Monday, December 23, 2013

The true meaning

The true meaning of Independence Day or Christmas or Thanksgiving or Veterans Day.

We lose connection with the true meaning behind the holidays. They are more than days to not work.

Here's hoping we pause to consider what they are really about and how they came to be.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I used to be a music producer. For example, I would record a singer and make her sound the best I could. Most of the time, the singer was good, but would have weaknesses. My job was simple: get the best of her to the point of having her sound better than she really was.

By the time I'd be done with the recording session, I'd be drained from working so hard to make sure each word was clear, each note on was pitch and that there was a magical feeling to the performance. Often the singer would be exhilarated at how great she sounded and how easy it all was.

Our job as leaders is to do the same with our team, to put them in the right place and give them the chance to perform better than they have before.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fight or Flight

Since caveman times, we have been programmed to deal with fear or threats by either running away or by fighting. That makes senseif a large beast was chasing me, I'm getting out of the way ASAP. On the other hand, if the threat was a small one and could be conquered, I'd take care of it, now.

In business, if I can be a little over the top, I believe a problem is that we respond to customer issues by either fleeing or we too often stand toe to toe and duke it out with them, even if it's done in a passive aggressive way.

The vast majority of customer situations should not be run away from. Running away confirms that you have made a mistake or are inferior and doesn't solve anything. Fighting with the customer to prove that they are wrong, mean, unfair or whatever, is fruitless almost every time, too. All you do is drive a wedge between the customer and your company. And after all, they are the customer and even if you're right, they have the choice most of the time of whether they want to work with you or not.

The answer is not fleeing and it's not fighting with the customer. It's in between the two. It's calmly analyzing the situation, the truth and then confirming that the customer knows the entire story (most of the time they don't). Then, far from fighting or running, we must talk (not text or email) and apply human interaction to it.

Most of the time, the customer is fair and reasonable, and most of the time both sides can figure out how to solve problems in a positive way. But none of that will happen if the customer sees us fleeing for our life or if we fight with them.

Fighting for your business relationships instead of fighting with your business relationships is far harder, but far more productive.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reality versus dreams

It's easy to be disappointed that something didn't turn out as expected. It's even easier to be the critic and tell people what they should have done to avoid whatever happened.

Personally, I believe that we have to look at reality and not dreams when we are less than thrilled with what has happened.

Is what happened the worst thing imaginable?
Is it actually better than what logically could have happened?
Is it merely a timing issue and you weren't expecting this to happen this soon?
Is there a way to learn from this and turn this into a positive?

Dreams are great, but they usually remain dreams. Reality is all around us. Better to focus on how to maximize reality than to wait on dreams.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Monday, November 25, 2013

Long-term view or a series of short-term views?

We are forced to think in the moment. Athletes take pain killers to mask the pain so they can play the big game. Down the road, they may have debilitating injuries because of it, but for the moment, they did what it took to play now.

Businesses accept the wrong customer because they need to stay busy, even though that will take their focus off the best customers.

Short-term thinking can happen because of fear, laziness and doubt in our abilities. And it feeds more short-term thinking.

The answer is to realize that you do have the talent, the resourcefulness and the integrity to do what is right, regardless of the pressures of the moment. Doing that ensures you have a long-term and not a series of short-terms.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Musicians and comedians know that much of their success is based on timing. Musicians have to have a great sense of time; comedians with impeccable timing are hilarious.

In business, we need timing, too. If we launch a product at the perfect time, we are celebrated. That same product at the wrong time is a dud.

We also have time expectations of how long it should take to achieve something or how long it will be before your competitor's product will start to erode your market share. No matter, we all have time expectations.

As I get older and gather the various experiences I receive each day, I find that my sense of timing is not all that good. I expect many things to happen immediately. Other things I expect to not be on the radar screen for years may appear way ahead of schedule, or sometimes, never at all.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Monday, October 7, 2013

The golden opportunity

It’s a fact that customers are a lot less loyal than they once were. We have more choices than we used to when it comes to the products we purchase or the services we use. With the Internet at our fingertips, we can research, and compare value, features and benefits before we enter a store or order online. And along with the economic downturn, many industries, such as banking and the airlines, suffered negative backlash. All that adds up to some challenging times when it comes to retaining customers and keeping them loyal.

One of the biggest opportunities to win a customer for life is when that customer is unhappy and you’re able to solve the issue to their satisfaction. When you consider that customer loyalty can be worth 10 times as much as a single purchase, taking advantage of an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one is an obvious win for everyone involved. Go beyond to take care of customers when things go wrong and you'll gain a loyal customer for life.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Selling value

I’ve come to understand the importance in selling value. Selling your value often takes more thought and time than just figuring out how many hours it will take to perform a task, putting together an estimate and selling a price to a customer. But if it’s price alone that you’re selling, chances are there’s someone else out there who can do it for cheaper. 

And if a customer is only concerned with the lowest price, chances are they’re not going to be the kind of person you want to do business with.  If the lowest price is all they’re after, what’s to prevent them from going with the company down the road if they’re a few dollars cheaper? 

Investing your time in selling value to people who see beyond the dollar signs is well worth it. It’s more inspiring to work with those who see your value.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Time warp

One of my challenges is timeI expect to get things done in a certain amount of time and quite often, I'm wrong. Most of the time, I underestimate how long it will take to change something or solve something. And in almost every case, it takes longer than I thought.

It may be good that it takes longer to change something than I thought it would. Perhaps the change will "stick" better. Maybe I'll appreciate it more. Maybe more people bought-in.

No matter, I have little control of time and it's about time I understood that.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Little things, big things

It's not the big victories that really make the difference. It's all the small victories that add up and lead to progress that do.

A big victory is great, but they are few and far between. Give me a lot of small triumphs every day.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You just might learn something

Why collaborate?
Why be vulnerable?
Why ask for help?
Why share a crazy idea with someone?

You just might learn somethinganything from you're nuts to you have a brilliant idea or maybe in between (it's a good idea, but what if you tweaked it in this area or that?).

You just might learn something.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Remove the barriers

If it's not working and you try and try to no avail, there is probably a barrier that is stopping you. You may not see it or recognize it, but it is real and it will stop you until it is dealt with.

Barriers can be constructed of grudges, personality conflicts, assumptionsanything that person will not get rid of.

Until the barrier is gone, there will be a fight to make progress. How to do it? It's tough, but either the barrier goes, the person constructing the barrier goes, or all hope and progress goes.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You're right—so what?

It's important to be right or maybe it isn't?

So what if you're right and you lose a good relationship?
Or a great collaborator?
Or a good customer?

You can be 100% right in the moment and lose out on the future.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fear not

Motivation comes in different packages. Sometimes it's in the form of opportunity, other times in it's in the form of fear or loss. Either way, people are motivated.

It's our choice; move because you see great things ahead or move because you'll be in trouble if you don't.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Look for progress

As I get older, I look less for perfection and far more for progress. In fact, I think we sometimes judge situations based on what would be perfect because that's easyeither it is or isn't perfect. It's more difficult to look for progress and appreciate it.

If an employee falls a little short but handled a situation better than in the past, you have two choices: condemn them or applaud them. If you condemn, you may lose an opportunity for future success. If you view it as a sign that the person handled it differently (better), and that it means in the future, they will more likely succeed, at least you know they will be listening to you and just maybe they will do better next time.

Perfection is unattainable; progress is within the grasp of anyone.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Panic management

A goal of a good leader is to eliminate panic, to calm people down and focus efforts on what is smart. A poor performer not only doesn't do that, but actually creates more panic.

Panic is not:
Wanting to win
Doing your best
Trying to please customers

Panic is:

Panic will lead to bad decisions, bad performance and will hurt relationships internally as well as externally with customers. The leaders I know will calmly analyze the situation and do their best to focus their resources on the right things. 

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


In music, having a great sense of timing is everything. In baseball, timing your bat to the 90 mph pitch coming is the difference between a hit and miss.

In business, timing is critical. For example, who hears first when there is a change? Who learns of your new brandingthe customer or the employees?

And when there are concerns over product quality or the relationship you have with a customer, do you wait to hear or do you make the first contact?

Timing is critical, and often the message itself isn't the issue, it's who hears it first.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I'm an idea guy. To a fault. I have had to learn that all problems are not solved with an idea. Sometimes an idea can really result in wonders, a transformation. But sometimes it takes a person, one person, deciding to do something.

I've tried to solve a problem with a totally new great idea and have failed and failed. And then one day, a person decided to do something and everything turned out great.

Ideas are great but they're not everything.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Barry LaBov Puts His Collective Wisdom in One Place

How would you like to gain a better understanding of office politics? What about the many factors that dictate how well an employee will respond to certain directions? Maybe you’re just looking for ways to be a better manager or how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. No matter what you’re looking for in regard to business tips and advice, you’ll most likely find something you can take with you back to the office through Barry LaBov’s blog.
Written by Barry LaBov, himself, the award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and writer takes some time to give readers short little quips and insights onto how to be a better employee and person. Having worked in many different areas of media and serving a variety of roles within the capacity, Barry LaBov brings with him a unique perspective that may help you see management, client meetings, and work ethic a little differently.
Each post usually features a short observation or story that Barry LaBov will then tie back to the office to address universal issues that seem relevant.  Take this post written recently on bullies. Bullies are a thing most people have to deal with when growing up and they’re certainly in the news all of the time, but what about when you grow up? What do you do if you have to deal with a bully in the professional world? Most people do nothing, which only adds to anxiety. LaBov stresses that you need to handle these bullies right away in order to be productive and maintain a friendly office environment.

If you’ve ever had an office issue or you’re just looking to widen your horizons to become a better employee or boss, you might want to look into Barry LaBov’s blog. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bully Bully

Bullying is a very serious issue today at schools. Our young people are being bullied online or at school and there are great organizations and people fighting that. I thank them for doing that.

But there is bullying in the workplace, too. We deal with people who threaten or have outbursts that scare us. I know grown men who are bullied by their business partners and don't know how to deal with it.

I have dealt with bullies from the time I was a kid and have to say, it's been very frustrating. All I can say is that bullies I have known are weak, scared and cowardly when they are exposed. The sooner workplace bullies are dealt with the better.

The other thing I have seen is that every one of us feels we have been bullied. But how many of us admit to being bullies?

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Monday, July 1, 2013


I have gotten to know some very wealthy people in my position at LABOV Marketing Communications and Training. Most of them are truly good, if not great individuals.

One area I note is if and how they are gracious. Do they give more than they need to? Do they have a sense of what the "little guy" goes through? Are they motivated by money or power or do they have a higher calling?

Many wealthy people are giving, positive individuals who really do more than the minimum. But why not apply those questions to all of us? Do we tip more than the minimum when we receive good service? Do we show appreciation to someone who is at a perceived lower level of status? Do we treat everyone at an eye-to-eye level?

If the young college girl waiting tables gets an extra few dollars on her tip, it means a lot to her, but to most of us, it is nothing. Does she truly deserve it? I don't know, but if it means far more to her than to you, why not do it?

If the average guy gives $100 to his favorite charity, it may be a big deal to him. To a rich guy, that's a rounding error; it's nothing. We all say we want to make a difference; it starts with being gracious.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's not going just great?

A very simple question that I now routinely ask in every department meeting is: What project or situation that you're dealing with is not going right?

It's an awkwardly worded question, I admit, but it works. It's so critical to know what is bothering people, what is worrying them or what is that nagging doubt in the back of their mind.

I love to talk about the future and great opportunities, but those fun things are never going to happen if we have a lot of other problems going on. So now I focus on the issues first and help people solve them. Then, it's on to the fun stuff.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Get ahead of it

It's funnywhen things are going wrong, most good people jump in and figure out what to do to save the day. It often works out and the day is saved, but it takes a lot of energy and emotion.

What we overlook is that we should have gotten ahead of the issue and never allowed it to happen in the first place. That, of course, takes planning and preparation.

You either get ahead of it or it runs you over.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Every brand has a story

My wife and I once did a series of wine tastings in Napa and Sonoma. I had no idea how wine was made or what the difference was between a great wine and a good one. Little did I know that for me, and I think most of us, learning the story behind the wine makes it taste even better.

Brands and products all have a story. If we merely present them as being basically the same as the others, then we shortchange ourselves. Every great brand, from Harley-Davidson to Apple, has a story, a reason that the product was created or how it endured against the odds. To connect with a brand, we need that story, because we need to be told why something is unique in order to appreciate it. And once we know the story, it becomes part of us and it actually enhances our experience. If a product has a good story behind it and a company communicates that story in an engaging way, I’m much more likely to choose that product over one that has no story or character surrounding it.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Move up?

Every business book I've read, it seems, says that people want to move up, they want to grow to the next level. That means a leader needs to be ready for this and give opportunities to those individuals. It's pretty exciting. Except for the fact that it isn't reality.

Truth is, most of us don't want to "move up." We are comfortable where we are and want to stay that way as long we get more money from time to time. Now, for the record, I don't think that is bad, wrong or weak, at all. It's reality and if you understand that, you can be a better leader.

So, as I've I learned this, I have adapted to it. I do the following:
1) I do not assume the person wants to move up and never talk assumptively as if they do.
2) I do not hold out advancement as a carrot.
3) I do not guide or mentor a person unless they ask me to.
4) I do fall prey to someone saying they want to move up, I only get interested after see them act in that manner.
5) I enjoy what the person does do and find value in that, period.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

You won't know till you get there

Bless the hearts of all of us who have a plan or vision and expect things to go that way and feel the way we think they will. Usually that isn't reality.

The person who divorces and expects to be happy, may not be.
The company that changes its product design to capture a market may lose sales.
The person who buys the new car or vacation house may soon be bored to tears.

Vision and plans and well-thought-through ideas are great and many times result in wondrous thingsjust not what we expected or on the timeframe we laid out.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Faction management

We read in the news of the horrid things that happen when there are factions that are fighting other factions. There are ambushes, surprise attacks, guerrilla warfare, etc. All because a group that feels weak is lashing out to be heard or to hurt others.

We see this in business when a person feels under appreciated. They try to cause conflict, to spread fear or rumorswhatever they can do to feel powerful in that situation.

That's why we are told to provide a safe environment for people to share their opinions, because if not, they'll possibly share them in a negative fashion.

One advantage we have in our businesses is that we can choose to eliminate that faction. That sounds easy but it seldom is. However experience tells me that if we try our best to give everyone a chance to succeed and express themselves, yet there is a faction of discontent, managing them is not the best option. A friendly separation is the best answer for all.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


So that I can protect the innocent, I will share a story and while it may appear to be a bit vague, the story has power to it. (And btw, this is not about me; it is a true story, however.)

There was a young artist who came from a good family. His father worked with him at an early age, but as the boy reached his teens, he was in the school system and went through years of art teachers, some well intentioned, others not. Over a period of four years, the boy went to class daily and over time, his confidence slipped.

One teacher felt he was not that talented; next year's teacher thought he had talent, but not the special magic. His next art teacher was a bitter ex-artist who treated the entire class poorly. Then he had a well-intentioned teacher who at first dismissed him, but later saw something in him. However, due to the teacher's lack of skills, nothing came of it. Throughout the years, various students were held up as having great talent, but never this boy.

This boy reached his college years confused and afraid. He loved being an artist and dreamt of it but simply had no foundation as to whether or not he had what it took. That made him tentative and at times difficult to be around. Then he had his first year of college art. The professor in his class was well, practically infamous for being a jerk.

This professor had a poor reputation as a surly, sarcastic guy who was usually not liked by students and was a source of complaints from parents. But for some reason, this professor saw something special in this boymaybe it was his attitude or his doggedness or maybe it was his energy. For the entire semester this professor showed his sincere belief in the boy and minor miracles happened. The boy excelled; he became the special artist in the class. Sure, this was only his first year of college, but for the first time, he believed in himself because someone, a stranger (not his friends or parents, because their positive words didn't count), showed belief in him.

I won't share the end of the story because it doesn't matter. The power to this is that believing in someone can make all the difference. And by the way, this professor had a couple other students in that class that he supported, but overall, he was still the jerk that others had called him.

But for that one boy, that professor showed belief. And that was enough to change everything.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Motivation—no label required

I've read a lot about how to motivate. I've heard a lot, too. In general, I've been told that you need to be positive and stress the upside of a person performing or behaving a certain way.

I just walked through an airport and saw a book by Bobby Knight entitled, "The Power of Negative Thinking." No, I am not going to read it. I'm confident it will be a book filled with examples of his extraordinary ego.

But, I have learned that negative motivation is powerful. In some cases, more powerful for certain people or situations than positive reinforcement. I hate the thought that it's true, but it is.

For example, many great performers strive to excel because they are afraid to lose or be looked at as being washed up. Some slackers go to a new job and all of a sudden become aggressive because they now have to perform or they will be fired. Some people see lay-offs at their company and step-up their performance big time.

It probably doesn't matter; motivation is like stress. There's good stress (we landed a new client) and bad stress (my girlfriend broke up with me) but they both result in stress. Motivation, whether from a positive or negative standpoint, if it results in a more focused, engaged performance, is motivation, period.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Mighty Contrarian

Several years ago, I worked with a client who called himself a "Mighty Contrarian." He openly shared with me that his secret to success was to be the guy who disagreed in every meeting, who was more critical than anyone else and who kept everyone, including his boss, on their toes and on the defensive.

He was a brilliant person and I really enjoyed him, after he let his hair down and shared his secret. I've often wondered what would have happened if he would have just stopped playing contrarian and had just been himself. Would he have been less successful? Maybe...he would not have appeared so powerful and fearless.

But I do think he might have allowed others to perform freely and perhaps create even better ideas, which might have brought him even more success.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, May 2, 2013


when you feel something can be better
when your first idea seems pretty good
when you get push-back

I think there is almost never a situation when pushing to do more, think more, create more and achieve more isn't the right thing to do. If you push too far, you can always go back.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Monday, April 29, 2013

Be a Leader

I was working on a non-profit and a fellow board member was in an uproar over something trivial. I didn't see the importance of his position, but he wanted me on his side. He implored me to be a leader, stand up!

Truthfully, I felt pressure to do something to show support for him, but I had a dilemmawhat if sometimes being a leader is not standing up and throwing your weight around? If that's true, I would certainly be disappointing him. But the truth was I felt he was wrong, and I wasn't going to make him look better by standing by him.

Being a leader involves not making a move sometimes.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The good doctor

I took my son to an eye doctor who specializes in baseball vision, Dr. Bill Harrison. He has worked for numerous famous baseball stars, including some Hall of Famers. It was a long drive (about six hours) to see him, so we made it a family weekend.

I hoped that Dr. Bill would be helpful; after all, he's worked with some of the best athletes in the world. I was more than satisfied with his expertise.

But I found it was his passion that was most impressive. He personally greeted us as we walked in, he spent hours with my son making sure he had the right corrections for his contact lenses and then we went to a baseball facility and worked on exercises that help hitters "pick up" the ball as it's traveling 80-90 mph.

Since then Dr. Bill has emailed my son to see how he's progressing and has called me to talk. That's passion, that's a person who is making a difference. What an inspiration!

You would think that the doctor would be too busy to waste time on a young boy and instead focus on other things, but for Dr. Bill his passion is helping people see better.

He's helped me see better, tooI see clearly how passion intersects with expertise and creates a magical experience.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


There are so many chances to do something great, to save a relationship going bad, or to grab an opportunity and make it a reality.

Too often we look at those things as being available forever, but they're not. They come in the blink of an eye and they vanish just as fast.

The answer is to jump. Jump, run, act or do whatever you need to do in order to make that difference.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Monday, April 15, 2013

Simple is Better

Sometimes we try to make things too complicated. Companies throw a bunch of people at a challenge and hope that one of them will find a solution. Or we take a project in too many directions and end up losing sight of or diminish the one great idea that could have made all the difference.

Keeping things simple can actually be harder than letting the details run rampant and roughshod over a project. Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

In a world full of complications, details and distractions, simple can be a breath of fresh air. It can differentiate a company or product from its competitors. It can win you fans for life. It can earn you the respect and admiration of your peers. I’ll take simple over complicated any day.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Or you can decide to change

So, what do you do when an employee is being difficult and not pulling their weight? Well, usually, I would try to help them, coax them, mentor them, guide them and if that didn't work, maybe re-arrange what they are doing to increase the odds of them succeeding.

There is another option. That person could decide to do their job. Sometimes, that's how simple it is. For whatever reason, the person decides to work with others, to step up, to be a pleasure to work with instead of an anchor that has to be dragged around.

It can be easy and simple when the person just makes his or her own decision to change. Changing a person can be next to impossible.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mentor Schmentor

There's one downside to mentoring people: trying to mentor or help someone who doesn't want mentoring.

Often, because of my responsibility gene, I feel like I can help someone to achieve something great. I can see what they can be and I want to help. It took me too long to realize that it's a two-way street; that a person has to want input. Often that is not the case.

So, the best course is to not be a serial mentor. Rather, help only those who ask. That dramatically increases the possibility of success. And it saves time for the "mentee."

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Equality, love and peace

I believe that all of us are created equal. I also believe that after that point, all bets are off. Some of us go far, some of don't care, some of us are indispensable and others are very dispensable.

In business, we look at our employees as family, which is good for some things, not for others. I think we should care about each other and be there in times of need. I also believe that some people are just fantastic and they should not get the exact treatment of someone who punches the clock.

There are people and positions that are critical to your company. Likewise, there may be people and positions that are just not. Is it harsh to say that? At a CPA, the accountants are critical, but maybe there are some positions that don't make or break the firm. At a creative company, your strategists and idea people make or break you. Perhaps your bookkeeper doesn't.

When we combine those critical positions with fantastic people, we have an opportunity to really prosper. I suggest that we realize those positions of extreme importance and make sure our efforts are on securing the right people and rewarding them to achieve that critical performance.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Incompetent, evil, lucky or just plain good people?

I come from a middle-class family. I had no wealthy uncle or aunt who gave me huge sums of money nor did I have access to a family business. I worked at UPS from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. every day for five years to pay my way through college. As entrepreneurs go, I am pretty typical. Most of us started with little or nothing and then built on that over time. As I’ve gone down this path of entrepreneurialism, I’ve met some very successful people. And most of them have something in common that we in America are being influenced to actually assume the opposite of. Most of them are honest, caring people. But the rich and successful tend to be viewed as either evil or incompetent by society. My theory on successful people is that they are like everyone else in that there are good ones and not-so-good ones. They have gone down a path that has led them to extraordinary situations. And along the way, they have, in most situations, been good, honest people who have earned a lifetime of loyalty and respect from those whose lives they’ve touched.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, March 21, 2013


It's funny, don't try to talk sense to someone who's obsessed with status. Don't try to explain that a big office or a title or special parking space mean nothing. There is no logical argument that I have seen that will influence that person.

It's like telling a coke addict that cocaine means nothing and is unimportant. So what do you do?

As much as it's not my style, I have to say that the best course is moving on. It's not a debate. A person focused on status cannot be focused on the right things, because their brain is obsessed with it.

In my business, there's only room for doing our best for the client, anything elsevanity, ego, lazinessdepletes and defeats us. So, for me, it's focus on the right thing or nothing at all.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

He's our "devil"

I saw a rock band once talk about their manager, who had a dubious reputation as a cut-throat son of a gun. One of the members of the band said, "He may be Satan, but he's our (meaning his band's) Satan." His point was that this guy may have been really ruthless, but the band was comfortable with him and felt he was the best manager they could ever have.

When I hear someone complain about a customer, I remember this. Sure, they may be difficult or demanding, but they're our customer. We can complain or moan about someone, but who says another person (your manager or your customer) would be any better?

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Who

I just saw the two surviving members of the classic rock band The Who play one of their rock operas. For a couple of old guys, they rocked the house.

What inspired me most was how much they enjoyed playing their music. I bet they enjoyed it more in 2013 than they did in 1973 when they were fighting each other, tearing up hotel rooms and breaking their instruments at the end of each show.

That applies to all of us whether it's our families, our businesses or our other activities. Enjoy them, why not?

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just another

It's just an ad.
All they want is another brochure.
C'mon, lighten up, it's only an annual report.

The above are comments that could be heard at any marketing company as they have been asked by a client to perform some work.

Our challenge at LaBov Marketing Communications and Training is that we can't look at any assignment as "just another." If we do, we sabotage our future.

Think about it, if you had a disease and the doctor told you, "It's no big deal, it's just (fill in your most dreaded illness)." When it comes to our life or our health, we ARE the most important thing in the world.

Well, it's no different for our client. That ad or annual report is not just another one; it's the most important one...ever...until the next project comes in.

There is no "just another" and yes, whatever it is (a project or an illness)it is a big deal.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Friday, March 8, 2013

Don't know where we're going to end up

We like control, predictability, order and ease. But if we're going to go for greatness, we have to be prepared to have no idea where things may end up.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Great thinking vs mediocrity

I'm the Chief Creative Officer at my company, LaBov Marketing Communications and Training. I get to see some really great thinking on projects and quite often, that results in happy clients.

Many times we think of a great idea as something that dropped from the sky, angels started to sing and life was beautiful. But in reality, that's not the case.

Simply put, there is one difference between a great idea and mediocrity: an inspired concept or strategy.
Ideas that are regarded as great all have some inspiration behind themeven if it's flawed. I look back on some of my "big ideas" and once in a while I'm shocked that I was so excited about them. But, they all were concepts that had a strategy and, at least at the time, they were exciting.

Contrast that with an idea that is merely what the client asked for or what they did the last time and usually you'll find an idea that is soon forgotten.

I've told my creative team that if you have an inspired strategy or concept, you will be ahead of 90% of the competition that's just following orders. Most of the time, that's enough.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Friday, March 1, 2013

Malaise to Momentum

Ever get asked to take over something that was failing? Like a kid's basketball team or a committee on a non-profit? I have. I was asked to coach a girls' basketball team that was in the midst of a 100-game losing streak. I was appointed the chairman for a non-profit's award program after that program had failed year after year. I even was "volunteered" to raise money to save a golf club that was within weeks of being sold.

It's tough to achieve in those situations because you're fighting failure, specifically in many cases, you're fighting malaise. The girls' basketball team was filled with great girls who had long ago given up. The non-profit program had people running away from it in droves. The golf club situation was years in the making and most people had no belief there was the slightest chance to save it, so why care?

It's a long journey from malaise to momentum and just as you're starting to feel there's no hope, you start to see signs of life, of hope. If you're the lucky person to be leading people in those situations, you need to realize that you may be the only person who sees a way out until it appears to everyone. But take heart, it is worth it.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let the results speak

Results. They do speak for themselves. Only sometimes we jump the gun before they open their mouth and other times we just don't listen to them.

Let the results speak and let the chips fall where they may. Easier said than done, but necessary.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mushroom management

The old saying about treating people like "mushrooms" means you keep them in the dark and feed them crap (or another word that won't be used in this post). Treating someone that way is demeaning, for sure, but there are some aspects of it to be sensitive to.

People treated like that are often valuable people who are left alone to figure things out and somehow survive. What I have found is since they get almost no feedback, they also become judges of their own performance.

When we leave people alone and deprive them of perspective, they create their own perspective. That's why that person may have a grandiose opinion of their value. It's only reasonable that happens. But we all pay for it.

I worked with a young lady who was "left in the dark" by her manager. She had an extreme view of her value and greatness as well as a demeaning view of her manager (who was brilliant). It was sad because it could have worked out for everyone, but she had to leave to pursue her own greatness. When she landed elsewhere, she found that while she was a good performer in certain aspects, she was woefully deficient in others, all because she had never learned from her manager (and her manager never invested time in her).

Mushroom management is the easiest path for everyone in the short run and the most disappointing in the long run.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The stain of blame

One reason we sometimes don't solve a problem is that we confuse being at fault with being responsible. Since it's not my fault, why should I care about solving it? That attitude leads to distancing yourself from the problem to make sure the stain of blame isn't on you.

In reality, it doesn't matter who is at fault or if there even is a fault. All that matters is that someone solved the problem. That's the difference between an average person putting in hours at a job and someone who is truly valuable.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Monday, February 18, 2013

Executive Physcian vs Standard Issue

I've known many excellent doctors and have made it a point to be friendly with as many of them as possible. After all when it comes to your health, why not be close to those who influence how well and long you live?

There are a few "executive" doctors who charge an access fee and in addition, charge for their treatment. In return, the patient gets 24/7 access to the doctor and presumably, superior service and expertise.

I think this is a fascinating model because it is not for everyone (because of the $$) but it does allow those who want superior medical attention that opportunity, for a price. And it's amazing because that model allows that physician the opportunity to do just thatfocus on a few patients.

The standard model in which a doctor has hundreds of patients and is running from one treatment room to another is certainly valid, but think of what it does? It reduces the chance of that doctor doing her or his very best, because it's impossible.

So, as always, I connect this to our businesses and wonder, how could we look at this and apply it? Do we charge an access fee and in return have fewer customers that we attend to? That sounds great, but along with that comes the reality that you must provide superior performance that the customer actually would consider paying an access fee for.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Before and After

Before and After photos. The internet is flooded with photos before and after a huge storm. Or we see shots of what someone did to improve their landscaping. Or maybe it's plastic surgery that some celeb did. It's interesting at first, but really, what does it matter most of the time?

We are almost always "stuck" with the after and can't undo it to get back to the before.

So, all we can do is either learn (the good or the bad) from the after or we can look at the before and appreciate it even more.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I've been "George-ed!"

George is a great guy. He does some IT stuff for me from time to time. I like George, but I never know what he did or how to fix it when it goes wrong. He comes up with various passwords that mean something to him at the moment, but make no sense to me. He connects stuff with other stuff that I would have no idea about.

When it all works, it's great. When it doesn't, it's maddening. George must like texts coming in from his customers at all times of the day or night, because that's the model he's created for his business.

When something doesn't work, I cry out, "I've been George-ed!" My family doesn't look forward to my declaration of being "George-ed" because it means tensions are high and hope for a timely solution is low. I can't figure out if this is fun for him or if he feels this is his duty, his calling in lifeto help the unfortunate, lost people who are not tech-savvy. But I'm guessing his wife has to be tired of the interruptions in their life that this causes (or maybe she wants him out of the house?).

Over the years, I've become smarter, and now unplug and restart everything I know George has set-up. Half the time that works. The other half of the time I resign myself to knowing, "I've been George-ed!"

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Friday, February 8, 2013


Having problems with quality control? Hire a super quality control person.

Having issues with customer satisfaction? Hire a super customer service person.

Having issues with morale? Hire a super HR person.

The above issues and answers, in my opinion, seldom work. But they do sound very smart. The answer is always that one super-perfect person who will solve whatever issue you have. The problem is, there is no perfect person and even a great person brings a little baggage along with them.

I believe that we search for the perfect person to fix our problems because we don't want to face up to and solve our problems.

Hey, if I create a lousy environment for quality and then bring in a super quality control person, I just might make things worse. After all, now it's that one person who is responsible for quality. Things will not get better until they get much worse.

We hate to face it, but we create most of our problems. We are the issue. We need to face the demons, fix what we broke and then if we need a super-somebody, they'll have a better chance to succeed.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Remember the old game, Twister? You'd end up with both hands on the floor in a weird position as each leg was twisted over the othergreat fun.

Well, the other day, I was analyzing how I was focusing on a difficult project, and I wrote down all the options I had. I reviewed that list of four different options and I found out why I was so frustrated. It wasn't because those options were wrong; it was because I was trying to do all four. I had my hands or legs in all four areas. Just like a Twister game.

It really is a pain to dabble and not commit. So, what I did was re-rack my plan. Now, what was strange was that my new plan looked similar to my old Twister approach, except that I did eliminate one option entirely and I tweaked a couple of others.

But at least I now have a plan and a direction and don't feel like a contortionist.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to be invaluable

What's funny about our technological age is how, with all the options to communicate at our fingertips, most of us do not follow-up or follow-through.

Emails are left unanswered. Calls are not returned. Texts are ignored. Calendars are not updated. Promises are not kept. I'm not complaining; it's everywhere and there can be an advantage for someone or some company that wants to stand out: communicate clearly and timely.

If I find someone who, as a rule, follows-up and keeps their promises, that person is very important. I've known wonderful people who seem to sabotage themselves by showing great potential but then have to be tracked down in order to have them share status.

Why does this happen? Are we afraid to share status? Do we like the feeling of importance that having to be tracked down gives us? Do we just not care enough to let those we work with learn where things stand?

I don't know and would love any of our readers to share their theory on this. But, I do know this: be the rare person who follows-up and follows-through and you are automatically more valuable than a more gifted person who doesn't.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The word, "facilitate" is a rather cold, unexciting word. But I've grown to love what it stands for. In fact, I think we could use a lot more of that and lot less complaining, finger-pointing, judging, commiserating and whining in the world.

If you are a manager, why not choose to facilitate your people to work together better, to run their business a little better and to see the good in what they're doing?

If you are a creative person, why not facilitate your team or your customers or the world into seeing how something can be even more inspiring or how a problem truly can be solved and make everybody even happier?

If you are a teacher, why not facilitate your fellow teachers in how they can engage and motivate their students to become great?

A facilitator makes things happen, brings people together, calms things down when they're too electric, and does it all without drawing attention to himself or herself. We need more of that.

I think if you feel you have an under-appreciated job and would like a little more love, be a facilitator. As funny as it may seem, you will elevate yourself by helping others achieve.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Protect me

How many of us work in an environment where someone has the job of protecting people against others in the organization? You know, you have the foreman at the factory who feels his job is to protect his line workers from unfair sales requests or the assistant who shields employees from talking to the boss.

Those positions certainly have good people doing what they think are good things, but aren't we creating or fostering conflict within our companies by having to "protect" our people from our people?

Isn't the foreman who is shielding the sales department from his workers, in effect, saying that those salespeople are bad or troublesome? Isn't the assistant who builds a wall between the employees and the boss implying that the employees are a bother or are beneath the executive she works for?

If we dropped all the emotions around protection, the foreman would look at his job as making sure that all new sales are responded to in the best way to ensure they are done on-time and at the highest quality. The assistant would be focused on ensuring that all employee needs are addressed by the right person in a timely fashion.

Do we create these protection mindsets because we like the importance of being the protector instead of the facilitator? As my 19-year-old daughter and her friends say when their friends overreact and things are unnecessarily emotional, "There's too much drama." Maybe this protection approach is just too much drama.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Advertising, Marketing and Training

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On your way to do something good...

A dear friend asked me to help her out the other day. It entailed me traveling for a day and spending time working with her team on an issue that meant a lot to her. I won't go any deeper into what we did because that's not the purpose of this post.

What is the point is that I did shut down my life for her for that one day. I did my best to make sure it was all set up to be productive because I didn't want to regret it, but that morning at 6:45 AM as I was driving to the airport, I had a little concern over whether I'd regret this, I have to be honest. Turns out, I didn't at all.

Little did I know that I met a associate of hers who could help me on a particular issue that had been dogging me. And I also learned some fantastic insights that I passed onto another friend who is the middle of a personal challenge. And, I think we really made a lot of progress for my dear friend, too.

Sometimes, most of the time, even, we don't know how something is going to turn out. It's best to enjoy the ride and maybe, just maybe you will receive far more than you give.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Advertising, Marketing and Training

Thursday, January 10, 2013


We hear talk of being entitled today, whether in business or political discussions. It's an emotionally charged topic.

It's easy to feel entitled. The danger with entitlements is that the things we come to expect, let's say certain benefits or services that our companies offer us, over time becomes less appreciated and often, less effective. So the worst of all worlds happens...we don't appreciate these things and yet they cost the company. For example, I read of a company that offered a free Friday lunch. Over time, it became less attended and there were complaints from employees because they felt they should be paid to attend. Often after they attended the lunch, many would take an additional lunch hour. Obviously not what the employer had in mind for a team-building, employee appreciation program. And it was the employer's fault; it was not a good idea.

I think this issue is not black or white. There are some programs that ought to be offered to every employee, period. There's certain treatment that all deserve, period. Those are not entitlements, those are fair and right.

For those other things, it may be wise to put a moratorium on themstop themand see if there really is an impact. I think sometimes we continue the entitlements for the wrong reasons and that maybe, just maybe, no one will miss them if they are gone.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Advertising, Marketing and Training

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Add up the brain power

If your team or company is challenged to solve a problem, why is it that so often it's the same person who solves the problem? There might be two or three, maybe a half dozen people involved. But it comes down to that one person.

Maybe that one person is pretty brilliant. But it's not probable that he or she is smarter than all the others combined. It's usually not intelligence. It's either an issue of ownership, ego, fear or passiveness that is involved.

Add up the brainpower and figure it out.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Advertising, Marketing and Training

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Make History

"Let's make history." That's how my first meeting with him began. He was a hard-charging, intense client who was just transferred to this position. He was our new client.

His predecessor was a nice person who wanted to make everybody happy and things as easy as possible. This was quite a change. Overnight, we went from "don't make waves" to "let's make history."

The two years following that, we had a few rough spots with him, but we were able to produce great work that made a difference, or, as he said, history.

It's far more motivating to go for greatness even if it means working harder, because how often can you actually make history?

Barry LaBov
LaBov Advertising, Marketing and Training