My children are currently doing an "Egg" Hunt on my website...

So, girls, have you found everything? Ok, now solve this puzzle:

Three Pittsburgh Penguins are discussing who has all of the hockey pucks. Geno says that Sidney has the most pucks. Sidney says that if he were given one of Phil’s pucks, he would have twice as many as Geno. Phil says it would be better if Sidney gave him two pucks, that way they’d all have the same number. If there are 9 pucks, how many does each person have? Divvy up the pucks to get the right answer.

3 Things I Learned From Pitching Shark Tank

I had the privilege to pitch the Shark Tank casting team today. What a great experience to see so many other entrepreneurs chasing their dreams. I learned 3 things about this experience that I had to share:

(1) Perfect your elevator speech (and never stop perfecting it): They give you 60 seconds to describe your product or service to get the casting team excited. You have to capture their attention immediately as you are one of so many they see. I used a question to pique their interest: "Do you know anyone who understands their employee benefits?" "Of course not." That answer drives immediate engagement and sets up the remainder of my pitch. You can use facts, a quote, etc. but it needs to be engaging and memorable. Perfect your pitch for all big projects, presentations, and interviews. 

(2) Know your business: This was an important pitch, so I needed more that just a great consumer insight. I needed a distinct business plan, too. And for a show like this, I had to be able to speak clearly and concisely about how my company makes money. If you want investment, either as an entrepreneur or as a budget holder at a company trying to fund an internal project, you must be able to speak to how you will use the money and what the return from that investment will be. 

(3) Passion is everything in life. If you aren't passionate about what you do for a living, it shows. I was in a room that was oozing passion. I was so excited to share my idea (humorous videos that help people understand their boring and confusing benefits) because I know I can make a big difference in people's lives.

Fly The W, Fly It Often, Fly It At Work

For anyone who supports a pro or college team, the passion on display during game 7 last night was palpable. For those like me who did not have a rooting interest (hello Pirates, leggo), I immediately thought of my friends who are Cubs and Indians fans. The drama, the tension, and ultimately a 108 year curse is washed away by a 17 minute rain delay and a 10th inning rally. 

What does any of this have to do with the workplace? Everything. Because the people and relationships at work drive everything. The more effort we make to connect, the better. And sports are a great way to spark those connections. Whether you are rooting for the same team, or an arch rival, the camaraderie of sports will translate positively when employees tackle a big business challenge. Virgin Pulse research shows that 66% of employees say colleagues positively impact their focus and productivity.

Enthusiastic workplace teams win. Exhibit your personal passions at work. Invest in your colleagues. And #FlyTheW for your Cubs (or your favorite team) and watch the wins for your company follow.

Employee Benefits Shouldn't Be So Hard To Understand -- Here's My Humorous Solution

I think benefits are incredibly difficult to understand. I've made mistakes that have been costly. I've gone to the "wrong" doctor and chosen the wrong plan for my family. I've been frustrated. So, I decided to take my own advice.

One of the primary themes in my programs and speeches is to encourage companies and individuals to stop saying "we've always done it this way". That mindset can be damaging, as you never move onto a better approach to tackle a business challenge.

So I embarked on a detailed research project about benefits communication. I determined, through the great input of many experts in the field, that there was ample room for humor to augment the traditional messages and communication vehicles used in the industry.

I wrote several humorous and informative scripts and produced a series of videos that can be customized for each individual company's needs. I am excited about this approach because I truly believe it can make a big difference in the lives of many people.

As an entrepreneur, I have unlimited freedom to pursue whatever paths and projects I desire. I have certainly chosen many wrong paths and learned so much from it. This path is one that just feels right. Thanks so very much for reading.

Always play another game of Hi Ho Cherry O!

A look inside my personal life...

Hello fellow parents. My daughter Gaby is about to graduate in a few weeks. I have no idea how this happened. But it is. So cherish the times with your kids. Always play another game of Hi Ho Cherry O. Always. Cuz the next thing you know, you are in charge of creating the photo retrospective for the graduation party. 

And sometimes, you just need to brag about your children on social media. So please allow me two sentences. Gaby is about to complete an amazing run at Frisco Centennial HS, with phenomenal academics and was recently named color guard performer of the year. Natalie has had a great freshman year and was named Offensive Player of the year for the JV softball team. 

I am blessed and I am proud...now where's that little bucket of cherries?

 

Thanks to the Admins

Thanks to the Admins.

Thank you.

Thank you for the millions of smiles you generate at the office.

Thanks for the tireless “everyone else first” approach to your job.

Thanks for the friendships and chats in the break room.

Thanks for bailing us out too many times to count.

Thanks for knowing the little things that help all of us be successful.

You, like moms, deserve way more than one day.

Happy Admins Day tomorrow. 

Every day, not just January 28th, should be #NationalHaveFunAtWorkDay

For someone like me that knows the data and preaches the importance of having fun at work, I'm excited that January 28th gets special attention for its attachment to fun at the office. But much like Mother's Day should not be the only day we appreciate our moms, January 28th CANNOT be the only day we have fun at the office. 

Prepare NOW for your 2016 review (even though I know your 2015 review likely hasn't happened yet)

At many companies year end reviews actually happen well into the following year, making them yearendplus3months reviews. Regardless of when the review takes place, YOU must take advantage of the conversation. It provides a forum for you to ask your boss specific questions and get detailed answers on what it takes to move up in the organization, or achieve specific steps you desire in your career. Because many managers do not have these conversations with you throughout the year, you must seize this opportunity. 

Driving for specificity is so important because it enables you to hold yourself and your boss accountable. It removes opinion and helps you be aligned with your boss (and usually ensures that he or she is getting alignment up the chain as well). But it is hard to do that if you wait until yearendplus3monthsatleast review time. You will simply forget accomplishments, goals, relationships, etc. that you have forged throughout the year -- it is simply too much to remember. 

That is why you must start preparing for your 2016 review now. Create an email folder that can store co-worker emails that praise your work. In addition, create a document folder called 2016 Review on your computer and store documents, data, and other examples of your accomplishments that will help you tell your story.  

By matching these documents, notes, and emails against the areas that were outlined in your review discussion, you will have a fact-based, example-rich conversation with your boss. You will enjoy not having to remember what happened on the "Penske project in June" and your boss should certainly appreciate the details and passion you bring to the career discussion.