Dr. Jimmie Flores

Month: January 2015 Page 1 of 3

10 Things Effective People Do 

10 Things Effective People Do 

You all have  the same advantage: you can control what you do each day. You can maximize your productivity, or you can slack. In many cases, you are the only one who knows when you are falling short of your optimal performance level. It’s surprising how many managers are clueless regarding the difference between mediocrity and excellence.

Effective people have a secret to success. In fact, it’s not really a secret. You probably already know many of the habits of top performers. The secret, of course, is to take action. You must keep your foot on the gas pedal, and keep the pace until you take flight.

Here are 10 things that effective people do …

  1. They get going early in the day. Sam Walton arrived to work at 3 a.m. I understand that is way too early for most people, but you must get an early start. Good business takes place bright and early.
  1. They take bad news and other lumps in stride. As you progress up the ladder, you will be in the line of fire. Remember that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.
  1. They have a long-term perspective. You must stop thinking about short-term gains, and focus on building a foundation for success.
  1. They avoid the petty stuff. It’s counterproductive to spread rumors, talk bad about colleagues, or waste your time criticizing management. It’s much better to focus on meaningful results.
  1. They are always professional. You cannot lose your cool. You want others to describe you as a “professional person.” Receiving that compliment means you have reached an important milestone. Leverage it!
  1. They focus on the key result areas (KRAs). When in your next meeting, observe how the leaders of your organization focus on the important issues. They have the ability to identify the root cause. In other words, they are professional problem solvers.
  1. They treat others with respect. It’s erroneous to think you are better than others. While you might have accomplished more in certain areas, you must always appreciate what others bring to the table.
  1. They are humble. The fact is that nobody knows everything. You must be open to working in teams. When you put your mind together with others, you can tackle enormous projects, which lead to huge benefits for the organization.
  1. They confront problems. You must address issues or problems immediately. The excellent performers are mindful that a small problem can escalate. Taking a proactive approach is preferred.
  1. They are committed to sharing the wealth. You must reward those who do well. You are not solely responsible for the big accomplishments. You must be humble, and praise others publicly and privately when they contribute to your initiatives.

Successful people are extraordinary in the sense that they understand the importance of knowledge gathering, commitment, and humility. The process to greatness is known, but realizing it requires significant effort.

Developing good habits takes more work than most are willing to commit. However, for the top 10%, this commitment is unwavering.

What Happens to Your Online Life When You Die?

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Talking about dying is no fun. However, when that day happens, I wondered who will have access to or own my online accounts, including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on. Do they die with me?

Every online service will have a specific policy regarding how your account will be handled when you are gone. Given that you will likely have important information in your email account, rest assured that your next of kin will be interested in knowing what’s in there. Many of us have years, if not a decade of information archived in our online accounts.


Here are the requirements someone else will need to provide Gmail in case of your death:

  • Your full name and contact information, including a verifiable mailing address
  • Your Gmail address
  • The full header from the Gmail message you sent to your next of kin, including the entire contents of the message
  • Proof of death
  • Proof that the person requesting access to your account has the lawful authority to represent you upon your death

As you can see, within a week or so, someone you know will have access to your account. If you have information that you wish to perish with you, it’s best for you to have a management approach in which certain emails are trashed and deleted automatically.


Different from Gmail, Facebook takes a more private approach with the following policy: Please note that in order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone. We do honor requests from close family members to close the account completely.

The next of kin can report the death to Facebook, and memorialize the person’s account, which means removing sensitive information like status updates and restricts profile access to friends who have been confirmed.

Protecting Your Privacy

Yahoo is stricter than even Gmail and Facebook. The only option available to others is to delete your account. They will not have the option to view your emails, which can be both good and bad. It’s good that you can maintain some level of privacy, but if you have life insurance specifics stored here, it cannot be accessed.

As uncomfortable as it might be, you need to think ahead. What information do you want to make available to others? Instead of keeping that information in your online accounts, make it available offline. Of course, this means you have done a good job of communicating this approach to your next of kin. You can even include specifics in your will.

Have a Big Plan

Up to now the discussion has centered on your online accounts. You should also consider the information on your computer, thumb drive, and external hard disk. In some cases, you might have confidential company information. If so, a plan must be in place to retrieve those items.

Many don’t really care what happens to their information when they die. However, employers, government agencies, and significant others have a vested interest in your intellectual property. Having a process in place, and taking the time to communicate it to those who matter can avoid major problems.

3 Smart Tips for Global Travelers

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Okay! Let me start by saying that I’m not Samantha Brown, Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa, or Andrew Zimmern, or Anthony Bourdain. However, I do my share of global travel, and I have a few tips that might help you prepare for your next international trip.

When traveling abroad, you must take many factors into consideration, including the flight, hotels, sightseeing, currency exchange rate, travel insurance, power adapters. I understand you cannot prepare for everything, but smart planning can help you have a terrific vacation or business trip – or both.

#1: Go to SeatGuru.com to Learn More About the Aircraft Layout

You are going to be in the air for a long time. The flight from Houston to Frankfurt is more than 10 hours long, and you can expect to be airborne about 14 hours from Newark to Beijing. Given the many hours you will be in the pressurized cabin, it’s recommended you find the best possible seat.

My recommendation is to navigate to SeatGuru.com, where their slogan is find the best seat before you fly. To find the type of aircraft you are flying, review your itinerary. With that information in hand, you can easily locate the seat map at SeatGuru.com, which labels seats as “Good Seat,” “Some Drawbacks,” “Poor Seat,” “Blocked Seat,” and will even display the lavatories. Of course, you want to sit as far away from the bathrooms as you can, especially on long flights. SeatGuru will also tell you which seats have power outlets.

#2: Call the Hotel to Confirm Wi-Fi Access

Most hotels today will offer Wi-Fi access, even the bed-and-breakfast locations. You can start by reviewing the hotel’s website, but don’t stop there. I make it a habit to call the hotel reservation agent to ask a few more questions:

  • “Do I have access in my room or just in the lobby”?
  • “Do I pay additional for the internet access?”
  • “Is it Wi-Fi, or do I need to connect with an Ethernet cable?”

Avoid assuming that a Five Star hotel will have internet access. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

#3: Consider the Global Entry Program

Those of you traveling abroad have seen travelers quickly moving through customs. They are using the Global Entry kiosks from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). I signed-up for this program in 2010, and it saves me a ton of time when going through customs. The application is somewhat rigorous in the sense that an extensive background check is conducted, and applicants pay a fee of $100. However, the savings in time easily justify the one-time expense.

As part of the Global Entry program, you will be interviewed by a customs official at one of their designated locations. The process is painless, but some people may consider this practice an invasion of privacy. If you have any criminal offenses on your record, such as a “Failure to Appear” for a traffic violation, your application will be denied. For more information, go here: http://www.globalentry.gov/

Plan, Plan, and Plan

Spend as much as time as possible reviewing the activities for your trip. Make sure that you make a copy of your passport, call your bank to let them know the countries you are visiting, bring extra batteries, and ask the hotel representative about the local transportation system. While these tips seem obvious, failing to plan for them can lead to avoidable problems.

When you plan right, you will have the peace of mind to let loose and have an awesome trip.

Avoid Giving up Your Seat on the Next Flight … Even if She has a Baby

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A few months back, I was on a flight from New Delhi, India to Newark, NJ. The flight is terribly long, more than 16 hours. A month before the flight, I contacted a United Airlines representative to secure a seat in which I could work comfortably. If one is not in First Class, either the bulkhead or exit rows work well. The agent informed me that I would need to wait until 24 hours within my flight to request an exit row, and bulkhead seats were unavailable at this time.

From experience, I knew that it is standard policy to hold exit row seats until the day of the flight. However, many experienced flyers often sweet-talk the agents to release them earlier. The point here is that exit row seats disappear as the flight day approaches, especially with international travel.

Leading up to the departure date, I called the United Premier line several times per week hoping that a bulkhead seat would become available. About a week before the flight, the agent informed me that seat 16F could be assigned to me. This seat is on the aisle, which makes it even better.

When not fortunate enough to receive a First Class upgrade, I often request bulkhead or exit row seats. I do this because I’m able to use my laptop to do my work. On the New Delhi flight, I had an important assignment requiring immediate attention, and I needed to commit at least 8 hours to it. The bulkhead seat was excellent because it had a power source under my seat.

Flight Time

The flight from Delhi was on schedule, departing around midnight. Upon finding my seat and putting my carry-on bags in the overhead compartment, I sat down thinking how I would schedule my work time on the flight.

A few minutes later, a woman approached those of us sitting in the bulkhead row, asking if we could trade with her because she was traveling with an infant, and our seats would give her access to the bassinet. Several of us pondered the request, but we didn’t want to give up these excellent seats.

More to the Story

When I first reached my seat, I observed this lady walk by me, and her husband was in tow. I noticed that he later walked into the Business Class cabin, and didn’t return to Economy. In hindsight, I think this is one reason I hesitated to give up my seat. The other reason, of course, was that I had a ton of work to do, and her seat would not allow me to work on my laptop when the person in front of me reclined.

I found it odd that her husband would travel in Business Class comfort, while she sat alone with the baby in the back cabin. At best, he could have given up his premium seat, and assisted her on the long flight. He did come back and “check on her” several times during the flight, but I think many wives wouldn’t be too happy with this arrangement.

I’m stuck wondering whether I did the right thing. Giving up my seat would make me feel good momentarily. However, this feeling would fade quickly after learning that her husband had a comfy seat in Business Class. Just as important, the opportunity to make progress on my work would have been lost. In essence, an entire workday would be gone.

Being a Digital Nomad is About Having Freedom

A few years ago, my work was simple. I was teaching at several online universities and hardly ever reviewed my Outlook calendar. I didn’t have many meetings, so there was no need to worry about what was on my schedule. This freedom afforded me the opportunity to travel in the States, abroad, and even cruise to the Caribbean and Alaska. I was a true digital nomad!

What Happens to Your Online Life When You Die?

Talking about dying is no fun. However, when that day happens, I wondered who will have access to or own my online accounts, including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on. Do they die with me?

How Confidence Got Me Into the “Rain Forest”

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Here is yet another cruise story.

One of my favorite activities while cruising is using the fitness room. On some ships, the sauna has a window facing the ocean. After a good workout, the view is relaxing and breathtaking.

The “Rain Forest”

On the Fantasy, the cost of the cruise allows access to the fitness room, showers, and a cramped sauna. On Day 3, and after my 40-minute run on the treadmill, I decided to relax in the sauna. In the men’s locker room, I quickly found the room, but noticed that two men were in there.

Confidently, I asked a worker if there was a steam room or sauna that was more spacious. He said, “Of course, sir. Please follow me.” We walked out of the men’s area, and across the hallway he opened the door to the Rain Forest. I thanked the employee, and decided to take a quick self-tour of the facilities.

In the Rain Forest, I found several selections of water, including one with slices lemons in it. I walked through a door that led to the outdoor tanning area. Later, I found the big sauna and quiet steam room. This was nice!

I spent about an hour or so relaxing in both of the hot rooms. I was a bit upset with myself that it took me several days to find the Rain Forest. The tasty water alone made it worth it. I also liked that this area was tranquil. Quite differently, the men’s locker room was busy and tiny.

The Rain Forest is NOT Free – Oops!

While having coffee later that morning, I struck a conversation with a couple from Atlanta. The man (Roger) owned a mechanic shop, and he told me that business was going well. He and his wife were having a terrific time.

I informed Roger that I visited the Rain Forest in the morning, and that it made my day.

ROGER: Yeah, my wife and I will go there later today. I guess it’s worth the $150 per person fee.

ME: What? Why did you pay $150? I walked right into the place this morning, and no one asked me to pay.

ROGER: Did you use your Disney card to get in?

ME: I think the employee opened the door for me, but I don’t remember. I might have followed someone into the room.

ROGER: You might want to try your card the next time, and see what happens.

I did try my card the next day, and no luck. Since I did not pay to access the Rain Forest, I was unable to gain entry. No fun!

I’ve discussed this story with family and friends, and I reinforced that my confidence made the difference. Since I was unaware of the fee, my attitude showed that I belonged. I was convinced that the facility was included in the price of the cruise.

The takeaway for me was that showing confidence can make a big difference in your day-to-day life. You might be short on skill, but having a can-do attitude might get you a seat at the table. When you know that failure is not option, you are more willing to take chances.

Being a Digital Nomad is About Having Freedom

Kool Derby

A few years ago, my work was simple. I was teaching at several online universities and hardly ever reviewed my Outlook calendar. I didn’t have many meetings, so there was no need to worry about what was on my schedule. This freedom afforded me the opportunity to travel in the States, abroad, and even cruise to the Caribbean and Alaska. I was a true digital nomad!

Today, my responsibilities are different, and I teach face-to-face classes. My seminars are taught at the corporate locations. In short, the digital nomad tag only partly applies to me. I still do much of my work remotely, but the core services I provide require my physical attendance.

Want Freedom? Consider a Demotion! Kinda!

For those of you interested in avoiding the office commute, and the eight hours required of you to earn your keep, consider a demotion. In the beginning, starting a digitally-driven career means leaving the guaranteed paycheck. However, on the plus side, you will have more freedom to do the work that interests you.

I recommend consulting opportunities. There are many companies looking for individuals who do specialized work. If you have a particular skill, such as grant writing, social media planning, and product development, you can probably develop an excellent client base. Focus on work that drives revenue for your client, and you will always be busy.

Before leaving your job, though, work on this effort part-time. In short, having a steady stream of income makes the transition smoother.

Speaker: “I’m Sorry for being Nervous and Unprepared”

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During a recent event, the speaker stated to the audience that he apologized for appearing nervous and ill-prepared for the presentation. Until he mentioned that he appeared nervous, I thought he looked quite confident. In fact, he had more than 30 years of experience in the industry, and speaking before a friendly audience should have been easy.

In the first five minutes, the presenter told us that the original speaker was unable to make the event, and he learned of the change only 15 minutes in advance. He was now going to give it his best shot.

When Not Prepared – Get Prepared

I understand the difficulty you experience when you are put on the spot. You are asked to perform with little time to prepare. I’m sure this happens to most people in leadership roles. Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference in preparing for a short speech.

Instead of fretting about the situation, the speaker needs to jot down a few notes regarding his speech. It’s best to keep it simple: introduction, key points, and conclusion. The speaker, on the other hand, decided to wing it, and it showed.

The Problems with Winging It

Speaking before nearly 700 people, the presenter said whatever came to mind, and some of the comments needed, well, refinement:

  • ”The world is falling apart.”
  • “In my past life, I was married.”
  • “I know that I’m just going on and on.”

Lack of a plan increases the chances of making mistakes, and some serious. It doesn’t take much to offend the audience. Some argue that they’re more likely to say what they really mean when they haven’t had the time to prepare.

The world might be falling part, divorce is a real thing, and you know the speaker is unprepared. When you wing it, the message is lost because of the poor delivery.

There is No End in Sight

About 20 minutes into the talk, the speaker stated he was near the conclusion. Many of us in the audience could hardly wait for the time when he walked off the stage. However, since he lacked a plan, he didn’t know how to end the speech.

Nearly 10 minutes later, he was still going. His points were making even less sense, and I’m sure he had a feeling akin to stepping into quicksand. Knowing that his speech lacked substance, he was looking for the home run closing, but he couldn’t find the words to put the bat on the ball.


In total, the speech took about 34 minutes. I know this only because I spent more time looking at my Blackberry than watching the presenter. The speaker stumbled to the finish line with this closing: “We cannot stand on the sidelines anymore.”

Thinking back, his closing statement would have been an excellent title to the speech. If he spent 15 minutes writing down several key points regarding why we shouldn’t stand on the sidelines, and identifying an excellent closing on how to be more proactive, his speech would have traction.

The next time you’re asked to speak impromptu, find a quiet place and jot down a few notes. Get a plan! Never tell the audience you are sorry for being unprepared. The participants come from miles away to hear you present and, at minimum, you should have the professionalism to do your best even when time is working against you.

3 Smart Things to do by End of Day

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How you handle your end of day can make a big difference in your overall performance. Unfortunately, many people start wrapping up their work activities about 30 minutes before quitting time. During that time, they are chatting with coworkers, surfing the web, or doing something else to creatively kill time.

The highly-productive employees in your organization take a different approach. Instead of wasting valuable time, they make sure the day’s work was done right, and they start preparing for tomorrow’s requirements. A half-hour can make a big difference in your productivity, but you must have a plan.

Here are three smart things you can do at the end of each day to become a top performer:

#1: Review your priority list for the day to determine what was completed, and what is left to do.

The most successful people in your company are constantly focused on performance metrics. By knowing the progress on key deliverables, they can determine what corrective action to take when necessary. If a resource is needed, an email or phone call today can line up that person for the work needed.

If you need assistance from your manager, make sure to stop by her desk. It’s imperative that you assume control, and avoid the “wait until tomorrow” attitude. You must be proactive, and understand that no one will come to your rescue when you’re running out of time.

#2: Respond to the important emails or phone calls.

If you promised a status update, make sure you provide it. Top performers are reliable, and they follow-through. It’s unprofessional to think that the other person can wait for your reply. If you agree on a deadline, make sure to meet it. Bottom line!

When going through your email, determine who needs a response today, and craft a message that provides the necessary information. You should avoid the following: “I was so busy today, but will get back with you tomorrow.” If you can get away with this response, there was no reason for you to make it a high priority.

#3: Review your tasks for the next work day, and prioritize what will get done first.

The most successful people in your organization are 100% clear on what they have to do. The next day, you might have only one item that must get done by close of business. If that is the case, create a small project plan, and determine what it will take for you to complete it.

Imagine if you could complete five small projects per week, one each day. The point here is that you stay focused on the important work. Before leaving for the day, make sure you have the resources assigned, funding available, approvals required, and so on. By initiating the planning process, you hit the ground running when you arrive to work.

Your workday should not come to a screeching halt. It’s imperative that you leave at least a half-hour to review your performance and to plan for the next day. In some cases, you will need to work a little overtime, but that extra effort will make a positive difference in your performance.

To become an excellent employee, you must take a different approach, which means that you can no longer leave your desk without knowing what tomorrow holds. Top-notch employees will consistently hit their targets, and that’s because they took an active role in creating the game plan.

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