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When Rejection “Works”

An interesting blog post by Auren Hoffman, CEO of LiveRamp, explored a key area of business and communication: rejection. He wrote about the importance of knowing how to deal with rejection, so that you will feel empowered to take risks, and asked people for their thoughts on how to help others learn how to handle rejection. Here is the advice I shared.


Auren, this is one of those important nuances in communication. Thank you for bringing it up.

I believe that if you want to have people be able to accept rejection, then there are three significant ways to do so:

Be humble, emphasize Lessons Learned, and have a respectful, kind tone.

1- Be A Humble CEO. In regular conversations and team meetings, be sure to point not only to your successes, but also to ways that your decisions could be better. You can show lessons learned. In business we are always learning, refining, retooling and getting to new heights.

So first as CEOs we need to be open to self commentary on how we can be better. That creates a culture of openness where we are all improving.

2- Lessons Learned vs. Mistakes. If someone doesn’t have a good idea or makes an error, we usually try to find some part of the idea that is good.

Not all components, of all ideas, are bad. Try to point to some part of their idea that is good thinking — ie. “Thank you for diving into the social media space. You are right we need to be more aggressive there; perhaps we can still work with the idea of getting more 20-somethings involved in another way.”

It validates that some part of their idea or process was right… but not the entire idea. There is a lesson to be learned.

If someone keeps bringing up the same type of idea which doesn’t work or making similar errors, then it does become a mistake and needs to be firmly corrected.

3. Be Incredibly Respectful in Tone.

It’s really not what you say when you turn down an idea.

It’s all about how you say it.

Is it in distaste?

Or with appreciation that they are trying to build your business?

If you don’t respect an employee — even if you don’t say anything, rest assured what is in your head and heart will be “heard” by that team member.

Keep your mind gracious, clear and appreciative.

And your input should then be respected and appreciated.

Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Listening – A Business Bliss

When getting involved internationally, it’s so important to listen to others. Respect the person, the culture, and their local community.  To do so is to honor the unique wisdom and presence they bring to the world.

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Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Think About Building Your Mind As You Would Your Dream Home

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home!   So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

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Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Why Indonesian Street Children Love the Internet

On the streets of Indonesia, children often compete, gang against gang, in violent war.  Many of them don’t have a home, much less a bed, to call their own. But a new night life is emerging in Indonesia. Continue reading

“We aren’t in the coffee business, serving people…”


We aren’t in the coffee business, serving people.

We’re in the people business, serving coffee.

–Nabi Saleh, Gloria Jean’s Coffee

You have a product.

You have a service.

You want more people in the world to know about them. That’s understandable.

But the way to increase awareness is to care about that person— not your product.

So if you are serving coffee,

providing a car washing service,

giving a haircut,

or investment advice,

counseling a student on colleges,

giving and executive report to the president of the United States…

Find out who they are… care… and serve.

Putting more energy into caring for your customers and the loyalty, warmth, commitment will naturally ensure.

Have a Lovely Day Serving!


Nabi Saleh is an Iranian-Australian businessman and CEO of Gloria Jean’s Coffees. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Gloria Jean’s Coffees has around 500 coffee shops in Australia and another 500 throughout the rest of the world. It is estimated that this coffee chain brings in $500 million in sales every year.

Saleh grew up in multiple places, Iran and India among them, and was exposed to different cultures and ideas from a young age. He has expressed business ideas that are revolutionary and centered around people and doing good. He is a supporter of the Rainforest Alliance and is known to support and implement direct-to-farmer coffee and tea purchasing programs that ensure a fair wage is paid and adequate living and working conditions are met. In an interview with Q Radio, he expressed his belief that all companies should be socially responsible and actively engage in working for the benefit of humanity.