December 2019
HERBIE'S HINTS (named after my dad!)

 After my Dad got out of the Army he went back to Youngstown where he grew up. He was selling furniture in a furniture store. In 1949 he and his brother-in-law started Family Treats, a wholesale candy company.

They bought candy in bulk and bagged it under their label. If you come to my office you will see the old printer blocks that were used to make every candy label that “headed” the top of each bag. Everything from Hershey kisses to French burnt peanuts were bagged under the Family Treats label. Two of my least favorite candies were Circus Peanuts (a marshmallow confection) and Starlight Mints.

My summer job was to measure and weigh each bag of candy; I tasted every kind we sold. Taste testing was not part of my job description but I did it anyway, every day. When we were bagging a candy I particularly did not like, I would ask my Dad, WHY? Why do you sell this candy?

The answer would always be the same. My Dad was a chocolate expert and as you know an Oreo fanatic. Every time I would ask the WHY question, he would answer in the same way: “If I sold only the candy I liked we would be broke”.

While in Chicago I always stop in Dylan Lauren’s store, Dylan’s Candy Bar. There are hundreds if not thousands of different candy to purchase. I wonder if she likes every kind she sells or sells kinds she does not like.
Stay on Your Cutting Edge
Every day we have a choice. We can focus on what we can do effectively or we can focus on the areas we struggle. Often we tend to focus on what we can’t do. In this brief video I challenge the participant to focus on what he is doing effectively rather than on the internal list of things he has made where he thinks he is less effective. Click on the picture above to watch the 2 minute video.
A Happy and Healthy Holiday to Everyone!
1. It's Always About the Fit
I grew up in a candy household. Really. My parents owned a wholesale candy company. I worked at Family Treats every jr high and high school summer. I learned more about twisting licorice in a knot and bagging chocolate covered nuts than the average person learns in their lifetime. One thing I learned was that although we sold the peppermint candy called Starlight Mints, no one wants to eat them. Today you see them thrown in your take out order as a cheap thank you.

Lesson Learned:  Besides the fact that you rarely actually see a person eating one, Starlight Mints are the cheapest candy one can buy. At The Drake in Chicago, in the lobby a scene re-creates Christmas Tea Times Past. All of the props are decorated with different kinds of candy. This chair is covered in unwrapped Starlight Mints. What a good use of an unpopular candy! Which just goes to show that if you look hard enough you can find a fit for everything. Do you work at finding the right fit for things and people?
2. Starbucks Next Generation
The line was formatted like a TSA line at the airport. The lines snaked back and forth as people stood outside in the Chicago weather. Standing in a queue line to get into the recently opened 4 - story Starbuck’s Reserve Roastery were the people who would then stand in line once in the store. Non-Starbuck fans took photos of the people standing in line between the stancions in the freezing cold on Thanksgiving morning.

Lesson Learned:  When there was no line to enter I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I only made it ten feet inside the door; the wall of humanity discouraged me from going any further. It does not look like any other Starbuck’s that is for sure. I am not sure if it occupied more high value footage on the Magnificent Mile or employed more people. There was a lot of both square footage and cheerful employees. How can you take something your company does well and twist it to something perhaps even better?
3. Two Kinds of Customer Service
On the first floor of Neiman Marcus an employee was giving out discount cards to everyone who came through the revolving door. Within an hour the young man must have tried to give Moshe and me the same card five times. Some people would say that it was unfair to expect someone to remember every person they handed a card to while in the middle of the store on the day before Thanksgiving. We made our way up to the men’s department on the 4 th floor.

Lesson Learned:  Last year we spent a while there although no Moshe purchase was made on that day. The salesman that waited on us was very nice, but we did not represent a commission to him. While Moshe tried on a jacket, that again went unpurchased, I meandered around. The salesman from last year walked by and stopped to greet me and tell me how nice it was to see me again. One person couldn’t remember me from five minutes earlier and one person remembered me from a year ago. Is remembering someone a skill you can learn?
4. Burberry and Bambi
This cute Bambi graced a window in the Burberry store on Michigan Avenue. The store was 3 or 4 floors of expensive real estate. I found it interesting that this luxury brand chose the iconic baby deer as their Christmas theme. I imagine that they have the best and most expensive marketing and Brand experts at their fingertips. I would also guess that these stores spend months and months developing their holiday themes.

Lesson Learned:  I loved the fact that the best minds went back to the tried and true success of Bambi. Each window featured these porcelain life size Bambi’s and there were more inside the store. I went in to see them and touch them. Around me were people spending thousands of dollars on purses and shoes and what they featured in the window was Bambi. Can you think of a simple concept that can compete in today’s techie world?
5. Haute Couture Big Bird
Marc Jacobs is a designer. As we walked past his signature store the 60% off sale got my attention. We went in to have some fun with grown up fashion. This creation was a challenge just to put on. I can clearly say that it is a dress not a coat because you can’t get it off easily once you get it on.

Lesson Learned:  I thought of Amanda Priestly as I tried on this haute couture. While I did not have a budget or a use for it I admired its creativity. It made me think of the classic cerulean blue scene from the Devil Wore Prada, “ But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean.” Is there a lesson you can learn and apply from something seems over the top? 
Leslie in Person
February 18 - APICS

Forum 360 with Leslie as Moderator
Upcoming Shows:  
Andre Thornton, former Cleveland Indian, author, speaker, businessman
Akron Public Schools Student Board Members
Guest: Nathaniel Smith, Student School Board

Watch/ Listen to Forum 360:
Western Reserve Public Media, PBS-TV, PBS Fusion Channels 45 & 49 (Time Warner channel 993) - Mondays at 8 pm and Saturdays at 5:00 pm. After the show airs, you can download it here.
WONE FM 97.5 Sunday 6 am
For online streaming go to  and click Listen Live. 
WAKR AM 1590 Sunday, 5:00 pm, Monday 12:30 am For online streaming go to  and click Listen Live.
The street artist in Puerto Vallarta is either homeless or lives in a magnificent villa. Hard to know which one! He has a little stand on the Malaccan, the beach walk, where he advertises his specialty, painting your pet.

He has a phone smart enough to get his emails. From his phone he downloads the photos that you send him of your pet. He then paints their likeness.

He always takes longer than he thinks, but gets them done barely in time. I end up stopping on the way to the airport to pick them up at some pre-arranged destination point. Because we get them at the last minute, they have to be hand carried all the way home.

Benji changed so much since his puppy photo that I wanted an update version.

In the painting, he listens to me always!
2020 will feature a Book Party in addition to our
Signature programs Video & You, Boot Camp, Camp Next, and HorseTalk: Lessons in Leadership.

Next Year’s Schedule of Events
We are currently working on our schedule of events for next year. If there is a topic you would like covered or an event you would like to see us conduct, please let us know.

*Email us at  [email protected]  for further information or to RSVP to one of our events.

Ask me about my 10 in 10!