around the track so everyone can focus solely on you.

Just a weird difference between the two.  And sometime a little hard to watch from this perspective.


Social Media

As most of you know, I am really into Social Media.  I really do believe that the good/positive aspects out weigh the negative.  And as with most things in life, if you let it control you and your actions it will.

As an example, I have successfully used these tools to promote and inform the swim team I coach.  In fact we are now doing volunteer time sign up via a tool.

For non profits and myself it is easy.  We are not really asking for much in return.  We listen and assist when we can.

From the Business side, my company is doing the same thing.  We educate and promote product and act as a good listener.  We have yet to convert social media into any form of tangible, traceable, profitable event.  But I think we are close.

This is where I could use your help.  Usually I do not ask for much from my social media friends, because I think as a principle it is always better to assist friends than to be be asking for help.  Most of you know that is true.  However, my company is in a Social Madness contest and could use your vote.

Please goto http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/exclusives/socialmadness and vote for BPI Inc. Thanks in Advance and put me down for owing you one!!


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