So many times, when we are thinking about technology, social media, and modern day access to creative (and technological) innovations, we think of some of the common industries and their related businesses. In the case of this blog, it is often in the context of financial institutions.

As the “News Spotter” for this blog, I was in search of other industries and took a look at the region of Texas, and specifically the city of San Antonio. My objective was to choose a different industry than that which would be the first to come to mind and so I chose the liquor store industry, an industry that is not necessarily often covered in this context, but which deserves the deeper look, just like any other industry. This is especially true because it has different needs and requirements, and yet similarities to other industries. This is all the more reason to take that deeper look. And, that is what I do, as a part of my role as the News Spotter.


When it comes to running a liquor store, there is much more that one needs to worry about than just keeping the shelves stocked and occasionally obtaining, in this case, the liquor license San Antonio TX requires. Of course, this varies according to whatever city (or state) requirements surround the licensing of the liquor store and that is a very important step that needs to be followed and adhered to on an annual basis (or whatever the government requires).

Indeed, on top of these basic requirements to keep a business running, a business owner needs to ensure that he or she is securing their store and driving new business to that location.

Just like any other company, liquor store owners can benefit from using technology to their advantage. If the liquor store owner wants to improve their store (and success), then following these technology tips may be helpful for these liquor store owners.

This News Spotter is happy to slip into the role of technologist and social media expert to share these tips.

Use Cutting Edge Technology To Ensure the Store’s Safety

It’s a sad fact of life that liquor stores are frequent targets of burglars and thieves. This is why the right security measures are essential in this industry. Aside from an actual physical guard, a camera system is the best security measure for liquor stores. This enables the liquor store owner to visually document everything that occurs in their store.

There are other technology innovations that can help the owner to keep their store secure. For example, silent alarms that alert authorities in the event of a burglary can be life-saving should the business ever be targeted. Considering how far technology has come, it is critical that owners have these excellent security measures in place at their business locations.

Social Media For Promotion

Many liquor store owners do not put a lot of time and energy into promoting their business. This is a mistake, even if they are in a prime location. Using social media to promote their business can help to bring in new clientele and raise the visibility of their business in their local area, in this case, San Antonio.

All liquor store owners should operate Facebook and Twitter accounts where they promote specials, deals, and discounts. This is also a great way to talk directly to the consumers, which can help to positively influence the marketing efforts down the road.

Liquor store owners should definitely use technology to their advantage. Not only can one use technology to keep their business secure, but it can also be used (as in social media) to market their store and attract new customers. Liquor store owners would be wise to stay on top of new tech trends that could benefit them.

In the world of online retail, no digital competitor has been able to knock Amazon off its throne thus far. Although many have tried, Amazon seems to have the power to offer consumers the lowest prices while maintaining the highest quality. Their well-developed delivery network is comprised of warehouses around the nation and beyond.

One of the online retailer’s largest advantages over their competition is the number of credit cards they have on file. Just imagine how many people use Amazon on a daily basis. It’s almost mind-boggling when you think about it. And while Apple and Wal-Mart have shown that it is not impossible to compete with this digital leader, it also is not the easiest thing to do. Let’s take a moment to break it down and see how each competitor keeps the other at bay.

Price Deterrent

Amazon has achieved such an enormous scale that it gets the best prices from its vendors. Wal-Mart can do the same thing from a handful of its vendors, but the cost to manufacturers is not the only factor when setting prices.

Most physical retailers set their prices based on a higher cost of a structure as opposed to a digital store. Wal-Mart has brick-and-mortar stores, and it costs more money to operate those stores than functioning with shipping warehouses alone. Of course, it’s possible for retailers to charge less for online purchases but that would probably infuriate their in-store customers.

Amazon operates on a razor-thin margin and still makes money on each transaction. It’s really not possible for physical retailers to do this. If they drop their online prices, they are at risk of driving their margins down while having to deal with the same overhead costs. Is that even possible?

Shipping King

Since there are no physical stores, Amazon has optimized its effectiveness in the shipping and delivery business. This now includes warehouses that are strategically located around the globe. Yes, global! Combined with robotic features, this company (Amazon) has highly advanced software that helps to set its inventory levels and even pack orders based on a predictive algorithm. (Can you even imagine what that algorithm is worth?)

Amazon also has an incredible relationship with the United Postal Service. While it is possible for competitors to make similar arrangements, it might be difficult for them to match the shipping advantages Amazon has built over time. They already have an advantageous head start in that area.

Phenomenal Credit Card Base

As previously mentioned, Amazon has a credit card base that stands to be reckoned with and stands ahead of all the others in the level of impressiveness. Interestingly, Apple has more registered credit card users on file, but the company has not kept up with Amazon in other areas. One of the biggest hurdles for Amazon competitors is that they have less “power” to make people register their credit card information. What does that mean? Simply put, consumers are in it for the long haul with Amazon. Even the largest of physical retailers aren’t privy to that information and customers are reluctant to give it to them. Customers have built a trust relationship with Amazon and are not as reluctant to hold back their credit card information.

Size Matters

In theory, trying to compete with Amazon is possible, but equaling the company’s shipping abilities and price point may be difficult, as previously stated. Amazon has a sustainable edge that most competitors just can’t reach. Simply put, Amazon has invested far too much of a lead and invested heavily in its online model to allows themselves to be assaulted by even their biggest rivals.

We really cannot deny it. We love Amazon. The surveys tend to prove it. But why? What makes Amazon the go-to choice for shopping? Is it their steadfast customer service or is it their speedy delivery that makes consumers swoon?

When Amazon opened its doors in 1995, it was a website that only sold books. But within one month’s time, Amazon was shipping books to over 40 countries around the globe. Since then, Amazon has become one of the largest online retailers, shipping to virtually everywhere in the world. So what makes Amazon so divine? We’ve already listed reasons that set Amazon ahead of its competitors but let’s finish out this listing with three more reasons why Amazon rocks

#1 Stellar Management

It’s no secret that Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, likes to live on the edge. Known for his eccentric personality, he encourages primal screaming as a way to let out his frustration while working. But when it comes to management skills, Bezos clearly dominates the world of online retail.

#2 Innovation at its Finest

Although it wasn’t the first online merchant, Amazon is the most innovative. While other companies became uber rich by selling online, Amazon’s success began with one product: books. Jeff Bezos decided that Amazon needed to become an “everything” store, and it did.

Staying ahead of their competition is what Amazon does best, as we discussed at the beginning of this article. For example, one service they offer is called the Amazon Locker. This involves shipping packages to the customer’s workplace when they don’t have the time to get to the post office. Another cool app created by Amazon is called the Amazon Flow. All you need to do is take pictures of products you like and they are automatically added to your Amazon shopping list.

#3 Global Thinker

Knowing the high demand for American-made products, Bezos took his business overseas. Amazon continues to refine the way it connects with its customers. Launching a Global Store in India, Amazon now allows customers to buy products on the USA website while paying in local currency. In fact, in 2016, Amazon invested even more billions into their Amazon website in India (

This move gave customers in India access to millions of international brands and also helped Amazon compete with Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce shopping platform. Enhancing the shopping experience for customers in India was the main objective when the Global Store was created.

Above all, Amazon’s impeccable customer service is what makes them stand out above the rest, especially during the holidays. They consistently rank high in terms of customer service, both in USA and abroad. Amazon also did well in a 2015 customer satisfaction survey.

Bezo’s desire for success and intuitiveness has made Amazon what it is today. From an online bookstore to an industry giant, Amazon is a forced to be reckoned with and demonstrates success in a way that makes us want to go shopping… yet again and again.

I remember years ago there was a site where we could take tests for free and get little 8.5 x 11 inch certificates indicating that we knew our stuff. I spent hours collecting those “certifications.”

Of course, in the real world, they did not mean a whole lot and not only that, but I think the company only lasted about a year. Someone bought them and it was not the same fun little company it had been.

As I am teetering on digressing, I am reminded just how important it is to not only have the knowledge and skill sets, but to be able to prove them to a client, boss, or future employer.

That is where certifications come in handy. I mean the real ones, not the fun ones I was just talking about in my introduction.

How Do I Get Certified?

The answer to that question could come in many forms, but one answer that I found, only recently, is the site, “SimpliLearn” (affiliate).

In the past, I have used other companies and I would love to name the names, but since I cannot say anything that is really good about them, I wouldn’t want to embarrass them. Let’s put it this way. You all have heard of the PMP certification (Project Management Institute / Project Management Certification)? Well, I got one of those wonderful AppSumo deals where something that is supposed to cost somewhere around $1,000 was only $99. I had to jump on it. I mean, I was already looking at about $800 just for the certification testing and even though I minored in project management in my BSIT (Bachelor of Science, Information Technology) and graduated summa cum laude, that does not mean that I was convinced that I would pass with flying colors. I figured I could use a refresher course.

So, I signed up. I studied faithfully… at first. But, I became frustrated when I found that every single course had an error in it. For example, the person in the presentation would say that the apple is green. Then the test would say that you got the question wrong when you answered it according to the “teacher,” because the apple was red. I contacted the company responsible for the training and they confirmed that it was an error and they fixed it. Guess what happened the next week? The same thing, with the next course.

Do you know what that does over time? It erodes any trust that you may have had that the company knows what they are doing (or teaching).

Ironic Ending

If we jump to the end of that story, it is a bit ironic because the company phoned me about a year later and out of the blue, they asked me to join their team as their quality control person. Of course I would help them! However, when I returned the call to accept the offer, they were nowhere to be found. According to their website, they still exist. Well, that is another reason that I no longer trust that company and I was in search of another company.

Enter SimpliLearn!

Ok, admittedly, the bar is low for SimpliLearn. If they respond to emails or phone calls; if they don’t make job offers and disappear; and if every other course unit does not contain an error, then they have already superseded their competitor!

I’m sure they are better than that and I am looking forward to trying out their courses for myself. The real proof is in the pudding. In other words, go sign up for a course, take the certification test and see if you fly through it like melted butter!

And, unlike my experience of paying the other company for error-ridden content (hopefully), there are oodles of positive testimonials and reviews, as well as a money-back guarantee. Even though it is $200 more than the sale price I paid for the low-quality training from the competitor, I think that that higher quality is worth the additional $200. How about you?

Ok, I admit it. I steered clear of politics this year (2016). I’m sure for some it was the topic of conversation for most of the day, most of the days and election day 2016 is no exception. However, I just wanted to do my civic duty and hey, we all have to find out who our president is for our future at some point, right? I will be a good woman and be respectful regardless of who is in the presidential office or for whom I cast my vote.

Those Who Insist on Being Their Own Heroes

Then I saw this in my Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). I guess I wasn’t steering clear of the political subject entirely, was I? Is that considered naughty? I found this news article on “The Daily Beast” and it calls Trump out as having lost the election. I had to zoom in and read the date. Please correct me if I need glasses. Am I reading that correctly? It seems as if Trump (er… the future President of the United States, President Trump) was being called out as the loser!

Who does that? What value is there to being wrong. Then I realized that a journalist who calls it right is some sort of hero as a journalist or political analyst for having called it right and now the job offers start pouring in his or her direction. Well, when the prediction is correct, that is.

History Repeats Itself:  The Daily Beast Prediction Calls it Wrong

History Repeats Itself: Anyone Remember 1948?

Anyone remember 1948? No, I wasn’t around, but there is a familiar picture of President Truman holding up a newspaper showing that his opponent had won the election, when in fact, that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t help but think of what I had learned in Civics class when reading “The Daily Beast” and you KNOW that picture (that would have been in our textbooks.. yes, learning was done through textbooks) came to many of our minds. If you are wondering what I am talking about, just take a look at the full story laid out for us in Wikipedia.

The Theatrical Nature of the US Elections

As much as I am trying to claim a lack of involvement, when it comes to the elections, I admit that I always tune in and watch to see who is winning and who gets those final electoral votes. It is a competition. It is like betting (nah, we wouldn’t do that!) on the outcome of something that is very important.

I have high regard for my country! But, it wasn’t until I happened to be on the phone with a person whom I respect, from another country, almost to the minute that the announcement of President-Elect Trump came over the airwaves (or wireless waves) that she mentioned the theatrical nature of the elections in the United States.

The US Entertains the World with the Theatrical Nature of the US Election

She was not being disrespectful. There was no disrespect in this conversation, but it hit me how our US elections do land on the side of theatrics and all of the countries, worldwide (especially with the technology available in this 21st century) and how we are able to entertain the world on this one day every four years. Well, leave it to us Americans to put on a show, eh?

How Do the Elections Work in the United States?

The Electoral Votes of the United States Voting Process

For those of you who are curious how the US elections work, I leave you with this well-composed (visually-speaking) infographic, displaying the process. Does anyone want to take a shot at replacing the text?

For the rest of you? I now have the answer of who won the US presidential election of 2016 and I am calling it a day and crawling into bed, while those on our lovely East Coast are just starting to enter into another day. We’ll meet in the middle and welcome our new President as he takes office over our great nation of the United States of America in 2017. Congratulations President-Elect Trump and Good Job in the Ring, Ms. Hillary Clinton.

At the End of the Day:  One Thing Is Clear, 2016 Election Day has reached Completion

Deborah was interviewed by John Benzick, of Venture Superfly.

She was interviewed along with these other notable individuals and entrepreneurs:

  • Guy Kawasaki (Speaker, Author)
  • Brad Feld (The Foundry Group)
  • John Lee Dumas (Entrepreneur on Fire)
  • Brian Clark (Copyblogger)
  • Ezra Firestone (Smart Marketer)
  • Tom Kulzer (Aweber)
  • Nick Francis (HelpScout)
  • Neil Patel (Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg)
  • Danny Iny (Mirasee, formerly Firepole Marketing)
  • Gail Gardner (GrowMap)
  • Andreea Ayers (Launch Grow Joy)
  • Kyle Eschenroeder (Startup Bros)
  • Sean Ogle (Location 180)
  • David Cutler (Consultant and Speaker)
  • Tim Brownson (A Daring Adventure)
  • Michael O’Neal (The Solopreneur Hour)
  • David Leonhardt (The Happy Guy Marketing)

To watch the interview, along with all of the interviews listed above, subscribe to John Benzick’s newsletter and obtain free access to watch these videos.

[singlepic id=20 w=320 h=240 float=left]

The first time that I heard the term “flat organization,” I was sitting across from a C-Level acquaintance and couldn’t help but picture everyone in the company lined up across a table. Or, I would picture the traditional organizational chart being smashed down from a three-dimensional structure, to a two-dimensional view. Hmmm, it would seem that I would rather be on the outskirts of that smash, so I wouldn’t be the squashed! I was actually thankful that I was not a part of the organization.

Wikipedia describes a flat organization in a pretty straight-forward manner. I know, it is Wikipedia, but hey, I wanted to give it to you in an easy-to-understand format. No insults intended!

Flat Organization In Theory

The concept, as this gentleman explained it, was that no one was more important than any other person. Ok, sounds good, but, in reality, does it work that way? I mean, the part that he seemed to miss was that it sounded good in his office, but when we walked out of his office, it was evident that everyone seemed to be so afraid of losing their jobs that they would respect his role because of the very title that showed up on his business card, regardless of what his views on management were. So, that squashed flat organization may have the underlings creeping to hide and respect those above them until the whole two-dimensional process became an organization chart again, and everyone bowed down to the authority figures at the top.

At that point I thought the concept of a flat organization sounded good, but, in reality, it may not be possible, certainly not if the “team” were hiding in fear.

Flat Organization in Practice

I met with Mark Maxwell, currently the President of Prairie Bible College, in Alberta, Canada, a few weeks back. While visiting in his office, the topic of “flat organization” came up and my ears were piqued. I was ready to hear whatever it was he had to say, because it my mind, the concept seemed to be theory only and an impracticality in the real world.

Unlike the academic environment that he finds himself in, now, Mr. Maxwell came from a corporate background in the fast-paced financial industry in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was very successful, having been the CEO and then the founder of a firm that did very well, quantified, among other things, by the company’s AUM (assets under management).

Mr. Maxwell seems to have taken the skills he learned in his corporate experience and applied them to the management of the Bible College. Interesting concept, if I do say so, myself!

As I sat in his office, I listened as he described a flat organization and I was very impressed. He described the concept of a team in a way that seemed functional, and his description of management and leadership was not that it was non-existent in some sort of communal-thinking-team-concept, but rather that the person with the expertise for that particular area would step forward for the “on demand” aspect of the leadership. This assumes and presumes that the team understands their own skill set, as well as the skill set and expertise of each of the others. It also assumes that there is respect for each other in the manner that they treat each other.

Success Criteria of the Management Style

It finally made sense. It finally seemed like this type of on-demand, pop-up-as-needed management style could and would work. I pondered it as I listened and wondered why it hadn’t worked as well in the previous environment.

Then it hit me. It is really simple. Are you ready for it? The flat organization only works if it comes down from the “top,” from a spot that doesn’t exist, in theory, because it is flat. Ok, before you ask me what is in my glass and if I realize that sounds like circular logic, stay with me, ok? If the CEO or President is not willing to get in and “get the job done,” then that two-dimensional process starts to become the three-dimensional organization again and the underlings start to fear and bow down to their superiors, no matter what the cost (in some cases). What happens to the organization? Well, it depends on its leadership… Plain and simple, folks.

I don’t personally believe that a flat organizational approach is the right approach for all companies. It works better in the smaller companies and organizations. However, it doesn’t work at all if you have a CEO or President who has a god-complex. And, fortunately for Prairie Bible College, there is no such President, but rather, one who has the right concept of a “flat organization.”

I’m going to be honest. I’m going to share a bit of reality with you. I’ll be transparent, to a point. The cost of being a person of integrity is a high cost. To say anything else would not be the most honest thing to share with you.

Now, being transparent doesn’t mean I can necessarily give you all of the juice details. I’m saving that for the book 🙂 Seriously, though, the details are the type of details that you have to run by an attorney to make sure one is not divulging too much information that would get the sharer in trouble legally. What I could share with you is 100% truth, but I want to ensure that my family is safe before I share that with you.

Ok, so what is the point of this article? You may be wondering what it is that I am sharing with you if I keep saying I’m sharing, but I’m not sharing?

The reality is that I served as the Chief Technology Officer in a company that I thought, at the time, was an honest company. I found things that we will call “oversights” (whatever reality may be there). However, my correction and following S.E.C. compliance was not something that was desired. Ok, enough said on the background … for now … Stay tuned for the book on that “Cracks in the Foundation.”

The Price You Pay for Integrity

In my case, I was one of a very few that took the step to stand their ground, as far as integrity. It does not come without cost. I was living happily ever after with my family in Southern California. I was attending the high society cocktail parties (including interacting with the Celebrities), the swimming pool in the backyard (not just “a pool,” but the luxury pool), the hot tub, the entertainment-ready backyard, being a part of the art society, the music scene (including singing and being invited to sing on Sunset Strip, also including #1 Los Angeles Jazz Singer for a year)… the list could go on… My kids were able to get their “toys,” and so were Mom and Dad and trips and cruises were no issue.

Now, that life seems like another world. The particular situation that we found ourselves in was such that finding a safe place, away from those who may not find my “stand” appealing was more important than maintaining a high society role. Paying bills became an issue without that six figure income (plus six figure bonus accumulation). In fact, I even turned down a severance payment because my honesty was not for sale. It was more important to maintain my integrity than any amount of money. But, that can bite you in the butt!

The Psychological Effect

It is tough. Really tough. You go from the top of your world to the bottom in one fell swoop. You realize that had you decided to be dishonest, you would not have fallen. At first, the attitude, when people would hear the story, was, “Yeah, right.” It was a case of “That only happens on television.” Fortunately, the story of the company (and its demise) came about a year later and that was vindicating. People now respond with, “Really? You worked for THAT company?” Yes, I did. I coined it, for conversation, the “West Coast Madoff.”

Psychologically, it is tough on a person to chose integrity. Oh, it’s true. People pat you on the back and say, “Wow, we need more people like you! That is great!” Oh, I get a lot of compliments and kudos, but the reality is that this experience dead stopped my career as CTO. People wonder if I had anything to do with the dishonesty (which I did NOT) and when they find out that you were part of the solution, they make comments like, “How could you work for such a company?!” It is so much easier for people to judge. That also allows them to not feel bad because, hey, it is consequences, right.

Wrong. For any of you facing a similar situation, let me tell you this. You WILL experience consequences to standing your ground and standing for what is right and ethical. There is doubt. However, the reason that I say, “Wrong,” is how it relates to blame. Realize this. You will pay the price of being honest (a high, disturbing, uncomfortable price), but it isn’t your fault! You have been given an opportunity to do the right thing. If you find yourself having to ask for food stamps, as a result of your decision, that is not your fault. It is a consequence, but you are still that person of integrity and your value is not related to how much money you make. It is about the truth.

The “Feel Good” Feeling Attached to Integrity

The key takeaway from being honest and a person of integrity is being able to look in the mirror and know that you are ethical.  I realize that this is not for everybody.  Not everybody will get that “feel good” feeling.  But, for those who value integrity and want to be known for being a person of integrity, this will be something that you can hold onto, realizing that that integrity actually cost you, in a real way.  It is one thing to say that you are honest, it is another thing to go through the trenches, with all of the cuts and bruises and broken limbs, and know that you proved to yourself that you are that person that you thought that you were.  Many times, we think we are something, but it is after we hold strong, in the face of that temptation to be something else, that we find out what we are made of and who we are.  This “feel good” feeling may not get you through every day.  It still is a requirement that you work to be positive and positive self-talk in the face of adversity, but this “feel good” feeling helps you to gain confidence that you may not have had before this time.  It gives you an opportunity to share that confidence with others and encourage them on your path.

You see, a difficult situation is just an opportunity for your personal growth.  It is not the end, but rather, the beginning of a path that was laid out for you to follow.  Embrace your opportunity to be someone that others will respect, and more importantly, fulfilling who you already know that you are… the character of YOU.

In my technology career, I often had (even still “have”) people ask me about the differences between a fresh install (what would be considered a “normal” software/application installation) and what has been called a “clean install.”

Actually, the term “clean install” is not one that is heard in the normal population that often. Why would you need it? You need it if your installation went wanky (love that word!), or if you are upgrading and something didn’t seem to work quite right. In other words, if there seems to be something wrong with the “fresh install” or an upgrade (or any install for that matter), it is time for the “Clean Install.” I have included basic steps for the “clean install” in the step-by-step example, below. The “fresh install” is pretty much the norm and included in your instructions with your software. However, vendors do not often cover the clean install that is needed if things go wrong.

The Clean Install

  1. Uninstall the misbehaving software, if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Delete the original installation download (compressed and
    uncompressed versions).
  3. Empty your trash/recycle bin.
  4. Restart your computer. Often, it is better to shut down the computer; wait five minutes; and then start the computer.
  5. Re-download the installation file, preferably with a hard-wired internet connection (i.e. ethernet cable) instead of a Wi-Fi connection.
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. With NO OTHER APPLICATIONS RUNNING (within reason), install the software (according to the vendor’s instructions).
  8. Note: Sometimes anti-virus software can interfere with installations of software. Also, if there is anything web-based about the software, ad-blocker plugins can also interfere. Although, that is less common because we are usually talking about simple software installations that do not involve browsers beyond the download and that browser shouldn’t be running if you followed the above Step #7. 🙂 However, turning off the anti-virus software (at your own risk and not usually recommended) is not a bad idea if you are having trouble with the installation. Just be sure to turn it back on after you have successfully completed the installation process.
  9. Perform any authorization or registration steps required by the vendor.

You should be all set and ready to run your software.

He walked into my office and said, “You hurt her feelings last week!”

I looked up from my work with a question mark clearly on my face. Hurt her feelings?

The reference was to a situation where I had actually helped the employee in another department, at least in my view. I served as director of project management and had identified an area where one particularly well-meaning employee was paying the price for the delayed work of other departments. She was absorbing the time crunch all by herself. She was nobly trying to “save the world” for the entire company and becoming visibly stressed. Being a manager, my goal was to alleviate her stress and to help her to know that she has a support system in place, especially in light of the fact that her direct manager was not in the office for the week. Besides that, part of my role as director of project management is to ensure that the project goes along smoothly, not destroying staff in its path.

How on earth could she interpret this as anything but encouragement?

I sat and thought about it at length, after explaining to her manager that I did not see where his employee had done anything wrong and so there would not have been any point for correction. Obviously, there was a misunderstanding somewhere.

On my end, I took this personally, like somehow I had done something wrong. Here I was, a graduate student in psychology, on my way to my doctorate, with a focus on organizational psychology. My mission in life was to embrace the strengths in each and every human and to encourage their personal growth, while still keeping an eye on the best interest of the company or companies.

A Limited Dictionary

Then it hit me. While I was viewing that she was taking my “encouragement chat” too personal and somehow “corrupting” the message into something that it was not, I was also being too personal by expecting that somehow I mattered enough to be the sole focus of the equation and that I should always be understood because my motives were so pure.

In reality, we do have responsibility, as managers. We have a responsibility to understand our audience. In other words, even though we have used every psychological tactic in the world and practiced our eloquent communication skills, that does not mean that the audience is going to understand the message.

In this case, I had used logic and time management verbiage to explain how I was there to help this particular employee. In hindsight I could see that she got lost in the verbiage of logic and since she did not have a built-in translation program, she assumed that it was a reprimand, when it was not (in fact, polar opposite!). Now, in light of that, what should I expect? I had actually erred on the side of expecting her to understand more than she was capable of understanding. So, she translated what I said by attributing it to the closest translation she could find.

It would be like having a dictionary. If your dictionary only has 10 words in it and you are presented with an 11th word, you are going to find the closest translation, even if it doesn’t apply at all. Well, I should say, there are those who will do that. There are also those who will find out what the meaning is, but just because I may be that type of person, I cannot expect that the entire population of the world is also that type. That would be an unrealistic expectation on my part.

So, out of confusion, she translated what I meant for encouragement, as a reprimand.

What could I have done?

I should have realized that I needed to be less academic. I needed to remove the “higher thinking” portion of my response and kept it simple. Simple would be, “Hey, I’ll take care of it for you.” She may not have grown in her capacity, but I cannot force that growth. It has to be something she personally desires for herself and if she does not, there is no point in encouraging growth that is not desired.

In my efforts to implement transformational leadership, I drew her in, to be empowered when it came to her own time management. I offered her tools to help her fly, to soar over the landscape of her life and grow in self-validation. But, since she did not understand, she thought it was an indicator that somehow she was *not* succeeding.

Who are we to reprimand others because they choose not to soar? It is them who have chosen to remain grounded and complain, rather than rising above and reaching for the stars.. and their dreams.

So, before taking it personally, step back and realize that much of life is a reaction. It may not be YOUR reaction, but you are likely to be affected by a reaction somewhere. And, be sure to study your audience. Understand that just because it is kind-hearted on your end, the audience may not have the capacity to receive that kindheartedness. Even sugar can become too much and cause a dispelling from the body, when consumed in levels that the body cannot handle.