What Kind Of Decisions Do You Make As A LEADER?


I’m finished writing my book on Decision Making titled How Leaders Make Decisions, and I wanted to give you a little taste of what the book will be about.  If you enjoy what you’re reading please share on social media!  Thanks and enjoy!

On Monday, May 24th, 2010 I was driving on my way to work as the Director of an Early Childhood Education Center. Before I headed down the road I inserted a personal development series on CD called Born to Win by Zig Ziglar for my fifteen minute commute. He started the series by asking the audience five questions, and these questions made such an impact on my life that I will ask you the same questions. Here they are:

  • How many of you absolutely believe that there is something you can do within the next two weeks that will make your life in every area completely worse?
  • How many of you believe there’s something you can do that will make it better?
  • How many of you believe that decision is yours?
  • How many of you believe that every decision has an end result?
  • How many of you believe that making right decisions is your responsibility?

As I listened to those questions I couldn’t help but answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions.

And then he dropped the bomb.

“If you just answered yes to all of those questions then this is what you just told yourself. No matter how good or bad your past has been. No matter how good or bad your present currently is. There is something that you can specifically do right now that will make your life either better or worse and the decision is yours.”

Now, if you were like me and you answered yes to all of those questions then it means something very powerful. With your decision making ability you have the power to determine how far and how fast you want to go in life. And that is really a big deal.


We as human beings are notorious for making poor decisions. Let’s look at some different areas of life.

Let’s talk about Career Decisions for a moment. As I was reading the Washington Post I came across some interesting new data from Jaison Abel and Richard Dietz of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The vast majority of U.S. college grads work in jobs that aren’t strictly related to their degrees:

The authors estimated that just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.  That means that 73 percent of college grads DID NOT have a job that was closely related to their major.

Let’s talk about “graduate degrees” specifically because there may be some people reading this thinking to themselves that the statistics have got to be better when we are discussing graduate school.

I won’t get into specifics about all industries because the patterns seem to be prevalent throughout all industries, but let’s look at Law School, Pastors, and Teachers.

As of February 3rd, 2017, there are 32,757 applicants for the 2017–2018 academic year.

According to analysis from the Wall Street Journal, only 55% of class law school grads were employed full-time as lawyers nine months after graduation. The other 45% may be unemployed, working at Starbucks or starting their own blogs about how they hate law school.

Another study estimates that approximately 1,500 pastors leave their assignments each month, due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention within their local congregations.

When it comes to teachers, Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.

So we have a few examples of poor career decisions when it comes to which careers to choose.

Let’s talk about personal decisions because this gets really interesting.

If I asked you how many people do you think save for retirement what would you say. What would you guess?

Let me give you some statistics that will blow your mind.

  • The average American retires at age 63.
  • The average retirement lasts 18 years, but many last much longer.
  • You’ll need $1,060,751 in savings if you expect to draw $5,000 per month for 30 years, assuming 6% annual investment returns and 2% inflation. Depending on how much income you expect from your savings, adjust this amount higher or lower to come up with your retirement “number.”
  • The average 50 year old has $42,797 saved.
  • The average net worth of a 55-64 year old is $45,447.
  • 45% of Americans have saved nothing for retirement, including 40% of Baby Boomers.
  • 38% don’t actively save for retirement at all.
  • 20% of Americans tap into their 401(k) assets early, either through a loan or withdrawal.
  • 80% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 54 believe they will not have enough saved for retirement.

Americans know they won’t have enough money, but still won’t save.

The vast majority of those in the prime of their careers are aware they have a problem with their retirement savings.

Let’s talk about something else because that was hard to swallow.

Let’s talk about relationship decisions.

A study shows about 6 in 10 people have stayed in relationships they didn’t find fulfilling, according to The Daily Mail. The reason? They’re used to compromising — even when their partner cheated, disrespected them, or lied.

That’s 60%!

As you can see, MOST people just decide WRONG about what to do in their career, what to do with their money, and who to get involved with in relationships.

I said most, not all.

There’s lots of people with lots of regrets.

90% of people say they have a major regret about a decision they made in life according to the Huffington Post. Regret is the second most frequently mentioned emotion after love.

What do we have regrets about? Romance, family, education, career, finance. The more choices we have, the more regret we have about what we chose.

We feel the most regret about missed chances or missed opportunities. In the long-run, we’re more likely to regret things we didn’t do than things we did do.

Why is that? Our psychological immune system helps us recover from bad experiences quicker than we assume, thanks to our ability to rationalize and reframe how we see things.

But it’s harder to use these tricks to get over never having tried something in the first place.

So why do we have such a difficult time making right, good, sound decisions?

That’s my aim in this book. That’s my goal. To help you understand the different types of decisions that are out there.

To help you understand that there are pitfalls out there that will attempt to put you in harms way, make the wrong choice, and, in some cases, take years to recover.

After identifying different types of decisions, and understanding the pitfalls that sabotage making quality decisions, I will give you a Decision Making Process proven to help you make better decisions in all areas of life.

By the end of the book, you will have a good understanding of how to make better decisions. You still have to make them, but at least you’ll will be informed on HOW LEADERS MAKE DECISIONS.




Best Customer Experience EVER… Thank you Aston Martin!

In February of 2014, I was speaking at an Aston Martin Dealership in South Florida.  This particular dealership is #1 in Customer Service and #1 in total volume, which is unheard of in the automotive world. (usually you can get voted one or the other, but rarely do you get voted #1 in both)

After I was done delivering my presentation the owner of the dealership brought me into the F & I room, which stands for Finance and Insurance.  This particular room is where a new customer that has just purchased an Aston Martin goes to finalize the deal.

As I’m sitting in this room having a conversation with the owner, the lights start to dim.  My five senses are starting to take notice, and my brain is telling me something is wrong, the lights shouldn’t be dimming.  The owner continues to talk as if nothing is wrong.

As he’s talking I can hear faintly in the background the theme music for Star Wars… the music gets louder and louder… now I’m really wondering what is happening.  The music gets so loud at this point I begin to laugh because I now know the owner is the wizard behind the curtain.

Just then the wall behind me begins to slide and move until it’s completely gone.  Now the Star Wars music is BLARING!

Where the wall used to be is now a BRAND NEW Aston Martin… There’s fog machines blowing smoke and lazer lights of all colors going everywhere…

This is the experience every customer has after buying a new car at this dealership.

I said to myself, “I got it!  That’s why these guys are #1 in both categories.”


I felt so incredible at that moment… I told everyone I knew what had just happened… I was amazed, enthralled, and emotionally overwhelmed with excitement and enthusiasm.

Now I understood why this Aston Martin Dealership as #1 in both.

American Express found that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

What is customer experience?
Customer experience is defined by interactions between a customer and an organization throughout their business relationship. An interaction can include awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases and service.

Customer experience is important because a customer who has a positive experience with a business is more likely to become a repeat and loyal customer.

In fact, a study by Oracle found that 74% of senior executives believe that customer experience impacts the willingness of a customer to be a loyal advocate. And the customer experience statistics don’t stop there. If you want your customers to stay loyal, you have to invest in their experience!

That’s what this Aston Martin Dealership owner understood.

Simply put, happy customers remain loyal.

It makes sense, right?

The happier you are with a brand, the longer you stay with them. And so if you treat your customers poorly and ignore their customer service emails, then they are more likely to leave. This is why companies that deliver a superior customer service and experience outperform their competition.

How is customer experience different from customer service?
In most cases, a customer’s first point of contact with a company is usually through interacting with an employee (either by visiting a store or by speaking on the phone). This gives your business an opportunity to deliver excellent customer service.

However, customer service is only one aspect of the entire customer experience.

For example, if you book a vacation on the phone and the person you are speaking with is friendly and helpful, that’s good customer service. Yet, if your tickets arrive early and the hotel upgrades your room, then that’s a good customer experience.

That’s how the two are different!

Like most things in today’s market place, customer experience has changed – it’s more than person-to-person service and thanks to technology, companies can connect with their customers in new and exciting ways.


How important is customer experience?

A business cannot exist without its customers, and this is why companies are focusing on how to win new customers and perhaps more importantly, retain existing customers.

A survey by Bloomberg Businessweek found that “delivering a great customer experience” has become a top strategic objective. And a recent Customer Management IQ survey found that 75% of customer management executives and leaders rated customer experience a ‘5’ on a scale of 1-5 (5 being of the highest importance).

The challenge here is that even though it’s a high priority, many companies are failing.

When Bain & Company asked organizations to rate their quality of customer experience, 80% believe they are delivering a superior experience. This is compared to only 8% of customers who believe they are receiving a great customer experience.

So how many brands are truly delivering an excellent customer experience?

Surprisingly, not too many.

The Temkin Group’s recent 2016 Customer Experience Rating study showed a severe decline in customer experience. The biggest cause for concern is that the percentage of good and excellent companies dropped from 37% in 2015 to only 18% in 2016 – it’s lowest rating since 2011.

Customer expectations are rising, and faster than the speed that companies can improve their customer experience. Customers expect every interaction as the best experience they have with any company, so the question is remains, how can your organization create a great customer experience?
Let’s take a look at seven ways to create a great customer experience strategy to help you improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenues.

1. Create a clear customer experience vision
The first step in your customer experience strategy is to have a clear customer-focused vision that you can communicate with your organization. The easiest way to define this vision is to create a set of statements that act as guiding principles.

For example, Zappos use their Zappos core family values and these values are embedded into their culture; which includes delivering wow through service, be humble and embracing change.

Once these principles are in place, they will drive the behavior of your organization. Every member of your team should know these principles by heart and they should be embedded into all areas of training and development.

2. Understand who your customers are
The next step in building upon these customer experience principles is to bring to life the different type of customers who deal with your customer support teams. If your organization is going to really understand customer needs and wants, then they need to be able to connect and empathize with the situations that your customers face.

One way to do this is to create customer personas and give each persona a name and personality. For example, Anne is 35 years old; she likes new technology and is tech savvy enough to follow a video tutorial on her own, whereas John (42 years old) needs to be able to follow clear instructions on a web page.

By creating personas, your customer support team can recognize who they are and understand them better. It’s also an important step in becoming truly customer centric.

3. Create an emotional connection with your customers
You’ve heard the phrase “it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it”?

Well, the best customer experiences are achieved when a member of your team creates an emotional connection with a customer.

One of the best examples of creating an emotional connection comes from Zappos, when a customer was late on returning a pair of shoes due to her mother passing away. When Zappos found out what happened, they took care of the return shipping and had a courier pick up the shoes without cost. But, Zappos didn’t stop there. The next day, the customer arrived home to a bouquet of flowers with a note from the Zappos customer service team who sent their condolences.

Research by the Journal of Consumer Research has found that more than 50% of an experience is based on an emotion as emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions.

Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached and they remember how they feel when they use a product or service. A business that optimizes for an emotional connection outperforms competitors by 85% in sales growth.

And, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study titled “The New Science of Customer Emotions“, emotionally engaged customers are:

  • At least three times more likely to recommend your product or service
  • Three times more likely to re-purchase
  • Less likely to shop around (44% said they rarely or never shop around)
  • Much less price sensitive (33% said they would need a discount of over 20% before they would defect).

4. Capture customer feedback in real time
How can you tell if you are delivering a wow customer experience?

You need to ask – And ideally you do this by capturing feedback in real time. Post-interaction surveys can be delivered using a variety of automated tools through email and calls.  Wufoo.com is one resource you can use.

And of course, it’s even possible to make outbound calls to customers in order to gain more insightful feedback.

It’s important to tie customer feedback to a specific customer support agent, which shows every team member the difference they are making to the business.

5. Use a quality framework for development of your team
By following the steps above, you now know what customers think about the quality of your service compared to the customer experience principles you have defined. The next step is to identify the training needs for each individual member of your customer support team.

Many organizations assess the quality of phone and email communication, however, a quality framework takes this assessment one step further by scheduling and tracking your teams development through coaching, eLearning and group training.

6. Act upon regular employee feedback
Most organizations have an annual survey process where they capture the overall feedback of your team; how engaged they are and the businesses ability to deliver an exceptional service.

But, what happens in the 11 months between these survey periods?

Usually, nothing happens. And this is where continuous employee feedback can play a role using tools that allow staff to share ideas on how to improve the customer experience and for managers to see how staff is feeling towards the business.

7. Measure the ROI from delivering great customer experience
And finally, how do you know if all this investment in your teams, process and technology are working and paying off?

The answer is in the business results.

Measuring customer experience is one of the biggest challenges faced by organizations, which is why many companies use the “Net Promoter Score” or NPS, which collects valuable information by asking a single straightforward question:

“Would you recommend this company to a friend or relative?”

NPS, which was created by Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld at Bain and Company, is a highly suitable benchmark for a customer experience metric because a lot of companies use it as the standard customer experience measurement. And the fact that it’s simple to implement and measure makes the NPS a favorite with company boards and executive committees.

Customer expectations are higher than ever and word of mouth travels fast!

And as the customer becomes even more empowered, it increases the importance of the customer experience.

Customer experience is an area that needs constant nurturing and care and with a greater focus on customer experience strategy, companies will realize a positive impact on customer loyalty, higher retention and increased revenues.

gut feeling

Should We Listen To Our Intuition When Making Decisions?

Intuitive or Gut Decisions…

There’s a lot of chatter out there regarding intuition and gut decisions and how they play a key role in making right decisions.

Let’s talk about those. I was reading an article in Experience Life, and I came across a piece that I found fascinating relating to gut based decisions. Here it is:

According to many researchers, intuition is far more material than it seems. Hope College social psychologist David Myers, PhD, explains that the intuitive right brain is almost always “reading” your surroundings, even when your conscious left brain is otherwise engaged. The body can register this information while the conscious mind remains blissfully unaware of what’s going on.

Another theory suggests you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” Lehrer notes.

This means if something in the environment is even slightly irregular, the speed of an approaching truck, the slightly unusual behavior of someone at a party, your brain squirts dopamine and you get that “weird” feeling. Whether you pay attention or not can make all the difference. You might meet your future spouse or meet your maker. Those signals carry a lot of important information, so it’s wise to listen up.

Judith Orloff, PhD, a Los Angeles–based intuitive psychiatrist and author of Second Sight, believes the benefits of listening to your instincts go far beyond making good on life-or-death decisions. “Living more intuitively demands that you’re in the moment,” she says, “and that makes for a more passionate life.”

But she also notes that gut instincts are far from infallible.

The right brain’s skill with pattern identification can trigger suspicions of unfamiliar (but not dangerous) things, or cause you to be especially reactive to people who simply remind you of someone else.

When it comes to intuitive decision-making how do you choose which gut feelings to trust? If intuition isn’t perfect how can you rely on it to make a right decision? And therein lies the problem.

I was having dinner at Outback Steakhouse not too long ago. I ordered the Prime Rib dinner. This 1-lb slab of meat plus sides (a dressed baked potato and classic blue cheese wedge salad) is the nutritional equivalent of having ordered three 10 oz. Ribeye steaks and three sides of garlic mashed potatoes at the same restaurant, and that’s assuming you only ate half the warm loaf of bread they gave you with a light swipe of butter.

It’s approximately 2,404 calories. After I finished my meal, I had a gut feeling that I should order the New York-Style Cheesecake, which clocks in at 1408 calories. That’s the equivalent of two Big Macs and a Filet-o-Fish sandwich from McDonalds, and this is after dinner.

Now if these are the type of decisions that our guts are leading us to believe are good, then there’s a faulty programming error in the gut decision hard drive.

Gut decisions are not the greatest compass to be guiding our life decisions although sometimes accurate. For example, Sports Illustrated estimated in 2009 that 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or facing serious financial stress within two years of ending their playing careers and that 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retiring from the game.


This same statistic comes out year after year. Don’t they know this? Wouldn’t this information cause them to act differently? Do they think deep down in their gut that money is a never-ending stream of income? Is their intuition telling them “they’re not the ones that are going to get injured” or “they’re not going to cut you, you’re too good.” Logic and the experience of others isn’t playing into their decision making so it must be something, right?


Michael Jordan retired from basketball with the Chicago Bulls, played baseball with the White Sox, came back to basketball with the Bulls, retired again, then came back with the Washington Wizards and retired again in 2003. Was Michael’s gut telling him to retire, then unretire, and then retire again?

Isaac Newton, after losing his savings in the South Sea Bubble of 1720, complained saying,

“I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” 

The trust in intuition is understandable. People have always sought to put their faith in spiritual forces when confronted with earthly confusion.

But it’s also dangerous.

Intuition has its place in decision-making, you should not ignore your instincts any more than you should ignore your conscience, but anyone who thinks that intuition is a substitute for reason is indulging in a risky misunderstanding.

The stories are certainly sexy. Fred Smith has an insight into the transport business and goes on to create Federal Express.

Michael Eisner hears a pitch for a game show and, knowing in his heart it’s going to be a blockbuster, immediately commits millions to developing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

George Soros senses a big shift in currency markets and, acting on that hunch, makes a billion-dollar killing.

But our desire to believe in the wisdom of intuition blinds us to the less romantic realities of business decision-making. We remember the examples of hunches that pay off, but conveniently forget all the ones that turn out badly.

FedEx’s Fred Smith also launched ZapMail. Have you Ever heard of that one? Me neither.

Michael Eisner was responsible for the disaster of the EuroDisney opening, not to mention recent box-office failures The Country Bears and Treasure Planet. “I loved The Country Bears,” said no one ever.

George Soros lost a fortune speculating in Russian securities in the late 1990s and then promptly lost another one betting on tech stocks in 2000. He recently lost over one billion dollars on his hunch that Donald Trump would lose the election.


Believe me when I tell you that I don’t like spotlighting the mistakes of others. I understand it’s not the critic who counts. The man in the arena who puts himself or herself out there, risks what they have to make more and do more deserves all the credit, but I’m making a point here.

For every example of a great intuitive or gut decision, there’s an equal and opposite example of a terrible one.

In conclusion, listen to what your intuition is telling you, listen to your gut, but there’s other steps that you can take before making that intuitive or gut decision.

What are those steps?

You can find them in my new book here:  http://bit.ly/decisionsbook

Thanks for reading,


Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!