The Great Vacation Excuse
Are you facing another long hot summer of slogging away at your desk? Unfortunately, you just can’t swing a vacation this year – or can you? “Actually, you probably can,” said Tripp Friedler, author of Free Gulliver: Six Swift Lessons in Life Planning. Financial planner Friedler says “I can’t afford it” and “I’m too busy to take time off” are excuses we use to cover other, deeper issues without realizing we’re doing it. Here are a few reasons you might be writing off your summer vacation, along with Friedler’s thoughts on what’s really going on: You think you can’t afford it. Actually, you probably can. “When you really think about it, you may well decide you can live with a more modest home or car to free up money for extras like nice vacations,” says Friedler. You believe they can’t survive without you at work. No one is so important that a company will go out of business if he or she takes two weeks off. If you believe yours will, you might have a few ego issues you need to explore, Friedler says. Secretly, you’re more comfortable at the office than hanging out with your family. This one is tough to admit, but many hard-driving executives don’t enjoy being around their family for long stretches of time. “I’m not here to judge anyone; I just want you to be aware of the real reasons you’re avoiding vacations,” says Friedler. “Once you’ve ferreted out your excuse, decide where you really want to go on vacation, set a goal, and start making some changes. Most people need a sense of balance, and working non-stop without a break isn’t the answer.”
Pointing the Finger at Wendy’s
Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of California, Irvine recently studied the public relations response of the Wendy’s fast food chain following 2005 news reports of a Nevada woman’s claim that she had found a human finger in her chili. The publicity led to a sharp drop in sales for Wendy’s, even after the event was revealed as a hoax. Wendy’s response to win back customers was to offer a weekend of free Frosty shakes as a show of good will and commitment, but the UNLV survey showed this probably wasn’t the best approach.
The UNLV research team tried two different print advertisements on a test group of 100 students who had heard about the Wendy’s finger incident. One group was shown an ad offering a free Frosty, and the other saw an ad depicting a young child happily eating Wendy’s burgers and fries. The ad referencing happy childhood memories led to more favorable brand attitudes and made it more likely the subjects would revisit Wendy’s. “We found that trying to appeal to customers rationally through offering a free promotion is not as effective as trying to appeal to them on an emotional level,” said Michael LaTour, a professor at the College of Business.
“Grand” Keys to Success
The CEO of the MGM Grand, Gamal Aziz, named 2005 Nevada Hotelier of the Year by the Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association, shares the following leadership philosophies:
Always benchmark those above you, not equal to or below you. That will ensure you’re always raising your game and staying a step ahead of the competition.
Quality, quality, quality. Don’t bring a product to market unless it is best in class. Don’t skimp on quality of products and never skimp on quality of talent to operate it and bring it to life.
Don’t be in a hurry to fill open positions. Wait to find the best, most qualified person in the field, then do everything to hire them. Sacrifice somewhere else to get the best talent possible.
Travel. Explore. Constantly expand your perspective. You can’t innovate if your focus is limited to what’s around you. The world has much to teach.
Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re not uncomfortable doing your job, then you’re not challenging yourself enough. Stretch. Take risks. Challenge yourself every day. Learn from your mistakes.
Don’t go back to the same well twice. You can’t expect different results from the same people, products and approaches. Do your research, bring in new talent from outside industries. Put leaders together from different fields and see what they can create together.
Own your own restaurants, nightclubs, room products, and services. No one will look after them and care about them quite like you will. Owning your own ensures your success.
Promise people opportunities and rewards for excelling, and then give those to them when they deliver.