Do you imagine a lifetime career with one employer?
It’s more likely that a lifetime career will span multiple companies, in multiple industries, and may also include a business ownership or self-employment experience. If you prepare yourself to succeed in a variety business arenas, then your odds of building a lifetime career, one that transcends marketplace changes by successfully adapting, will be vastly increased. Management and leadership positions are not for everyone, but every company, in every industry needs competent, innovative, and motivated leadership.
I’ve had a career as a computer programmer for Time, Inc., a career as an executive for a GE company, and I’ve also had a career as a franchise business owner. Each of these venues provided many unique success opportunities, and I enjoyed them all.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted a management and leadership role with the world’s largest retailer, and one of the most innovative companies produced by America. Because of this career change, I’m putting this blog on hold and focusing on what I always work to achieve, success for my company and my team. I’ll have the unique chance to put my 10 BOLDskills for Accelerated Team Success to the test in a new industry, one that’s important to the positive well-being of all Americans, and to much of the world. It’s time again to change and adapt!
As a parting note for now, I’m actively working on a new book project, to compliment my first, award-winning book, “The Surging Team“. There will be more to come about this project as it near publication. Until then, I wish you continued career success, and whatever you do,
March 28, 2016
Have you ever had the presence of mind to seize an overlooked career move and turn it into an exciting success opportunity?
If you have, then you’ve put our BOLD Success Principle into action. Wherever you find a team of ordinary people, working together to achieve an extraordinary goal, you’ll also find a leadership success opportunity.
The American marketplace is dynamic. It always responds to persistent demands presented by today’s unique combination of economic influences. Leaders who remain aware of these changing combinations of economic influences, look for trends, and then seek contemporary opportunities to take a leadership role and drive success, will find their chance.
Others, who are still looking for diminishing leadership opportunities of the past, and not seeing those emerging in the present, will wonder where all the opportunities went.
Success obstacles await those who identify and accept contemporary leadership challenges emerging from our marketplace. Some of those obstacles will be related to the uniqueness of the marketplace elements that forged the leadership need. However, some of the obstacles are directly related to the resilience and mental toughness of the individual leader who steps into the gap. Contemporaries, who previously applauded your leadership success, but who overlooked or don’t see the leadership opportunity you’ve accepted, many not offer their immediate support.
In the face of these obstacles, will you remain steadfast in your ability to lead your new team of ordinary people to achieve extraordinary success? Your team’s success depends on it, and an adventure in leadership awaits.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives in changing marketplace conditions. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss how to identify leadership opportunities emerging in today’s marketplace, and then remain steadfast in your decision to accept an exciting, contemporary leadership role.
Until then, Keep Winning!
We’ve all been to leadership conferences and training events where inspirational headliners deliver a passionate and rousing presentation that holds our attention and affirms the presenter as an effective professional speaker. However, it is a rare event where we actually implement elements of the speaker’s message, and add to our go-to leadership playbook. Can you think of the last time this happened for you?
What line must be crossed in order for us to not only respond positively to a message, but to recognize the sublime truth and importance it contained, and then make the effort to add it to our own set of skills? Every day brings so many challenges both personal and professional, and each challenge is an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of our skillset and our judgment of the most appropriate response. It is a rare day where we learn and actually add a skill which becomes a permanent part of our leadership skillset.
Each generation of leaders seem to confront new societal and business challenges, and they develop a persona that sets their generation of leaders apart from the one before. They adopt a leadership toolkit that matches their uniqueness, but one that also defines the way they perceive their leadership boundaries.
Over time, the skills that leaders repeatedly select in response to challenges, will define our leadership style, and mark the boundaries of where we believe we’ll succeed. Those who tread beyond these perceived boundaries must dare greatly and be ready for painful and swift learning of new skills. At some point, most people in leadership positions become comfortable with their range of skills, accept the creeping boundaries defined by their skillset, and avoid the growing potential for failure if these leadership boundaries are breeched.
What are those rare leadership skills that transcend either real or self-imposed boundaries, whether generational or marketplace-based, and prove their effectiveness in situations that we’ve not yet encountered?
Leadership skills that are based in both recognizing the unique and indomitable human spirit possessed by individuals, and also recognize the human need for community, are those that will transcend boundaries. When we hear a speaker describe these transcendent skills, they move us from being entertained, to being aware of a sublime truth. Those leaders who then dare greatly and make a mighty effort to move from awareness, to intentionally broadening their skillset, will be positioned to take their team beyond boundaries and on to continued success.
“Boldly working to increase the positive collective spirit of your team” is one of these transcendent leadership skills, and is also one of our BOLDskills for Accelerated Team Success described in my book, The Surging Team. If your team experiences a collective and measureable increase in their feelings of well-being while working together, then you’ll know that you’ve dared greatly and effectively added a transcendent leadership skill to your go-to skillset.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss practical ways to take the 10 BOLDskills, add some of them to your go-to leadership playbook, and help you and your team transcend boundaries and succeed in new ways.
Until then, Keep Winning!
Do you only associate innovation with those well-known products that changed the course of human history? We all can list “The Big Product Innovations”: the light bulb, telephone, airplane, Post-It-Notes, the Apple personal computer, and the iPhone. OK, maybe Post-It-Notes doesn’t really make the list of “Big Ones”, but I bet you still have some!
In 380 BC, Plato wrote the following in his ancient book exploring issues of governance and leadership, The Republic:
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Viewing innovation with a too narrow a lens will restrict the impact of your leadership, and confine your business to achieving industry-average results at best. Most innovations are not products at all, but are instead changes in the service process that result in increasing the well-being of the recipients of that service.
It’s easy to forget that it isn’t the automobile that Henry Ford became famous for, it was his concept and implementation of the assembly line process. It was through his “process innovation” that Ford reduced the cost of the already-developed automobile and made them affordable to millions of people, which ultimately increased the well-being of a significant segment of the world.
Today’s visionary leaders are applying Plato’s “Necessity” to the reality of today’s service marketplace. Let’s expand our list of big innovations now to include: FedEx, AT&T’s conference-calling (it was invented by Walter L. Shaw of AT&T), Wal-Mart and Google. Each of these names invoke “not a physical product”, but instead “major service innovations” that again increased the well-being of millions of people, even billions.
Even when we expand the definition of innovation to correctly include “major service innovations”, it is still too restrictive. The American marketplace creates the financial incentives necessary for ALL entrepreneurs and company leaders to constantly seek to innovate ways to increase the well-being of their customers and clients, in order to increase their company’s profitability.
As a corporate manager for a division of GE, I was confronted with “figure out a way” or “get out of the way”. This seeming conundrum resulted in a service innovation that changed the “consumer rewards industry”. My team found a way to deliver restaurant discounts to consumers, without requiring the consumer to “flash a restaurant rewards card” and risk rejection by a wily restaurateur who sees a standing-room-only dining room, or a corporate executive who faces embarrassment in front of colleagues by flashing a discount card to pay for a business meal. The service innovation created out of necessity by my GE team, is now the norm for consumer rewards.
Then, as the owner of a franchise location of a computer-support business, I again had a front-row seat into the mind of Plato. As an entrepreneur and service-business owner, I found it was indeed a necessity to find some way to increase my company’s profitability, or face insolvency. Along with other innovative franchise owners, we each found a way to deliver a service innovation that set our company apart from our competition, in an effort to increase the well-being of our customers who have many options in their technology vendor selection. Looking back, each of my successful franchise colleagues had slightly modified Plato’s famous quote to read, “Innovate or Die!”
The above innovations that I was so privileged to be a part of, will never be widely documented, except with those colleagues who were part of the teams I led. Each member of those teams became part of Plato’s innovative process, and they experienced the power of contributing their time and talent toward a bold team goal that was bigger than their individual abilities, but within reach of their collective abilities.
“Leading a team of ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results” is the biggest field for innovation that exists in today’s service economy. Those company leaders who embrace this wider and ancient view of innovation, will find new ways to increase the well-being of their customers, and will be well-rewarded in the marketplace for doing so.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss some strategies that your company can adopt that will help your team of ordinary people find innovative ways to increase the well-being of your customers, and help your company achieve extraordinary financial results.
Until then, Keep Winning!
A generation of current workers are learning that their acquired skills only qualify them for lower-paying, entry-level work in an economy where there are fewer higher-paying jobs. A story in The Washington Post states that about half of college graduates are working in jobs that do not require a college degree. For half of today’s graduates, in order to move forward in their career, they’re finding that they must learn how to be productive by learning skills that allow them to help their employer increase revenues and reduce expenses–before they can advance in their careers. Too many colleges are failing to produce graduates that have the job skills needed by today’s employers, who evaluate new hires for the value they bring to their company’s drive to generate net profits and stay in business. As many as half of today’s workers are largely unprepared to add the value needed to qualify for far-fewer, higher-paying jobs.
Our young workers desperately need inspired leaders who can show them the path that leads to the American middle class that they imagined. That path will not be easy, and it never was. For many workers faced with diminished wages, socialism seems like a magical answer, one that would work if only America would embrace it. History does not reflect well on countries that have chosen the seemingly easy road to socialism. Our country’s current leadership has failed to successfully transfer the values, institutions, and opportunities that have made The United States of America synonymous with freedom, prosperity, generosity, and hope.
It will take inspired new leaders to help our companies to take an optimistic stance and begin hiring more higher-paying analysts and business development workers. America needs our companies to invest in growth again, if we are going to win back the trust of our workers, and convince them that their hard work, along with acquiring skills needed in our economy, will gain them access to our American middle class and beyond. It will also take inspired leaders at our universities to critically evaluate their curriculum and assure that they’re teaching values and skills needed by the American economy. Our colleges need to again teach that the American free market is the engine that has produced the highest standard of living, for the most people, in the history of the world, and to inspire their students to work to keep that spirit alive and not so easily trade it in for the empty promises of socialism.
On the positive side, our military and our technical schools have done a fantastic job of stepping in and filling the widening skills gap left by our universities, and preparing our young people to appreciate opportunities and see prospects for their own productive careers. Our veterans and technical school graduates have proven to have the critical job skills, and just-as-critical attitudes, to accept entry-level work with alacrity, and learn quickly what it takes to succeed in their careers. This is the cycle which eventually leads to increased trust, career advancement opportunities, and to the American middle class lifestyle and beyond. Until our universities can turn around their failing programs, more workers who want to acquire the skills desperately needed for entry into our middle-class, can still turn to these alternative centers of learning and successfully find higher-paying jobs and careers.
The bottom line is that until changes are made by inspired new leadership in our government, our schools, and at our companies, many of today’s workers will need to accept the available entry-level roles and resolve to work enthusiastically to become productive members of our still-competitive economy, in order to earn the wages that allow them to begin to enjoy the lifestyle they desire.
My book, “The Surging Team: 10 BOLDskills for Accelerated Team Success” provides a leadership methodology for helping each team member increase both their individual well-being and productivity, through the intentional cultivation by company leadership of a “positive collective spirit”. A team of ordinary people can achieve astounding success when they’re all working toward the same bold goals. If our universities take a critical look at the measurable, economic results of their current curriculum, maybe they’ll find that there’s room for a course on how to promote a positive collective spirit among a working team, as that team finds ways past success barriers, using collaboration, innovation, perseverance, and their team’s collective character strengths. Until this long-overdue review of university curriculum is undertaken, I caution “Caveat Emptor!” for those potential students who are considering a college program to advance their careers. There are other educational tracks that are serious options if your goal is to advance your lifelong economic earning potential and more quickly enter the middle class and beyond.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss some strategies that your company can adopt that will help individual team members to flourish and work cheerfully together to achieve both their company and their personal goals.
Until then, Keep Winning!
It’s unsettling to know that we live in an age where more and more working-age people are choosing not to work in our American economy. In the current economic climate, some companies are indeed reducing their business development expectations and capabilities, and are focusing on simply maintaining their market share. The result is that there are fewer interesting and traditionally upwardly mobile jobs being created by our engines of corporate innovation and expansion. However, jobs are still plentiful for those who want to work.
Educated Americans today are not quick to accept the plentiful lower-paying-entry-level positions and then working their way into better-paid jobs. Instead, when faced with accepting a job that doesn’t meet our expectations, we’re increasingly choosing to be counted among the “non-participating workers”. The federal unemployment calculation does not count the college student who never accepts a job, the self-employed worker who closes down her business, or those who are no longer eligible for unemployment compensation and simply stop looking for work they consider appropriate for their skill and level of education. The actual number of working-age adults who are no-longer-working, “the non-participating workers”, include all the groups I mention above, and is now at a record 93 million people, which calculates to a 62.7% labor participation rate, which is at a 37 year low, and the trajectory keeps pointing lower. The inverse of the current labor participation rate is a better indicator of our unemployed workforce, and this number is now 37.3% and rising.
Yet, entry-level jobs are available, but fewer working-age American people are willing to perform those jobs. There is a growing acceptance of social and economic pessimism that’s driving us to choose and stay on the economic sidelines, instead of remaining productive in a less-desirable-but-available-entry-level position within our career area of interest. This sit-on-the-sidelines mindset is a significant contributor to the growing number of us who choose to remain an unemployed or a non-participating worker. Anyone paying attention to the news, and who sees the stubbornly flat U.S. Gross Domestic Product growth (less than 1% growth in Q4 2015), can only conclude that our economy is in trouble, but sitting on the sidelines is adding to our economic stagnation. The potential workers who choose not to accept available jobs are leaving companies chronically understaffed, while also causing themselves to suffer personal-skills-stagnation and even long-term-unemployability, as employment gaps are easy to spot and hard to explain.
Our every-four-years-peaceful-political-power-transition is desperately needed to change economic policies and also to change the mood of our company leaders, our American workers, and our students. We need a restoration of economic optimism in America. The leading presidential contenders on both sides illustrate the stark division of thinking among Americans on how to respond to our economic malaise. Regardless of the outcome of our coming presidential election and the resulting economic policies, the actions of each individual American who chooses to remain optimistic, competitive and productive in our economy, is a force that’s even more important than the temporary appointment of our governmental leaders. Not all companies have abandoned optimism and signed on to a “market-share maintenance mindset”, and a majority of the available American workers still choose to accept available jobs, work hard, sharpen their skills, and position themselves for career advancement and a better life.
It’s important to recognize the two main sources of our current pessimistic socio-economic trends, and work vigorously to change both the punitive economic policies of our government, but also work with our universities, junior colleges, trade schools and high schools to assure that our students are taught to appreciate the critical and honorable role that “working” fills in our economy and in our individual lives and that of our families. As a country, we need to actively work to restore optimism among, and increase the labor force participation rate of, our current and future American workers. Our students need to understand how lucky they are to live in this great country, and to learn to be grateful for the opportunities that they are so fortunate to have right in front of them, and to fight to keep this privilege by eagerly participating in our economy. Imagine if the achievements, values, and lessons of the lives of America’s “Greatest Generation” were enthusiastically taught throughout our education system–values that saved the world from despotism and propelled our country into the greatest period of economic productivity the world has ever seen. Each of us can choose to grow our economy again, if we simply choose to remain optimistic, recognize and be grateful for the opportunities right in front of us, teach our students the values that made The United States of America the undisputed greatest country and force for good in the history of the world–and get back to work.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss some strategies that your company can adopt that will increase innovation and optimism among your work team. As a company leader, you can choose optimism!
Until then, Keep Winning!
Anna had been working for us for several weeks now, and it just wasn’t working out.
The signs of team frustration were appearing again, and I felt that I was beginning to make excuses for our new team member. To be effective, management needs the trust of the team. When the team begins to feel that their leader is protecting and making excuses for a team member, that leader begins to lose the trust of the team members. It was very expensive to send our most highly compensated, senior technician to a client site, where a junior technician was already working. Not only were we losing money every time this happened, but my team was losing trust in my decision making and becoming increasingly frustrated.
Before Anna, it was Richard, who abruptly resigned after less than 60 days, and before Richard, it was Jim. Why couldn’t we successfully add a new team member to help grow the business?
I pulled out an organizational chart of my team, and I saw each of our staff members in a two-dimensional box with their names and titles. As I scanned their names, I smiled as I considered the strengths they brought to our team – strengths that could not be contained in the small boxes on my organizational chart. I recalled why I’d hired Anna. I thought of her kind demeanor, her determination to acquire new skills, change careers, and succeed in a new field.
That’s when I realized that I’d created an impossible job description, one that only a few humans could successfully carry out, and I had trapped myself and my team in an endless cycle of hiring to find someone with a growing and rare combination of requirements.
I needed to introduce an innovation into my business and lower the barrier to entry for a new team member. This innovation also needed to allow my business to grow. I considered why I’d hired Anna, the character strengths she possessed: her love of learning, bravery, kindness, humility and gratitude. These strengths may not have been successful when standing face-to-face with an agitated client who wanted an immediate solution, but those same traits seemed like a perfect fit for answering a technical hotline. Clients usually call us because a computer isn’t working, and they communicate emotions of anxiety and frustration when they can’t do their own jobs. Our clients needed–they deserved–a kind, brave and knowledgeable voice to answer their calls for help and begin a remote diagnosis to solve their computer problems.
I quickly drafted a new job description, along with new procedures for a technical hotline for our clients. I’d asked our clients to call an answering service to leave a message about the computer problem they were having. Now their call would be answered live by our technical hotline manager. Anna would assure our client that she’d escalate the call to an appropriate next level technician, if she could not help the client resolve the issue remotely, and then proceed to try and fix the problem remotely. It turned out that what was hard to do face-to-face with an agitated client, was much easier to do remotely–and MUCH faster.
After talking to Anna about my intention to change her job description, and getting her agreement, I called a meeting of our entire team and announced this change effective immediately. In a short time, these new procedures significantly reduced the cost of maintaining our professional technical staff, as we were able to multiply the effectiveness of our team through the thoughtful and patient efforts of our new, technical hotline manager. It also increased client satisfaction because Anna’s voice and demeanor were more aligned with handling frantic or agitated callers, than those of my more experienced technicians. Soon my clients were asking for Anna by name and not demanding an immediate escalation to our senior technicians. That’s when I knew we’d solved the dilemma, our endless cycle of hiring had come to an end and we could focus on company growth.
As you review your organizational chart, consider adding the top five character strengths of each of your staff members to your chart, and not just their names and titles. This provides you a three dimensional view of your team members and your organizational needs. Many times a staffing problem lies with a job description, one that over time grows to become “the impossible job”. If you as the team leader are facing an endless cycle of hiring, it may be time to re-imagine your service offering while also considering the strengths of your existing staff, the barriers to entry for new staff members, and the evolving marketplace challenges. If you can lower the barriers to entry for new team members, reduce turnover, meet your clients’ service expectations, and allow your company to grow–then your company will be light-years ahead of your competition who are unable to re-imagine their service offering and innovate in this way.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss the recurring hiring challenges that you’re facing. It may be that you’ve created an Impossible Job Description, and its time to re-imagine your organization and your service in order to begin growing again.
Until then, Keep Winning!
When the lines between work and social life are blurred, the likelihood of relational dysfunction, substance abuse, or depression among work team members increases. The pressure to be viewed as “always available” can be intense and may result in stress that’s sometimes debilitating. As a manager at several large companies, I saw team members who became unable to cope with their work responsibilities, and in order to protect my team and help the employee, I referred them to our employee assistance program to get help.
When even one member of your office team falls into dysfunction, it impairs the productivity of the entire team. Sometimes the team becomes distracted to the point where they abandon best practices and are unable to solve daily work-related challenges. They enter a time of “team emergency” where some members try to help or protect the affected staff member, while other team members develop distrust or resentment and become angry. Either way, the team leader has to find ways to cope with the chaos created by the physical or mental loss of a key member.
Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania believes that depression is the most common problem behind the slide of an individual and their work team into dysfunction. His recent research on well-being and happiness suggests that we broaden the definition of “workplace success” to encompass not only high levels of productivity, but also measures of increased well-being among individuals on work teams.
After spending 20 years studying methods to treat depression, Dr. Seligman found that little progress was being made, and he began to study the opposite – what makes people happiest? His work over the past two decades has proven that we can learn to be happier, to increase our well-being, escape depression and dysfunction, and achieve “learned optimism”.
Applying Seligman’s learned optimism or happiness theory to today’s workplace, he proposes that we’re happiest when we live a balanced life – one where we can set aside our work without guilt, and have time to focus exclusively on our families and social lives. It’s interesting that this is the same work-life-balance environment that’s most sought by today’s millennials. They don’t want pets or game rooms, they want to be able to go home. Many corporate environments in today’s economy understand this, and have removed work-life-blurring policies in favor of promoting a “work is for work, then you go home and rest” philosophy.
The younger generation want to be happier, and we can all learn something from them. But it will take more than removing the policies of the past. It will take retraining of some management teams to not only “accommodate” but to “embrace” a balanced-life culture, and help people achieve what Dr. Seligman calls “flourishing.”
A flourishing workplace, must have these features: positive relationships, engagement, meaning, purpose, and optimism. Given how much time we spend at work, striving to achieve a flourishing workplace is a critical component to achieving a life free of debilitating depression. Work teams that succeed in achieving increased measures of well-being, and are able to repeatedly succeed in their objectives, are what I call Surging Teams. Leaders of Surging Teams embrace methods of increasing feelings of well-being among team members, in part by providing them a worthy and common goal (a bold purpose) and then by helping them understand and use their most highly developed character traits to pursue that goal. While most HR practices focus on identifying and correcting weaknesses, Surging Teams focus on identifying and using our strengths as often as possible when we’re working.
People working in today’s “intelligent service economy” will be more creative in performing their work, achieve a higher degree of mental and physical health, and repeatedly experience team success in difficult and complex objectives, if their corporate culture and their team leader embraces a Surging Team philosophy. This is the societal trend we are at the beginning of today, and one that our millennial generation is especially passionate about.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss the actions that you as the team leader or company owner can take, to pro-actively reduce incidents of dysfunction among your team.
Until then, Keep Winning!
Businesses today operate in a climate of frequent government intervention in the marketplace, and must be prepared to evaluate the changes brought by new regulations, and then respond quickly in order to remain profitable. Regulations may be designed to increase costs or even seek to eliminate a product or service. This may force companies out of the market, or cause them to abandon a profitable line of business, if that product or service becomes too expensive for the company to produce and sell.
For example, the telemarketing industry went through a season of regulation after consumer complaints prompted the Federal Trade Commission to act by mandating that call centers maintain a “do-not-call” registry. While we all benefited temporarily from fewer unsolicited calls, we should also remember that those call centers provided jobs and needed business services, and they were suddenly facing significant costs in order to develop auditable procedures and continue operating.
The do-not-call regulation also temporarily reduced demand for telemarketing services, as client companies shifted to other marketing channels in order to avoid the temporary social stigma of using an unpopular marketing channel. Telemarketing companies who were unable to invest in new procedures, legal talent, and the temporarily reduced marketplace demand—had no choice but to shut down.
Have you noticed that you’ve been receiving more “unsolicited” telemarketing calls again? How can that be? It happened because the telemarketing industry is a for-profit industry operating in our free market. Telemarketers employ some of the most talented executives from our business schools. Just about every company you have a relationship with as a consumer, mails you “privacy notices” so often now that you just throw them away as junk mail. If you want to remain on the “do not call” registries you must examine each of these privacy notices carefully and take the steps outlined therein to keep your name and phone number off their calling lists. By giving you a chance to “opt out”, you are “opting-in” if you don’t respond.
So did the FTC regulations actually reduce “nuisance calls”, or did it just force the free market to innovate new procedures that complied with the new regulation, while remaining resolute in pursuing their ultimate profitability goals? One could argue that the government only succeeded in reducing competition among telemarketing companies by forcing out smaller competitors who didn’t have the team, the will, or the cash reserves to successfully respond to the do-not-call regulations. The barrier to entry into the telemarketing industry was raised, and it is now harder for new companies to enter.
I used the above example, one we’re all familiar with, to demonstrate how innovative companies can engage their employees in a bold effort to source creative responses to regulatory threats to their existence. I call the workplace culture at these innovative companies, a Surging Team culture. A Surging Team culture effectively engages their employees to identify and use innovations to respond to constant threats to company profitability, whether from competitors or from outside forces like the government.
In a free market, a company that can creatively respond to threats; can turn a threat into a marketplace opportunity. Some former competitors may choose to respond to the same threat by abandoning the products or services that suddenly become more costly to produce. This is the wonder of our free market system, which is also quite an enigma for those who attempt to engineer an outcome that the free market would not normally deliver. Companies that have cultivated a Surging Team culture, and who have a base of employees who are prepared to innovate in response to new or increased threats, can use those innovations to maintain their profit objectives even while absorbing increased costs.
In today’s service economy, a company that has learned to maximize the productivity of their workforce, by reducing turnover, tapping into the most highly developed strengths of each of their employees, and motivating them to act like a Surging Team and pursue a common and bold purpose together—these are the companies that will adapt quickly in the face of any marketplace threat, achieve their profit objectives, and always find a way to win.
It is impossible for a company to plan in advance for all possible marketplace threats, but those companies who have developed a Surging Team culture, and who can summon the collective creativity of all its employees in order to identify an innovative response to any and all threats to its profit objectives–are positioned to succeed.
Developing a Surging Team culture at your company will not happen by accident. It takes leaders that are skilled in methods to engage all their employees in a shared and passionate drive to succeed regardless of obstacles. When teams find a way to achieve their objectives, company profits follow close behind. Does your company have the Surging Team culture needed to successfully respond to the next marketplace threat?
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss the actions that you as the team leader or company owner can take, to prepare your team to respond successfully to marketplace threats.
Until then, Keep Winning!
“He wasn’t a very good farmer,” my grandmother would often tell me about her own father, “so he was very happy that I married a man who came from a successful farming family, your grandfather.”
My maternal great, great grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe to homestead in the Dakota Territory in 1862. They came to escape the societal limitations and political dangers they faced, and risked everything to come to America. Both families considered farming an unfamiliar homestead a far superior opportunity than what they left behind, even though they had no knowledge of the geographic area or of the culture they were entering.
They came to their homesteads, towns were built, and the new Americans gathered together to provide support to each other, while individually applying their blood, sweat and tears in a mighty effort to bring forth crops from ground that had never felt a plow. America gave them land and did not persecute them, so they were happy amid their labor.
Some families came from European peasant farming backgrounds and were again successful in producing crops and nurturing cattle. However, this time their abundance could be sold to the American marketplace, and so some families prospered. Other families came from more erudite backgrounds and resolved to simply “learn” how to farm by just getting busy and doing it. Immigrants in the later group did not fare well, unless they had the help of the families who came from farming backgrounds. Together, the former peasant farmers and the former intelligentsia settled the Dakota Territory and intermarried. Anyone who fancied that their erudite background provided them the kind of class distinction they enjoyed in Europe, were quickly cured of this belief. Farming skills were prized, and without them, you starved.
This was the background behind my grandmother’s opening quote.
I’ve had the great privilege of studying computer science and then earning an MBA to further understand how to apply advances in science to create even more thriving businesses. My grandmother and grandfather never used a computer.
We live and work in an age where it takes teams of people, specialized in their knowledge, to deliver the complex products and services that drive America’s world-leading economic engine.
Advances in science have increased crop yields, produced oil from rock, put a computer into the cabs of tractors, and have changed the way farming is done.
But the science behind success remains remarkably familiar. It is the story of how people work together toward a common purpose and become an unstoppable Surging Team. No individual company is guaranteed success. Companies that strive to develop a culture that encourages each of their employees, with their unique talents, to thrive and contribute to a worthy common purpose, are the companies that will create marketplace value and succeed. On successful corporate teams, the computer engineer needs the salesperson, the marketer needs the accountant, and the lawyers need the customer service representatives. When the well-being of each member of the team increases, the results from their efforts are astounding.
In case this sounds like a convenient conclusion, our military has embraced the science behind the critical role that optimism, well-being, and “embracing the strengths of others on our team” plays in achieving predictably successful results.
Convinced by the work of researchers like Dr. Martin Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. Army officer promotions are partially based on the officer’s demonstrated ability to increase the well-being scores of the soldiers on the teams they lead. People who feel good about membership on their team far outperform their less-than-happy team rivals. We do far better if we genuinely care about our team members, and know that they in turn care about us.
It is fitting that a century and a half of scientific advances confirm the same dynamics of team success that our pioneer families learned together in their isolated but happy farming communities in the upper Midwest, over 155 years ago.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss the actions that you as the team leader or company owner can take, to more effectively use the science behind success.
Until then, Keep Winning!