The Ultimate Client Connection!

Cooksey (along with his wife Krissy) with members of the Clock Spring LP North American sales team at the 2011 PPIM Conference in Houston, TX

What is the best statement you could hear from a client?  Maybe it is a sincere “thank you”, or “you made a real impact with us”, or maybe just it’s the melodic sound of a referral.  What about “we would like to have you join us as part of our team…full time”?

I’m proud to announce that beginning tomorrow, I am joining the team of one of my prior clients as the Director of Marketing at Clock Spring L.P. To that I say, “What a compliment!”

For nearly the past three years, I have been gathering research about what works, what doesn’t, and how to fix organizational leadership.  It is a project that has taken me, literally, around the world and provided me with unprescedented access to all levels of leaders within organizations large, small, public, private, for-profit, not-for-profit, successful and struggling.  During those hundreds of encounters, I have often reminded workshop participants that significant change in their organizations begins with intentional, consisitent energy pushing in a new direction.  I am extremely excited to be distilling this research into action as part of a team already achieving incredible results!

While several of this blogs followers have already heard about the move and inquired about the future of Cooksey Connects, let me assure you- the mission will continue.  Over the coming months, you may notice a small tweak in the direction of this site and its message, yet the core message of CONNECTion will remain strong.  The guest post series has proven extremely popular and I hope you will continue to enjoy the Monday articles for the next several weeks.  I have reached out to a number of people across North America, and there are some GREAT articles in the queue.  (In case you missed the first two, be sure to check out the posts from Jerry Sevier and Kathy Piersall and leave your comments for the authors!)

For the next month, I will be continuing to wrap up a few previous committments to another client, so if you see me coming to your town, I’d love to meet up with you while I’m there!  Let me hear from you!

Business Relationships Begin With First Class Service

As I found Seat 18A aboard a Continental Express flight from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport to the Midland/Odessa airport, I settled into my routine.  Sony noise-cancelling headphones? Check.  Kindle stowed in seat pocket for takeoff? Check. Carry-on bag neatly stowed in overhead bin? Check.

Admittedly, I don’t pay much attention to the goings-on of other boarding travelers on most days.  That day, however, I noticed something different.  The flight attendant was amazingly polite.  Her banter pleasant and sincere.  Each passenger was greeted with a “thank you for flying with us today” and gentle suggestions for comfort as the attendant performed her pre-flight check of the cabin.  Normally, I wouldn’t notice.  Today, however, there was something VERY familiar about the attendant.  Probably just coincidence.  Then, something caught my eye…and I grinned.

I settled back in my seat, and before I knew it, the aircraft had leveled out at our cruising altitude, and the attendant began our in-flight beverage service.  Normally, I don’t get excited about an over-iced, 5 ounce plastic cup of soda and a Hobbit sized handful of peanuts.  Today, I couldn’t wait.

The One & Only Judy McClure
Cooksey with Judy McClure January 2011

The flight attendant approached my row, made eye contact, and, as I expected, asked, “Mr. Cooksey, what could I get to you drink this afternoon?”

“Judy”, I smiled as I answered her, “you won’t remember me, but a few…”

She put her hand up to stop me mid-sentence to say, “You’re the gentleman who wrote the blog!”

“So you got it?”, I asked, unsure if my message by way of the @Continental account on Twitter had been received.

“My supervisor brought a copy of it to me.  Before that, I didn’t even know what a blog was.”

We laughed, chatted a few minutes, and she continued service to the remaining passengers.

Upon our arrival at the Midland/Odessa, TX airport, I slowly gathered my belongings so I could exit last.  I wanted to make sure to thank her again for continuing to make a difference in each passenger’s experience, whether THEY noticed it or not.

After thanking Judy for the opportunity to share her story from that flight nearly three years earlier to my audiences, she said to me, “You speak and train on customer service, right?”

“Among other topics. Why do you ask?”

Then she dropped the bombshell, “What could I be doing differently to be even better?”

Stumped, I replied, “Judy…just keep doing it.  YOU are the example I’ve been using for the past three years of someone who takes initiative, is sincere, and puts others before herself for the sake of great service.” Then I asked her, “If I may, where did YOU learn about the importance of great service.”

“Probably from my parents”, she humbly replied. “They owned a dime store while I was growing up.  My father always said the key to his success was treating people with enthusiasm and respect.”

Judy, I’m not sure what the future holds for you, but I know you will continue to share your smile, sincere voice, and quiet confidence about you wherever the road (or the skies) may take you.

In a world with thousands of domestic flights each day, thousands of flight crews, and countless travel schedules, it isn’t often that I see the same flight attendant more than once.  When I do, rarely have they left the impression Judy has on me. Every time I board a Continental Express flight, I look for Judy.  If you see her, please be sure to tell her I said hello!

And, yes….she DID give me the entire can of Diet Coke during beverage service.  I didn’t even have to ask!

Cooksey Connects at Child Care Mini-Conference

This past weekend, I had the honor of delivering the opening keynote presentation for the Child Care Mini-Conference in Miami, OK.  I wish to publicly thank the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma for sponsoring me to speak.  These two fine groups are doing great work in support of the development of young people within their tribal communities!

Following the general session, attendees then came back for more in the breakout session “The Way You’ve Always Done It Doesn’t Work Anymore”- where we discussed some practical tools, tips and techniques for breaking the cycle of being “stuck” in the highly regulated world of child care.  In short, it became clear that Child Care professionals do not need to ask permission to act with compassion and care.  What an impact these amazing people at the conference make every day in their jobs!

During the keynote, I mentioned a couple of videos and promised a link to those, so here they are:

  • The Carolina Abacedarian Project – This groundbreaking study which began in 1972 gave the world proof that by providing consistent, age-appropriate, structured child care in the first five years of life can set a child on a path toward adult success and better chance for lesser mental health challenges later in life.  Here’s a clip from the study’s website to explain more.  CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO
  • Also, we took some time to watch Dalton Sherman’s 2008 speech to educators in Dallas ISD in Texas.  If you are an educator or care about the future of education and our young people in America, this is 9 minutes of reminder you MUST SEE:

During the day, over 200 child care professionals were not only inspired to continue making a difference in the lives of each young person with whom they interact each day, but also were encouraged to look beyond the walls of their own Child Care centers to build a community within they could network, share best practices, and encourage one another to stay consistent, upbeat, and enthusiastic in the face of each day’s routine.

Child care professionals, I applaud EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for the tireless service you provide every day.  It was an honor to speak at your mini-conference, and I look forward to seeing you again, soon!

Thanks for the Shout Out, Jerry Gitchel!

One of my favorite professional groups is the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Speakers Association. Over the past few years, I’ve had the occasion to meet and learn from some of the most talented speaking professionals from all over the country.

I just wanted to take a minute to say, “Thanks for the shout out, Jerry Gitchel!”. Hey, I made his website and his blog. He even posted the pic, included complete with my noggin!

Be sure to check out Jerry’s Blog post (featuring a photo with my mug in it) here!

Just Twittering My Life Away…


A special “Thank You ‘tini” to @urbanwallflower, @chimchim237 and @steve_hurst for the info on TwitterFeed. In addition to THAT tidbit, I finally am catching up by learning about OpenID logins. Check Out Vidoop for more on that.

The more I link my various sites together, the easier it is to syndicate everything and stay uber-connected to my fans. Okay, so I may have but a handful of you, but THANKS!

You may now return to your regularly scheduled Tweets!

Shine On You Crazy Diamond!

From the Pink Floyd Website:

The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness, that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer.

The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.

Richard Wright
Born 28 July 1943 (65)

I had the pleasure of seeing Pink Floyd live at Texas Stadium in Arlington, TX back in college. Man, what an incredible show! Just today, a good part of my 4-mile treadmill run was to the accompaniment of Pink Floyd’s live album “P.U.L.S.E.” from that same tour. Richard Wright, you stand among the many great musicians who have left an incredible legacy for the world to enjoy. Shine on!

Thank You, Judy McClure!

Lately, I’ve done my share of travel, speaking in high schools for Monster.com’s Making It Count Programs. In a typical month, I may find myself boarding as many as 12-15 planes – each one with it’s own flight crew – Each flight crew, it’s own personality.

Last week, I boarded a flight from Tulsa, OK (TUL) to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). It was the same old routine. My wheelie bag was gate-checked, backpack stowed below the seat in front of me, flight attendant rattled off the safety instructions as I fiddled with my iPod, and we were off.

Shortly after the pilot leveled out for the trip, the attendant began drink service (oh…and peanuts!) for those of us on this short flight. As the cart parked just beyond Seat 11A, I heard a voice ask, “What would you like to drink today, Mr. Cooksey?”

“Um…wow! Did you say ‘Mr. Cooksey’? Well, I’ll have a Diet Coke, please.”

In all of my traveling, I have NEVER had a flight attendant call me by my name for any reason. Not even traveling in First Class!

A little later in the flight, I stopped the attendant as she headed up the aisle to thank her for actually calling me by name. She replied, “Well, this job isn’t really rocket science so I decided a few years ago to try calling passengers by name. And you know, I’ve learned a lot of interesting names and met some very nice people!”

Well, Judy McClure of Continental Airlines, you made my otherwise routine flight something memorable. In fact, your attention to detail and going the extra mile just to help make your day a little more interesting made such an impression on me I almost forgot about the poorly designed touch-screen kiosk at the check-in counter….almost.

Chicago in Winter Just Like Caribbean!


To you, Chicago, IL in winter may not be your idea of warmth. For me, however, this week brings me to the point that winter in Chicago makes me want to slap on some sunscreen and dip my toes into the surf. Let me explain..

Sunday night, severe icy weather in my hometown of Tulsa, OK put me smack dab in the middle of the worst power outage in Oklahoma’s 100 year history! At it’s peak, nearly 600,000 customers (read: households, businesses, cities, etc…) were without power. At this writing, the numbers in the Tulsa area remain around 150-175,000 without electricity…and that’s just from ONE electrical provider!

Should you find yourself reading this in the next few days after it is published, try this link to find out the latest: TULSA POWER OUTAGE.

My house (no, that’s not my house or car in the picture) is somewhere near the intersection of the four “quadrants” of the city…which likely means it’s effectively in “no man’s land” until each quadrant is sufficiently restored to “normal”. That means it may STILL be 3-6 more days before I have electricity restored!

On the bright side, my car is safe (currently at the local, off-airport secured, covered parking garage), my house is looked after, my next round of utility bills will be cheap, and I can finally toss that lasagna that had become a permanent fixture in my freezer when I moved into my bachelor pad after my divorce was final two years ago.

So you see, warmth is where you find it! Thanks, Monster.com’s Making It Count Programs for sending me on the road this week to a hotel with internet, electricity, and a bed I can sleep in – sans sleeping bag.

Early tomorrow morning, I return home….likely to finish cleaning out my fridge.

Cheers!