Fit Fridays

Fit Fridays

Keeping Healthy during the Hoildays

So much food and drink- what to do?!

Yes, it’s that time of the year were we want to celebrate with our family friends. We get to see some of our family and friends that we don’t see often during the year with our busy schedules and work. We are invited to so many gatherings, parties, festivities and we also host some ourselves. The type of food that is served it typiccaly finger food, lots of carbs, dips, gravies, lots of liquor, deserts and so much more. We are lucky that nowadays we have a variety of ingredients to cook and bake with which are gluten free, have less carbs, less saturated fat, less salt

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Leading by Example

Your Employees are the Result of You

Just like young kids absorbing everything their mother or father does, your new employees, whether they were there before you with another manager, or are new to the company, they will consciously and subconsiously absort the traits of their leader.

I always stress how important it is to lead by example. If you are always shouting at your team when they do something not up to company’s standards, they will start shouting at each ther and at the guests or customers. If you treat them nicely, positively, and take time to guide them through the processes and a step by step explanation, they will take their time with the guests and with each other. Even with you. If you don’t treat them right, they are not going to treat you right eventually either.

You need to create an environment where respect is visible, attention to detail and positivety is apparent. It all starts from you. It starts from the top. Whenever I visit a team on a cruise ship or hotel especially and notice certain traits from the team that are not so good, I always try to see how their manager works, acts and reacts. If a manager for example is not attentive to the team’s questions, requests and so on, they will in time act the same, whether they are getting training by someone, attending a meeting or even with their customers or guests. 

You need to always think as their leader, that they are watching your every move, seeing how you talk, how you deal with escalated issues, your time management, your precision, your work ethic, you positivety, your reaction to certain action, how you respond to difficult questions, how you act in really difficult situations, and so much more. Think. Think for a second. How would you like to see them work? That is exactly how you should work. If you blow up and get visibly upset when dealing with an angry customer, don’t expect your team to deal with the same situation in a different way. Don’t kid yourself and pull them to the side or have a meeting with them to see why they acted that way if you do the same.

Be the better Manager. Be the Better Leader. Show them how the work should be done, and you won’t have too many situations with your team. Always Lead by Example. It is one of the items I always focus on in all of the training that I give with different types of teams and Managers. Leaders and Managers are all different, but leading by example should be the same.

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

Twistees

The Forever Delicious and Popular Twistees

On one of my trips for work, leaving from the airport in Malta, I noticed a slightly bigger packet of twistees and with a different packaging. As I went closer, I noticed 6 different packets with 6 different flavors! I didn’t know what to do! I had to get on the plane fast but decided to buy 1 so I could taste. Heaven is all I could say. Wow, what a flavor! This was the Truffle Cheese, and my favourite from the 6. 

Anyone residing or visiting Malta knows about, or even more so, has had Twistees at some point. You can call them the National snack chips of Malta. In fact, you will also notice that on the new packets, there are new designes and also the advertising of the highly anticipated Valletta Capital of Culture 2018- V18. Yes! What better snack to have represent Valletta, Malta, than its favorite snack.

The 6 flavors are the Buttery Cheese, Caramel Cheese, Roast Beef Cheese, Truffle Cheese, Vanilla Cheese and the Classic Cheese. These are all Gluten Free and seriously tasty. 40 years of Twistees has expanded so much and it is even exported to a few other countries like Norway, France, Australia, U.K and more countries.

The next thing you need to do if you are in Malta right now is to go and buy these extremely satisfying snacks. If you are planning to visit between the rest of this year and next year during Valletta European Capital 2018, is to make sure you get your hands on them. If you don’t want to wait until the next visit, then you can order online through the Twistees website.

See ya’all. Time to open a new one! 🙂

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Who Works for Who?

What Some Managers Get Wrong

I don’t mean to start off with the negative, but it is unfortunate to see so many employees become the manager of the team and suddenly think they are better than the rest. Of course, you are now the manager, or one of the managers, for a reason. You have worked hard, put in your efforts, did more than others and so on. But the moment you feel that because you are the Manager, you have a team to work for you and that your team owes you, is the moment that you are devaluing your team, yourself and what you do.

In any management training workshops that I do for many managers in hotels, firms, companies and cruise ships, I start by asking the same question; ” Who are you here for?” In the case of hotels and cruiseships, the majority of the managers tell me that they are here for the guests. WRONG. Managers that have thier own staff/ team to work directly with guests are not there for the guests. These managers are there for their team and their team is there for the guests. Of course, they are there to make sure the guests are happy, but they need to take care of their tram first. Same goes to firms and companies with clients. These managers don’t deal directly with the clients so, but their employees do. I’m not the first one to say this. 

If you feel that your team owes you and that they are there for you, you are very very wrong my friend! YOU work for them. THEY don’t work for you. If your team is not successful, then you are definitely not successful either. The manager needs to be the one working more than his team, developing them, helping them, supporting and empowering them. And this can only be done when the manager is highly present, attentive to his team, guiding and leading them.

When managers think that they have the team to work for them, the guiding, leading, coaching amd empowering stops, and instead, you get an unhappy, overworked, scared of the boss kind of team. Show them you are there for them to help them be better, to succeed and to develop. Remember that the manager’s success relies on the employees’ success, happiness, advancement, empowerment and so much more.

I have always worked hard for my teams. They didn’t work for me. I WORKED FOR THEM. AND STILL DO.

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

PLAIT- The Fast Growing Extra Successful Company

The Joys of Receiving Plait

 I am away most of the time. And by away I mean in a different place every couple of days or on cruise ships, which is a big part of my career as a manager and coach. But I love Malta and I miss certain products that can only be found there. Sometimes I want that Kinnie, or that litte bit of Twistees or Gallett. Joy ran through me when one day I found out about the Maltese company Plait, and guess what. I ordered the Maltese Plait. I sent it to my partner’s house (not in Malta) which is where I stay in between ship visits for work. Man was I happy to receive my first Plait!

Looking through their website http://www.plait.com.mt, I was impressed by how many box styles and types had come out. I had a chance to be in Malta for 3 weeks, last September and I wanted to try the wine box, since you all know I am a wine fan and student. You can choose either 2, 4 or 6 bottle boxes. This is perfect whether you live on your own or with your partner, or if you are having a little gethering with friends. You simply buy the 6 bottle Plait box and you are set. The variety is awesome too. The person that delivered this box was extremely happy to be delivering this box and even striked a cool conversation with me. 

Receiving this box from me to me was a gift that was well deserved I felt. Why not!? Or should I say wine not!? hahahaha. Ok. Focus Marie! As you can see below, I was enjoyong this wine straight fromthe box after delivery. I wasn’t enjoyng it alone, my friend was over, but I decided to have some fun with photos to commemorate such a great product.

Plait’s CEO, Daniel Fenech has worked extremely hard, and after giving him a call to let him know this idea and these products are amazing, I saw what a big passion he had to make his company succeed. So much so, a few days ago, he won the Entrepreneur of the year at the JC awards. Companies don’t just happen. They are the result of a lot of work, dedication and lots of passion. Daniel along with his team believe in what they are doing and they love doing it. They have introduced the Beauty Plait to join their other Plait boxes like the Beer Plait and the Organic Plait, apart from the ones I have already mentioned; the Wine Plait and the Malta Plait.

Listen, it’s almost  Christmas and a little birdie told me (well, I meant on Plait’s social media), that they are already taking orders  for the Christmas boxes. So don’t be disappointed this Christmas. Whether you want to buy a box for yourself or for a loved one, there are many choices and a huge variety as well as lots of special items and deals. With the high demand that Plait receives, my reccomendation would be to order now. I did! Visit their website http://www.plait.com.mt. It is very nice and user friendly. Happy Plaiting! :p I’ll keep on enjoying my Plait box for now. Cherio! 🙂

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Working with Guests and Customers- Continuation from Last week

How to deal with an Irate Guest

Last week on Managing Mondays, we started talking about the steps to take when you are faced with a very upset guest, and most of the time, it is because as a company or product, it failed their expectations. We mentioned the first 4 steps which were to remain calm and poised, to use your best listening skills and let them know you are truly listening to their concerns, remain calm and aknowledge the guest’s right to be angry, and to not take the encounter personally. You are there to help and they are reaching out to you because it is part of your work to assist them when they encounter a problem.


Today, we continue the rest of the steps. After listening to the guests, however long that needs to be, we then need to react and action. The next step is to actively Sympathize. After the customers vent, they want to know that you understand where they are coming from and how they are feeling. Express sympathy for their unpleasant customer experience. Respect and understanding go a long way towards smoothing things over. With sympathy comes in the next step which is to show Empathy. Put yourself in the customer’s or guest’s shoes. Would you be happy with what happened or what was supposed to happen but didn’t? There should be a show of emotion, without giving off your emotion, but your empathy. If this doesn’t happen, the next step of apologizing will not be as effective.

Apologizing grcefully is your next step. Whether the cutomer’s complaint is legitimate or not, is really irrelevant. You need to express an apology for the problem they are having (or perceive to be having). A simple straightforward statement like “I am really sorry that this has happened to you. Let’s see how we can be better for you. Don’t forget the Power of a Name. Addressing them by their name or last name is extremely important. Once you use a name, you are suddendly speaking with a real person, an individual that has a job, family, and a reason behind their frustration. 


It is important to speak soflty, especially if the guest is raising his or her voice or screaming back at you. If this is happening, you might want to take them inside an office or to a side, so that the other customers or guests are not being affected. The softer and quiter you speak, the more the guests need to listen to what you will be doing for them. If you try to shout over them, it becomes a verbal battle. The customer will eventually lower his or her voice to hear what you have to say for them. After all, they approached you for a resolution and you are letting them know what you will be doing. The next steps are finding a suitable solution and owning responsibility of the situation. The worst thing you can do to a guest or customer is to give their concern to someone else and they have to repeat, making them work during their vacation, or visit or experience. Don’t pass the buck as that makes you look incompetent or that you don’t feel like helping them. Make their problem yours and work towards fixing and providing a resolution for them.


Remember, this doesn’t come immediately, it takes practise, and patience with yourself to learn more of how better you can be to your customers or guests. If you missed last week’s Managing Mondays post, go to Captin Falzon on facebook or add Captain Falzon on wordpress blogs to be able to read it. Remember, the happier your guests, the easier your work will be! Happy Monday!

Boosting Tuesdays

Eurosport- A Lifestyle

The Succesful Company that is much more than just a Sports Store

Having been open since 1992, anyone that has lived, is living, or visited Malta will know about the name Eurosport. It was dubbed for having the best sportwear, sports shoes and equipment on the island. Now, it is much more than that. Entering one of their complexes and the largest one, In Birkirkara, I was greated by a staff member and even the security guard said hello. Eurosport has evolved so much more than simply a sports store. It has active and lounge wear, kid friendly equipment, so many brands, and most of all, very comfortable clothes. Not just sports clothes. You have to go and see for yourselves. I guarantee you will spend more than an hour marvelling at the things the Birkirkara store has to show and offer you. There are several more stores around the island, that are smaller, however, with a lot of variety, and most importantly, with friendly and helpful staff. 

I wanted to see a couple of comfortable shoes for my morning strolls, and when I want to go walk round places to explore. My feet are quite bad. I have all sorts of things happening to them that makes most shoes uncomfortable or even hurt me within minutes. As I went to see the skechers brand and tried 2 of them, my oh my was I delighted. They were so light and so comfortable, it was amazing. There were so many choices and so many colors, I hadn’t contemplated and took so long to decide! Next, I wanted an everyday shoes were I could also wear it to go out to events and be able to be comfortable but also look cool. Superga also deivered. This is an amazing brand that I hadn’t encountered before. So colorful, beautiful and most of all stylish.

As I was choosing and as I was trying on the different pairs of shoes, I had an opportunity to talk in depth with two of the staff members that were so happy to help me. Eurosport have expanded to so many stores and sponsor so many athletes, dancers, lifestyle persons, bloggers, events, social media personalities and TV personalities. I was also thrilled that Eurosport wanted to collaborate with me, and I have never had such a relaxed and comfortable photoshoot! (If your feet are happy, your body is happy too.)

Looking at the variety they had for a comfortable sweatshirt and a pair of leggings, I immediately found my style. It’s amazing how they have brands that contain style, sleakness, functionality, comfort and so much more.  Eurosport wants you to #bethechange and change your lifestyle into a healthier one with better food and better fitness activity, and brings you everything to help you do this. It only starts once, and you will be attached to having a better you and taking care of yourself. Everyone has a different lifestyle, work, relationship, ambition and determination, but there surely is something for everyone at Eurosport! 

See you there!

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

What Type of Leader Should you Aspire to Be?

Here are a few notes on what to expect when you become a new leader and how to make yourself become a great one

When I became an Assistant Manager at the Cruise Line Company I work for, even though I had managed before, it was a totally different thing. Imagine the difference of quantity of staff, guests and work, between a hotel and very large cruise ships. During my first few weeks as the Assistant Manager, I needed time to know my team and my manager. I kind of remember being a little too soft, in an attempt to make sure they like me. Everyone kind of does it, but I knew it wasn’t the way. I also knew that I shouldn’t be the other extreme either, by just being too strict and telling them what to do. So I focused on showing them how I want them to work and talk to our guests by doing it myself. That way, I was leading by example.

Being a Manager doesn’t mean that you make your team work so that you could look good. Being a Manager is Leading your team into success and ensuring they are succesful. It means that you work for them because they work for the guests. You are there for them, to lead and guide them, protect them, train them, and make sure they are successful for themselves. When I then became the Manager, that was exactly what I aimed to do, with little failure.

If you expect your employees to come to work 5 minutes before, you should also do the same. If you expect your employees to treat your guests or customers with empathy and with kindness, you should do the same. Treat your employees really good. Respect their work, give them good feedback as much as possible, and listen to their ideas and also their life stories and what they are going through. BUT, don’t expect them to do the same for you. They don’t work for you, it’s the other way round. Don’t expect them to tell you what a good job you did with that irate guest, don’t expect them to listen to what is happening to you, and most importantly don’t expect everyone to like you. 

Once, I was opening one of our new ships and I had started training the managers and the teams by now, something I really love doing, and one of the employees told me “Wow Marie, you are so good. Everyone loves you.” While that comment was very positively natured and well meant by this employee, I did thank her but reassured her that it is not possible to have everyone love you and the way you work. If everyone loves you, then you are doing something wrong as a manager. Yes, the aim is to have the majority of the employees like you, and like working with you, but you cannot satisfy everyone. It is impossible. There will be either people who don’t like how you work or deal with things through charachter, others that stick to the past managers or others that like how you work so much that they get envious. So you see, “everyone loving you” cannot happen. As a Manager, you do need to have most of your employees liking you or else it doesn’t work. Respect your team and they will respect you. Bend over and backward and sideways for your team, but if they don’t do their job properly, show them how, and also show them the consequences and how you expect them to work, through your leadership and performance.

When you become a new manager, make sure you do get to kow your team and that they get to know that you are there for them. Set examples, not just deadlines. Set great and rewarding targets, not just numbers. Make sure they feel comfortable approaching you for assistance. And for yourself, as a leader, make sure you are happy leading, make sure you are doing everything in your power and work to achieve their success and not their love.

Be a Better Leader than you were Yesterday.

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

The Island Sanctuary Dog Shelter in Delimara, Malta

A Great Day at the Open Day at the Island Sanctuary Dog Shelter

I was scared of dogs for almost 30 years of my life. Those that know me will tell you how petrified I had always been of dogs. Even when going to someone’s house, they would need to have the dogs be somewhere else when I was there because of my fear. About 2 years ago, I decided to face the fear, actually had to kind of force myself. My partner’s family had a dog, and I was going to be there a lot, so I had to do something about it. Not to bore you with the details, I fell in love with dogs. Well I always liked them and wanted to not be scared of them, but I couldn’t! My partner and I adoped a puppy a bit more than a year ago, and I cannot imagine my life without him. When I am working away on ships or anywhere where he is not, I really truly miss him!

Last Sunday I decided to go and visit the Open Day at the Island Sanctuary so I could visit the dogs and contribute to the donations. I took my niece with me, who had an amazing time by the way. The Kids area and the face painters were great! They took care of the kids, engaged with them, played games with them, rewarded them with gifts and so much more. The visitors could bring their dogs with them too. I had a chance to visit all the dogs and then spent some time speaking with the volunteers, workers, organizers and everyone that was sporting the yellow paw t-shirt.

There are many stray dogs, or sadly enough abandoned dogs everywhere in the world, and this Charity Organization works very hard everyday to contribute to these dogs in Malta. They know they could do more and take in even more dogs, with the help of every dog lover out there by donating, sponsoring or adopting a dog. The Island Sanctuary started more than 26 years ago and was first based in Manoel Island before moving to Tas- Silg. It was so amazing to see all the volunteers, so happy and so caring for all the dogs and this was their best event yet! They give their hearts to them and you could see how much the dogs loved them back. I wish that I could have taken one of them home with me, but since I am always in Malta for a short time only on my vacations, it would be unfair to them. But this guy below was so cute!

You can help the Island Sanctuary by donating, so that they can keep on taking more strays, take care of them and find them caring homes for them to give joy to. We all know how much joy a dog brings to the home. You could see how thankful the dogs were for being treated so nicely and also excited that they were seeing so many people visit them last Sunday. An SMS Donation is the easiest: 506173680 EU2.33, 50618082- EU4.66, 50618935- EU6.99. If you go to their website: http://www.islandsanctuary.com.mt  you can also become a member for as little as EU10.

The Island Sanctuary organizes many events throughout the year, and if you know anyone that would like to get a dog, urge them to go there and adopt not shop for a dog. This shelter for homeless and abandoned dogs is truly a blessing and their efforts need to be duly praised. You can also follow The Island Sanctuary Malta on facebook for their latest news, events and so much more. Remember! Adopt don’t Shop. These dogs deserve all the love in the world and they will surely give it back to you!


Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Maximizers and Satisficers

Are you a Maximizer or a Satisficer? Or are you Both? Or do you use them in different life scenarios?

What is the difference between them and how do you use them Professionally and Personally?


About a year ago, I found a book and if I remember correctly, it was called “Why less is More”, or something along those lines, however I remember a lot from the content of the book, which is the most important. It confused me, but as I started reading the first few pages, I could immediately tell what the book was all about. It started informing how Maximizers and Satisficers behave in day to day life. The author also said that with the amount of choices for the same product that we have nowadays, it becomes very hard sometimes to make a quick decision. Take a packet of cereal for example. There are aisles and aisles full of cereal. How do you choose and how fast can you choose?

A Satisficer will take action after the criteria they are looking for is met. As an example, if one is looking for a cereal with the lowest sugar content and contains a few nuts and dried fruit, as soon as they find one, a.k.a. what they are looking for, they take it and buy it, and do not need to try and look for other products.

A Maximizer needs to make the optimal decision. So, this maximizer is also looking for the cereal with the lowest sugar content and contains a few nuts and dried fruit. However when the maximizer finds a product, he or she will keep on searching for a similar one, and compare, and tries to find another one and another one. So even if the maximizer finds what he or she is looking for, the maximizer will not make a decision until they have examined every product and compared everything. They need to know that they are making the best decision ever.

Most people will be more of a Maximizer or a Satisficer in life, but that doesn’t mean that they are always either one or the other. And that also doesn’t mean that if you are mostly a Maximizer in your personal life, that you are also so in your Professional life, or vice versa. Maximizers tend to spend a lot of time on one thing and sometimes, as a consequence miss out on other things or the subject itself. The author also said that Satisficers tend to be a bit more happier than Maximizers, as the latter spend too much energy on one thing. However, when it comes to business, work, and leadership, it could be very beneficial. 

As an example, I tend to sway between the both, or maybe I can be a limited Maximizer. I love to have the best, do the best and find the thing that I love, but I’m not going to spend an extensive amount on one thing. Sometimes, if I find something that I’m looking for and it attracts me, then I won’t look any further. That’s more towards the Satisficer side. At work though, whether I am preparing training, talking to an employee, producing manuals and training material, I do tend to be a little bit of a maximizer. 

If a Leader is a 100% Satisficer, chances are that a business or a team or a company will not become the best in their business. You should be aiming to be the best at what you do. A Maximizer is great for business and for the development of one’s self. Be a leader that sets examples to your employees or your team. Show them that you would want the best for your business and for them. Show them to work harder and to spend quality time preparing, choosing or working to Maximize everything they work for.

There is no right or wrong with being a Maximizer or a Satisficer, but the choice you make every day and at work is highly important on what you choose and how much time you decide to spend on what things. 

What are you mostly, a Maximizer or a Satisficer?