Eagle Sightings & Duck Droppings

Check out Gary's videos on YouTube, including the story behind "Battlefields to Business"


Also, be sure to check out Gary's articles on EzineArticles.com, where he has achieved "Expert Author" status on sales, personal branding, hiring the skills, and customer service:

 You can also follow Gary on the Training for Winners Facebook page, including a gallery of photos with some of his various clients and groups. The Facebook page also includes other information on various programs.

Connect with him on Twitter and Linkedin, too! Simply click on these direct links:

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For a fun, honest, no-holds-barred exploration of guest care and customer service in the hospitality business (though the very same concepts can be applied to ANY business involving customers), check out Gary's podcast on "NO VACANCY" with Glenn Haussman:



Musings & anecdotes on eagle activities and other tales of the road

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Each year we carefully choose a question or a theme from our material designed to help people achieve success and create change. We then incorporate it into our programs.

Our "eagle challenge" for participants and audiences this year is:

"How have I helped my customers, my team, my organization, and myself move forward in some way today?"

You can do this! Through improving, even in some small way each day, you will have a positive impact on yourself and others around you. No need to feel like you've always got to cross over tall mountains every day, just so long as you see some forward movement in something you do. That's the most important part.

Try not to get frustrated. You won't always see the immediate, visible effects of your actions. But when you do, it will feel great. Maybe you helped a teammate out of a dilemma, or saved a customer with a terrific response, or found a way to uncomplicate a tangled procedure. If it helps somebody in some way, it's forward movement!

By challenging yourself to answer this question each day, you'll help yourself find that inner fire to make things, big and little, happen along the way. Just like the eagles do.


Soaring above the mediocrity --

We're always looking for eagles!


Recent eagle sightings include great ideas coming from folks in our training seminars at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco, Fort Worth City Hall (the Planning & Development Department), and the Ypsilanti (MI) Convention & Visitors Bureau. In each case, stellar participants came up with new ways of addressing old problems, or ways of untangling a mess, or a creative method for attracting new customers.

In each case, individual participants found inspiration -- and came up with a way to dig deeper and soar above the rest of the crowd with those "ooh and aah" type of suggestions. They offered insights and ideas that helped move the entire group forward in some way. And that's a creally cool thing to have happen in a workshop.

That's what being an eagle is all about to us. These are the ideas that make things better, that do what the rest of the average crowd doesn't do. And we take VERY GOOD CARE of our eagles with special goodies, just to say "thank you." They are indeed special!

And what about the other end of the spectrum? How about those "ducks" who just quack and whine about problems, without an idea behind the quack on to how to make it better? Well, that's an entirely different story. Use your imagination...

(Upper photo) Members of the Mandalay Bay Resort-Las Vegas sales team and (lower photo) Chris Kennington, Director of Engineering at the Georgian Terrace Hotel (Atlanta) at the time, enjoyed the fruits of their labor as "Eagles" in previous TFW programs.

The Mandalay Bay "fire-fighters" earned their hats by eliminating the most "fires" and time-eaters in their daily roles in order to improve their time & priority management skills.

Kennington received the Steel Eagle Hammer Award for coming up with the most sticky-note ideas (suggestions & ways to improve things) among the hotel's management team.


Gary supported the Meeting Industry Ladies Open (MILO) annual golf tournament for 20 years as a sponsor and scorekeeper, surviving rattlesnakes, hailstorms, hundreds of lost golf balls, rain & hailstorms, and sunburns! He was also honored by Jo Ann Hoffman/MILO in 2002 as a recipient of the coveted annual "Venus De MILO Award" for his long-time support of ladies golf in the meetings industry.

Here is the 25th Anniversary MILO first place golf team! Held in Las Vegas in 2010, the silver anniversary event was won by Carrie Harris, Pam Lackland, Linda Painton, and Laura Smith. As the team's scorekeeper/caddy/shot coach (or as they were affectionately known: "boy toy"), Gary finally reached the winner's circle after 20 years of MILO support.



Moving from Good to Great

Mmm... It's Pizza time!

Straw Hat Pizza's President & CEO Joshua Richman selected Gary as his opening keynote presenter, tasked to infuse momentum and enthusiasm into the kick-off address for its annual meeting of owners and operators. The group's theme was "Going From Good to Great." Gary jumped right in and got the convention rolling with three solid suggestions for the attendees:

* Listen to your customers, as they are in your restaurant by choice;

* Look to improve the "little things" that make a big impact (cleanliness, etc.);

* Ask each employee for at least one idea per week on ways to improve the business, which will get them involved and give them a sense of ownership. And, don't forget to reward their thinking!

Gary used empty pizza boxes for effect. The group responded enthusiastically when he challenged them to dig deep together for new ideas and "WOW's" to be written on empty pizza boxes at each table, thus sharing the collective braintrust in the room. Then they "delivered" their table's pizza box ideas to the other tables so they could share the ideas, and by the end of the session over 250 new ideas were exposed among the attendees!

Richman remarked: "When I selected the theme of going good to great, I knew that our keynote presentation had better set the stage for going to the next level -- and you met the challenge with style, humor, and insight. All of the comments I've received since the convention confirm what I already knew -- that your opening presentation hit the mark and opened the channel for ideas and growth...

I rarely hire out our opening presentation to an outside speaker, simply because it is hard to find a motivator who understands who we are. To your credit, you understood our business, our culture, and our owners, and ultimately tailored a presentation that had real value for them."

Indeed, it doesn't always take $10,000 or more to go from good to great. Often, it's more about paying attention and some old-fashioned sweat equity, creativity, and perseverence. As with Gary's direction for Straw Hat Pizza, we can help you find those areas in your organization's quest to go from Good to Great. And we won't break your bank doing it, either!


Incorporating Team-Building, Creativity, and FUN Into Lessons Learned


The "Break Challenge"

Putting small teams of people together to face a fun challenge that can have lasting benefits is one of the great factors of Training for Winners programs.

One option is our "Break Challenge," where teams are required to use strategy, creativity, communication and teamwork to create a themed refreshment break. The group is divided into equal "break design teams" tasked with designing, producing, and delivering a break for the rest of the group during the training, all the while working within a budget and presenting their break as a viable option for actual clients.

They are given time in advance of the training to meet, design, and arrange for their assigned break, including the food and beverage aspect. Once all of the breaks are consumed, they are rated on creativity, quality of the break, theme, sales presentation and ability to stay within budget. Judges award prizes to the team with the highest score.

"The Strings That Bind Us Together"

To illustrate how organizations or teams with different departments are dependant upon one another, and to illustrate just how much interaction is involved, each team is given different colored strings, and is tasked with running their string to each and every other team in the room that they interact with. With each connection, they share ideas as "Alliance Partners." The challenge gets harder as the string connections get thicker and more tangled. When complete, this exercise gives the entire room a very memorable visual testimony to the inter-connectivity of all present.

And, what do the clients say about these methods?

"Gary applied both of these exercises as part of his management training course at my hotel (The GeorgianTerrace) in Atlanta," says former General Manager Phil Anderson."They were hugely successful. Both challenges revealed all kinds of things about our team members, some in the way of strengths, and others in the way of weaknesses that we had to work on.

"Gary designed these so that everyone had to pitch in at some level, there weren't any spectators just standing around watching others do the heavy lifting. It created quite a sense of comaraderie and accomplishment. I found that it pushed my people to dig deeper in some areas than what they were accustomed to, and they found out that they could do it. It forced some to use their time better. It forced others to improve their communication skills with each other. Thus, these exercises succeeded brilliantly -- Thus, we used them as a platform for raising our game throughout the entire hotel."



"Learning on the Go"

 -- An exciting collaboration

for the ultimate adult field trip!


You know the drill. The demands of business build up pressure. Teams, even those made up of all-stars, can begin to burn out and show seams in their performance over time. Many things get overlooked or put on the back-burner because "it's too busy." Really? Isn't it always "too busy?" Does this sound familiar?

We have the perfect solution for this dilemma, a great way to treat your team or clients and expand their horizons at the same time. Our program enables a team to learn together, share brain-storming ideas, define action plans, create a closer bond with your clients, or just de-stress. Away from the office. Away from the board room. Away from the same ol' hotel meeting room. We call it "Learning on the Go."

We’ll customize an energetic, interactive group "field trip" that provides your clients or your team with useful business training (sales, customer service, personal branding, communication, management/leadership, etc.) combined with a fun team-building outing/event, lunch, dinner, etc. What better way to involve your sales team with your customers, or bring your management team together?

Many different settings and themes are in play, and could include wineries (ask about our "Winemaker for the Day" program), private executive retreat facilities, museums, and venues of all types.  Typical group sizes range from 10 to 50 people.

Let us show you how our innovative programs can energize and inspire your clients and your team. They will definitely say "THANK YOU!"

See more about this on our "LINKS" page. Programs are in collaboration with Bay Magic Meetings & Tours LLC (www.baymagictours.com)



The smiles confirm it! Coming together to learn, play, and brainstorm outside the office or hotel conference room for a change of venue is terrific.



Send us your stories! We're always looking for unique eagle sightings, duck droppings or other interesting musings to include on this page (Heck, we can learn from the good AND the bad, you know). If we run your story, you'll have a special gift card coming your way! You may even make Gary's book, soon to be published.


From the archives:


Hoops for Haiti scores big!


Gary conceived and developed a "Hoops for Haiti" fund-raising event at his son's high school (San Ramon Valley High) in Danville, CA, involving the school's basketball program, in the wake of the Haiti earthquake disaster a few years back. At its men's and women's basketball games the parents, fans, and spectators were asked to donate $1.00 for each point the SRV teams scored, to be sent to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund to help in the relief efforts for the earthquake victims.

 In total, the school raised over $7,000 in its Haiti relief programs held at the school. Joining Gary are members of the school's cheer squad and leadership class, and John Raynor (far right), athletic director and former head varsity basketball coach.


Explore our site for customized training programs/presentations, and professional speaker topics available today!

Phone 925-736-9392  email: gary@trainingforwinners.com

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