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Can We Talk?

by Glenn Shepard
September 16, 2014


Category:  Epic Achievers


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Nominations for the 2014 Glenn Shepard Leadership Award are being accepted until September 30th.

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(Pictured above: Last year's winner was Steve Halter of Poplar Bluff, MO).

Dear Glenn,


We have a manager who's technically sound and has a bubbly personality, but when it comes to giving constructive criticism, she becomes over critical and has nothing but negative remarks to point out.

     She has improved, but not enough. Two of our best employees told us we need to rein in her training methods and the emotional drain she causes before they leave.


Kimberly in Michigan



Dear Kimberly,


Great timing of your question.   After eight months of shooting, we just finished my newest DVD program, Assertiveness Skills for Managers: How to be Firm, Fair & Consistent without being a Jerk. It'll be released in October, and includes a chapter on managers whose technique is less than tactful.

     No matter how good her technical skills are, the morale of the entire organization is more important than any one person within it.

     Thanks for your question.


Glenn in Nashville, TN

Click the red button to submit a question. If yours is selected, you'll win your choice of the "I'm the Boss, Not the Babysitter" or "Work Is Not for Sissies"  coffee mug.
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After seeing Joan Rivers perform in Las Vegas, I was disappointed at how raunchy she was.


She was so talented and smart that I think she could have still been edgy and funny without getting in the gutter.


Nonetheless, her climb to fame illustrated ten timeless principles of success that can be emulated by anyone in any field.



1. Clarity of Purpose

One of her earliest gigs was writing for a puppet mouse that appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. When asked if this was beneath her, she responded “When you're starving and have a car payment due, you go through any door that opens”.



2. An Unstoppable Determination to Succeed

Most fans remember her as a frequent guest host of The Tonight Show. What most don’t know is that she auditioned for the show seven times and was rejected by seven different people before she got on.



3. Turning Tragedy into Triumph

She had more than a few trials and tribulations in her personal life, including a husband who committed suicide and left her as a single mom in debt. Instead of becoming a whiny victim as many people do, she found humor in these situations and turned them into comedy gold.



4. Defying the Norms

As a woman in a male dominated industry, she defied conventional norms. When she did her standup routine on The Tonight Show while pregnant with daughter Melissa, people weren't even allowed to use the word "pregnant" on TV. It’s hard to imagine that today when every four letter word imaginable is used on prime time shows.



5. Authenticity

Instead of hiding the fact that she had multiple plastic surgeries – as most people in show business do – she brought in camera crews to document them and used them for material in her act. She once told Barbara Walters, “I’ve had so many plastic surgeries that when I cross my legs, my mouth snaps open”.



6. Don't Burn Bridges

Johnny Carson single handedly launched her career and was her mentor. Yet he was so angry when she told him she got her own show that he hung up on her and never spoke to her again. Carson valued loyalty and never forgave her for keeping it a secret that she was negotiating with a competing network. While she may or may not have been wrong, she was careful not to burn bridges after that.



7. She Never Stopped Growing

After launching a successful career as a comic, she launched her own makeup line, a line of jewelry for QVC, a daytime talk show that was far more successful than her late night show, won Celebrity Apprentice, became a commentator for the Oscars, and wrote 12 books.



8. She Understood the Importance of Marketing

Less than two months before her death, she walked off the set of an interview on CNN. The reporter was baffled that a comedian who offended nearly everyone would herself be so offended by a reporter. My guess is that it was a publicity stunt, and it worked like a charm by getting her in the news while she was promoting her latest book.



9. She Found What She Loved

As Apple's Steve Jobs said, “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Rivers clearly did that.



10. Work Ethic

Principles 1 – 9 would be pointless without an incredible work ethic. At age 81 and with more money than she could ever spend, she still worked harder than most people half her age. She once said, “If I was obscenely pushy, that is what drive is. If I ever become somebody who stops fighting for my place in the spotlight, I will be finished. This is what reaching the top and staying there means.”



I’m currently reading the biography of Benjamin Franklin, who was born over 200 years before Rivers. It’s amazing how many of the success principles that made him a household name were identical to those that made Joan Rivers a household name (although I’m sure she would have killed to have her face on the $100 bill).


Times may change, but the principles of success never do.




To Your Success,



Glenn Shepard




P.S. Dolly Parton, whom I dearly love, also adopted Rivers’ principle of transparency with plastic surgery. She says “If I see something sagging, bagging, or dragging, I'm going to have it nipped, tucked, or sucked”.




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