Category Archives: Company Culture

Homemade for the holidays

As a child, I used to really, REALLY look forward to opening gifts on Christmas morning.  I love surprises, so I was never one to search for gifts ahead of time.  I truly enjoyed guessing what was in those beautiful boxes!  Walking down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought and then spending an embarrassingly long time opening gifts from family – who could ask for anything better?  However, as a grown-up and parent, things have begun to change.  I now look forward to others opening the gifts I picked out for them more than anything else.  This year I have spent an added amount of time and love on a number of gifts, as I am making quite a few of them on my own!  I won’t get into details in case one of my family members is reading, but I have truly had such a wonderful time putting together these gifts that are straight from the heart.  Another added bonus to the homemade variety is the money it saves!  Now, admittedly, I am not making macaroni frames so I have had to spend a little.  But when I divide through the number of gifts I will be able to create, it is a very small amount of money per person, yet the gifts are going to mean so much more.  I hope.

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In case this is something that interests you, I have compiled a list of ideas for homemade gifts that will not make people put on a fake smile and look around for a non-existent receipt.  I hope it can be of some use to you this year!

  1. Drink kits – whether it is a hot cocoa kit for the kids, or a hot toddy kit for mom and dad, providing someone with all of the ingredients for a yummy winter drink is a great idea and something they will certainly use on those snowy nights ahead!  Yes, people probably have hot cocoa powder on hand, but do they also have marshmallows, crumbled peppermint and chocolate stirrer sticks in their pantry?  Probably not.  Other kits that are fun are ice cream sundae kits, cookie making kits, and even beer bread kits!  (My mom and I did this one year, just put the bread ingredients in a plastic bag, wrap it in burlap and attach a tag that says “just add beer!”)
  2. Ornaments – granted, these are a once a year gift and one they probably won’t get much use out of this year, but if they are made well enough, they will last for years to come.  This year, I spray painted small wooden shapes purchased at Michael’s, drilled holes in the top, mod podged pictures on the front and tied a ribbon!  So easy, and so durable!
  3. Coasters – I did these a couple of years ago and they were a big hit.  I purchased tiles from Lowe’s, but just found them online from my new favorite store Menard’s for only $.14!, and again mod podged pictures onto the front.  I also added felt pieces to the back to prevent scratching and now my family has adorable pictures of my children to place their drink glasses on!
  4. Spa gifts – depending on how natural and how homemade you want these to be, this could take a little more planning to purchase the required items.  But everyone uses lotion and shaving cream and lip balm, so wouldn’t it be great if you could provide them with a homemade version that actually works, and does not include all of those unnatural ingredients?  Amazon has everything you need to make a yummy smelling spa treat for the special people in your life.
  5. *Hats and scarves – this time of year, we are reminded that we can never have too many scarves, hats and mittens.  And if we can happen to find a pair of mittens that match, bonus!  What if we had the whole hat, mitten and scarf set still intact?  Oh right, that’s impossible.  So a matching set will always be a much appreciated gift, and they will think of you and feel thankful every time they put them on.
    *disclaimer: only choose this option if you are actually skilled at knitting or crocheting, and also only if you promise to use solid, neutral colors.  We don’t want to make people feel like the dog in the picture up above!

These are just a few ideas, but they all include a spoonful of love and that’s all anyone really wants this time of year!  Good luck, and please let me know how it goes in the comments!

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Ways that you can give back to your local community

This time of year, giving back is on the forefront of our minds.  As we look around at our own situations, we often feel blessed for all of the good in our lives.  This feeling is sometimes followed by guilt, remembering that not everyone has so much to be thankful for.  Consequently, we begin to wonder: what can I do to give back?  In case you have asked that question lately, here is a list of ideas to get you started!

  1. Local church – whether you belong to a church or not, they are always looks for volunteers to help with various things, as well as donations of clothing or food.
  2. Participate in a charity fundraiser – find an organization that is close to your heartrunner-888016_960_720 and run in the 5K, or volunteer at one of their fundraising events.
  3. Volunteer as a coach in the local parks and recreation sports program – this is a great way to get involved in the community, as well as give a child a role model that they may be needing in their life!  In Johnson County, KS you can simply lg on to the parks and rec website for opportunities.
  4. Salvation Army bell ringer at Christmas
  5. Lead a charity event at your place of work – This is great for team building. Check out Royal’s website to learn about the different community outreach programs in which they have become involved, it’s a great place to get ideas!
  6. Clean up – Volunteer your time in helping to clean up the local school playground in preparation for the start of the school year. Collect litter from the highway or help clean the local stream in your neighborhood.
  7. Make a financial donation – if you feel you are too swamped to attend an event, dollar-660223_960_720financial donations are always appreciated.  Just make sure you know where your money is going to be used!
  8. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen – soup kitchens are full of volunteers around the holidays, so try volunteering at another time of year when they truly need the extra help.
  9. Get involved with an inmate program designed to help people prepare for life after jail.
  10. Create an event yourself to support a charity – if you can’t find something you are passionate about, make up your own event!
  11. Find someone in need and personally help them – make a grocery run for your Basket, Groceries, Vegetables, Fruits, Food, Asparaguselderly neighbor, or buy a few toys for the kids down the street whose dad just lost his job.
  12. Carry a survival pack in your car that includes socks, gloves, toothpaste, a toothbrush, some snacks etc. that you can give to homeless people when you see them.

These are just a few ideas, and most of them are things you can do all year long!  Do you have any other things you like to do to give back?  Leave your ideas in the comments below!

How to Shape Your Company Culture

Company culture has quickly become one of the most important predictors of a company’s future success. With this in mind we are always looking for ways in which we can take even better care of our team. We most definitely live by Richard Branson’s idea of:

“Train people well enough so they can leave,
treat them well enough so they don’t”

I truly believe in this statement, and look forward to seeing it come to fruition over the coming years at Royal Services! 

Source: How to Shape Your Company Culture


Creating a killer company culture

A great company culture is not something that can be created overnight. It takes months, even years for this to evolve and there are certain things that need to be in place for your company to thrive. One of the most important decisions to make is whether you want to be a boss or a leader. There is a huge difference between these two, and it is only leader-2206099_960_720possible to create an incredible company culture with one of them. Hopefully you know which direction to take, and that is why you are here. The simple thing to remember is a leader will create a killer company culture, whereas a boss will literally kill company culture. The choice is yours!

  1. Lead by example – Live everyday the way you want your employees to behave. You are the leader, which means you do things first, and your team will follow. Set the standard for your team, and then hold them accountable. If you are late for every meeting and continue to keep people waiting, you will be quite a hypocrite if you get mad when employees are late. If you act in this way, you will soon be seen as a boss instead of a leader, and your culture will begin to crumble.
  2. Hire smart – When you are adding to your team hire people according to their behavior rather than their skill set, whenever possible. There are obviously some vocations where you can’t follow this principle, such as within the medical world where you need to hire a surgeon who is qualified as a surgeon! However, there are many positions where the skill set can be trained, and the most important thing is to find people who easily slide into your company with minimal disruption.
  3. Understand your why – You and your team need a purpose for coming to work everyday. If you are just going through the motions, and have no true purpose, it’s going to be very difficult to motivate people to deliver what you are looking for. Understand your why and make sure this is something that is discussed during the hiring and onboarding processes. This is your company’s DNA and needs to be your north star in every decision that you make.
  4. Tell your story and continue to refer back to it – Your company might be 25 years old, but the new members of your team haven’t experienced the trials and tribulations that you have been through. They don’t understand the hurdles you have overcome, the economic downturns, the bankrupt clients, the successes, and the differences that your company has made over the years. Tell your story so that your entire team understand more about your history, and the path traveled thus far.
  5. Establish traditions – these are activities that will help to motivate your team and make them feel more like a family. Company-wide lunches are a great way to achieve this, as are social events, team-building activities, community outreach projects, 5k’s, marathons and other charity events.
  6. Document core values – Decide what matters to your company and what you want Conceptual core values integrity ethics circle concept word clouthe focus to be on. Document, share, and live by these values on a daily basis. Keep referring back to them and make every decision according to what is stated here.
  7. Recognize and reward – Let people know that you are proud of them for their achievements and reward them accordingly. Surprise thank you’s are always fun for everyone involved and require very little effort. How good would you feel if your boss swung by your desk, gave you $50, thanked you for your incredible effort over the past few weeks, and told you to take your spouse out to dinner? Wow your employees and show everyone that you appreciate what they are doing.
  8. Treat others how you would want to be treated – If someone is performing at an incredible level and continues to deliver exceptional results, reward them for it. If someone is struggling due to a death in the family, or a sick child is causing lack of sleep, be empathetic and go easier on them. Show them that you are a human being and truly care about your team.
  9. Stay out of the ivory tower – Get out and about and interact with your team. If you keep yourself locked up in your office and employees only see you when things are wrong, there will be a massive disconnect. Be present, interact with your team, get to know them, pick up trash, replace the printer toner, and show them that you are a team player. Everyone will benefit from it and the collaboration is guaranteed to improve when people feel the collectiveness.
  10. Develop your team – Show your team the paths that they can follow to work their way up in your business, and provide them with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. Increase their hunger and show them what they are capable of. This is so much more enjoyable and rewarding than hiring external people, and will allow you to positively impact so many people’s lives.
  11. Get to know your teamYour staff don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Understand what matters to them, what makes them tick, and how you can help them realize their dreams.
  12. Catch your people doing the right thing – Far too often we try to catch people doing the wrong thing. This is such a negative way of living and isn’t enjoyable for anyone involved. Instead of searching and waiting for the bad, hunt for the good and celebrate when your team do the right thing. It’s a similar idea to when parents look at a child’s grade card and focus on the one C, instead of the four A’s that the student has achieved. Focus on and reward the things that you want your team to do, everyone will be so much happier.
  13. Smile – If you are following steps 1 through 12, this will happen naturally and you will live a full life.


Good luck!


The # 1 Trait of successful people is…

It seems that everywhere you look these days, there are self-help guides, self improvement books, seminars, and podcasts all designed to help people take their lives to the next level. The list of ideas to focus on varies drastically depending on the background of the author and what they deem to be successful, but there are several characteristics that can be found across the majority of these publications:

An ability to think differently and go against the grain – Without the courage and belief of people such as Steve Jobs, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr., the world would be a very different place to what it is today. It takes a special person to put their reputation on the line and do the complete opposite of what everyone else is doing.

A willingness to fail – Some of the most successful people in the world failed on numerous occasions to get the success that they are now famous for. One of the most famous examples of this is Michael Jordan whose commitment to failure quote is known around the world:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The ability to set and pursue goals – Successful people have to be excellent multitaskers and must possess the ability to prioritize their tasks. Each will have different methods of doing this, but the majority of successful people will discuss the way in which they set out their goals at the start of the day and work through them in priority order.

They are ambitious – They are hungry, driven, and want to succeed. This fuels their fire and makes them a relentless competitor with the desire to grow and thrive.

They are responsible – They take ownership of what they do, and do not push blame and failure onto those around them.

The ability to network and connect – There is no possible way for people to accomplish all of their goals without support from the people around them. They have an ability to surround themselves with successful people and are able to leverage their network to help them achieve their goals.

They don’t procrastinate and wait for “the right time” – with many things in life there are typically no perfect times to do something, apart from when it comes to crossing a road, where poor timing can be deadly… Fear of failure is what holds most people back, but successful people will see the reward rather than the risk.

They are focused – They understand that there are a lot of distractions around them, but there is the need to focus on what truly matters and what is important. How good are you at prioritizing and how does this help you to achieve your goals?

There are many other qualities that people discuss when it comes to the characteristics of successful people, but in my opinion, one of the most underrated traits is that of resilience and refusing to give up, no matter how difficult things become.

All of the above strengths are pointless if you don’t have purpose and passion to fuel your fire. One of the best examples of resilience that has inspired so many people over the years is the “Tyson Is Back” fight from 1990. 42-1 outsider Buster Douglas managed to overcome the then undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson, in one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. What allowed Buster to experience this success? Resiliency and purpose. Watch the video below to find out more about this incredible story.


How resilient are you? How do you react to those punches that make you feel like you just can’t carry on? What keeps you going when you almost reach the point of no return? The resiliency and drive that successful people have is something that motivational speaker and life coach Tony Robbins has spent his life exploring. It’s a fascinating trait and one that would make you a fortune if you were able to bottle it and replicate it.

We are keen to get your thoughts on what makes people successful. Do you disagree with any of the items listed here? What did we miss? What “superpower” do you possess that makes you successful? Looking forward to reading your responses! Until next time, Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do, and be resilient!


Conference calls: Are they worth it?

If you ever find yourself on conference calls, I am sure you will be able to totally relate to the video below. This is a classic example of something that is seen as being important and necessary for a company to function, but something that has the chance to negatively impact all parties involved. When I watch this video I immediately get flashbacks to previous companies where conference calls were a frequent occurrence.

Anyone who has taken part in a conference call knows that this video is not just trying to be funny.  These things do actually occur, and at the end of the meeting you end up feeling like you have just wasted an hour of your work day that could have been spent in a much more useful manner.  Instead of spending your valuable time on conference calls such as this, here are some alternative ideas that could be very beneficial to your company!

  1. Video conferencing – Skype or other teleconferencing tools are a great solution as everyone can see each other, which will remove some of the difficulties shown in the video.
  2. In person meetings – when possible, meet in person.  If you have an hour or so drive, having one in-person meeting a month will accomplish much more than meeting four times a month over the phone in many situations.
  3. Smaller, more personalized calls – try having fewer people on the call.  Make sure you only have absolutely essential people involved, and avoid bringing those on the line that don’t have much to contribute.  If you only include two or three people, those people can in turn send out a summary of the meeting to those who weren’t involved.
  4. Collaborative work documents – Google Docs, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, etc. are all great options for collaborating through online documents rather than over the phone or even in person.  They give people a chance to really think about their responses as opposed to shouting out the first thing that comes in their mind.

The main thing that I would suggest is to be as efficient as possible and don’t just have meetings for the sake of having meetings. Have an agenda and objectives, and stick to the tasks at hand.  Also, stress to the members of the group the importance of timeliness.  Start the meeting on time, and if people are late do not go back and recap what you have already discussed.  This is especially frustrating for those of us who show up on time and have to listen to something two, or even three times!

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to conference calls, or tips for making conference calls more effective?  If so, put them in the comments below!  And as always, Expect the Exceptional every day!


Dedication & diligence in the workplace

Dedicated employees are the driving force behind any successful company.  Dedication can be described as an “exceedingly strong feeling of support and loyalty for something or someone.”  When your employees are loyal to your business, it usually means that they love what they are doing and have a vested interest in the company doing well.

You can recognize a dedicated employee by noticing the first people to show up and woman on computer in bedthe last to leave at the end of the day.  These employees will typically continue working once they get home, as they experience great pleasure with the success of the company’s success, as well as their own.  These added hours are not put in due to a fear of losing their job, it is just that they truly enjoy what they are doing and have trouble putting their work away.


Here are 12 characteristics displayed by loyal employees who are described as being “dedicated”:

  • An infectious passion for work and belief in the company’s mission and vision
  • Steers clear of negativity and drama, instead focusing on positive ideas
  • A positive attitude in personal interactions with teammates and clients
  • Punctuality at all times for work, meetings and functions
  • High attendance and low absenteeism at work
  • Knows the history, mission, values and vision of the business
  • Frequently shares new ideas and ways in which the company can grow
  • Flexibility and excitement when it comes to change
  • Incredible work ethic
  • Always manages to get things done, regardless of obstacles they may face
  • Leaves work when the job is complete, not when the clock strikes 5pm
  • Continually looks for ways to improve individually so that they can contribute more


On the flip side, burnout is a common trait among employees who have been in their position for an extended period of time.  If you notice a high rate of turnover, it’s probably time to examine where the problem lies and make changes accordingly.  It could be a simple matter of employees being in the wrong position at your company and a few lateral changes may just do the trick.

It is possible to love the actual work that you are doing, but have major problems in your current work environment.  I was in a position previously that made me miserable.  I shed many tears and suffered major stress over finding a new job, if only for my sanity.  When my husband asked me what I would like to do, I realized that I really enjoyed the actual work I was doing; the problem was WHERE I worked and those that I worked with.  That was very eye-opening and led me to hasten my retreat so I could find something that made me happier.  As an employer, it’s important to ask yourself if you are creating a positive workplace environment that nurtures those who love what they are doing, and in turn leads to positive growth in your business.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this matter, so please share your comments below. What are some ways in which you research a company prior to joining to make sure that you have a strong chance of loving your job and sticking around for multiple years? As an employer, what do you do to create a positive environment that encourages people to stick around because they love their job? Where have you previously worked where you experienced burnout? Until next time, have a brilliant week and in everything that you do, Expect the Exceptional.