Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troubleshooters.
The round pegs in the square hole. The ones that see things differently.
They're  not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About
the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as
the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough
to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keep your head down

When bullets are flying it is best to keep your head down...

For the business world that translates to.. when it looks like it is getting crazy with the gossip or things are getting out of hand with those negative email's just get back to work.
 Put your head down and let it blow over or at least attack it on your time or on your schedule.

It all starts to be negative energy that will just produce more negative.

Try to remember the basics and get to it.

Remember what you like most about your job and emphasize that...... and tune out the rest.

Noramlly when you do that you will feel better and when you do address the other distractions they would of either have gone away or at least you will see it through clearer eyes.

Keep your head down...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning to see Life's lessons

If we allow it there are lessons around us every day.

On my drive to work I am normally always in a hurry, I usually arrive at work an hour or so before my normal work day starts but my mind is already in overdrive.
I have a pad next to me in the car and I scribble any thoughts that I want to follow up on. I may start writing things down while having my coffee before I even start my ride in.

I travel all back roads to get to work and it is about a twenty minute ride.
Even so I some time get irritated when I hit a little traffic or get caught behind a school bus that stops every 30 yards.
All because I am in a hurry to get to work.

One day I am held up because coming in the other direction on one of the side roads is a school bus stopped, it seems like it is taking forever so there I sat getting frustrated.
A lady gets out and then I see the side doors open and a electric floor is dropped in order to accommodate a handicapped child.
Just then I noticed a young boy in a wheelchair coming down the ramp on the front of his house followed by who I presume is his mother and sister.
They wait till he gets on the bus and the door shuts, all the while never losing eye contact and when the bus pulls away they blow kisses at the young boy and sign something to him and touch their heart.

And to think that before all that all I saw was a stopped bus and an inconvenience to me.

Makes you stop and think about what is important and what others sacrifice EVERY DAY and how selfish we can be.

Now when I happen to be driving down that same road in the morning if I see the bus stopped I put my car in Park, take a deep breath and watch the whole process take place again and this time I count my blessings and think how wonderful these people are that are forced to slow life down and know what is really important.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ahhh the holiday season....

People getting pepper sprayed, hit with a tazer gun, beaten until that's not the riots in other countries or a day in the war zone that's what we now call "black Friday". The beginning of the shopping season for the holidays.

The holiday season is the most stressful time of the year...crazy huh?

At a time that we should be happy and celebrating we put so much emphasis on "stuff" that we stress ourselves out.

What to buy for who?
We need to express how much we love the people in our life's with "stuff".
So we work and work and save, or throw it on the plastic and worry about it later.

We do it to ourselves.
We forget what the heck it is all, time with each other, being able to reflect and count your blessings.

The Buddhist believe that the more possessions you have the more your possessions possess you.

Ahh the holiday season....hurry up and get out there and spend spend spend....

Friday, November 25, 2011


To all of our drivers away from home on the holidays thank you, thank you from all of us at Arpin and from your families.

We all make sacrifices every day.

  Even for those of us that are not away from home for days or weeks on end may have children that you need to drop off at day care, you sacrifice daily knowing that you would prefer to stay home with your children but you know that you need to do it for the good of the family and for your child.

You need to provide and to try to set the table for your children to succeed.

It is not easy.

It is not easy for those that choose to drive across country and to be away from home and your loved ones but you know that you do it for the family.

This is your profession.

This is what you do best and because of that it is the best way that you can provide for your family.
It is a huge sacrifice and one that takes adjustments by everybody in the family.

As I have said in a past blog it is the quality of time that you spend with your loved ones not necessarily the quantity.

I know people that have the good fortune to be home every day and have a family but choose to send their children away or do not understand the blessing that they have and the opportunity that they have so they ignore their children or worse they argue with them and wish they did not have so much time with them.

The tough thing about those that sacrifice is you do not always get to see immediate rewards, quite the opposite you may either give yourself so much guilt or perhaps your family does not immediately understand how hard it is for you and they may lay the guilt on you and you start to question if it is worth it and then begins a domino of negativity.

Believe in what you are doing and do the best you can.
We all need to sacrifice and we can be better off for it.
No family situation is perfect, we all may wish for different circumstances at times but we need to work within our means.

Being away from your loves ones is difficult but if you use the time that you have with them positively and know why you do what you do then it will all work out.

Like I said it ain't easy but most things worth having and keeping are worth the sacrifice.

Stay on coarse.....

THE YEAR WAS...1976.

  US President and Vice President-
 Gerald Ford & Nelson Rockefeller

Israel signs Peace Accord returning Sinai to Egypt ~ US Supreme Court votes to reinstate the Death Penalty ~
 Legionnaires’ Disease occurs at
 the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia ~ Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter defeats Gerald Ford to become President 


 The Carol Burnett Show ~ The Bob Newhart Show ~
 The Rockford Files ~ Bionic Woman ~ Laverne & Shirley ~ Family Feud ~ Charlie’s Angels

 Dancing Queen ~ If You Leave Me Now ~ Boogie Fever ~ Tonight’s the Night ~ Let Your Love Flow ~ I Write the Songs ~ 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover ~ Afternoon Delight ~ Disco Duck ~ Convoy

Champions include Cincinnati Reds (baseball), Pittsburgh Steelers (football), Johnny Rutherford (Indianapolis 500), Montreal Canadians (hockey), Indiana (NCAA basketball), Tony Dorsett from Pittsburgh (Heisman Trophy), and Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert (singles at Wimbledon tennis) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This time of year it is always good to reflect on what you are thankful for.

We all get caught up so much in the day to day that we do not always take the time to remember how blessed we are.

I am thankful for my family and our health, and a wonderful grandchild .
A wife who I fell in love with back in 1980 and love even more every passing year.
A father could not be more proud then I am of my son, Michael and my daughter, Jillian or my son-in-law, Joe, they are good people with good hearts.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work for the Arpin's since 1985, it has been a great ride.
To have learned and watched from Paul Arpin was certainly a gift and one that I do not take for granted.
He was a special man who had a vision and that vision evolved through the years from wanting to build a business to take care of his wife and kids to toward the later half of his life he found pleasure and challenges in helping and mentoring others.

I am thankful to have met and worked with so many people throughout the United States. Agents and drivers and agents that were once drivers. Operation people, and employees not only here at the home office but all over. It is truly a blessing.

I often think how lucky I am to be born and raised in the United States of America, a country that allows me the freedom to live where and how I want.
I am thankful for all the men and woman that are in our military and our veterans because they allow me those freedoms through their sweat, blood and tears.

As I said we all get caught up in own little world and with bills, and work issues and many other distractions.
Take the time to see the blessings in your life and remember do not sweat the small stuff....and most of it is the small the stuff.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shutting It Down

We have the iPhone, the iPad, iTouch...i i i...we have more technology literally at our fingertips than any other generation...EVER...pretty cool.

Now, we all need to understand how to harness it and use it to our advantage.

When I am at the airport and at a store or just out and about, I notice that people rarely look up from their phones or iPads. They are going to have to make them with some kind of mirrors so you can see what is in front of you as you are looking down so you don't bump into poles or get run over.

We have a "National Smoke Out Day" where we ask people to stop smoking for a day. I think we may need a national shut down day where we ask everyone to shut their phones off.

Take a breath, talk to the person sitting next to you, talk a walk without your headphones and listen to nothing but what is around you.

Everything in moderation, that is what I always told my kids when they were growing up. We ruin it when we overindulge, whether it is alcohol, eating or pretty much anything. Now it's the use of computers, the Internet and technology.

We ALL need to take the time to shut it down.  Pick a day, any day. It may surprise you.

Arpin Family

What Family Is

Sunday, November 20, 2011


One of the reasons I left retail back in 1982 was they had just passed the " blue law" in R.I. which made it possible for retail stores to open on Sunday.
That's right for those of you to young to remember, stores were actually CLOSED on Sunday.

Imagine that.

That was the day that for generations we shut down and the family would gather for Sunday dinner.
You sat around , ate, relaxed and caught up on what ever was going on.
I always thought that it was an important tradition and my wife and I had been married for over a year and was we were expecting our first child.
I was appalled that such a law could pass and I thought that it said a lot for where we were going as a society when we put money and business profit over family.

OK, maybe I did over dramatize it a bit but that it was I believed at the time.

I still absolutely believe that may of been the beginning or certainly the next big hurdle in our overall culture change.
That said I do not think that Sunday necessarily needs to be THE day. As long as families make time to shut it down and relax and talk, that is the important thing.

I understood that Sunday does not necessarily needs to be the day when I joined Arpin and became friends with an over the road driver who would spend days and weeks away from home but he told me that when he was home it was the quality of time he had with his family not the quantity or particular day.

It is so true.

Either way, my concern is now with all this technology at our fingertips and stores open 24/7 our present and future generations will not understand the importance of shutting it down.

Gone are the Sunday traditions in most households....not mine.
 I am proud to say that 30 years after I left retail we still have Sunday dinners , my children who no longer live at home come home on Sunday with their friends and husbands and their children and eat, relax and we catch up with each other's life's.....long live tradition.

I guess this kinda marries up with my last posting on what is success to you.......being able to hold on to this concept of Sunday dinners and family is my personnel success story.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What Motivates You?

What motivates you?
Just having to pay the bills?
A better life, to own your own house, a bigger house, a better car???

What is success to you?
A title?
A office?
A bigger office?
Having enough money to provide for your family?

As we get older and mostly without even knowing it, we find ourselves in a place where we are working only to try to keep our nose above the water. We accumulate possessions and keep accumulating until we owe so much that we start to panic and stress.

Who did this to us? Us.

Less is more...that needs to be our new battle cry. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Credit cards were one of the evils that took my generation down. We simply bought it and worried about paying it for it later.
Money can not be your ultimate motivation because power and money are fleeting. It is not a real tangible thing.
The old saying is "be nice to people on the way because they are the same people you will meet on the way down".

Relationships are real, honesty and always putting others first is real.

Gale Sayers has a book called, I Am Third.  The title comes from a sign he had on his desk: "I am third, GOD is first, family is second, I am third."

Success is not how much you have but what difference you have made in the lives of others.

Toward the end of Paul Arpin's life, he would tell me that he did not "need" the money. He did not want for anything. He led a simple life, he lived in the same house for his whole marriage...a house he paid cash for. A simple modest home.

What motivated Paul was the challenge of always trying to do better and helping others.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Years ago on Mother's day David Arpin called me at home to tell me that a customer had just called him and was hysterical. Seems as though an agent was planned to load her the day before but broke down and was still broken down and she needed to be out of her house by the end of the day.
Her house was in R.I. not far from the home office.

It was early morning and I was sitting at the table with my wife and two young children when David Arpin called, I told David that I would make some phone calls and take care of it.
Thank goodness I have a loving understanding wife, after all it was mother's day and now it looked as if I was going to be gone most of the day.

I knew of two owner operators that were in town and what hotel they were staying at so I called them to see if they would help. Following with the code of any good household driver they were more than happy to lend a hand.

I then called a local driver for Arpin of R.I. who lived close to me and asked if he was available to help get a truck from local so we could load the job on it and he also was more than happy to help.

The four of us arrived at the residence a few hours later ready to rock and roll. A two story home that looked like around 10-12,000 lbs.

The customer was very happy and kept thanking us through out the day. She could not believe that we were able to pull all this together in just a few hours.

We were able to take a negative and turn it into a positive, she was a "customer for life now" she said.

Sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I stand corrected...

On my last posting I told a story about Paul Arpin on Thanksgiving. Chip Martin sent me an email to correct my telling of the story and to elaborate...

Thanks, but the story is bigger than that.

The driver was actually Ted Kerkhof, my father in law and business partner at the time.

Retired from the road from Bekins after twenty years, Ted went back on the road to raise some money because we were having business difficulties.

Ted was in his 60’s at the time, and the special part about the story is that he  was a Dutch immigrant who grew up under Nazi occupation and actually lived in Eindhoven Holland when the Allies invaded (the movie a Bridge too Far tells the story of that invasion which was the largest airborne invasion in history)

So here is a guy, who went through all that as a young man, raises a family of six moving from Holland, to Canada, to Germany, to settle in the US working the tobacco fields, mines, lumber, restaurants, factories, he was even a Canadian paratrooper, etc, only to get back in the truck and go on the road to take care of business when most men his age would be buried or whining fat on the couch.

Ted was my mentor and role model of a man, so this true story of what Paul did for Ted may not seem like much to most, but to me there just are not adequate words.

In a way, Ted and Paul were cut from the same cloth, old school guys who gave a dam, and I suppose that is another reason why the story is so touching because of the selfless dedication and concern from both men.

Paul didn’t know Ted. He only knew that one of his drivers needed help, and he did, even if it meant getting up from the Thanksgiving table to drive through the snow and reach into his wallet for a man he had never met.

Dave, I have goose bumps just thinking about the spirit that once drove such men, because truth be told I cannot honestly say whether I would go back on the road as Ted did when it was needed most, or whether I would answer my phone on Thanksgiving, much less leave the house to help a stranger as Paul did, even if he was one of my employees.

Anyway, thanks for remembering.

William Martin

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good comment

Below is a comment left on my blog posting titled - involvement-

Dave, the analogies on this blogspot are a testament to 'your INVOLVEMENT' with the company.I'm sure Paul Arpin would be proud ! I noticed on several occasions, in the past years, Paul would always come in on Sunday afternoons for a few hours.One Saturday night ( I was camped out @ HQ in my truck for the weekend ) it snowed about a foot or more.Well,lo & behold,this did not deter Mr.Arpin from 'his INVOLVEMENT' with the company!The green caddy arrived! Talk 'bout commitment!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for your comment, we encourage everyone to leave comments and tell us some of your stories.

It is so true, Paul Arpin stayed involved every day. We were working once years ago at the home office and there was a bad storm and the office lost power. Paul told me to gather my board and tickets and to follow him to his house. I sat at his kitchen table and called all the drivers and he helped while his lovely wife, Peg, insisted on making me a sandwich to eat.

You bet he stayed involved.....

Another time on Thanksgiving day Paul Arpin had a driver call him at home because he was in R.I. at the truck stop and needed money. He looked up Paul's phone number in the phone book, had never met the man or talked to him but he did not know what else to do.
Paul left his house on Thanksgiving to meet him at the truck stop and he gave him $500.00.
(Years later recounting the story to Chip Martin from Daly Mover in CA he remembered it well because it was his wife's brother who was the driver).

Paul did not only preach it, he lived it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Get involved..

Do a QUALITY job and get INVOLVED..

These are two ingredients to success that Paul Arpin would always preach.

Do a good job on EVERY job and do your BEST.

Get involved, stay in the mix and in the fox hole. Do not preach from above and swoop down every so often but STAY INVOLVED.

Take a minute to watch this video of one of our agents from Ohio, Bryan Berry from Business on the Move.

When Bryan took control of his agency it was invisible and failing. Bryan made a difference, he got involved.
As he said, he bought into it.

Holding yourself and the people around you to a higher standard is a every day goal.

For those of you that had the privilege to work with Paul Arpin you know that the man STAYED INVOLVED.....every day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not looking beyond your customer

In a recent posting on my blog I wrote about not looking beyond the person that is right in front of you.

To many people have agendas and are always working that agenda to move up the ladder and in doing so they forget to look at that person right in front of them. Unless they fit their agenda or they are someone that they are trying to impress they have no need to lower themselves. To bad because in doing so life is passing them by, learning opportunities pass them by and chances to make honest relationships. Also to bad because in doing so they would find that it would actually help build there agenda.
You hear the phrase from the bottom up so often it can kinda lose it's meaning but that is exactly how you become successful. On the shoulders and with the help of your peers, that is how you build long lasting success. If you look past them and think that your only path to climbing that ladder is by impressing the higher ups you will find success fleeting.

For our drivers and packers it may be hard to stay in the moment and not look past that customer on that day because you have so much on your plate. You are thinking of your next move, of your bills at home, of the game your missing with your kids and so many other things that circle your mind daily.

You need to remember that all though it is just another move for you it is a person or family that is uprooting and having to readjust their whole life.
When they feel that you are looking past them and that you do not see them than you begin to lose them. Their is no connection, at that point they feel just like another one of your moves and that you do not care.

You may do all the right things and wrap up that chair just right so that there is no claim but overall there is no trust, no feeling, no bond.

At that point you not only lose the customer but you lose the opportunity to really make a difference in somebody Else's life and that is the real lost.

Stop...Look and Listen...and I promise- you will be better for it.......YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE.

Check out our interview with driver Tim Norris

Sunday, November 13, 2011

School yard mentality

With what occurred at Penn State and people turning their heads I refer to this as our school yard mentality.

I have experienced this in the work place for years. People who do not come forward they see a wrong being done because they do not want to be a "rat" or to be known as a taddle tale.
Ridiculous, right?
But it happens every day.
I guess I have to think back to where does this come from, why do people not speak up?
I think you have to go back to elementary school and how children learn at an early age that if they go against the gang or who seem to be in control they are ridiculed and made fun of. You learn to just shut up or it will be turned against you.
 Thus I call it the school yard mentality.
My first real lesson in this in the work place was when I managed a retail store. I was 22 and still learning that not all people could be trusted, I know naive right.
I had a assistant manager who when I went home I thought he conducted business in the same manner as when I was there.
I was not until the store had an audit that we realized that merchandise was walking out the front door.
After a very short investigation we found that the assistant manager was giving away the merchandise to his friends and worse yet was actually selling illegal drugs from the store.
I had no idea.
It was not until we let him go that other employees came forth with stories of what they had witnessed.
I was besides myself on why and how they did not report anything earlier.
They all said that they did not want to be known as "that guy" that told on others.
OMG...that was first lesson that all though I was working with adults, people still thought like kids.
How else would you explain it.
Now these accusations at Penn State are much more severe and ugly but the main story is the in the world and why would people not come forward to report a wrong?
In our inner city high schools where kids belong to gangs one of the worse things a kid can do is "rat" on someone. They can witness killings and beatings but they dare not say anything or they will be killed or beaten.
How did we get here and how do we start to get back to find our moral compass?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Remember where you came from

I have seen a lot of employees and drivers come in the door hungry and wanting to prove themselves.

They work hard and go the extra mile in order to try to impress and separate themselves from others.

They succeed and start to climb up the ladder and drivers start to make more money and gain a positive reputation.

Then a funny thing starts to happen with some of them, they forget where they came from.
Some even start to take on an attitude that the company owes them something.
The same company that hired them and or gave them an opportunity.
Yes they took the opportunity and ran with it but you never really should feel you reach a stopping point or that you are now entitled.
Those that do always start to spiral downwards and may begin to have a chip on their shoulder.

If your company paid you what was promised and allowed you growth to make more revenue and was honest with you then they do not owe you anything.

If you get complacent you get lazy and if you get lazy you become expendable.

The longer you are at a place the more you should feel you should contribute.
Take all that helped make you successful and pass it on.
Take the knowledge that you have gained and try to improve the process and procedures and help someone else climb the ladder and learn. Through that process you will continue to learn yourself .


Always remember where you came from.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day

Every Veterans Day, I try to call my brother-in-law to say thank you.

He served in Vietnam and in doing so, it changed his life. At the young age of 19/20, he was sent to the jungle to kill or be killed. He never talked about it much until one night driving home from a game dinner in Bristol R.I.

We were both in the back seat and in the front was a older man who had fought in World War II and he was telling us about some of what he saw which included piles of dead bodies.

I don't know if it was the few drinks we had or the stories from the front seat but my brother-in-law started to talk about one night in Vietnam when he was in a canoe type boat and he was floating down a river in pitch black with a fellow soldier not knowing what was around the corner and if they would be shot at.

The World War II vet has since passed and my brother-in-law, now in his 60's, suffers from the effects of agent orange with a bad liver and other medical problems as well as mental.

Listening to both of these veterans on the ride home gave me a much deeper appreciation of what they saw and what they live with every day.

Years later, I sat with the son of a lady I work with who went to Afghanistan and was shot in battle. He too did not talk much about it but started to relay to me the story of how he and his platoon were on a mission and he described the intensity of the moment.

He is now home and continues the healing process. He too was 19/20 and I could see in his eyes that he was changed for life.

A thank you may not seem like much but what else do we have to show our veterans that we care and we that will never forget?

They certainly will never forget and they carry it with them every day.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I got sucked in....

Yesterday was one of those days that it just seems like everything was a battle.

I was involved in more than one of those group email's where everybody is venting and with each email you can feel the negativity and the dividing lines growing.

I got sucked in...

I did not follow my own advise and therefore as the day progressed it just kept on piling on.

I got more and more frustrated and was ready for a fight before I picked up the phone or read an email.
I handled a call at the end of the day knowing that I was in the wrong place, mentally, but I took it on anyway.
I knew that it was probably going to be a confrontational call because it involved money and a move that took place months ago. As usual there is always three sides to every story and if conversations are not documented it becomes a huge he said-she said game.

Well usually I prepare myself for these and really try to hear everybody out and most times even delay a decision so I can be sure to do my due diligence and do my best to be fair.
Well, because I allowed myself to get sucked in all day on these group email's I was ready for bear....not good.

I knew as soon as I hung up that I handled it all wrong. I called him back and stated that and held a different conversation.

I allowed myself to get sucked in all day...I can blame whom ever I want but at the end of the day I had choices and I chose wrong and my day was wasted because of it.

After 25 years in this business I still have these days, today the instigator is email and allowing your frustrations to type away.

I am still learning...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pulling or pushing...

When I start to feel as if a driver, employee or agent is pulling against me or the Company then there is a problem.

In the work place you have a choice, to stay positive and try to make things work OR to wake up negative every day and complain about the system.
It does not matter what line of work you are in or what your part is in the work place, we all have that choice.

Every business has the same type of politics and red tape.
 The product and company and line of work might be different but we all share the same hurdles and overall complexities that interfere with what we feel we can do or how we do it.

What to do then, pull or push?

If you continue to try to pull against the tide you will lose. You will be known as the negative person that people either avoid or work around. This will not help you or your future or the situation.

Speak up, stay positive and understand that your circumstances are not unique. Everybody needs to face these type of situations at one time or another.
As hard as it is try to confront those that you may have a problem with rather then to talk about them. The more you let something fester the harder it is to approach and the higher the walls will be.

You always have a choice..... do not not choose to pull.

Monday, November 7, 2011

We all need to hear it

I do not care who you are, what your title may be or how independent you think you are...we all need to hear that we are doing a good job and that we are appreciated.

You may not need to hear it all the time but it is nice to hear " thank you" every once in a while.

Years ago, when I started at Arpin, I called a driver to just tell him thanks for what he had done. He seemed truly appreciative and said that it was nice to hear.

I have tried to make a point ever since to be sure to says thanks and tell people when they do a good job or go out of their way and not just at the work place.
If I am shopping and the cashier or clerk is personable and helpful, I tell them. In some cases if they go out of their way, I will ask to speak to their boss or manager and I give them the recognition that they deserve.

At home, it is always good to tell your spouse or children that you appreciate them and love them. DO NOT take it for granted.

A smile and a thank you can go a long way...we all need to hear it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Imagine a computer engineer trying to design the next generation of tablet computers using mainframe hardware from the Eisenhower administration. Or- U.S. automakers trying to out-engineer foreign competitors on an assembly line with equipment from the 1960s.

Unfortunately, just such antiquated facilities and barriers to innovation exist today in precisely the institutions that can least afford it: our nation's public schools.

Tragically, children in the poorest school districts often attend schools with crumbling ceilings, overcrowded classrooms, and facilities that lack basic wiring infrastructure for computers and other modern day technology. That's no way to provide a world class education- and in today's global economy, a country that out educates America will outcompete us.

The path to prosperity, the way to win the future, is to invest wisely in schools, remembering that children get only one chance at an education.

You may ask what does this have to do with you in the moving business or whatever business you work has everything to do with you...

In my opinion there is nothing more important than improving our schools and the education system.

Teachers must be given the tools so they can begin to reform our system and be regarded as nation builders not just teachers.

Get involved, stand up, be heard...this effects each and everyone of us.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


If you want to have a great reputation, earn it.

Your reputation proceeds you.

What's yours?

With the onslaught of social media, good and bad actions and comments relating to quality and quality of service and a quality experience are at the forefront of corporate awareness.

 Some tips on how to help create a positive reputation:

Become known for doing everything you said you would do.

Be on time OR sooner.

To have any prayer for a positive reputation you MUST be known as a person who does and delivers what you promise.
This is the first and most important element.

Become known known for being easy to work with and to do business with and be friendly while doing it.

Become known for being proactive.
Go the extra mile and always please the customer and remember that we are each other's customer.

Start with YES..
You should always tell customers what you can DO, not what you CAN'T do.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Now This is Customer Service

I'm writing this email to let you know about my recent move with John Schwartz and AAA Movers.
First, to set context, I've moved a lot. In fact 8 times, by professional movers including an international move, so I know what a common, ordinary move is about, and now after this move from Minnesota to FL? I know what an extraordinary move is about.
The move was not flawless, but the management, customer service, responsiveness, and support was. The staff who packed up were professional and efficient. In the move out, an armoir had an unexpected encounter with a wall -- which John managed to have repaired within a few days. Very important to us, as the sale of our home in MN was not at all pleasant and the buyers had written a massive contingency had the repair not been done. They even exaggerated the extent of the damage -- so much so that I worried about John's ability to work it. But to our surprize at the time -- flawless execution. 7 work days after we closed the contingency was removed.
John spent hours on our move, personally. Every question we had was answered thoughtfully. Even when we had questions about the FL end of the move the John was wonderful -- helped with the storage facility, helped with understanding the complex terms on the storage contract.

We only had one thing damaged, in the move and John took care of that expeditiously selecting a competent local repair service to take care of us.
There were things about living in Minnesota that we do not care for. But one thing is great about the upper Mid-West...the cusotmer service. I don't think we've ever lived anywhere where the professionalism is so high with service vendors you engage at your house. We'd say that superior service is, ordinary there. Even having said that? When John Schwartz and AAA Movers does a move? It's extraordinary.
So, I recommend that you all figure out a way to replicate what's special about John and AAA Movers with all your agents, and you'll be the biggest and best in the business, one move at a time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Basics

No matter how complicated the football schemes were, Vince Lombardi always said it is still about blocking and tackling.

The same with business, as technology takes over more every day, it is still about customer service.

Keeping in mind that we are all each other's customer means that we should always remember to take our time and respect the other person.

A good manager or coach is always in teaching mode. Every day, there are examples around us that are our tools to improve.

Email has taken over as the major way that we all communicate. Before you send an e-mail be sure that you did not type in anger or frustration. E-mail, as in the spoken word, is hard to take back and feelings can be hurt. Nothing can be accomplished if walls are built.

Remember the basics, how to answer a phone, how to greet a customer, respect the other person's opinion and time and if in person, be sure to look them in the eye and listen to what they are saying.

Try not to become mechanical or strictly clerical.

Try to be one step ahead and to help anticipate situations. The more time you spend setting work up and decimating the information and assisting on the front end, the less chance that problems will arise.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Education of Millionaires

There is a book out entitled "The Education of Millionaires"  by Michael Ellsberg.
In it he speaks about successful people that were not successful in school. Many were told that they were not smart and felt like they did not fit in.

From the book:

The Myth: If you get into a good college, study hard, and graduate with excellent grades, you will be pretty much set for a successful career.

The Reality: The biggest thing you won't learn in college is how to succeed professionally.

Some of the smartest, most successful people in the country didn't finish college. None of them learned their most critical skills in an institution of higher education. And like them, most of what you'll need to learn to be successful you'll have to learn on your own, outside of school.

I can personally relate to this book and it's theories and I know that many of the people that I work with can also. Successful people that own agencies with Arpin and many drivers that I have worked with and have business relationships with all with something in common-
They all worked their way up and in mostly all cases were self taught.

Of coarse this is not to say that college or higher education is not worthwhile but it is to say that it is not the all end all be all and if academics and the classroom does not fit you then you are not destined for failure.

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and many others did not fit the academic structure of our education system yet they followed their gut and trusted in themselves and were very successful.

In the book Michael talks about Phil Ruffin. Phil was a dropout that started with a hamburger stand and then bought a convenient store and then gas stations and he now is the owner of Treasure Island in Las Vegas.

I admire the agent owners and drivers that I have seen work hard and start as drivers and helpers and through self dedication, hard work and literally throwing themselves into their dreams they succeed.
I have seen it and witnessed it and was amazing watching it take shape.

There are success, self made stories all around you.

Paul Arpin was one of them, he believed and worked hard and right up to the day he passed he said he was always learning.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The toughest evaluation

The toughest evaluation we have is the one for ourselves.

I have worked with and known many personalities through the years and the challenge for me is always to try to break down the walls and find common ground.

I try not to judge , as I have said in a past blog everybody has a story. If you have enough time to sit with someone and have an honest conversation you will come to understand them better and in doing so you begin to knock down the walls.

In the process you will actually find out more about yourself because once you understand where people are coming from and why you may feel less judgemental and think to yourself that maybe it was a part in you that jumped to conclusions and in doing so you were at fault.

What has seemed very obvious to me when addressing some one's negatives in a progress report or review is not obvious at all to the person that I am speaking to. They see situations through their own eyes and point of view and some, most, put up their defenses as soon as you begin to criticize.

Taking a honest look in the mirror can be hard.

I find that when someone criticizes me I automatically get angry and start to think of a rhetorical reply. If so  the point- counterpoint discussion begins.
A few minutes or so removed from the conversation I can have some quiet analysis with myself and I may find truth in what was just told me but in the moment my walls come up.

In any relationship each must take a shared responsibility, if who I am speaking to perceives me in the way they do I can not argue it away. The best thing to do is LISTEN. Try to to have an immediate reaction and try thanking them for their honesty.
Give yourself time to absorb it and perhaps address it at a later time.
The worse thing to do is come right back with ... oh yea but you did this...

When you take the time to knock down the walls you begin to form real relationships and when you do that you form friendships that will not only allow you to do more and accomplish more it will give you a feeling of satisfaction that you did something good and may even have helped someone and grown a bit yourself.

The toughest evaluation is our own.....take a honest look at how you handled a situation and try to improve.

Look in the mirror.....