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Lessons from Toyota

The recent spate of problem with Toyota caused me to think. While the news is still coming out, it does seem that the folks at Toyota were not as forthcoming as they could (and should) have been about the problem with the accelerator pedals. It is also clear that the company may have been so focused on keeping costs down that they may have lost sight of their strong commitment to quality. No matter what, I do think we can learn something from the Toyota experience... Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

Worry about complacency. Complacency is your enemy. When things seem to be too good to be true, that may be when you need to be most on your guard. I think Toyota was complacent and that allowed them to become lazy about their legendary quality and customer standards. It is interesting that both Tom Peters and John Kotter also speak about the perils of complacency (in a number of different videos, book and articles). You need to be on your guard and always be asking yourself, "Are we living up to our highest standards - and upholding our reputation?"

The bottom line isn’t the bottom line: The true bottom line is the customer. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have anything. I think that Toyota may have become so focused on keeping costs down that they may have compromised quality. The American car companies had this problem in earlier decades (and we know what happened to them). It is important to focus in the bottom line, but you also need to be equally committed to maintaining your standards. If you compromise your standards for short-term gain, you will suffer... eventually. It might take some time, but the problems will arise.

Reputations are hard to build and easy to lose. Toyota has taken a big hit in the press. For decades they worked very hard to maintain the highest standards. They had an iron clad reputation. And the barrage of problems with car mats, accelerator pedals, and runaway acceleration (compounded by the reporting delays) has hit them hard. They are the butt of jokes on late night television. Sales are down and people are concerned. All of this happened in a matter of weeks. Think about it: Decades to build a reputation and weeks to damage it. Toyota may (and most likely will) regain its reputation, but it will take the company a while to do it.

Posted under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Leadership, Management, Corporate Strategy by Stewart on Apr 16, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Online Attitude Boosting Seminar Featuring Sam Glenn

Sam Glenn Picture

On May 6, 2010 Sam Glenn is having a half-day online seminar designed to motivate, inspire, and kick up your attitude. Since so many of you have become fans of Sam through his bestselling video series, we thought you might be interested in hearing about this seminar. So, here are the details:

During times of change, employee engagement can be the first thing to go. But as you know, employee engagement is the one thing that is most crucial to keep your company on track. Sam Glenn has a great formula for keeping your team engaged... And you can learn about this in a half-day "virtual event."

Sam Glenn is launching a new "virtual event" opportunity called Go Positive Seminars on May 6. The event will be held live in Aurora, IL, on May 6, 2010, from 9 AM-11: 45 AM CST (please adjust for your time zone, as the event will ONLY be offered live). You can join the seminar through a simulcast option and tune in and watch it as if you were "in the house." The cost for this seminar is $97 per office.

Sam will kick off the seminar with his signature humor-filled keynote focusing on the transformational power of attitude. He has selected some of Chicago’s most dynamic and entertaining speakers, including Greg Porcaro, Juan Ortiz, Scott Carbonara, and Marie Hale, who will present on goal setting, customer service, teambuilding, change, and health. The goal is to invigorate staff in a half-day format, so that they will be engaged and ready to perform at their best.

If you want to sign up to see this event, please visit:

Have fun and enjoy the show!

Need more SAM in your workplace? For a limited time we are offering $150.00 off the purchase of the Sam Glenn Series to help GO POSITIVE reach each and every employee in your organization! Simply type in "GO POSITIVE" in your online order and we’ll deduct it from your total. Or call us! We have consultants ready to assist you! This offer expires May 31, 2010.

Posted under What’s New, Sam Glenn, Special Offers by Stewart on Apr 09, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Tom Peters New Book: The Little BIG Things!

The LIttle BIG Things by Tom Peters

More great book news! Tom Peters book "The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence" is now available. As many of you know, Tom Peters has been consolidating a lot of his best ideas into "Success Tips" for his blog. These tips distill so many of the ideas that Tom has developed through his practice.

After accumulating hundreds of these ideas (over several years), Tom decided to aggregate the best of these into a book. In it, you will find ideas for improved customer service and leadership. Tom also shares ideas on innovation, excellence, and organizational strategy. I particularly like Tom’s advice on improving your communication abilities, and honing your leadership skills.

These are 163 great ideas... and they are motivational, insightful, fun to read, and eminently useable (and, for that matter, sensible). If you’re interested in Tom’s new book, click here to see the link on

As many of you already know, Tom has also put a lot of these great ideas into a training video series. We shot over 90 of Tom’s "Little BIG Things" over three fun and fascinating days. I confess that we spent as much time chatting and laughing as we did shooting Tom’s segments. Free previews are available here: The Little BIG Things DVD series.

Posted under Best Sellers, What’s New, Customer Service, Tom Peters, Leadership, Management by Stewart on Mar 10, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Now you can get A "Kick In Your Attitude" in print!

A Kick In The Attitude by Sam Glenn

Sam Glenn has just released a book called "A Kick In The Attitude," which is published by Wiley. Many of you know Sam from his hysterical video series (which includes the program "A Kick in The Attitude." Now, Sam has put his philosophy in print!

Sam’s book is filled with his usual great stories as well as lots of wonderful advice and tips for getting - and keeping - a great attitude. I am always drawn to his customer service stories, and Sam’s book is filled with them. But as I was reading Sam’s book, one other topic caught my attention. It’s in Principle #17 (which is called "Attitude Is Like Chalk Dust - It Gets On Everything You Touch").

In this chapter, Sam has a section called "You Can’t Please Them All." In it he speaks about the challenge of delivering great customer service. Sometimes you really can’t please everyone. For example, if your customers are rude to your people, then maybe you can’t please them and you have to move on. This is hard advice, but I also think it is great advice. Herb Kelleher was also a fan of this philosophy. In my interview with Herb, he said that at Southwest their philosophy was to put employees first. Herb thought that if the employees were happy, then the customers will be well served and the shareholders will reap the benefits. It’s great advice!

Give Sam’s book a try! It’s a fun read! Click here to see more on You can also see a preview of Sam’s video "A Kick In The Attitude."

Posted under Talent, What’s New, Sam Glenn by Stewart on Feb 12, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Top Training Programs in 2009

As many of you know from previous posts, our customers and distributors often ask us which programs are our bestsellers. I think this is useful to them as it shows how organizations are setting their training priorities (particularly last year, when times were challenging for so many people in business and government). Here is a list of our top 10 training Programs for 2009.

1) Fish! Culture: This program provides viewers with an in-depth year long training experience built on the successful program Fish! The program includes the original Fish! video (which features a visit to Pikes Place Fish Market in Seattle). In the program, you will learn how to really embed the "Fish! Philosophy" (that includes the four elements of Play, Make Their Day, Be There, and Choose Your Attitude) within your organization. The "Fish!" program has been a worldwide bestseller for over a decade.

2) Sam Glenn Series: The launch of the Sam Glenn Series has been a huge success! In particular, the two programs, "A Kick in the Attitude" and "Who Put A Lizard In My Lasagna" have been best sellers. Sam is very funny and has a fantastic motivational and positive message. His new book (also called "A Kick In The Attitude") has just been released with rave reviews! Sam’s humor and "glass half full" outlook on life has been a welcome addition to our customer’s training programs.

3) Succeeding In A Changing World with John Kotter: Harvard Business School professor and best-selling author John Kotter presents examples of organizations that have changed successfully and organizations that have failed when faced with change. He also provides an overview of his eight-step process for success. This program was voted one of the top training programs by Training Media Review! With all of the change and stress that companies have faced over the past two years, John’s film has provided them with a place to start putting it all back together.

4) The Tom Peters Little BIG Things Series: Tom Peters, co-author of "In Search of Excellence," the best-selling business book of all time has just released a new video series called "The Little BIG Things." This series is a radical departure from his previous films, as it is comprised of multiple short clips of Tom’s thoughts and advice on a variety of subjects. Our customers have been overjoyed at being able to bring the wisdom of Tom Peters into their organization four minutes at a time! For over 25 years, Tom Peters has been inspiring people to achieve higher levels of excellence in customer service, leadership, and innovation. A book version of "The Little BIG Things" will be out in March!

5) Ben Zander’s two films: "Attitude: Radiating Possibility" and "Leadership: The Art Of Possibility" Ben Zander uses his experience as conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra to energize people to become better leaders - and to realize their true potential. These two programs are really learning tools that provide a new language, new practices, and unique results. The "Art of Possibility" isn’t just about creating a moment in time; it’s about turning those moments into a profound and sustainable transformation. Zander’s unique humor and positive attitude has spread quickly through the organizations that included this in their training schedules.

6) Muppet Meeting Films: Join Kermit, Grump, Leo, Sam Eagle, and other members of the Muppet ensemble as they add pizzazz to your meetings. These humorous meeting videos are lots of fun and have been perennial bestsellers! January and February are typically the time of year for kick-off meetings and the Muppets have been all over it!

7) The Lance Armstrong Series including "Who Says We Can’t Do It? Lance Armstrong’s Journey." I think one of the reasons this program has been a bestseller is the wonderful interview with Lance’s oncology nurse, LaTrice Haney. It is very moving and motivational. Many organizations use this program to really rally the troops. Lance’s story can inspire any team to strive for better results and our customers have enjoyed this program very much.

8) "What You Are Is Where You Were When... AGAIN! With Morris Massey!": Morris Massey’s programs remain top sellers for us year in and year out. The bestseller of all is "What You Are is Where You Were When... Again!" Funny. Irreverent. Provocative. Thought Provoking. Morris Massey is all of these and more. For over 30 years, he has explained how different generations think and how these different generations can work together successfully. In the past two years many organizations have had to adjust their workforce and create new teams. This program and Morris has been essential in helping their teams communicate and succeed.

9) "Harassment Is": This training program goes beyond Sexual Harassment and shows a whole variety of harassment situations. Our customers love it because it provides broad insights into the issues of harassment. More importantly, it shows how harassment of all types can negatively affect employee satisfaction and productivity. Our customers have embraced this film because it provides them with an overall training program that addresses the issues of harassment and diversity with their current staff but is also the right length for their new hires. It’s a very cost effective purchase for many organizations.

10) "Love Your Customers" with John O’Hurley. You probably know John O’Hurley fromhis appearances as J. Peterman on Seinfeld or on Family Feud. But wait till you see him in this two-part program. Part 1, "Love your Customers," provides a blueprint for delivering great customer service. The second, "Love Your Difficult Customers," provides a step-by-step approach for working with customers who are angry or upset. Throughout, you will laugh as John O’Hurley delivers his message in a funny and engaging manner. Our customers have enjoyed using this program with their staff because it does well with Gens X, Y and Z as well as the Boomers who remember when Seinfeld first aired!

We’re working on a number of really exciting new programs for 2010 - and we’ll keep you posted!

Posted under Best Sellers, What’s New, Product Reviews and Articles, Fish Philosophy by Stewart on Jan 22, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment» X

Fresh, delicious, crisp...

Yes, we do still include a popcorn package with each DVD purchase. It’s our way of saying "thank you" for being our customer!