Free Your Mind

As a married woman, I often feel that my husband and I differ in our tastes in television and music. I guess Paula Abdul was right about opposite’s attracting. One thing that we can agree on is that I am a music freak and he loves trying to find new things he thinks I might like. Often he comes to me with a proud smile and tells me that he found something he thinks I’ll love.  

I usually stare at him skeptically because with him, you never can tell what you’re about to get. Sometimes, he brings me a song that I listen to and immediately make a face. However, there are many times when he brings what I would consider to be some of my favorite songs to me.

If not for him and his somewhat strange musical tastes, I would not know the wonders of Muse or Sneaker Pimpz (“Destroying Angel” specifically).  What’s the point of saying this? I would never have known some of my favorite bands if I didn’t have an open mind. I would have just scoffed and told him that I wouldn’t like it, rather than give it a chance. Now, there have been plenty of times that I’ve listened to ten seconds of a song and turned it off. But at least I gave it a shot.

Having an open mind is essential to business. It can be something like considering a new process or even defining a new way of thinking. “Innovators” in their business would not have been such if not for having open minds. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and even Henry Ford would not have an impact on the world if they weren’t able to look at things openly.  What about the first company to go “green”? They had to have open minds to even embrace a new way of thinking – one that has spread like wildfire.

When someone in your company comes to you with a new idea, it’s important to listen, consider, and then make a decision. Saying no right off the bat will get you nothing but an employee who thinks their contributions aren’t appreciated. No matter what the suggestion is – from different creamers in the break room to trading in expensive conventions for conference calls, it’s important to consider every idea that comes across your desk.

What We Can Learn from TV

Television, sometimes affectionately known as the “idiot box”, for the most part shows us nothing about the world.  Reality television has given us glances into human interaction that promote backstabbing, immunity challenges, and fist pumping. Programs that show us the deeper sides of human emotions can be passed over for programs that are full of drama. (Two exceptions come to mind: “The Biggest Loser” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”). TV is an escape and we don’t want to be “taught” anything from the things we do to distract ourselves from the stress of the day.

After the SuperBowl last night, CBS aired a show called “Undercover Boss”. The basic premise is a CEO of a major company immerses themselves in the day to day work of the average person in their company. Last night, we saw a CEO picking trash off a conveyer belt, collecting errant paper from a hillside, and steam cleaning port-a-potties. What things can we learn from this as business owners or management? I have some thoughts.

1.) Understanding your workforce will help you understand customers’ needs. Stream-lining processes, identifying understaffing issues, or changing the way things are done improves your productivity and directly affects your customers’ happiness.  Making it easier on the front line employee will help them make it easier for the customers.
2.) You can’t see the face of your company staring at numbers. Sure, numbers are the bottom line, and in the end, as the CEO it’s your responsibility to keep the company profitable. Remember that every “number” on the page is actually the face of someone who works tirelessly for you.

Did you watch “Undercover Boss”? Did you like it? I really enjoyed myself with it and I feel like it was trying to be socially relevant in a time when people feel like their head offices or CEO’s are a million miles away and have no real idea what goes on in their company. 

How are you going to connect to your workforce today?  

Happy Swimming

Happy Friday to you all.  No contest today, just a little display of artwork. 

We have these great saltwater tanks in the office and they are tons of fun to look at. 

That little orange fish is a bully. He's always chasing around the other fish. Amber took a little spin on the board today with her rendition of the fish tank.

Happy Swimming and Happy Friday all! 

Turn Out The Light

I did something really silly this weekend. I’ve decided I don’t get outside enough so now, I walk over to the mailbox every day, rather than stop on my way in from work or the grocery store. Good plan right?

I had an enjoyable time on my walk yesterday until I go home and realized there was no key to my apartment. It must have fallen out on the way and now I was locked out. I could always try to wake my husband up to get back inside, and that’s a big if, he sleeps like a rock that was hit with a bigger rock. Even if I did get back inside, it didn’t stop the fact that my key would be out in the grass somewhere. When horrible images flooded my mind, I decided I had to find it. (Rachel, I’m really sorry I teased you when you lost your apartment key and was spazzing.) Retracting my steps, I had no luck. I was sure I looked like a prowler as I walked the grass for more than an hour.  I was tired. I was cold. I was stuck. I called my Mama, because, well, that’s what I do.  

Her suggestion? “Maranda, go sit down by the pool, relax for a second, let the sun go down, and you’ll see it when the flood lights turn on.” We chatted for a few and when the sky went pink, I started looking again. Within ten seconds, I was in possession of my key and three very important lessons.
1.)    Mama’s are smart. No matter what, you always listen.
2.)    I need to purchase some sort of giant key ring that beeps or says my name.
3.)    Sometimes, closing your eyes is the way out of the dark.

I spent what felt like forever out in the day light trying to find the key and I had looked right where it was probably thirty times. It wasn’t until it went a little dark that I could see clearly.  My frustration was blinding me, I couldn’t see anything but my need to find my key and go home.

No matter what you’re looking for or what has you stuck, be it putting together a presentation or if you have writers block, sometimes the best thing to do it step back, let it get dark, and gain a new perspective. What do you think? 

Secret Talents

I have to show you what our resident artist Amber did on our white board. It's been a little chilly here lately she decided to put Jack Frost in the office so he can mock us. Yes, 50 degrees with a wind is chilly. It's Texas. Our faces melt off in the summer, we're a warm blooded people.  

Pretty cool huh? No one knew she could do this until she started just doodling around on a notepad. Just goes to show that everyone has something they are really good at, but no one knows. It could be something that you don’t even realize is a talent until someone else points it out to you.

Do you have a secret talent? What is it?


What Is Honesty?

I know there is an actual definition to the word, but looking it up is irrelevant. Honesty, when you really put your mind to it, is a different thing for everyone. We all have our own versions of being honest, what we consider to be personal honesty and what we have as expectations of others being honest. We may not agree on what we feel is dishonesty.

Is full disclosure better as a company or is it "okay to omit"? Imagine you sell clothes online and you get a call from someone having difficulty ordering a product. The reason they can’t add this product to their shopping cart is because you no longer carry that item. The reason it's still on the website is because the webmaster hasn't taken it down yet. What do you say to your customer? Is it "I'm sorry we no longer carry that item, is there something else I can help you find?" or "I'm sorry, that item is currently out of stock."

Do you see the distinction here?

Personally, my vote is for the first response. I'll tell you why : If you tell the customer you no longer carry that, sure they might be disappointed, but you're also making the effort to help them find another product that will work. It's not the same, but it is an option. Customer service like that sticks in someone's mind. The second option will only drive the customer to find the "out of stock" product somewhere else.

What do you think? And be honest.

Happy Holidays!

I love this time of year and even though it's 80 degrees, I'm still in the spirit. This holiday I'm excited to cook and host my first family dinner. I thought I'd share some of the recipes I'll be using this year. I've never made a pie from scratch before so this one is a little on the scary side. I'm hoping it will go well and if it doesn't, I have the no bake cheesecake as my alternate.

I'll be making Dr. Pepper Ham,Velveeta fudge, and a caramel pecan pie.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Best. Week. Ever.

This may be the best week ever. I'm serious. I love the holidays and Christmas and the mood it puts everyone in. This morning, we got a big care package from a company we do work with that was filled with all kinds of goodies like chocolate covered apples, cookies, and (my personal choice) milk and white chocolate slabs covered in crushed peppermint. Which was... delicious. Add to that we all got lamps and poinsettias to decorate our desks. I've included a picture to hopefully spread the cheer (please ignore Larry the Lion he's just protecting my new lamp.) Happy Holidays everyone --- I have to go work off all this chocolate energy now.

Truly Thankful


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and for the first time in a couple of years I am travelling outside of the DFW area to a very small community of Arkansas, population about 1,000. Surprisingly, this self proclaimed city girl, turned country girl, turned city girl is actually very excited about this trip.

Not too many years ago, I stood on the edge of this town, closed my eyes, and thought about what it would be like when I could get out of there (as many kids in their teenage years do). That's exactly what I did, high school ended, then college and the second I could, and I was on my way to Texas.

Do I love Texas? Yes and I love the opportunities that I wouldn't have had if I had stayed in Arkansas.

I've gotten to the point that I do miss the quiet. I live right by the interstate and just off the flight path for a municipal airport. When I was a kid, I used to love going up to Ozan Point or Alpine Ridge and sitting by the lake, looking at the stars. I never realized how much I would miss it.

We're supposed to be thankful for things this time of year and everyone is always thankful for good health, good friends, great family, steady employment, and the like, but I have a suggestion.

I suggest that we should spend tomorrow being thankful for things outside of the cookie cutter mold. What are you really thankful for? Things that make you smile? Not just your family and kids, but those small things in your day that make you smile and say, "Wow. I'm really glad I saw that."

For me, I'm thankful that tomorrow, I will step outside, look up at the sky and see a blanket of stars not drowned out by city lights. I'm thankful that tomorrow, when I close my eyes, I will hear silence and not the blare of a fire engine or ambulance as it goes on a call.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of yours from everyone here at AccuConference.

Cell Phone Statistics 2

The way that teens and adults are using cell phones has changed drastically in the last ten years.  The glass ceiling has been broken and the technology has steadily improved in this time period.  Cell phones are no longer just about making and receiving calls, with smart phones and internet access, social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to our mobile devices. To say that cell phones have changed the way we live is an understatement, we now found ourselves available every minute of the day. Here are some quick findings from a few studies I came across for 2008.
Findings from Harris Interactive:

  • 85% (or nine out of ten) adults carry a cell phone.
  • Of these 6% are “smart” phones.
  • 52% feel like their cell makes them too accessible.
  • On average, 4 mass marketing ads are received by each cell phone user a year (some users account for as many as 11+) but 74% of those users report deleting it before opening it.

Findings from Pew Internet & American Life Study

  • 36% of cell owners have been shocked by the price of their monthly bill.
  • 8% of cell phone owners have used it at least once to vote for American Idol.
  • 86% of cell users have been annoyed at least once by loud patrons on cell phones around them in public places.
  • 8% of cell users admit to being the person causing the disruption in public places.
  • (I was actually really shocked by this one) 32% of men surveyed say they couldn’t live without their cell phone, compared to only 23% of women.

The truth is though, that recently it has been teenagers and young adults who have been driving the ever increasing amount of cell phone users.  Studies on teenagers and young American’s using cell phones show that teens are quickly becoming fully reliant on their cell phones.
According to a study from CTIA and Harris Interactive

  • 57% of teens surveyed credit mobile devices with improving their lives.
  • 47% feel their lives would be lessened by not having their cell phone.
  • 57% feel it’s the key to their social life.
  • If texting were no longer an option 47% of teens feel like their social life would end or be worse.
  • 1 billion text messages are sent every day.

To say that cell phones have changed the course of communication and interaction among all demographics of American’s is defiantly an understatement.
According to The Insider, here are some quick ways you can cut your cell phone bills:

Buddy System
Most cell phone companies will offer you free minutes to cell phones on the same network plan or allow you to pick a group of people on any network you can have free calls too.

Know Your Options
Get a special plan for the services that you use the most. Find yourself racking up a lot of addition charges in text messages? You might benefit from an unlimited texting plan each month.  If you spend a lot of time on the web, you may need to think about adding a media plan or data package.

Lock Your Phone             
Shut off or lock your phone to prevent purse or pocket dialing while on the move.
Cell phones are an integral part of your daily life, but if you do the research and know your company that you work for, then you can make sure to keep your bill as low as possible.

View our first post with statisctics from 2007