Monthly Archives: March 2014

I’d never been more surprised: my brother Randolph had given me a gold trimmed Rolex watch for Christmas.  I knew his law practice was successful—but a Rolex. Heck, all I had gotten him was a sweater.

When I shook my wrist, I noticed an hour had passed. Puzzled, I again shook my wrist and watched the hour hand spin around the watch dial. After viewing the spinning hour hand, my brother looked puzzled, laughed and confessed: in New York, a guy approached him on the street, and whispered, “Hey bud, do you want to buy a brand-new Rolex watch?’  ‘Just take a look at them, they’re legitimate and not hot.” So my brother followed him into an alley and ended up buying my Christmas present.

Years later Randolph invited Terri and me to be his guests at a German restaurant. As she led us to our table, the hostess was excited about the evening’s entertainment—two contortionists who “put on a fabulous show.”

When introduced, two, thin as a pencil, 80 year-old crones appeared. I thought it was a joke—what could these women do that I would want to see.

They twisted themselves in impossible positions: it was scary, somewhat revolting but riveting entertainment. Afterwards, we stood and cheered.

I have learned “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  Often things are not as they appear: a Rolex that wasn’t; and emaciated, elderly women performing impossible feats of contortion.

“Judging a book by its cover,” is a mistake hiring managers make.  It is not uncommon for an interviewer to make a hiring decision within the first few minutes of an interview and once a decision is made, the mode shifts: from “inquisitive” to “let’s move on.”  

Some people make a great first impression—however, like the Rio Grande River, they may be a mile wide but only a few inches deep.  Others, make a poor first impression but possess hidden potential.  Candidates have to recognize the importance of making a good first impression and hiring managers need to realize a good first impression does not necessarily identify the best candidate.

A good hiring decision requires moving the process beyond a first impression.  Interview preparations should include:

  • Putting in place a strategic hiring plan that addresses the company’s goals.
  • Preparing a candidate profile that includes education, knowledge and experience.
  • Developing questions that explore a candidate’s ability to carryout the strategies in the strategic hiring plan.
  • Removing personal bias by putting together an interview team.  
  • Assembling the team to objectively grade and subjectively discuss the candidates.

By carrying out this process, company leaders can eliminate the blunder of “judging a book by its cover.”


When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.” – Proverb


It is amazing how confidence improves performance. Take golf: a couple of good holes, everything begins to go right—drives are long, approach shots close the hole and putts fall. Record a triple bogey and nothing works: drives slice, approach shots go wild and you can’t sink a putt for love or money. The difference is confidence.

Confidence stems from knowing you can perform. Great golfers practice every aspect of their game and spend time conditioning their bodies to withstand the rigors of the pro tour. They have confidence because they have prepared to succeed.

In today’s world, managing a business is an incredibly complex chore. Government regulations, banking relations and dealing with insurance are just a few items on a manager’s list. To effectively operate a business a manager must have knowledge of all the preceding. Staying on top requires planning along with continuous learning—with Learning comes knowledge and with knowledge confidence—confidence that ensures good decisions and success.

Confidence is crucial to success in sales. Like a golfer preparing to compete, a salesperson must prepare to sell.  First and foremost, a salesperson must possess product knowledge—If you don’t know your products you can’t sell them.

Like a golfer exercising in a gym, salespeople prepare for success by working on their health and appearance.  Feeling good provides the mental acumen and positive energy needed to close a sale.  No matter what the product, people are hesitant to buy from someone with a sloppy appearance. Looking successful requires being neat, pressed and well groomed.

The author Leib Lazarow wrote: “Who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others.” Confidences comes thorough preparation, knowledge, appearance and good health.

“Man quit, hire another; mule die, buy another: zip bam, by damn, let’s go!”  That was my dad’s response whenever someone would relate a problem.  His point: “don’t be detoured by events—handle them.”

Early one morning, I received a call from a foremen telling me that he was quitting to  go to work for my roofing superintendent.  The call occasioned a double shock: the foreman quitting and learning  my superintendent was my competitor.  I prepared to take the crew leader’s place and the roofing department manager made sure the trucks were loaded and the other foremen properly instructed.

We never missed a beat: the job was completed on time and within budget.  The only casualty was a brand new watch I dropped into a bucket of hot asphalt and is still a part of the roof.  The next week, promising never to stray again, the prodigal foreman returned and I resumed my regular duties.

Years later I was responsible for a large convention and trade show .  Two weeks before the show, our meeting planner suddenly and unexplainably resigned.  Then, I thought it was because of a personal situation—now I know when someone quits before a major event, it’s an indicator of a major problem.

There were two luncheons planned during the convention: during one we had booked the musical group Up With People to appear and a fashion show was to be held at the other.  The day the musical group was scheduled, I noticed a beautiful woman carrying a garment bag; a minute later, I saw two more and then another.  A slender, gorgeous blonde caught my eye, walked over and asked the question that ruined my morning: “I need to change for the talent show; where’s the dressing room?”  Suddenly, it became apparent: the meeting planner had resigned because she booked the music group and the fashion show during the same luncheon!

Zip bam, by damn, let’s go—the models paraded while Up With People sang and the following day we held a “best idea” competition.  Both luncheons were hits: our attendees loved the “musical fashion show” and collected helpful ideas during the best idea competition.

When things go wrong, you can’t walk away, or hope someone will bail you out—you have to play the hand you are dealt.  Keeping a cool head; surveying alternatives; seeking ideas and solutions; making a decision and moving forward are the steps to handling unexpected hurdles.  Zip bam, by damn, let’s go!


The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” -Theodore Rubin