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Leadership Lessons—A Lesson in Passion

On Memorial Day my wife Mary Kay and I had a chance to attend a Ted Nugent “concert” at the 100-year-old Hippodrome Theatre in Waco, Texas. Most all of us remember Ted for his music in the `70s. I go back even further to when he was with the Amboy Dukes and played “Journey to the Center of the Mind” in the `60s.

I’ve never been what some would call a huge fan—but I loved many of his songs. This event was less of a concert and more of a chance for Ted to talk about what Memorial Day and America means to him—with a few songs sprinkled in. What I got that night was a lesson in passion.

The following is from CelebrityNetWorth.com:

Ted Nugent net worth: Ted Nugent is an American rock musician who has a net worth of $20 million dollars. A musician and vocalist, Ted Nugent is recognized for his time with The Amboy Dukes and for his solo work. He is also a very vocal conservative and often champion’s issues related to hunting, conservation and gun ownership rights.

Born December 13, 1948 in Redford, Mich., Nugent is no stranger to controversy. Known for his onstage vulgarity and outspoken stance on the right to bear arms and hunting, he continues to remain relevant in many arenas. He is on the board of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a strong supporter of the Republican Party.

Nugent initially gained fame as the lead guitarist of The Amboy Dukes. He is notable for such `70s hits as Stranglehold, Cat Scratch Fever, Wango Tango and Great White Buffalo—songs which still get airplay today on classic rock radio stations. He also starred in such reality shows as Spirit of the Wild (an outdoor television show named after one of his own popular songs of the same name).

There are several lessons I learned during his 6,600-something concert on Memorial Day. For many years he performed more than 300 concerts per year.

His wife, Shemane, introduced him. She worked for a rock and roll radio station in Detroit and wasn’t particularly attracted to him. He has been drug and alcohol free for more than 66 years. When you watch some of his old videos you’ll find this amazing. Most of us would think just the opposite. He said that life is easier this way because of the clarity that comes on so many issues.

I’ve never been a country fan. Ted said he never was either. However, he did play country once until he got the cast taken off his hand, he said. He reminded all of us the there is a phrase that best describes music. It is “let’s rock!” No one says “let’s country!” (Great line!)

Ted unashamedly calls all politicians “elected employees.” That is the only way he ever refers to them because he believes they all should be working for us. Novel.

Nugent said he can afford to live anywhere in the world that he wants. And, he does! I like the fact that he worked hard to achieve what he wanted to in life and does just that. Over the years he has performed for more than 55,000 marines, sailors and their families at Camp Pendleton’s ‘Rockin’ the Corps. He’s done USO tours and donated more than 6,000 backstage and concert passes to troops in the U.S.

Ted has been the recipient of commendations from police and the FBI, and takes terminally ill kids to his “Kamp for Kids.” He also takes them hunting and is a national spokesman for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other programs.

It seems everything and anything he chooses to do is full of passion. As Mary Kay and I sat at the concert I leaned over and whispered to her “I’m getting this great lesson on passion.” I thought I was always very passionate about things I do—but now realize that I can’t hold a candle to the passion Ted Nugent exudes over anything/everything he chooses to get involved with.

This is a leadership lesson from someone who I just thought played some rock and roll. I’m now a huge Ted Nugent fan. I even like his music. Let’s Rock!

Leadership Lessons—We’ll Pick You Up—Sure!

Each year Enterprise Rent-a-Car spends millions upon millions of dollars to win new customers. I have a story about how a company can blow everything they’ve ever spent in 30 short minutes. I tell you this because I want you to share this with your staff. To start out the New Year I want your folks to understand how they can negate all of the good will you work to earn all year by simply not taking care of the customer.

Every Christmas we go to Florida to see my wife’s parents, sister and family, as well as my daughter and her husband. On Christmas Eve we head to Epcot Center for the Candlelight Processional—an amazing Christmas tradition. A choir of Disney employees, including my wife Mary Kay’s sister, is joined by choirs from around the country and a full orchestra for a concert of carols and a reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Celebrity readers this year included Whoopi Goldberg, David Robinson, Steven Curtiss Chapman, Gary Sinise and Isabella Rosollini. Rossellini’s dad was a movie director and her Mom was Ingrid Bergman of Casablanca fame. That’s who read last night.

We catch an early flight so we can get to Tampa, Fla., around noon then rent a car and drive to Epcot to meet the family for an early dinner and catch the 6:45 p.m. show.

If you’ve ever rented a car in Florida you know they are usually very cheap. If you’ve rented one at Christmas you know the converse is true. Through Hotwire we got a car for seven days for “only” $313.18—much less than the online price from car rental companies. But the catch is that it was off airport premises. No problem—we found an Enterprise location about two miles from the airport. And Enterprise advertises that they “will pick you up.”

Upon arrival we called Enterprise for a ride. It was then we were informed they can’t pick up on airport premises because of who-knows-what rule. We weren’t informed of that when I confirmed my Hotwire reservation with the Enterprise location two weeks ago. The solution—a cab … with a $15 minimum for the two-mile ride.

Okay, okay. It is Christmas and we are headed to Epcot with the family.

I went to the counter only to find out they didn’t have a reservation for me. I showed them my Hotwire confirmation and they shrugged. No problem—just give me a different car! Things happen.

By now John, the assistant Manager who was in charge that day, told me they were sold out. They didn’t have any cars and were closing in less than two hours.

I called Hotwire to confirm. Yep, we still had a reservation with them. We called the Enterprise national number to find out that someone had cancelled my reservation. I didn’t. Hotwire didn’t. They informed me there were no, zero, zilch Enterprise cars available in Tampa. Or Florida.

John cared less than he did before—which was not at all. However they did call a cab for us so we could pay another $15 to go back to the airport and try and find a car. They wouldn’t give us a ride for the two miles—again the same rule that they can’t drive on airport property.

Did I mention we had golf clubs and five other bags and are schlepping them all over?

Mary Kay did find a car on Priceline, at the airport, for $550 for the week at Budget—“merry freakin’ Christmas.”

Remember when your kids were little and you just knew they were lying? I had this intuition and asked Mary Kay to call the Enterprise location that was 8 feet from beyond where I was pacing and see if she could rent a car. (Yes, the place that just told us they had zero cars).

Guess what? They had a car. It was $447.91 for the week! MK wrote down the confirmation number while on the phone standing at their counter. Miraculously they now had cars! When she asked John how this “Christmas Miracle” happened, he coldly informed her that 15, yes—15— cars just came back in.

I just can’t believe that 15 cars came in and he didn’t have the courtesy to tell me, the guy standing in the parking lot no more than 20 feet from John … waiting for a cab, that they could now accommodate me, my wife and six bags.

We saw a couple of cars come back while pacing in the parking lot waiting for a cab but not 15. Maybe Santa delivered them down the chimney.

So I’ll never rent from Enterprise again. Because they, not Hotwire, or the Listons, cancelled the reservation, we spent an additional $134.73 … plus cab fare and tip … than was promised.

The solution was simple—but you have to want to take care of a customer. Hope this lesson helps your staff better understand that customer service is something you do—not just something you say. Happy New Year.