Archive for the ‘Book Reveiw’ Category

Linking Motivation to Performance

December 8, 2009

“If he [the manager] has confidence in his ability to develop and stimulate them [employees] to high levels of performance, he will expect much of them and will treat them with the confidence that his expectations will be met.  But if he has doubts about his ability to stimulate them, he will expect less of them and will treat them with less confidence.” – J. Sterling Livingston, “Pygmalion in Management (1969)”

Leaders inspire; they motivate, it’s what they do.  It’s why they’re, well, leaders. But what if a leader is inspiring his team to create mediocrity? It happens. And more often than not, because the leader himself is holding on to lowered expectations.

In the book “Motivating Employees”, written by Anne Bruce and James S. Pepitone, they discuss motivating employees.  A major theme in the book is how expectations influence behavior.  You as a leader will get better performance from people, if you expect it from them. 

The phenomenon has a name: The Pygmalion Effect.  The basic idea is that the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.  You can significantly influence the feelings, attitudes and behaviors of those around you if you communicate your expectations, explicitly and implicitly.

That can be easier said than done. Below are tips on how to boost your expectations, and your team’s performance:

  1. Walk the talk.  Be the role model for what you expect in others.
  2. Convey enthusiasm in what you do.
  3. Remind others that problems can be overcome.
  4. Recognize attempts to improve effectiveness and productivity—even when they don’t necessarily work.
  5. Recognize people who overcome obstacles to achieve results.
  6. Keep an open mind and focus on the positive side of new ideas.
  7. Encourage people to talk with you about their feelings.
  8. Meet with people—individually or in groups—when morale is low.  Express optimism and faith in the team.  Expect the best from people.  Expect that they will excel.
  9. Make work fun.
  10. See the humor in your own mistakes.  Laugh more.
  11. Focus on small, but significant wins, not just the big deals.
  12. Celebrate, a lot.

Have you been successful in your motivational efforts?  Reliable Delivery is always learning and implementing new ways of motivating employees.  Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver to share your thoughts or ideas.

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How Pig Headed Discipline and Determination Will Increase Your Profits

November 17, 2009

Chet Holmes offers an audacious promise on his Web site www.chetholmes.com:

“NO company would be able to compete with the company that masters the material in this superbly crafted book. You would take the business you want from whomever you want to take it and they will be powerless to stop you. You would pre-empt your competitors at every turn, even at a higher price.”

This is the guarantee Holmes makes for his book “The Ultimate Sales Machine”. As a business person how can you NOT read this book after seeing such a strong guarantee? I had to pick it up and find out if this guarantee, like so many others, was just too good to be true. After reading this book three times over within the last few months, I can assure you the above statement is both too good and true.

The book’s foundation stands on the idea that becoming a master is not about doing 4,000 things, it’s about doing 12 things 4,000 times. Chet talks again and again about how determination is the driving force behind impressing ANY customer you may have. He goes into great detail about what it takes to train your people, host effective meetings, obtain your dream clients, and operating like a machine. You really get an honest feel for Chet Holmes’ attitude throughout the entire book and after applying that same attitude in your business you will see results almost instantly.

One thing we have had in place at Reliable Delivery is what Chet Holmes calls the “Dream 100”. Our new business team works day in and out on obtaining new business for our company.

One way they do it is by forming a strong client target list. The list consists of 100 dream clients: the biggest, strongest, most well suited clients that they can “dream” up. They will then do whatever they can to attract these businesses to us, stressing the strong suits our Grand Rapids delivery company brings to the table. Our team will not stop until they have successfully won over that dream client.

Thanks to the pig headed discipline and determination of our New Business Team, Reliable Delivery has never stopped growing. That can only be attributed to our Sales and Marketing team. Without them and their passion, we would quite simply not exist today.

What are the things you focus on to grow your business? Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

Your Business Is Doomed To Fail

October 20, 2009

Business bankruptcies increased a dreadful 54 percent in 2008 compared to the year before. Business filings skyrocketed from 28,322 in 2007 to 43,546 in 2008. Needless to say, the statistics are grim.

This year may yield our highest bankruptcy figures ever and, with good reason, many business owners are afraid. As a business owner you need to be prepared, and sometimes, get out of your own way to face reality and recognize when your business is veering into trouble.

How do you recognize those? Well, if you or your company matches any of those described in “How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In,” by Jim Collins, you might need to take a closer look at your direction. 

You can read Collins’ description of the five stages of a company’s decline on Businessweek.com here.

Collins lays out each stage, including dangers to be cautious of as each level plunges you further into inevitable loss of your business.

In Stage 1: Hubris born of success.  Collins warns of arrogance within your business. This dangerous attitude breeds a sense of infallibility and causes you to lose sight of your weaknesses, sometimes until it’s too late.

In Stage 2: Undisciplined pursuit of more. Collins cautions businesses not to “make undisciplined leaps into areas they cannot be great in.” Faltering businesses must stay disciplined, and take calculated risks to build on the success they’ve already experienced.

In Stage 3: Denial of risk and peril. Be honest., and fearless about looking at the truth of your situation. The further you deny that your business is failing, the deeper the puncture holes on your ship. Soon you will be sinking, and it will be out of your control.

In Stage 4: Grasping for salvation. At this stage, the business’s failure is finally visible.  A stage four business will grab at straws, attempting any idea and following any option for possible success, the “silver-bullet” as Jim Collins calls it.

In Stage 5: Capitulation to irrelevance or death. At this point, the company’s financial backbone has broken.  It’s game over. The business has lost relevance in its market and is now dead weight around any good ideas that might have survived. Faith is lost and pursuit is forfeit.

Reliable Delivery has, without question, experienced incredible blessing. Throughout our more than 30-year history, Reliable Delivery has avoided big layoffs, recorded an increase of profit annually, and in early 2009 expanded over its Michigan border to start an Ohio delivery company and become a regional player. Collins ideas are priceless; but for us, so is reality.

We have a firm policy of “freedom of mouth” among our employees. We want their ideas, but just as importantly, we want their view of what’s happening with the company, and on the ground. It’s been a vital tool to our success now, and we know, in the future.

We’d love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.comor connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

 

*Statistics obtained from Bankruptcy Action*

Market your business for less

September 29, 2009

guerilla marketingDon’t cut your marketing when times are tough! That’s the advice of many experts, but the question for the team at Reliable Delivery was: how do we market a Michigan delivery company when the budget is not there?

I found the answers in “Guerrilla Marketing Excellence” by Jay Conrad Levinson. Jay has been called the “Father of Guerrilla Marketing” and his books have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. This book contains 50 golden rules for marketing. I’ve listed five of my favorites below.

Rule 1: Do not seek instant gratification, but find rewards with farsightedness. Six months ago, we began the process of revamping our Web site, www.reliabledelivery.com. Our old Web site barely promoted our Detroit delivery operation and did nothing for our other locations. Only recently have we seen results from these strategies, with more still to implement.  If you have a well thought-out plan, stick with it.

Rule 12: Do everything in your power to employ marketing techniques and tactics that are honest beyond reproach. While watching TV, I saw a commercial for a “miraculous” piece of plastic guaranteed to take my abs from pale and shapeless to tan, rippled, and glistening inside of eight weeks. Really? My abs aside, if you want repeat business, your promises need to be based on reality. When you are unable to fulfill those promises do what you can to fix the error.

Rule 27: Marketing will succeed only if time and energy are regularly devoted to it. You don’t need the resources of a Fortune 500 company to have great marketing, but you do need to take the time to make sure it’s right. Creating keywords for our Web site was a painful process. It took months of questions and talking to customers to narrow us down to Michigan delivery, Detroit delivery and same-day delivery, to name a few. Now we spend our time analyzing reports to make sure these words are actually helping people find us on the major search engines.dollarsigneyes

Rule 32: Realize that everyone to whom you market is a human being first. Don’t focus on your profits. Focus on the customer. What are their needs? And how do we, as an organization, solve them? Learn to treat marketing as a one-on-one experience rather than a mass-selling device.

Rule 33: Avoid humor unless it is pertinent to your offering and does not detract from your offer. This one I really didn’t agree with at first. Like most people, I really enjoy funny commercials, especially the Super Bowl commercials. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I find myself talking about how funny the commercial was but it didn’t create an urge to buy. Make sure any humor doesn’t overshadow the message of your marketing.

There are 45 more rules with great information about marketing and plenty of other resources at the Guerilla Marketing website. If you have any creative ideas about marketing please leave me a comment or contact me at aalberts@reliabledelivery.com or @adamalberts on Twitter.