Loud Smith Media and Publishing


Increasing Business Morale

Increasing Business Morale - Week Forty-Two

Josh got to our meeting early to tell me that he had to skip the larger gathering so that he could take care of an issue he was having with his public claims adjuster.  He had had a small fire at his house and it had left some damage that he said would be covered.  But he had to slip out early to take care of it all.  When Liz arrived we all talked about how the guided imagery experience the week previous affected us.  We all thought that it was interesting to think about where we each saw ourselves with regards to God’s house.  I had made this vision a part of my prayer time for the whole week and never got beyond where I started.  I found this to be something to think about – does this mean anything about my closeness to God?  Am I at a distance or do I just think I am?  Anyway, we had a good prayer time before the larger meeting – Liz told us that her Lubbock catering business was thriving again and that she was going to have to leave early also to coordinate a community event that her business always caters on a pro bono basis.  I told them that I would take notes for them and pass on any vital business knowledge to them.  I invited them to call me if they needed anything during the week.

At the larger business gathering we had a famous leadership speaker come into talk with us.  His name was Andy.  Andy said that we could improve our workplace morale by following a calendar filled with interesting days – like donut day or pancake day or sombrero day, etc.  He said that by acting on these unofficial holidays, it gave his employees a way to express themselves in funny or fun ways.  He said that once his business started using these days as fun days for his employees, there was a shift that happened.  Type A business people who were typically known for being “stuffed shirts” showed up in colorful costumes with King Cakes in hand on Fat Tuesday.  People who wouldn’t typically make “friends” at work started handing out coupons to Baskin Robbins on National Ice Cream Day.  He said that the office became a fun place to be – and he also noted that there was an actual uptick in production.  He said that he had had his doubts at first – he figured that by making a workday fun or interesting that people would work casually – but he admitted that after two months he was wrong about it all.  The business even held contests for best expression on certain days with the winners getting gift cards to local restaurants.  A Q&A followed and there was some good discourse.  Then the meeting ended.  I made sure to make note of the book that the leadership coach mentioned that had all of the unofficial holidays in it so I could go out and buy it.  I probably won’t do it as often as this company of his does it, but why not add some levity to an otherwise boring and serious day.

So readers, what do you think of trying out these unofficial days at your workplace?  Do you think it would be a fit for your business?  What would be the good that you think could come from this sort of practice?  Comment as usual – thanks.

Dallas Fire Damage Help

Dallas Fire Damage Help

I don’t know if you or someone you know has experienced fire damage in Dallas recently, but if you have, I have got some advice to give you.  When you have a fire, there are emotional struggles to go along with the financial ones.  I can’t help with the former problems, but I do have a recommendation for those of you who have been fighting your insurance company to get the fair amount back so you can put your life back together.  From experience I can say that insurance companies aren’t always as helpful as they could be in giving you enough money to recover from fire damage and the resulting smoke damage. 

So, what’s there to do?

Don’t try to get your insurance claim settled on your own when there are resources out there that can aid you in getting the money that will help you replace your affected possessions.  One such resource in Dallas is a company called Abba Claims.  This group of extremely professional Texas insurance adjusters will walk with you through this insurance process – one that can be quite complicated.  They have tons of experience working with insurance companies and can definitely help you with your Dallas fire damage claims.  They can be found on the web at www.abbaclaims.com or you can call them today at 1-888-908-2042.

Give them a shot to help you recover after your disaster.  And if you do, please comment below and let me know how the process went.  Thanks in advance.

Hurricane Harvey Help

Hurricane Harvey Help 

Not only were there thousands of homes destroyed in Hurricane Harvey, but thousands of businesses also lost their properties and their possessions.  Recovery from this tragedy will certainly take a long time and hopefully another storm like it won’t come around again soon (actually may another storm never hit us Texans like this one did).  In the midst of such devastation, there are so many needs for help and thankfully there has been an outpouring of aid coming in from all parts of the country.  Money and supplies have been crucial for these victims of this storm and I know several people who have made trips out to Houston to do their all as volunteers to help people recover from flood damage that created massive losses.  But besides money and supplies, I have found that there is even more help that has been offered by a Houston Public Adjuster named Ches Bostick, who is doing what he can with his business, Abba Claims, to make sure that insurance companies do right by their clients.  Abba Claims and their President are making their best effort to fight for the right for their clients to get back what they have lost.  Ches Bostick is leading this charge and I want to recommend that anyone who has lost property of any kind to get in contact with them as soon as possible.  This company is filled with professionals who know how to come alongside clients so that they are not shortchanged by insurance companies.  They offer long-term help that will help victims get back on their feet again.  I have a lot of respect for this man and his company and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

They can be contacted through their website at www.abbaclaims.com or by phone at 888-908-2042.  Get in touch with them today if you can.  They will serve you in ways that will give you back parts of your life that were destroyed by this horrible storm.  Flood damage does not have to end your life.

After a Fire: Insurance Claims Consultants

After a Fire:  Insurance Claims Consultants

I know that is illegal to yell out “Fire” in a public place (or at least I think I have heard that) unless there actually is one.  But yesterday at a church in Lubbock, Texas there was cause to be yelling it out.  A fire broke out (not a spiritual one) in one room and spread out into several rooms destroying not only much of the building but all of the materials in those areas leaving this church reeling.  I know the head pastor personally and I was sad to see that this had happened to such a good guy and such a great community of faith.  Refuge Christian Church is no longer a refuge for this congregation and I read that they are having a fundraising rally to get everything back in order.  I’m sure they will raise a lot of money for repairs, but I also know that they are going to need help from their insurance company to cover much of the cost.  Still, I wonder if this insurance company will provide the kinds of funds to handle all of the fire damage. 

All that being said, I do know that they can contact some professional Insurance Claims Consultants located in Texas to come alongside them as they struggle to put things back together.  These Texas Adjusters can team up with them and represent them in the attempt to get the proper amount of money from the insurance company.  Such people are invaluable when trying to recover funds that this church will need.  I have heard stories about one such group that does a lot of this representation in Lubbock (and even in large cities nationwide).  The company’s name is Abba Claims and I have heard a lot about how passionate and how professional they have handled several other cases of fire damage claims.  I will definitely recommend them to my pastor friend and see if he wants to use them.  I figure, why not bring in expert insurance claims consultants who know how to deal with insurance companies instead of doing it all yourself? 

 Either way, whether he chooses to use Abba Claims (www.abbaclaims.com) or some other company, I am just praying for my friend and his ministry.  May everything be recovered soon so that this faith group can get back to making its huge impact on this whole community. 

Dealing with Leaders and Difficult Times

Dealing with Leaders and Difficult Times

I have recently been perusing various leadership blogs and especially focusing on Dr. Andy Neillie’s blog because it always hits me where I am as a leader.  (Andy Neillie is a renowned keynote speaker for Fortune 500 companies that are seeking to improve their leadership and management teams.) In one of his most recent (and honest blogs), he talks about how to lead leaders during difficult times.  He writes about how difficult times are inevitable and how that as a leader of leaders you cannot put your head in the sand as these difficult things are happening.  He gives a personal testimonial about how this very thing caused a lot of personnel and financial losses for his company and it was all because he didn’t lead through the crisis.  One of his main suggestions to us leaders is that we must really build up our most important leaders and managers so that when these difficult times happen, they too will be ready to lead alongside you.  He says that it is vital to do the following things with them:  exercise good recruiting, coaching and mentoring, give clear direction, and celebrate successes.  He said this is crucial when turning managers into leaders.

I know that in my leadership world, I have tended to not want to lead at all during difficult times.  I feel the heat of the moment and want to run away rather than deal with the problems head on.  I know I have lost several battles because I too have stuck my head into the sand and left my leadership and management teams to fend for themselves.  After reading this blog I am reminded to do Neillie’s vital things with my leaders at all times – no matter how hard it may seem.  I don’t look forward to having these difficult times, but the next time that these inevitable difficulties arise, I will have prepared my leaders and managers to hang in there with me with heads held high as we weather the storms together.


So readers, what do you think about Neillie’s suggestions?  Have you ever found yourself running away during the difficult times at work?  What would you suggest doing when these times arise?


Thanks for your comments.  We all need as much good advice as possible to get through the difficult times! 

New Technologies - Week Forty-One

New Technologies - Week Forty-One

Our Lubbock Pre-K teacher joined us again today because her group didn’t materialize.  Us regulars decided that we wanted her to lead us in prayer since she has so much experience doing this within and outside of her work.  She was a little embarrassed that we asked – probably because most people assume that she is a professional prayer machine.  But, she happily did it.  We all briefly reported on our work weeks – Josh was making his holiday lighting (aka Christmas lighting) transition and it was going well – Liz had her Lubbock catering under control.  Not much else to report…  Our prayer leader for the week took from what the speaker talked about a few weeks back and she took us through a most interesting guided imagery prayer exercise.  She asked us to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our imaginations (or what she referred to as our internal televsions).  Then she told us to let him take us to God’s house.  Then we all just sat in silence and let our brains be taken to our versions of God’s house.  I saw myself walking up a path to a huge mansion with beautiful landscaping.  But I was having a hard time getting myself to go to the door.  I couldn’t explain it – I knew I wanted to go in, but something kept holding me back.  Liz said that she was immediately inside of the house and that she was taken to a room decorated in her favorite colors.  She said she had an IV in her arm.  Josh said that his mind was just wandering and that he couldn’t see more than a house in the distance.  Our prayer leader for the day said that she could see herself being consumed by fire at the doorway and turned into a little speck of light that just passed through the keyhole and entered into a large worship service where a bunch of other light specks were.  She told us afterwards that we should ask God to tell us what (if anything) our visions meant.  I thought it was an exhilarating experience and decided that it was brilliant to bring in our visuals to prayer.  We are a culture that learns and is entertained by visions on TV so why not be taught by God on our internal TV’s.  This experiment made me realize that there were so many ways to pray – ways that I had never thought about.  It made me feel invigorated and excited to try this style of prayer at home.

Anyway, at the larger group meeting we had another panel of speakers from nearby cities who were in the technology fields.  They were there to introduce us to various new technologies that had just hit the market or ones that were going to hit the public in the next few years.  They had a nice presentation with excellent visuals of their own.  They used up the time to tell us how these new technologies could be put into play for our businesses.  But I have to admit that I couldn’t tell you about any of the technologies – none of them applied to my field or industry.  I didn’t see how any of them would make a difference in my heating and cooling world.  That being said, I listened attentively and acted as if I was fascinated.  I am a good boy.

So readers, what do you think about what we did in prayer today?  Do you think it is a safe and intelligent way to let God in?  As for the business dealings, how is new technology affecting you?  Are there technologies you are aware of that would be relevant for a business like mine?  Let me know when you can…

Gifting your workers - Week Forty

Gifting your workers - Week Forty

Prayer today was back to normal in that it was back to Josh, Liz and me.  We discussed Liz’s new plans for boosting her Lubbock catering business and for Josh’s plans to scale back on his landscaping for the sake of much needed lawn care customers.  (He is also working on building his list for Christmas lighting.)  I wasn’t making any changes to my Heating and Cooling business so I asked them to pray for my family as well as for my hip because it had been giving me trouble.  We prayed openly and aloud not worrying whether or not people could hear us.  We have become bolder in our meetings since we began this journey together.  It felt good to be united in our faith.

In the larger gathering we had another banker come in.  His name was Jim.  Jim knew we had discussed some weightier issues and so he came to us with a lighter subject:  motivating our employees through food and favorites.  Jim said that he had every new employee fill out a form when they were hired that asked them what their favorite restaurant, favorite candy, favorite soft drink, etc. was.  Then on their birthdays, Jim would make sure to have a gift basket filled with their favorite things so that they felt special.  He said it meant more than a signed card or balloons because it showed that the company was interested in the whole person.  He said that ever since he started doing this, worker morale was much higher.  He said that he also noticed that his employees would surprise their friends at work with favorite things too.  It became a gift-based movement, which is a big deal to a lot of people.  Jim also said that it was a great idea to have good bagels, donuts and coffee available every morning.  He was not trying to make his employees obese in this of course.  He was showing them that he was willing to spend his own “boss money” on them by providing treats every day.  He also said that he often used Liz’s Lubbock catering to provide free, quality lunches to his employees (Liz’s ears perked up when he mentioned this – she couldn’t help but smile and blush a bit).  Anyway, this was a great talk about how to treat employees by motivating them through gifts that made them feel special.  I was going to implement his ideas the next day and see if the workers noticed.  Another guy who is from an insurance claims consultants firm gave some specific ideas as to what gifts might be appropriate for the men inside of companies.  I took notes about what he said – good comments.

So readers, what do you think about this whole thing?  Have you ever been made to feel special by your company?  What did they do to motivate you?  If you are a business owner, have you ever used similar techniques to make your workers happier?  Did their happiness translate into higher work rates and retention?  Let me know when you can –

Until next time…