Do Your Work: An Open Assessment of Tory Johnson

I received an email from a client with a forward from Tory Johnson of Good Morning America, Women for Hire, and Spark and Hustle fame.  It was titled, “Haters gonna hate!”

ToryIn this email, Mrs. Johnson discusses her new book/movement, “The Shift” and the praise and critiques she’s received since its launch.  Approximately half way through the email, Tory revealed the criticism that cut the deepest.  Someone wrote her and said, “You don’t care about helping other women lose weight. You just want our money for your book sales.”   While Tory is writing this off as someone being a hater (at the advice of her 16 year old daughter) I see something totally different.   I see a client having a negative experience with Tory Johnson, her brands, or both.  What could be awry with the PR Princess’ brands? As I dug a little deeper, here is what I found.

  1. Same Thing, Different Name (Same Face, Different Place).  All three of Tory Johnson’s brands (Women For Hire, Spark and Hustle, and The Shift) have the exact same business model.  Each includes a book and a conference, where once in attendance, premium products and services will be sold to you.  To boost your feeling of influence, you are invited to work for Tory by being an ambassador or host or sponsor for an additional investment.  But does it really boost your influence or only Tory’s bottom line?
  2. Brand Confusion.  While Mrs. Johnson’s movement from Women for Hire to Spark and Hustle appeared seamless, this latest venture, which has the exact same business model, is clearly not.  Women definitely maneuver from the workplace into entrepreneurship, but not all women are on a weight loss journey.  For those who follow Tory Johnson, the turning of a life experience into a movement can make one feel abandoned.  I thought we were Sparking and Hustling??!! Now you only want to talk about how you lost weight and created a better life? I’m confused.
  3. Stop talking about it and Be About it.  The real reason this person wrote Tory Johnson with her “hate” is because there is a disconnect between the image, or promise, that Tory Johnson and her brands emits and the experience.  Based on my research, this disconnect was created when Mrs. Johnson STOPPED staying connected to the audience that propelled her into the limelight.  She stopped working with them and started talking about the work she did with them.  Women for Hire started in 1999.  Spark and Hustle appears to be in the hands of affiliates with programs like Daring Doers and the BBF initiative. Her work was not speaking and writing books—those are tools to spread the word about her real work. And more speaking and more books won’t fix the problem, either.  When you spend so much time writing books and speeches and preparing to speak, coupled with the other responsibilities she has as a wife, mother, mentor, and community leader, there is no time to actually connect with the struggles and triumphs of your fan and customer base. When this happens, your core customer feels abandoned, frustrated, and devalued—thus the “…you just want our money for your book sales” comment.

Tory Johnson, I implore you to take a second look at the “hate mail” comments you received and referenced in your eblast.  Then, I want you analyze where you started and what steps you took to get where you are.  Lastly, I want you to remember that most of the women who look up to you are somewhere in the middle of that staircase. You cannot just speak to them from the front of a crowded conference hall.  They don’t want to just read your story on their Kindles.  That may work for some other mediapreneur, but it is not working for you.  Your customers are telling you that they miss the “Tory in the Story”—they need you back at work. Your work is being an awesome connector and conduit of entrepreneurial energy.  Once you return to that, you will get true hate mail—the kind where the only thing they can say is “I thought you looked better fat.”

See the CAREER Conversations™ webisode on Ego’s In Employment and Entrepreneurship


What’s Your Personal Development Plan?

Many times, we can get so busy working “in our business” or “on our job” that we sometimes fail to “work on ourself”.   Monday’s are interesting days for me because I use them for personal development days.  Meaning, I don’t take client calls.  I catch up on my weekly reading between my shows and I work on maintenance related things such product creation or making simply updates to an existing products or services that may be coming down the pike.

As part of my personal development, I also make an effort to truly understand what others do.  I have a friend who is such a great story teller, that I forgot she was an “Internet Marketer”.  I’m really selective about the lists I sign up for (one of my pet peeves is being spammed to death under the guise of “sign up for my newsletter”), but I look forward to reading emails that I receive from Pam Lawhorne,  because her emails are full of nuggets and reminders.

I invited Pam to be a guest on my show, CAREER Conversations™ and while doing research for the show, I realized that most small business owners are Internet Marketers in their own right – and may not realize it.  Now don’t get me wrong, like every profession, there are people who take advantage of the access they have to you (i.e. spamming your email with a daily deal that has absolutely zero value to you), but while talking with Pam, I realized that there are various types of Internet Marketing that is valuable and needed!    No, I wont be throwing up any splash pages, but I will continue with the various forms of Internet Marketing such blogging, video marketing and some of the other fantastic tools that you all love! (yes, you’ll be surprised at what falls under Internet Marketing, it’s more than just “sign up here!”)

Enjoy the conversation with Pam

Give Yourself A Raise! (Don’t Have the Money, I Bet You Do!)

Today is AUTHORPRENEUR THURSDAY!  What that means is, this is the day that I spend time sharing tips and resources for Authors.

I have a friend who owns, ZLS Publishing, a publishing company in New York.  She posts author tips everyday, but today there was a conversation on her page that prompted me to drop this in a blog and send it out (because 140 characters is just not enough to communicate my point).

Long and short of it, ZLS shared a blog on her page called , “You Wrote It, But Can You Promote it!”  To which, someone replied “No funds to do….”.  Immediately, I thought about a show I did a few years back called “How to Give Yourself a Raise” and shared it on her page as a resource.

This also made me reflect on the numerous conversations I’ve had with people over the years who always use money as the excuse for “not getting started”.  So I just wanted to drop this audio back in to circulation as a resource for those who may be financially challenged and it’s preventing them from moving forward.

Yes, this information is for anyone, not just authors.  So those of you are are seeking more funds take a look at your checkbook first.  You just might find that you have the ability to actually give yourself a raise based on your current income level. So the next time you find yourself saying, “but I don’t have the money!”  Pull up this blog and take a listen because, I bet you do!

BAABringspiralbinderAre you an author looking for “Author Resources”?
Check out the Books Are A Business™ Kit

UPDATE: Rhonda A. Lee fired TWICE in 11 months.

This blog is an update to a previous blog, Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow…was it worth it Rhonda Lee? posted on December 14, 2012.

Fired Meteorologist Rhonda A. Lee appeared on the Steve Harvey Show which aired Friday, February 11, 2013.  I watched The Steve Harvey Show hoping that Rhonda A. Lee would say something say that would change my mind about her termination.  However she made comments that made me stick to my original opinion (which is KBTS rightly terminated Ms. Lee).  Rhonda Lee continues to state that KBTS does not have a “social media policy”, however media outlets have reported that all employees were given the email directive on August 31, 2012 not to respond to negative comments on social media platforms including Facebook.  When interviewed by CNN Contributor, Roland Martin, Lee said, “she never saw it!”

rhondalee-emmitt-vascocu-300x297While Lee volunteered to tell Steve Harvey that the viewer apologized to her, she neglected to freely share that the viewer who made the comments was mentally ill and has been bi-polar since birth and that this was her second job in 11 months.

You can read the updated response here. 

Or View Our Video Podcast Here

The Waiter is Wrong, The Pastor is Wrong…But is Applebee’s?

Have you ever heard the expression, “two wrongs, don’t make one right?”    There’s been a constant buzz about  Applebee’s terminating an employee who posted a receipt where a patron, who just happens to be a pastor, wrote “God gets 10% why do you get 18%” on a receipt.   The ridiculous thing about this “pastors” action is she wrote zero in where the $6.29 automatic tip was inserted and still paid her portion of the bill which was $34.93 (which actually includes the tip), but I won’t call her stupid, that would not be polite.

Removing the fact that this person is a pastor, (which is irrelevant to me, but it seems to be “the main reason” people are so upset) anyone who serves a party of 20 people deserves a tip – - and a nice one if they deliver on the service.   After all, isn’t that what T.I.P.S. stand for ? To Insure Proper Service.  In most restaurants, it is customary for the wait staff to receive an automatic 18% for parties over 8.  That’s not Applebee’s specific, but just a socially accepted “expectation”.  I’ve never been a waiter, but I know I’m funny about how my eggs are cooked. :)

All over social media and the blogshere, people are outraged that this employee was terminated behind this, but let’s remove emotion and look at this from another perspective.  As a 20+ human resources professional, I try to refrain from making decisions without gathering the facts.  Since I have zero documentation on what happened (other than second hand accounts), let’s consider the possibility of  things we don’t know, let’s start with these three:

  • WE DONT KNOW…The track record of the EMPLOYEE  (suppose she was already on a final warning?)

Make no mistake about my position, the pastor was 100% wrong, but the employee is 100% wrong as well.  We know nothing about this employee other than she was terminated “as a result of her decision to post the receipt on a social media website”.  Truth is, she may not have been the best employee.  It’s quite possible that the restaurant already wanted to get rid of her (for whatever reason) and her actions of posting a “company record” to the Internet gave them just cause to terminate.  Even if the employee was a model employee, her actions have now brought negative press and unwanted attention to Applebee’s.   Almost every blog I read were people saying, “they would no longer patronize Applebee’s as a result of the termination“.  No matter the level of compassion we have, the employees’ action is causing a direct and negative response to the company’s bottomline.  Do I think Applebee’s will shut down behind this?  No, but they may receive some fallback and some loss income at least this weekend, those 2 for $20 meals rock!

Always remember your actions off the clock can affect what happens when you return back to work.

  • WE DON’T KNOW…The guest services policy of the EMPLOYER (what happens in Applebee’s, stays in Applebee’s)

Even if Applebee’s doesn’t have a “what happens in Applebee’s stays in Applebee’s guest policy”, the receipt was not the employee’s to post.  It is company property. It is a financial record that belongs to Applebee’s and it should not have been “recorded and posted to the Internet”.  I know that people do it all the time, in fact, I just shared a receipt on own social media FB page on Jan 30, 2013,  but, I’m not an employee of the restaurant (and my comments about the receipt were positive).  Regardless to the company policy, the employee doesn’t own the right to that receipt, it’s property of her employer.  Her job as an employee was to get it signed for payment processing and turn it in.

Always remember if it’s issued by the company, it belongs to the company. 

  • WE DONT KNOW…What potential damage will the pastor receive (as a result of the employee’s actions)

By posting this receipt to the Internet, the employee of Applebee’s has subjected the pastor to identity theft.   According to a report from USA Today, the receipt posted on Reddit.com (the originator of the story) shows the FULL SIGNATURE of the pastor.  The employee had no right to share the pastor’s legal signature on any social media site.   It leaves the pastor vulnerable to thieves.  Anyone could copy the signature from the Internet, scan it, and use it inappropriately!  And guess who can get sued for that?  Applebee’s!  If the employee had posted about it and not showed the receipt or cropped out the signature, I may inclined to say she just erred in judgment.   To expose someone’s signature on the Internet does violate their privacy in my opinion (had this done to me in college where a roommate scanned my signature and added her name to my bank account, then cleaned it out…NO FUN!) I have to assume that is where Applebee’s drew the line also.  Another blog comment, I read was “the pastor caused this employee to lose her livlihood“.  Well, I disagree with that.  The employee lost her livlihood as as a result of making a poor decision.  At some point,  the employee has to be held accountable for her part in this.

Always remember anything in the wrong hands is a weapon. 

In the service industry, this is a classic case of  “The Customer is Always Right”, even though we all agree the pastor is WRONG!  Sometimes, “we the people” forget that an action causes a reaction!    Countless employees have and will continue to be terminated for things that are posted on social media sites.  So I’ll share a tip with the readers of this blog that I’ve shared with my network many times, “don’t post anything on a social media site that you don’t want mom, management or the media to see!  It might be your “personal page”, but the Internet is PUBLIC!”

In closing, if I were the HR Director for Applebee’s, I MAY NOT have terminated this employee if this was her first offense but my decision would be based on the hard facts and company policy.  My recommendation would be that the employee be placed on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) and receive additional training.  In my professional opinion, I totally understand Applebee’s position and would support their decision to terminate.

I hope the employee has learned an invaluable lesson that everything is NOT for social media especially, business transactions that rightfully belong to an employer.  As for the pastor stating that she is ashamed for her ministry, well, she should be ashamed that the world knows she’s too cheap to tip $6.29.

So what do you think….?

*****Revised*****video added

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