Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats

Dog in Meadow

Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

“It is a truism to say that the dog is largely what his master makes of him: he can be savage and dangerous, untrustworthy, cringing and fearful; or he can be faithful and loyal, courageous and the best of companions and allies.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The day finally arrived. You know, the one you wait for with the anticipation of Santa for December 26th. What is this most anticipated day?  It is the day I can finally claim my free birthday item. Yours might be from an accessories store, a hardware store, a local restaurant. Mine is from my beloved coffee shop and I had all I could do not to camp out overnight to make certain that I started my birthday off on the right foot.

As the line slalomed its polite yet frenetic way through the designated course to the counter, I double-checked the e-mail on my phone to be certain that I followed the instructions.

“Bring your registered card or mobile app to the store to redeem your reward”.

Registered card in hand? Check!

Balance on card? Low, but check!

Desired Birthday Coffee memorized and ready to order? Check!

Card handed to cashier? Check!

Imagine my surprise when the cashier requested further payment for my free Birthday Beverage. My card balance was now $0.00 and I was being charged for a gift my coffee shop said they gave me. When I asked the cashier about it, showing her the e-mail, she said that I should have told her beforehand, then moved me along and took the next person in line.

The e-mail informing me of the birthday gift made no mention of my need to inform the cashier. In fact, the e-mail implied that the only way to receive my gift was to use my card and that because my card was registered, all I had to do was present my card at the counter and everything would be taken care of. Eventually, I straightened it out and received my birthday gift, though not after having to jump through hoops and beg for my treat.

What started out as a nice surprise, turned into an ordeal that tainted my day and my relationship with a business I have been loyal to thus far. The next time you offer your clients a gift, keep the following things in mind:

  1. Be clear as to the details of your offer.
  2. Test and review your offer until you are certain that your message will be understood as intended.
  3. Train your staff thoroughly on the details of the offer/gift and empower them to correct misunderstandings as they happen.
  4. Make your offer/gift easy to redeem. The less your clients have to do to receive the gift you’re giving them, the happier they will be. To keep things in perspective, imagine how your family or best friend would react and feel if you made them do what you are making your clients do to receive a wedding present, birthday, or anniversary gift.

In the rush and the struggle to find new ways to reach out to your clients, thank them, and reward them for their loyalty, it is easy to lose sight of the basics enumerated above. Of course, there are also the technical aspects of sales tracking and other business considerations that have a say in the final offer and how you administer it. To create the most effective promotions, you need to find the right balance between your business needs or restrictions and treating your clients like the Human Beings they are. Remember, your clients are not dogs. Do not make them beg for treats. If you treat your clients well, they will reflect that treatment back to you and your company.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

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The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2 – “Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”

The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

“Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”

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“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” – Old Proverb –

Gazing out upon the nearly-full tidal pool at the Plum Island Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Massachusetts on this unseasonably warm, early April day, I see brown. The parking lot in which I sit, writing, is at a slightly higher elevation than the tidal pool and the adjoining fields of marsh grasses. This vantage point affords enough of an aerial view to see partially over the hillocks in the near distance, across the harbor to the towns of Essex and Ipswich on the horizon. This bird’s-eye view (albeit that of a bird perched on a very low tree branch or a parking sign) places my vision above the fields of newly mown marsh grasses to see dozens of acres of brown. Even the tidal pool is cast with brown in the harsh light of the noon sun.

Very few people stop here for more than thirty seconds. To them, it is just a brown and lifeless landscape; boring. The only people who stay for any length of time beyond the thirty second mark are those birdwatchers who stay only long enough to spot (then consequently check-off) a new bird on their list, with no intention of actually observing the bird and getting to know it. What astounds me is the wealth of beauty that this spot possesses and is missed by those who come in search of a pre-determined idea of what is worthy of notice.

A few years ago (wink, wink) when I was eight years old, I ventured into the kitchen after viewing my Saturday morning cartoons and stood next to my mother at the kitchen sink. “Mumma, I’m bored,” I announced. In her characteristic, gentle firmness, yet in an uncharacteristically direct tone, my mother looked down at me (without skipping a beat in the washing of the breakfast dishes) and said, “Cathleen. The only people who get bored are boring people,” returning her gaze to the garden while continuing with the dishes. Not only was I NEVER bored again, but also this experience taught me to seek out continually something new. A treasure or lesson could be waiting for me in the haphazard pattern of a first coat of paint on the front of a dresser; or the way a reed bends and sings in the midst of a storm yet never breaks; or the fact that the overriding expanse of brown before me is, in point of fact, made up of greens, reds, purples, yellows, and blues in myriad variations on a theme.

The same thing is true of the people we hire and the customers who purchase from us. Without the individual talents, viewpoints, and insights each one brings to the table (the painter’s palette, as it were), then the work of art we call our company or team would lack the depth, luster, and uniqueness that makes our work a masterpiece.

Consciousness is a choice. Simply wanting to be aware does not make it happen. One must choose to open one’s eyes and mind. One must choose to see everything, not only what is pleasant or comfortable.

The thing that changed for me on that Saturday morning so many years ago is that I decided to stop refusing to see the world in front of me. I became determined to remain blind no longer. This choice of consciousness has brought a depth, richness, and joy to my life and work that I have carried with me to every aspect of my life, particularly in relation to the people I encounter. I choose to uncover the layers of wealth and richness buried in each person in front of me at any given time so as to bring the very best to the relationship, project, team, or circumstance. In doing so I find no need for the all-too-standard jealousy, defensiveness, and subsequent subterfuge that plagues Cubicle Farms around the world. Allowing for the enrichment of the team with the free-flow of each other’s talents, insights, and experience (as opposed to the general practice of trying to control and suppress it all) creates an infectious dynamic among the team members that creates a pride in the work and an enthusiasm to produce the best; to be a part of the best. I, for one, would much rather spend the 10+ hours each day that I am at work in the quest to produce the best, to be part of the best in a lively, dynamic environment. When one ponders the alternative, which is what one has become all-too-used-to in the working environment, one wonders why one hasn’t seen the light sooner.

 

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – V2;N2 – “Breaking Out of the Chicken Farm”

The Rossiter Report – Volume 2;Number 2

by Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

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“Breaking Out of the Chicken Farm”

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Ginger: So laying eggs all your life and then getting plucked, stuffed and roasted is good enough for you, is it?

Babs: It’s a livin’.

Recently, I have been hearing a great many business owners expressing the dire need for employees who “think on their feet” regarding the jobs they were hired to do. These business owners are dumbfounded and frustrated at the fact that their employees (most of whom are long since out of high school) take no initiative and will not think beyond the immediate task at hand, as if they are working from a script and have no thoughts or words beyond that.

More and more, business owners are faced with a workforce who is looking to be told what to do at every turn. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the generations of children that have grown up being shuffled from one scheduled activity to another, constantly told what happens next, what to do, and how to do it are becoming the bulk of the people in the workforce at large. Perhaps it has to do with the way the corporate world has functioned for the past several decades – where employees are told that their input matters and are encouraged to contribute, yet penalized in a variety of ways when they do contribute. This experience leaves the workforce to interpret this message as proof that the only way to move forward is to put one’s head down and wait for the next instruction.

Battery Operated Toy Robot

Regardless of how we got this way, it is critical for us to break out of this prison, taking the initiative to risk change. With the economy in the state it is currently, people are afraid to make waves and risk losing their jobs. Believe me when I say, “I’ve been there. I understand”. The problem that arises because everyone takes this point of view is that things never stay the way they are, they only get worse. We simply get used to the new norm and tell ourselves that things are the same. This is what Ginger the chicken in the movie Chicken Run is trying to get her fellow inmates to see. The quote referenced at the beginning of this article was prompted by Ginger recognizing the signs that something much worse was on the horizon for them.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, I not only recommend you watch it (if only for the pure entertainment value), but I will summarize the plot for you. Ginger is a chicken living on a chicken farm that is run like a prison camp (think Stalag 17 meets Hogan’s Heroes). Ginger’s only thought is to break free of the tyranny and live a free life, beyond the hills – with grass and sunshine; with the freedom to live the life she decides, the freedom from fear, boredom, and abuse. Her difficulty, and challenge, is in trying to convince the other chickens on the farm that the way things are is not how they were meant to be – that there is a better, happier way of living. Ginger could easily escape on her own, she had done it many times, but she cares enough about the other chickens that she will not escape unless they all can.

In the quote above, Ginger is asking her fellow chicken inmates to think beyond the mechanical routine that leads to, in their case actual death. In the case of so many people in the working world/Corporate America, this life leads to a broken spirit and emotional death. Ginger is trying to connect with the thinking part of her fellow chickens to open them up to their reality as well as the possibilities that are available to them if they would only think about events as they unfold and take the risks necessary to obtain this new life of freedom.

So too the contemporary business owner.

This begs the question, “How does one get beyond this mentality in order to create happy, thinking individuals who take in the whole scenario, process it according to what is right to do in the situation, and take the initiative to go ahead and DO what needs to be done?”

Consciousness is the key.

As an employer, you have to be conscious of your own work habits and the example you are setting. I once worked for a woman who hounded her underlings (yes, that is how she thought of us) to be productive and would publicly scold and berate us if she walked by and we happened to be taking a breath because, in her eyes, we were slacking. Her behavior created extreme resentment in her staff because her workday consisted of nothing but slacking (i.e.; complaining about all of the e-mails she had to go through and that she had no time to deal with them. In the meantime she would spend 90% of the time she was not in meetings texting or telephoning her friends and family).  This same woman would consistently change the essence of the tasks she delegated without telling us, then berate us for failing at the task. The behavior that she was modeling was creating an atmosphere of insecurity and instability which resulted in our running to her for every detail and instruction so that she couldn’t say we didn’t do what she wanted. We stopped thinking for ourselves because, our manager’s behavior told us to, regardless of what words she used.

You also, as an employer, need to be conscious of the reason you are passionate about your business. Recently I spoke with a business owner who could not do this. He could not tell me why he devoted his life, sacrificing time with his family, to doing what he does (which he clearly loves doing). In order to be able to project your passion to your employees or colleagues, you must be able to express the Why behind the What. Oftentimes, employees do not care about their work because they cannot see the point to it. They interpret their boss’ passion as obsessiveness or inability to be satisfied. The result is that employees give up trying to satisfy their employers because their efforts will be wasted since their employers will let them know that the work should have been done better.

Another area employers need to be conscious of is the effectiveness of the training system in place. One business owner I spoke with recently had nothing in place beyond the functional aspects of the job. The new hires were essentially thrown to the wolves on the first day to be trained “on the fly” with all of their mistakes quite public. Additionally, since they were not trained in how to work with their customers, they had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and humiliation so they, again, ran to the owner for instructions on the minutest task. The employees are afraid to remember anything because, “What if I get it wrong in front of everyone?” This business owner does not realize that he has created a system of failure for his employees because he has not given any thought to the type and style of the training he is providing to his staff. This business owner does not realize the effect that not caring about the training program he puts in place has on

  1. the morale of his employees (“He doesn’t give a hoot ‘n a holler about us so why should we care about him or his stupid job?”),
  2. the way they treat his clients,
  3. the cost of continually replacing employees (monetary cost as well as time and effort), or
  4. his Bottom Line.

As employees, you need to be conscious of not falling into the prison of numbing your mind and stifling your abilities. You need to be conscious of taking risks to make change happen. You need to be conscious of the most effective ways to communicate your needs to your employer or manager in order to clear away the barbed wire surrounding your workplace chicken farm.

Again, I know from whence I speak. I have been a culprit of each of these errors in thinking and have learned the hard way that staying silent, trying to adjust to a new level of abuse or dysfunction does not change any circumstance for the better. It allows, and in fact encourages, circumstances to get worse. Therefore, if you are unhappy in your job, ask yourself why. When you arrive at an answer, ask yourself why you feel that way. Continue asking yourself why until you reach the core of the problem. If there is anything you are at fault with and can improve on, do so. Once you know the core of the problem, you will be able to find a way to properly address the situation.

For example, if you find that the core of your dissatisfaction at work is that you feel that you are afraid to try or to think on your own because you have gotten the message that you will surely fail in the eyes of your employer/Manager(as in the case of the business owner above who was passionate about his work yet came across as impossible to please), then talk with your employer/Manager about this. By stating your case in terms that do not blame your employer/Manager, yet bring out the fact that you feel you are not able to perform to your best because of how you are made to feel and that you simply want to clear up any misunderstandings and expectations, you will go far in effecting the necessary changes that will allow you to do your best and love what you do.

If each person begins to make small changes, sooner or later great changes are made. I think you will find that sooner is sooner than you think.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS 

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Think Tank Tuesday – V1;N3 – Listening and Learning

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Today we think about the critical role that listening plays in our ability to serve those around us. Take time today to think about how well you truly listen to what people are saying, remembering that listening involves more than physically hearing the words that are spoken to you.

Listening involves observing and processing the physical and environmental cues that are being sent to you as well as keeping yourself clear of any hidden agendas you may have set in place for the outcome you are hoping to elicit.

Listening involves learning from past encounters with a person as to how he or she processes information, or the manner in which he or she communicates. Perhaps a person needs only the critical pieces of information in order to come to a decision. Some people need every gory detail to arrive at the same conclusion. Others need time and physical space in order to process, while still others need to work out a solution on their own before to be certain that he or she had fully grasped the situation.

The list is as endless as the stars in the sky because there are so many factors that go into the communication between people. This means that each person needs to remember that what works for us most likely will not work for the person with whom we are communicating.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of your personal agenda for a particular communication to completely destroy effective communication. The presence of an agenda inherently denies communication because the agenda is, in fact, the outcome, therefore, there is no communication. Oftentimes we are not aware that an agenda exists, so when communication breaks down, we are dumbfounded and become frustrated, attributing the breakdown to the other person or people involved.

Paying attention, clearing out all ulterior motives, remembering what we have seen and experienced, and learning to work with the needs of the person in front of us will take the act of communication you are currently experiencing, to a higher level. 

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – V2:N2 – Effective Relationship Development with Local Business Owners

Welcome to “Focus Friday”. You are here because you are looking to dramatically improve your Client Relationship skills and are looking for focus for the upcoming week.

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As we reflect upon the week just past, and look to the week ahead, focus on where your relationships stand with other business owners in your area (or other department heads, etc.). Are your dealings with them cordial, frigid, or warm and friendly?  REMEMBER: How you interact with your colleagues and compatriots has a tremendous effect on your ability to do your job and move forward in your business. Keeping your relationships well maintained will catapult you to the success you desire.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Motivational Monday – V2:N2 – Power

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_John_Adams_(by_John_Trumbull,_circa_1792)

Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.

 

In honor of Presidents’ Day, today think about the quote above from our 2nd President, John Adams, and review (with honesty) how your leadership style stands up against such a measure. Remember, no matter what your position or title, everyone is an example of leadership to someone.

Until the next time, I wish you all my best.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – Volume 2;Number 1 – Passion

I hope this first Focus Friday edition of the New Year finds that you are well. In the wake of St. Valentine’s Day, our focus is on our passion for the work we do.

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Whether or not you are in your Dream Job/Career, take some time between now and Monday to look closely at the work you do and write out the areas that you truly love working at, then write out why you feel this way. By doing this every day for the next week, you will begin to see your job in a different light and you will begin to reflect this change in the work you do.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Thank You Thursday

Candy Hearts

I hope this issue of Thank You Thursday finds that you are well. Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Today, let’s take the time to let our colleagues know the one thing we love about working with him or her. Perhaps you will make it a habit that goes beyond the confines of a single day, thereby changing the environment in which you spend the majority of our time.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – Volume 2; Number 1 – “Soul Searching and Transformation”

The Rossiter Report – V2:N1

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

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“Soul Searching and Transformation”

Good Afternoon, Everyone. It is great to be back with you at the relative beginning of this brand new year. As St. Valentine’s Day is a mere few hours away, I am taking this time to talk about the importance of putting into words what it is that makes you so passionate about the work that you do.

As I was meeting earlier today with the owner of a small, but thriving, business (I’ll call him Marc) looking for a way to help him with his staffing issues, I was sensing a high level of frustration with the fact that his staff just does not take pride in their job or the work that they do. Marc is truly passionate about his business and has been so from the start. After twenty years in business, he is continually expanding and is focused on providing the best quality products and service to his customers (whom he views as welcome guests and family), yet he cannot understand why his employees do not see things the way he does, why they will not learn to do the simplest aspects of their job, and why they take no initiative in solving problems. My heart was breaking as I listened to Marc’s dilemma because I knew the solution was so simple (hard work, but simple nonetheless).

How many of you have felt the same way? How many of you wish you knew the magic formula for completely changing people’s attitudes? Well, fret no more. I give you the same advice I gave to Marc. The answer is simple. If you have not taken the time to write (yes, write it down) the reason you are so passionate about your work, your business, and what you envision for your business, then you will not be able to convey that passion properly. In Marc’s case, the unnamed passion turned to frustration at the sight of sloppily done tasks and the general lack of pride and connection he saw in his employees.

Oftentimes, until we dig up the root of our frustration, we actually communicate the opposite of what we intend. In Marc’s case, by not understanding why he is so passionate about his business, he is instead conveying to his employees that he is angry at them all the time. Without being able to articulate what it is he is angry about, his employees can only assume (and we know where that leads) that Marc is angry at them personally. This is a perfect example of why my Three C’s of Superlative Service are invaluable. Unless and until we become Conscious of the world within and around us, we will not develop the Compassion we need to get to the root or core of the person we are dealing with (the passion that is driving them at the particular moment we encounter them), therefore, we are incapable of Communicating the truth of the matter at hand. If we are incapable of communicating, the relationship breaks down.

Another effect of not taking the time to write out what it is you are passionate about in your business, along with the “why” and including your vision for your business, is that this lack of clarity is directly transferred to your employees. What Marc needed to see was that without any clear delineation of (to use real estate as a metaphor) your property lines, your employees do not know where to put their feet. Your employees are left without solid ground upon which to stand, therefore remain adrift and insecure about what is expected of them. This insecurity takes their focus off of serving the customer because they have no clear understanding of what that means in the context of your business.

As the day comes to a close, do yourself a great favor and set aside some time every day (in Marc’s case, someone who is struggling to find time in his day for everything, I suggested taking fifteen minutes each day) to put on paper what it is you love about the work you do and WHY you love each item on your list. The “what” is essential, but the “why” is critical. Without knowing why we do anything, we will never have a full grasp on the “what”. Having had decades of practice in this art, I am able to say with certainty that you will begin to see a change in the people around you and how they relate to you. You will be unconsciously communicating your passion in the proper manner, in a manner that people will finally be able to understand without you having to utter a word (although, once you have the understanding of your passion, you may not be able to keep quiet).

Until next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Coppyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS. All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Think Tank Tuesday – V1;N1

Think Tank Tuesday

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Welcome to the inaugural issue of Think Tank Tuesday. The purpose of these postings is to give you something to think about in relation to developing relationships with your clients, your colleagues, and your employees. As relationships change, so does the way one approaches them, therefore, as our working environment consists primarily of relationships, it is important to think about how these relationships are evolving and how to deal with the change.

This week’s topic to think about is about leadership. Each of us is a leader regardless of our title. Therefore, think about these words from Theodore Roosevelt:

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

  • How often do we think it is easier to do it ourselves than to let someone else do it? (It may be easier but what is it costing you?)
  • How often do we think that if we “do it all”, we will show how competent we are? (The reality is that you are showing your insecurity and incompetence.)
  • How often do we think people think well of us when we do so? (Having worked under many Micro-Managers, I am able to say that no one thinks well of those who can’t let go and let others do the job.)

Take stock of your answers to these questions and see where you need to improve. Also, look at the effects your behavior is having on your colleagues, clients, employees, and others you deal with each day. It is critical to see how your behavior affects other people, otherwise you have no gauge as to your progress. Put the quote up in your office in a place where you will see it every day, to inspire you to develop a plan for how you will learn to become the leader described in the quote above.

Keep me posted on your progress. Share your thoughts and musings on the topic. Submit a topic for the Think Tank.

Until next time, all my best;

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All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy,redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.