Chester On Point

Money Can Buy Happiness, but Pride Is Not for Sale

Imagine that you are walking alone across a vacant parking lot on a breezy day, when out of the corner of your eye you notice a crumpled-up bill blowing at your feet. You immediately step on it to keep it from escaping, and then reach down to discover that it’s a $100 bill. No one is within five hundred yards of you, and the wind is swirling leaves and other bits of paper around as far as you can see. You couldn’t find the rightful owner if your life depended on it. The bill is yours to keep.

Drawing only on your emotions as they unfold at that particular moment, answer this very simple question: Are you happy?

Of course you are. Unless you’re allergic to large bills, your response is an enthusiastic “yes!”

So here’s the follow-up question pertaining solely to this $100 cash windfall moment: Are you feeling proud?

Unless you’re overthinking this, you’re probably shaking your head or thinking, “No, not really.” You’re happy about your new riches, but you’re not particularly proud. You didn’t do anything to earn this free money other than burn a calorie or two bending down to pick it up. In this scenario, there was no goal, no effort, no sacrifice, no accomplishment . . . nothing to be proud of.proud

You see, while money, wealth, and possessions can make you happy, they won’t make your chest swell with pride if they’ve blown into your life without achievement. And even though money can buy temporary happiness, it can’t buy the pride of a job well done. And that is the priceless feeling all of us want more than anything. It doesn’t matter how deep an individual’s pockets are, pride can’t be bought, sold, or given away. It has to be earned.

The reason so many billionaires (e.g. Gates, Branson, Buffett, Zuckerburg, etc.) continue to work hard every day is because they are motivated by something much more powerful than money or wealth. They are driven by pride; a burning desire to achieve more, to accomplish more, and to make an even larger contribution.

ACTION IDEA: Build into each weekly meeting a block of time where you randomly call on employees to describe a recent work-related activity or accomplishment that they are proud of. Done consistently over time, your culture will gradually evolve to one where people are encouraging each other to improve and to perform at a higher level.

ON POINT: When we allow our kids, or our students, or our employees to separate effort from reward, we may tell ourselves that we are doing them a favor. In reality, however, we are depriving them of what they need the most and impeding their success in the process.

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Try This Handy Dandy 5-Step Formula to Resolve Conflict with Your Employees

When rules are broken in situFightations that don’t call for immediate termination, gain your composure and think “Open The Front Door Now.” This is the acronym for a simple formula that helps you address—and correct—many of the annoying small issues and problematic behaviors of your employees. Treating these problems according to the OTFDN formula will get them back on your team.

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10 Ways to Encourage Employees to Take Ownership in Their Work

yellow boots on the roadEvery employee who works for you will eventually arrive at a crucial intersection, if they haven’t already.

At that point, you hope they turn right and buy-in to your leadership and the vision and values of your company. Turning that direction means that they see a future for themselves with your organization so they’ll invest themselves fully and go all-in.

Unfortunately, some will turn left and quit on you without actually quitting. They’ll take on the ‘me against the machine’ mindset and begin looking for shortcuts and ways they can do just the MDR (Minimum Daily Requirement) that it takes to fly below the radar and avoid getting called out or fired.

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Why Millennial Managers are the Most Perplexed Demographic in America

I’ve been writing and speaking about millennials since they first made their way into the workplace as teenagers in 1998. Since then, I’ve interacted with thousands of mature business owners and leaders who’ve confessed their struggles and frustrations in managing this enigmatic generation.

Today, more than half of all millennials (born 1980-2000) are 25 and older, and the part-time teen workers of 1998 are now 35 years old. They hate being lumped into a generational heap that’s been branded and widely criticized for being inherently lazy and entitled. This is especially true for those overachieving millennials who are anything but lazy and entitled.

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Three Ideas for Dealing with the Flakes You'll Encounter in 2015

Is it just me, or have you noticed an outbreak in the number of flaky people out there?

I’m not talking about liars, cheaters, and thieves. Flakes aren’t bad people who intentionally do bad things.

Flakes are the irresponsible ‘me first’ knuckleheads who are lacking in the simple social graces.

Flakes.001To assure we’re on the same page, allow me to share three quick stories of recent flake encounters:

• I drove across town to mentor an aspiring speaker who said his expertise was “relationship building through appreciation.” The meeting lasted two hours during which I gave him one of my favorite books and a long list of valuable resources to get him started in the right direction. While I was at the counter paying the check for both our breakfasts, he got up, waved goodbye through the coffee shop window, and left without a word of thanks. Haven’t heard a peep from him since.

• I received a “panic call” from a prospective client who needed to make an immediate decision. We talked for an hour and he said he felt confident that he had made the right call and wanted to move forward, so he asked me to overnight some materials and a contract for my services. I dropped everything else I was working on to expedite his request. Three days later I called to make sure he had everything he needed from me, but he didn’t take my call. I followed up a week later and his admin said he was in a meeting, but assured me that my FedEx package had arrived and “is still sitting on his desk unopened.” For all I know, it’s still there.

• On a referral from a colleague, I contacted a designer who asked me to meet her at her office to discuss my project in person. When I arrived, she was out to lunch. I left my card with a receptionist along with a kind note stating that I was sorry I had missed her and would be happy to reschedule at her convenience. Never got a call or email. Bumped into her two weeks later and she acted like the whole thing never happened.

I could go on, but you get the point. In fact, I bet your mind is already cycling through a series of flake encounters you’ve suffered through.


Flakes mystify us.  It’s almost as if there’s a secret society of these people who all subscribe to the same creed.  They come off as likable, responsible professionals and make a good enough first impression that we decide to trust them and either help them, rely on them, or give them our business. Then, for no apparent reason and without any provocation or warning, they let their flake flag fly.

Flakes don’t return calls, texts, and /or emails, even when it’s in their own best interests to do so.
  – They schedule meetings and don’t show up.
    – They promise big and deliver small — and usually late — if they deliver at all. 
      – They ask for favors and take whatever they can get. Then, not only do they not give back, they don’t even say “thanks.”

While they might mean no harm, it doesn’t take too many encounters with flakes before it can infect your overall attitude and outlook causing you to become untrusting, guarded and cynical.  And those are three things that I don’t want to happen to me.  So to that end, here’s how I’ve decided to deal with flakes from this point forward:

1. ONE AND DONE – I’m a forgiving soul and understand that unforeseen problems and misunderstandings are often unavoidable. However, whenever an individual flashes signs of complete irresponsible behavior (won’t return calls/emails, stands me up, etc.), I am not going to make it easy for them to do the same thing to me again. Flake on me once, shame on me. Flake on me twice, and our relationship has run its course.

2. PRAISE OR WARN – I am going to go out of my way to praise, refer, and advocate for those vendors, suppliers, and clients who say what they do and do what they say. Conversely, I am going to warn my colleagues when I see a flake lurking in the weeds so they won’t suffer the same outcomes I have. I’d hope my friends and colleagues would do the same.

3. INCULCATE – I’m a parent, stepparent and a grandparent. In each of those roles, I’m going to exercise any influence I have to assure that these young people become the anti-flakes of this world and always exhibit class, diligence, integrity, and manners, regardless of who they’re dealing with.

ON POINT – Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be flakes.





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A 3 Step Approach for Dealing with Employee Entitlement

Entitled License PlateIf you are a person who enjoys peace and serenity, you don’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater nor do you whisper ‘bomb’ when going through airport security. And unless you want to incite a riot, you’d better not let the word ‘entitled’ slip out around a business owner, manager, or employer.

Regardless of how Webster’s defines it, in the minds of many adults the “e” word evokes the painful confrontations they’ve experienced with kids/students/employees who have been dealt with fairly, but have acted out as if they have been mistreated and are deserving of more. This instantly causes the parent/teacher/boss to flash back to when they were young and recall how appreciative they were for getting much less.

And boy, isn’t it a kick-in-the-gut when you give your employee more than you ever remember getting back in the day and your efforts are not only grossly unappreciated, but the recipient has the gall to hold out their hand and ask for more?

It’s important to note that entitlement issues aren’t exclusive to millennials or any certain demographic, they’re just more pronounced. It isn’t any less annoying to deal with a mature individual who thinks their age gives them a legal right to special treatment and unmerited favor.

Here’s how to push through the anxiety and connect with those displaying employee entitlement attitudes and behaviors:

  1. Confront It – Don’t deny, minimize, or stuff your feelings of being unappreciated. It can suck your energy and drain your spirit when you are fair and square with someone, or worse, you go to great lengths for them, only to have that individual act as if you own them more.  You don’t have to be a combative, angry, or aggressive jerk, but that doesn’t mean you should turn your back and allow an attitude of entitlement to fester and grow.
  2. Manage Expectations – The biggest reason people act entitled is that they think they actually are entitled to more than they’re getting. The quickest way to resolve that is ask them what they want/expect, and then clarify for them what they must do to get that. This is best accomplished with a face-to-face meeting that provides both parties with an opportunity to express feelings, goals and objectives, and benchmarks.
  3. Demonstrate Appreciation – When an employee meets or exceeds your expectations, respond as you’d like them to respond when you meet or exceed their expectations. Call attention to the specific action or behavior, and then offer up genuine thanks and gratitude.  Although this may be second nature to you, something that was engrained in your childhood, it may likely be a brand new concept to them.  “Hmmm, you mean I’m supposed to be happy that I get to work here?”

And while we’re talking about entitlement in the workplace, this video is one that is certain to elicit an emotional response.

ON POINT – Take the initiative to eradicate entitlement in your workplace. With entitlement being pandemic, it won’t be easy, but it’s certainly a worthy pursuit.

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I Got Zapped! 3 Surprising Facts About the Culture of Zappos

with Rich Hazeltine, Sr. Mgr of Zappos Tech University

with Rich Hazeltine, Sr. Mgr of Zappos Tech University

Last week I had the privilege of taking a behind the scenes tour of Zappos and speaking with several of their top leaders. Mine was not the popular tour advertised on their website, but rather a real peek behind the curtain to see the wizardry of this renowned workplace culture phenomena and iconic brand.

I’ve read Tony Hsieh’s bestselling business book, Delivering Happiness, and have seen some of the clever Zappos employee videos on YouTube, so I wasn’t shellshocked by this very non-traditional workplace environment.  The converted city hall building in downtown Las Vegas that serves as HQ radiates individuality and personality with a spattering of controlled chaos thrown in for good measure.

The moment you enter the campus through the courtyard, you hear upbeat music pumping and see employees engaged in recreational activities. When you step inside the 11-story building, you’re immersed in a decor that looks as if a college fraternity has just raided Pee Wee’s Playhouse. There are free snacks and refreshment stations on every floor and if you’re hungry, the cafeteria features low cost, and even some no cost food choices. And as far as the employee dress code…well, beyond wearing a Zappos ID badge, I can’t imagine that one actually exists.

In a word, it’s weird …and it doesn’t take a gumshoe to see why employees, especially 800+ millennials, truly LOVE working at Zappos.

There are, however, some less publicized facets of the Zappos culture that set them apart from traditional employers. Here are three of them that impressed me.


Tony Hsieh does not sit in a big desk behind a closed door

Tony Hsieh does not sit in a big desk behind a closed door

Tony Hsieh’s desk is the exact same size and model as those that are provided to all call center employees on their first day. And the door to his office is always open because there literally is no door. In fact, none of the top execs are walled-off from other employees and their admins (or ‘time ninjas’) sit within a few feet of them.

This is holacracy by design and sends a clear message that we’re all here for the same reason; no one in this operation is more important than anyone else.


HammocksNo boss wants to see an employee sleeping at their desk. Same thing applies at Zappos; that’s why they provide hammocks.

Look, when you’re on duty, the managers expect you to be alive, alert, and enthusiastic. So if you’re not at your absolute best, don’t fake it. Go take your break and recharge your batteries in one of the comfy hammocks nearby.

Awaken refreshed, ready to give that customer on the other end of the phone the kind of focused attention you’d want if you were in their shoes.



In this digital world, online shoppers trade great service for low prices. No wonder most shoppers feel like the only thing about them that matters to the merchant is their credit card number.

However, Zappos wants customers to feel special and valued, so they train their CLT’s or Customer Loyalty Team members (call center reps) to transform a faceless point-and-click sale into a warm and friendly experience.

Within close proximity of each CLT is a table of brightly colored thank you cards, envelopes, and stamps. Employees are encouraged to send handwritten personalized notes to customers who’ve experienced any kind of challenge or delay in getting their order. It’s definitely an old school technique, but it’s just one more thing that helps connect Zapponians to their customers while reminding them that their first responsibility is to create WOW! for someone else.

ON POINT – It’s what you do for your people that goes beyond what they expect that ultimately determines the level of their engagement. Great cultures never stop evolving.

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