Issue 27
Learning CAN be fun. Training SHOULD be fun. Training Games ARE fun!
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In this Newsletter...

Another Employee Horror Story
I want to tell you a story, and one I am sure you have heard, in some fashion, before. It is one of those old corporate "employee" horror stories, but in some ways, unique, as you'll see. A friend of mine obtained a sales position with a national corporation. He was elated with the job, a decent salary, and the company itself. He was enthusiastic, as many of us are, when starting a new position but especially elated because of this company's emphasis on the importance of the individual. This was perhaps to be expected, because this is exactly what this company was all about. Their mission if you will, is to teach other large corporations how to appreciate their employees through employee recognition.

He was first introduced to the new company through a trip to their home office. To his surprise, as he strode through the front doors of the new corporate office, he actually saw his name posted on a huge sign stating "WELCOME TO THE COMPANY HARRY" (name change to protect the innocent). Wow, a personal greeting from the folks at the head office on my first day of the job. Harry was soundly IMMMMPRESSED, and it got better from there. This was a company that, at least Harry now thought, knew how to treat people. His day was structured more like a celebration, with balloons, refreshments, cake and special greetings throughout the building. Harry felt like a rock star for the day. He spent his time meeting many of the company's top executives, all graciously welcoming him into the organization. He was literally overwhelmed, never having worked for a company which made such a special effort to welcome new employees.

Several months passed, and he continued to enjoy and do well in his new position. Harry liked the work because you might say he was a born salesman. A bit of an odd situation did occur however, but Harry didn't give it much thought. You see, his boss, whose office was just next to his own, would be leaving this particular office to run Harry's department from another city out of state. He would still be Harry's boss, but operating from an alternate location. No big deal, Harry had this situation in many past positions. Actually the only thing that Harry was adamant about was the fact that he himself was not mobile. Harry valued being with his family, perhaps more than anything, and now that his sons and daughter were adults, he did not want to move away from them and their families. He was up front with the new company about this fact prior to being hired, but since the position was in Harry's city, it was not seen as a problem and apparently worked for everyone concerned. In fact, he learned later that the boss's move out of state was the intended plan prior to Harry being hired. There were many big accounts in the boss's new location that he himself would be calling on. Naturally, the company wanted the assigned sales person to reside in the same city as the accounts they serviced.

Just then all heck breaks loose. The real estate market, as we all know, had gone to hell in a handbasket. The boss gets cold feet, and tells the company, he no longer wants to move. He'll get financially killed in the housing market! Harry, not being a dumb guy, puts two and two together and gets a bit concerned. He goes into his boss's office to ask, "Should I be looking for another job". His boss's response, "You should always be looking for another job, Harry". I wonder if he got a balloon after that little jab.

So Harry, not withstanding the boss's coarse advice, determines to work hard, and hoped that the organization would realize his value. He continues calling on his assigned accounts, and in addition works extra hard to find new business for the company. And Harry is quite successful. In fact by the end of the first quarter of this year (2008), Harry, the new guy, actually leads the company in sales. That's right, after 8 months, this guy is ahead of all the organizational competition (He even showed me the sales report!). He also has been courting this monster account, a new account, with over 40,000 employees. And Harry is this close (picture my thumb and forefinger almost touching) to signing them up. This, Harry tells me, would meet his sales quota for the entire year!

Well all this good effort does not go unseen. Harry's boss writes him a very positive letter in April, touting his early quarter successes. One of the corporate VP comes on a field visit and assures Harry, that whole boss's moving problem, is no longer a problem. "Don't worry about it", he assures Harry. Harry comments, "I was very, VERY relieved" (famous last words).

About this time Harry's boss asks him to make a courtesy presentation on a very small account (One that the department has been a bit lax in calling on). In fact this account was so small, it really did not qualify as an account AT ALL (It had 250 total employees – Harry's new company had set a call minimum of 500 employees in order for a representative to pick up the account). But this account was also special in a way. A top executive in Harry's company knew the CEO or someone important in this smaller firm. Harry was glad to make the call (even though it was not his account) and scheduled an appointment with the company's HR person. You see Harry's company deals with HR people because they are one of the premier purveyors of corporate recognition plans. "To retain employees, treat people with respect, recognize their talents and skills and they will stay with you forever." Or at least that's what they touted. You may know that the number one reason employees leave companies is not the money, nor the lack of promotion, but because they feel unappreciated, unrecognized, and usually, nine out of ten times, by that very important person in their lives, their boss. There are few people in the world that can make you lose your appetite with a few harsh words, or cause you to lose sleep, stress out or become depressed. But one such person for many of us is "OUR BOSS".

So Harry goes to his presentation. It goes badly from the start. He was told he would be presenting to 12 folks, and 30 people show up (He does not have 30 handouts). As he enters the room he's told he has 25 minutes and no more, "NOW GET STARTED!" He says okay, "Hello, my name is Harry ________, and I work for ____________________" (Name withheld to protect the *%%Z#@^ards). "Does anyone here know anything about my company" Harry begins. No response! I mean dead silence. Its like, "Okay, I can see you're angry at me, but what the hell did I do!" Harry goes on to tell this less than responsive crowd what his company does and some about their recognition programs and products. 10 minutes pass by when a voice comes out of the crowd – "We just want to know about your Online Employee Appreciation Program". Harry stops, and says, "Well okay, I have that right here". He moves to and completes a presentation on that specific program. "Any questions" chances Harry. Again the room is dead silent. Well Harry references the HR person saying that he will of course work through this person. He'll also be in touch with her to see if they have further questions or hopefully decide positively on implementing the program. Harry walks to his car, not feeling especially good about the response, but indeed, believing he at least gave them the information they needed to decide.

That night Harry gets a call from his boss. "Harry, that presentation you made was a career killer". Harry says "What?" "Harry the account complained, and said you provided them with a bunch of information they did not want to hear" (Imagine a sales person telling you about other company products. Dreadful, especially when you consider Harry was never told of this request for specific program information). "You better start looking for another job" injects the boss. Harry is devastated. He begs his boss to tell him what is going on. He cannot believe he is going to be out of a job based upon one presentation. "Harry," his boss says, "I'll tell you more on Monday, for now I'm suggesting you start looking for another job." What a great guy, Harry gets four whole days to go completely out of his mind trying to figure out what he may have done.

The outcome of this is indeed tragic. Harry eventually chooses to resign. He has never been fired from a job, and held his last position for over 20 years. He is too proud to be fired, but still does not know what hit him. The most he is able to find out is that the account complained to someone on high in Harry's new company. Without a word to Harry, he is given two choices, leave or we will fire you (period). His boss tells him that one of the VPs explained that "Harry was just not a good fit for our company."

A week goes by and finally Harry's wife forces him out of bed. He begins to see a professional counselor. He cannot stop going over and over the situation in his head, and can make little sense of it. No one from the employee recognition company, the "PEOPLE" people, the folks that are going to help us understand how we can retain our valued employees, wants to tell Harry what the hell happened!

Now I know stuff like this happens all the time. You're probably sitting there saying, "Well if Gary thinks this is bad, he should hear about this person that I know, or better yet about what happen to me." I know, it's just another corporate employee horror story. But don't you wonder how people, who sell products based upon showing the employee that they are valued within an organization, fail to allow their own employees the smallest scrap of self respect and dignity? Wouldn't it be easier just to tell Harry that the company plan has changed and we no longer have a position available? What would the truth cost, 3 months severance pay? I mean, why make the guy feel like it was his fault. Why not simply try a little honesty. I for one will never fail to be amazed by the cruelty of distant authority, and the cowardice of others in position to do what is right, but simply choose to rationalize, and then look away.

There is truly a bigger picture here. I think we tend to get caught up in our own circumstances and in effect, lose the line, and never really know when it is being crossed. It's that line that tells you things have gotten out of hand, it is time for me to do something, it's time for me to say something, and it's time for me to NOT to be lulled into saying "Oh well, too bad…, I wonder if they're serving meatloaf today in the cafeteria?"

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Products From TGI
Contact [email protected] or call 602-750-7223

Famous Quotes
Adlai Ewing Stevenson — "It is often easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."

Albert Einstein — "The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life."

Francois Voltaire — "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong."

Free Icebreaker Game from TGI

We've included a free TGI PowerPoint or Excel based Ice Breaker Game in this newsletter and promise to send you a free game with each and every issue! These games are great fun, and will make your meetings, presentations and training sessions more interactive and engaging. Right-click and save the file to your computer. The download link is only active in newsletters sent out to TGI subscribers.

Brain Games
Try This site has quite a few fun games that can be played to exercise your brain. As stated on the site itself, "The human brain starts slowing down as early as age 25. Scientific research has started to show that we can stay mentally fit. The brain has the ability to create new neural connections and pathways, at any age. This can be used as a sort of 'brain savings account' that can be used later in life."

TGI offers Buzzer Systems
For many years now our customers have been telling us that we should provide "Buzzer" or "Quick Response" capability for our Quiz Show and other games. Many trainers and teachers like games that require teams to "buzz in" their answer to quiz questions (The game informs you who got in first!). We now provide 4 games (Quiz Show XF, Classroom Quiz Show XF, The DEAL? Game, and The NEW PowerPoint Presentation Game 4.0), that integrate with a USB Wireless Buzzer System. In fact we've researched available systems and now sell one of the premiere buzzer, or slammer systems on the our website ( We've made available Wireless Slammer products for two, five and eight teams to play. Here are some of the features offered with these wireless slammers:

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Gender Differences PowerPoint Content
Goal Setting PowerPoint Content
Interviewing PowerPoint Content
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