Author | New Media StrategistSubscribe Now

Two Quotes I Live By

I once did a monstrous blog post entitled “The 50 Tweets That Businesses Should Be Doing.” It was my far-reaching attempt to coax clients (and you) onto Twitter. “We don’t have anything to tweet about,” I’d often hear. Nonsense. You have much to discuss; it’s just that some of it doesn’t have anything directly to do with selling stuff. I followed that post up with one entitled, “10 Tweets To Leave on the Cutting Room Floor,” or something like that.

One of the tweets I advised you to cut from your tweeting repertoire was offering the quotes of famous people. To me, they just seemed empty and pointless. Now, I just wrote a book that, like many books, offers inspirational quotes at the beginning of each section. So basically I’m a total hypocrite. Or perhaps, I learned from my mistakes.

Recently I was emailing my friend Joshua Arnao some advice, and he asked me, “What are one or two quotes that inspire you?” In an attempt to answer his question, I came up with what you see below. The first quote is from me (I’m not famous!) and the second is from Maya Angelou. Let me be clear on this first quote: no, I do not inspire myself! Rather, I just want you to know that this is one of the prisms through which I view life. And of course, the Maya Angelou quote is actually a “famous quote,” and she did inspire me during her lifetime (and still does).

Let me know what you think down in the comments (if people still do that).

1. “The literal ability to perform an action and the advisability of doing so are two very separate things.” ~Chris Reimer

Here’s what this means to me: To a varying degree, we are all given power in our lives. Power at home, power at our jobs, power to shape the lives of others. We have the green light to fire someone if they break rule XYZ. It’s in the Employee Handbook. However, the green light does not always have to mean “Go!” For instance, decisions made while angry have an above-average chance of being short-sighted, damaging – what you’d call “wrong.” As I allude to in my book, in life there are the blacks and the whites – the extremes – and then there’s a very deep pool of grays, and that’s where most of the swimming in life is done. So get to know that deep water. Understand it and the other people swimming in it. This is important! I like to live my life in a results-based way – what am I trying to accomplish? – versus following every single rule to the letter. You do not merely possess the power of “do.” Don’t look at it that way. You have the power of “choice.” The choices you have been entrusted to make are not preordained “correct” simply because you are The Big Cheese.

2. “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

I quote this in my book. It means the world to me. Achievements aside, what’s really left at the end of the day, and at the end of our lives, is how we feel. Hopefully we feel accomplishment, and hopefully we feel good about ourselves and the world around us. It’s hard work to do right by people! Don’t kid yourself. And we too often ignore the people in our lives and what they’re going through. We should not ignore each other’s struggles any longer. Our work lives depend on it, not to mention our overall health. The world needs more empathy, and I think Ms. Angelou provided us a strong, crystal-clear reminder of the importance of treating each other with love and respect.

Happywork TV Episode 36: Psychometric Testing is Stupid

 
In Episode 36 of Happywork TV, I discuss one of the commitments in the work code of conduct I’ve created called “The Happywork Agreement.”

Here it is: “Personality tests – sometimes referred to as ‘psychometric tests’ – are stupid. They provoke anxiety and are rarely relevant to the position being offered. There may still be relevant uses for such testing, but I will not forget the alternative: sitting down and having a nice conversation with the employee or job applicant.”

I could be wrong about this – hey, maybe you love sitting down before, after, or during a job interview and answering questions about your greatest weaknesses, what makes you angry, sad, etc. Not me! And as I admit in the video, it could be possible that these tests lend a hand to gigantic organizations hiring thousands of people a year.

Nevertheless, I’ve never liked these tests. The questions are often repetitive, and it just seems like a lazy way to evaluate a human being. I’ve worked at quite a few high-functioning organizations, and the hiring process did not include psychometric testing.

Just one man’s opinion.

 
— — — — —

Watch Episode 35 here!

— — — — —

IMPORTANT STUFF!

The eBook version of Happywork is OUT! Download now!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

The paperback version of Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE! It hits the streets on 2/17/15 (and I’m finding that they’re shipping early. Order today!)

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 35: Thank You Chris Brogan!

Chris Brogan
 
In the video below, I give a huge thank you to Chris Brogan for everything he’s taught me and done for me.

It’s more than just the blurb on the back cover of my book. Back when he blogged on a near-daily basis, I read every single post (sometimes multiple times). I was finding my way in this new social world of ours, working hard to leave my CPA job behind me. I wanted a new career, and Chris was one of the thought leaders who, unbeknownst to him, served as a “remote teacher” of mine. All he did was give, and all I did was take. I’m proud of the self-education I gave myself, but all thanks goes to people like Chris Brogan.

Hell, he even jumped on a 30-minute call with me last year to discuss my diet. He said he wanted me in better shape for when my book comes out. Gotta look great during those speaking engagements, he said. (full disclosure: I’ve lost 10 lbs at this point, probably. :wink: )

Chris Brogan, thanks for being you.

p.s. Two of my faves: Trust Agents and The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth (not affiliate links because Missouri don’t play that game. They’re BUY links!)

 
— — — — —

Watch Episode 34 here!

— — — — —

IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

The paperback version of Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE! It hits the streets on 2/17/15 (and I’m finding that they’re shipping early. Order today!)

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 34: Thank You David Siteman Garland!

 
David Siteman Garland, host of the online show The Rise to the Top, gave me some advice in January 2010 that changed the trajectory of my career. For him, our coffee together might have been a throwaway moment. For me, it was a pivot point. Hard to say, but I don’t think Happywork would exist without David’s push that morning.

If he happens to see this thank you video, he might think it strange. I can’t help that – the guy deserves my thanks. Thank you, David!

P.S. The e-Book version of Happywork is ready for download. Links to Kindle, NOOK Book, and iTunes here.

— — — — —

Watch Episode 33 here!

— — — — —

IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

The paperback version of Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE! It hits the streets on 2/17/15.

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork eBook is Now Available – Kindle, NOOK Book, and iTunes

 
I am pleased to announce that the eBook version of Happywork is now available! We’re up on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble NOOK Book, and iTunes. I’m having trouble finding my book on iTunes via search, but this link should get you there.

This also means that you can now leave a review on these sites. If you’ve read my book, I’d love an honest review from you.

Thank you for being part of my community, and for your interest in happier workplaces.

Buy Kindle version of Happywork

Buy NOOK Book version of Happywork

Buy iTunes version of Happywork

Happywork TV Episode 33: Thank You Designers!

 
In Episode 33 of Happywork TV, I say thank you to three artists who helped me with the design and look of my book Happywork.

Steve Hartman (@creativille on Twitter) did the front cover design of my book. Judging from the reviews I’ve been hearing, it turned out well! I used to work with Steve at Falk Harrison. I miss you, buddy!

Cat McMillan helped me with my book proposal. Instead of turning in the standard black and white Microsoft Word file book proposal, we created a beautiful document. The first publisher that saw it was impressed, but still told me “No.” Luckily, Sound Wisdom said yes. For those of you looking to write and publish a book, I talk here a bit about “designing” a book proposal versus simply writing one.

Bill Sawalich of Barlow took the photo of me near the back of the book (and it’s the photo I’m using on all my social media accounts). We had fun doing this photo shoot.

Thank you guys!

— — — — —

Watch Episode 32 here!

— — — — —

IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 32: Thank You Proofreaders!

In Episode 32 of Happywork TV, I say thank you to some people who lent me a huge hand as I was working to finish my book.

Thank you to my proofreaders: Jenn Cloud, Greg Bussmann, Dave Gray, Eliot Frick, Mary Steinau, my mom, and my wife. Thank you also goes to my editor at Sound Wisdom, John Martin.

Thanks to these guys, I turned in a pretty clean manuscript. But more importantly, I turned in a great story. These guys got to read the horrible first drafts (makes me cringe now just thinking about it). They found big errors, small errors, and offered many suggestions for improvement. I couldn’t have done it without them.

POSTSCRIPT: I should mention – that is NOT a stain on my shirt. I was clearing my throat drinking some water, preparing to record the episode, had a drinking malfunction, and dribbled a bunch of water on my chest. I was going to use a hair dryer to try to get rid of the splotch, but decided to PRESS ON!

— — — — —

Watch Episode 31 here!

— — — — —

IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork Pre-Sale Book Launch is a GO!

Happywork by Chris Reimer

In what might be the worst-kept secret ever, my book Happywork is debuting in less than a month (as of the time of this posting). FREAK. OUT! February 17 is the big day, the countdown clock is on, and I’m nervous, excited, and ready. I can’t wait to get this book in your hands! Even though I’ve been asking y’all to pre-order the book, this blog post represents my “Big Ask.” Friends and sympathetic strangers, I need your help (and I have something to give you in return).

Happywork is a business parable about the worst company to work for in the entire world. My goal is to show how apathy, lack of cooperation, and cruelty – abjectly horrible working conditions – affect our productivity, our profitability, and most importantly, our fulfillment and happiness. Our happiness at work matters, because work represents such a huge part of our life. We need to care about doing great work, and we need to create workplaces where it’s easy to do so. It’s time to draw a line in the sand – no more office jerks, no more work unhappiness! We can do better, if we demand it of ourselves.

If you’re an old friend of mine, a new friend, an entrepreneur or manager trying to run a successful business, or an employee hating life because of your job, please order a copy of Happywork. And if the book meant anything to you, I need you to tell a friend. Help me spread the word. The system we all work in needs a punch in the face. Help me change the workplace forever!

LEARN MORE
To read a little more about the book …
To find out what authors like Dan Pink, Bob Burg, Peter Shankman, and Chris Brogan thought of it …
To learn what you’ll get out of it (perspective, business-building ideas, and courage) …
— > Click here! < --- HOW CAN YOU HELP?
First step: buy Happywork. Second: Read it. Third: Help me spread the word! Tweet using the hashtag #Happywork. Post a pic on Facebook of you and the book. Leave an honest review on your favorite book retailer’s site, or on your own blog. Tell a friend you loved it, and why. Buy a copy for a friend who’s suffering at work, and tell them you care about them (the book will help them feel better).

WANT TO JOIN MY LAUNCH TEAM?
I need your help promoting the release of Happywork, and there’s free stuff involved! Join the Happywork Crüe launch team! Yes, it’s a “Crüe.” If you’re willing to help and want to learn more, contact me ASAP at happywork at chrisreimer dot com.

HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
If you wish to buy multiple copies, I’m offering you some great bonuses here. I’m giving away lots of consulting time and keynote addresses. I can help you with social media strategy, how to build a personal brand, how to change careers, how to get a book published, and more. I’m a quadruple threat. Buy some books and put me to work!

WANT A SAMPLE BEFORE YOU BUY?
Download Chapters 1-3 for free here!

WHERE TO BUY?
Below is a list of online retailers selling Happywork, including a bunch of wonderful independent bookstores. If you don’t see your favorite store here, go to that store’s website. Most online booksellers are carrying it. We are not currently confirmed to be in any physical bookstores. So online purchases it is!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell’s
800-CEO-READ (a great option if you’re buying 25 copies or more)
Books-A-Million
Left Bank Books
Boulder Book Store
McNally Jackson
Politics and Prose
BookPeople
Books & Books
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
A Room of One’s Own
Longfellow Books
The Elliott Bay Book Company
Wal-Mart
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

 

THE E-BOOK VERSION – coming early!
Good news! We’re about 90% confirmed on an early launch date for the e-book of Happywork. Kindle, Nook, and iBook versions should be available for download on Monday, February 2!

WHERE’S THE PARTY?
February 16, 2015 – Book launch party, evening, location TBD. It will involve wine. Hold the date!
February 19, 2015 – Social Media Club of St. Louis book launch party at Moulin Events, evening, time TBD.

FINALLY …
Thank you! I can’t express enough gratitude to you guys for everything you’ve done for me. Over the past seven years, as I’ve transformed my work life (really, my whole life) from being a CPA to working in marketing, to now a first-time author, there’s a sizable list of people who’ve made a huge difference in my life. The people who interrupted their work lives to read and blurb my book, my proofreaders, the thought leaders I learned from, my new friends at Sound Wisdom, and most of all, my family. I’m nothing without you guys! Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, for your friendship, and for everything you will do with me in the future. Together, we’re going to change the world!

Happywork book by Chris Reimer

Book Review: Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman

Zombies1
Companies often churn through customers. Terrible and scary, but true.

Through bad customer service (along with lousy product, weak branding, and a host of other challenges), the good customers leave, and new ones have to be harvested. In fact, one of the most important metrics you’ll often hear a publicly traded company cite is their customer acquisition rate, and I suppose that’s because customer acquisition equals growth. However, where’s the “Customers hightailing it out of there” metric? Shouldn’t we pay some attention to that?

Upon reading Peter Shankman‘s latest book, “Zombie Loyalists,” I came to the following forehead-smacking, “DUHHH!” conclusion: Why not just hold on to your good customers, and turn them into your unholy marketing army of the night?

OK, that last part was all Peter. Truthfully, I don’t like zombies movies at all, nor the idea of zombies. But they are a fitting allegory of what Peter would like to see companies embrace: their best customers!

Peter introduces two stats that lay it out perfectly: 80% of companies think they provide superior customer service, and 8% of customers agree. WHAAAAAAA? That is abjectly horrible. To cop some corporate jargon, we’re nowhere close to being in “alignment” here! (note: if you’re reading his book and saying to yourself, “This is just common sense; Peter is telling me nothing new, so it’s 1-star review time …” I say bollocks. Look at the above stat. Even if you think you know this stuff, you’re not doing it. So you need to hear it again.)

Why have we forgotten that positive word of mouth rules? Over the past 5-7 years, the gullible have been swayed by the supposedly unlimited power of social media, as if those who wield it are sorcerers. Meanwhile, real human workers are treating real human customers like crap. Peter introduces many examples of this, which helps the message steep a bit for the reader.

Peter correctly points out that most customer service sucks, which means you don’t even have to try that hard to provide some simple delight to your fans. It’s a sad state of affairs when we say, “This works so great because of how bad things have gotten.” Not a knock on Peter, at all. It’s a knock on the current state of human customer service, most of which really does suck. To wit, have a heartbeat and a smile and you’re like in the top 10 percentile of customer service. You can lament this, or just take advantage of it.

Peter’s idea is to “infect” your customers by “biting” them with great customer service, which includes taking great care of them and providing them with unexpected delight. Peter again provides wonderful real-world examples, and implores the reader to work hard at this. The goal is to empower those zombies so that they can infect others.

A quick aside: No, these methods don’t always work. You’ll work hard to delight customers, and some will still write nasty things about you online, or worse, never patronize your business again. Look, if you have a decision maker citing this fact as the reason for not conducting your affairs in this way, that person is a shortsighted moron. I have noticed the art of unfair arguing usually involves lobbing such worthless invective – pointing out the examples where it didn’t work. Like, after a terrible school shooting, they’ll poll the community while emotions are running high, and 7% of people will still want free guns handed out with drivers licenses. Or those old toothpaste ads – 4 out of 5 dentists prefer Crest – who was that silly 5th dentist!? You get the idea. You can’t please everyone! But, if you can create an army of rabid fans, you’re going to be pleasing a whole bunch of people! That’s what you want to make happen.

Peter did it to me. He infected me. He was the first – THE FIRST – person to endorse my book, and he did so enthusiastically. I was so excited! Now, I don’t care if the Dalai Lama endorses my book – Peter’s name is not coming off the top of my book. Oh, what was that Peter? You want me to run through a brick wall for you? No problem. ON IT!

GREATEST TAKEAWAY – most customer service is bad. Your threshold for success isn’t that high! Try! (and I will tack on the fact that these are human beings we’re dealing with here. Reason enough to try! Please!)

In my opinion, Zombie Loyalists is better than Nice Companies Finish First (which happened to be an inspiration to me as I was writing my own book). With Zombie Loyalists, Peter does two things well: 1. He gets you in the right mindset to start building your loyal zombie army of followers (mindset is so critical, and too often overlooked), and 2. He give you many examples of how to do it. So the book is both inspirational and tactical. And Peter’s personality comes through, which keeps it very readable.

Thank you, Peter, for writing this. Two undead thumbs up!

Order Zombie Loyalists here! (not an affiliate link. Just order the book ’cause it’s awesome)

Happywork TV Episode 31: Mr Employer, NO You Can’t Have My Social Media Passwords

 
In Episode 31 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in The Happywork Agreement, the work code of conduct I’ve written to help bring happiness to the sorriest workplaces.

And this one is a doozy. It goes like this: “I will not ask prospective or current employees for their social media passwords, nor will I force them to show me what they’ve posted on their private social media accounts. This is a level of privacy invasion that is completely unacceptable. (Yes, this has happened.)”

And can you believe it? Yes, this happens! In fact, as late as early 2013, Illinois became only the second state to ban these employer requests.

As someone who’s had a few jobs in his day, I understand exactly what is going on here. The hiring process is a crapshoot for both sides. Employers look at resumes and interview candidates, trying to find the most qualified person. However, people lie on resumes all the time. Job applicants are largely an unknown quantity to employers. On the other side, job seekers, when afforded the time and opportunity, try to pick the best place to work using the very limited information at their fingertips. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like to work at an organization until you work there.

Crapshoots involve risk, and smart people work hard to mitigate risk.

How can both sides learn more about each other? The Internet!

Companies would do well to have all sorts of pertinent information out on their website and social channels for job applicants to chew on. If there is competition for great candidates, you want to be “talking” to those candidates while they’re doing their job search due diligence. If you’re a company showing them you have nothing to hide, and the other company is tight-lipped, who do you think most conscientious people are going to go with?

Well, what do companies have to work with, short of hiring a private detective to tail you for a couple weeks? Your musings on social media! HR departments are veritable sleuths now, scoping out anything and everything they can on a candidate. They’re looking for anything that will tip the scales one way or the other.

When they can’t find anything, apparently they sometimes turn to some ballsy tactics. They ask job applicants for their social media passwords, so they can log in and take a close look at what’s being posted. Or, and this would seemingly be even worse (for some reason), they’ll have the candidate sit at a chair and make them log in to their accounts while company personnel stand over their shoulders.

If this ever happens to you, get out of there. You don’t want that job. Draw a line in the sand and say, “Stay out of my personal life.” True, we’re putting more personal shit on social media than ever before, and some of those postings could reveal a strong character with proper judgement, or just the opposite.

But if I have my social media accounts locked down, or you just can’t find them because your Googling skills suck, then you’re just going to have to interview me again. No, you cannot have private access to my social media accounts!

— — — — —

Watch Episode 30 here!

— — — — —

IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!

And subscribe on YouTube!