Chapter 1: “Thank God It’s Monday”
Chapter 2: There Really ARE Good Places to Work
Chapter 3: But I’ve Got a Business to Run
Chapter 4: Who Can Take Action—Everyone!
Chapter 5: Shifting a Company’s Gears: The Unreasonable Premise
Chapter 6: Tales from the Trenches: Front Line Workers Who Can Think Big
Chapter 7: Vision it Possible
Chapter 8: Commit to Your Commitments
Chapter 9: Have Yourself a Kick-Butt Kick-Off®
Chapter 10: Hooplas & High Fives & Cheerleading: The Everyday Celebration
Chapter 11: Hooplas & High Fives & Cheerleading: The Ongoing Everyday Celebration
Chapter 12: Measure Everything!
Chapter 13: Get a Brand New Attitude
Chapter 14: Enthusiasm: Light That Fire in Your Belly
Chapter 15: Life Balance: Show Up Fully No Matter Where You Are
Chapter 16: Values as Your True North
Chapter 17: Bravely Go Beyond the Job Description
Chapter 18: Giving: Ignited Spirits Through Profound Service
Clear the Road Blocks and Saboteurs: Ground Rules to Keep Dark Moments in the Past from Poisoning the Glorious Future
Chapter 19: What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate…Clearly
Chapter 20: Vanish the Energy Vampires
Chapter 21: Bust the Baditudes
Chapter 22: Better off Somewhere Else? Get on the Happy Bus…or Get Off the Bus
Chapter 23: Gossip: The Hurt that Never Heals
Chapter 24: Understanding Perspective:
Always Being Right Can Be Wrong
Chapter 25: Clean Up Your Messes and Mistakes: Restore Trust
Epilogue: One Last Thing
Preview Thank God It's Monday!®
Front-Line Workers Who Can
"Think little goals and expect little
achievements. Think big
goals and win big success."
— David Joseph Schwartz
Sara Grimes was a petite woman with mousy brown hair, and at first glance she hardly looked like the sort of person who might set a company on the path of a cultural change of the magnitude Kathy Pillshard had described. But when Roger Milford met her in the lobby of her hotel, her eyes sparkled with such an inner light that he knew once again he'd been deceived by appearances and that there was much more to her than a quick glance could discern.
At the restaurant, when she opted for baked scrod instead of salmon, Roger said, "Look, get lobster, if you like. I'll buy a dozen lobsters if it puts me on the right path."
"Oh, it's the right path, all right." Her eyes twinkled. "But you're going to have to help yourself as much as anyone about getting on it. In our case, I hardly knew what a tempest of change I was going to stir up when I made my humble suggestion. I just knew that some people looked forward to going to work, and I wanted to be one of them for a change. I also knew the business was kind of just treading water, and it seemed to me that creating a great work environment could be a foundation of a great growth strategy."
Roger nodded. "Kathy gave me a brief overview of how the process works. I wondered what it was like from your perspective."
"The first thing I noticed, once the culture change ball was rolling, was that in almost every email and announcement, we were all hearing about the company’s vision and its values. I didn't know we had a vision until then, and no one had ever discussed our values. Most of us were just about showing up for the paycheck. That was part of it, and we all started to think about open communication more and getting better at it. We had a lot of transparency—I'm sure if most people know what that means, it's about being more open, honest, and direct. There's nothing really to hide in most companies, and this new transparency made all of us feel more a part of our own destinies and the company's success than ever before. Before you knew it, we really were looking forward to coming to work. I started to hear a lot of stories about people who were having better home lives, too. Beatrice Phillips told me her neighbors wanted to know what had come over her family. They all seemed to be doing better and enjoying life more. It's infectious, viral—in a good way."
Roger nodded. "The only thing I'm thinking now is why it took me so long to reach out and find out more about this. I know it's no cakewalk, but I think my company can do this, too."
"You should have your eyes open about one thing."
"This is no overnight thing or a quick fix. It's a complete and ongoing overhaul of your company's culture. In my case, I was a member of a Hoopla Team®. That's like a group of in-house cheerleaders to keep things going with a focus on results. It's supposed to be a cross-section of employee types. We had one person from uppermanagement, one from accounting, one from corporate sales, another from marketing, me from the front line, and a few others who gave us a thorough mix of positions and genders."
"Guys cheerlead, too?"
"Yes, and once they get going, they're some of the best and loudest. You see, a culture change is kind of like keeping a campfire going. Left on its own, it will die down. So someone has to keep adding twigs and wood, while others have to fan the flames to ensure it stays bright."
"Does the fire ever threaten to go out?"
"Oh, all the time. We run into bottlenecks, setbacks, and outright fumbles."
"Kathy called those 'Oh, crap' moments."
"Sounds like her. But she's been one of the big drivers of the change—evolution, I like to call it—and it shows in her memos and encouragements. You see, one of the things that has to happen is everyone has to communicate more and be as candid and constructive as they can. We all slip now and again, and we need each other to catch someone who threatens to slip back to old ways, be a bad apple, or even get toxic. The way new people are hired becomes a vital part of it, as well as constant improvement by as many people as possible. Another part of it is getting ongoing encouragement and education from in-house events, as well as outside workshops, seminars, and even those boot camps I thought sounded awful until I went to one. We all do whatever will help us stay focused on the fact that we've all made a choice and we're now accountable for our actions."
"It sounds like an immense amount of effort and energy is being spent on this. How do you all still manage to keep the business going?"
"That's the best part, you see. Doing this makes us better than ever at getting things done, being more interested in our customers and each other. Once we committed, it seemed like our lives got suddenly better. It's like we're family now. I think you've heard how we're doing."
"Yes, I have. Seems like at some point, you made an immense leap of faith, and instead of it all being just another management fad, this approach has taken hold and is working."
and embrace a size extra-large unreasonable promise.
Sara poked at a piece of her scrod. She held it up, and a bit fell onto half a crusty roll on her plate. "I'm kind of proud to be the pea that set the big rock into motion, though if Kathy hadn't been open to taking my suggestion seriously and seeking out a way to make it happen, it wouldn't have. But, you see, if you are going to rock your world, you are at some point going to have to shout, 'Bring it on!' and embrace an extra-large size unreasonable promise."
Roger caught something in her voice he had rarely heard from his employees. There was passion there, the kind he had only occasionally heard in job interviews, and then that fire had eventually gone out in even his best hires. Maybe he was going to have to get unreasonable, too.
and Has a Breakthrough
Take the case of one southern financial services system. For many years, it was in the bottom quartile of performance compared to its competitors. It tried many things but could not break through.
The company was doing all the right analyses and starting to understand the nature of its business better, yet it was not using more effective approaches to execute its strategy, attain accountability, and get solid results.
The company had all the excuses in the world. "The first quarter is always a downer," the owner said. "We can count on it every year. It's been that way since when we opened the doors 70 years ago." And he was right. The sales every first quarter were half of what they were the other three quarters.
Then the owner had an idea. "Let's just say we're not going to do that this year and let's choose to make growth happen in the first quarter. In fact, let's grow more than we have in any quarter!"
The company closed out the quarter with more sales than it had in any previous quarter EVER, and it did it with far more profit margin because everyone at the company decided to do that as well. To give the company even more excuses for having a bad quarter, a recession hit, and the company had every reason in the world to not perform.
The challenge that had seemed "unreasonable" had become reasonable.
Unless you push yourself beyond the bounds or everyday comfort, you will likely be stuck in the same groove you are in. You need to commit to results, see them as real, and make yourself accountable to them.
(Here's That Word Again!)
Pat committed to his team that he would bring in 20 new customers by the end of the month. Every person on his team had a commitment to the team, and he was no exception. Of course, for him to get his results, several things had to happen. Marketing had to get the mailings out to the targeted new customers. The people answering the phones had to welcome the customers with such caring enthusiasm that they wanted their call transferred to the sales department!
Then the problems happened. Marketing didn't get out their information. "We'll do two next month when we don't have an open house to run." They said this on the 20th of the month when it was obvious they missed their 5th of the month mailing deadline.
The receptionist position turned over when Jessica, who always knew how to get an interested prospect back to the sales department to be converted, left the company. Jim, who now answered the phone, was polite enough but had no idea that the point of answering the phone was to create relationships with people and enroll their hearts into understanding this was the right place and, yes, they need to talk to sales to become a new customer.
Between both of the breakdowns, Pat had only three leads converted by the 25th of the month. It was inconceivable that he would pick up 17 more accounts before the end of the month. He certainly had good excuses on why he could not meet the goal of 20 new customers he'd promised—others had let him down, and it wasn't his fault.
But Pat knew the game. When you're off track, ramp up the focused activity and decide to meet the goal regardless of circumstances.
So Pat picked up the phone 250 times per day for the next four days. He called every client and asked each receptive client who they would recommend as a good fit for what Pat's company did. Clients gave him over 75 referrals that they were willing to call and make introductions. Pat made the additional calls to those referrals, and on the 30th of the month, he had opened 37 new accounts. He was flipping unstoppable.
Don't tell me about the labor pains—show me the baby!
Jodi always explained why something couldn't be done. Excuses come easily. So her boss set the ground rule, "Don't tell me about the labor pains—I don't care how many hours you worked, how many obstacles you hit. Just show me the baby—I want to see the result."
When Jodi learned of this concept, Jodi's results in the marketing department could be sourced to an extra $2 million to the bottom line. Jodi, at first, was as surprised as anyone, but in the end she was a believer.
- Consider the most unreasonable goal of the business where you work.
- Identify the excuses that make the goal unreasonable.
- Now, power past them in your mind; picture the path around the obstacles until that goal becomes not only doable, but also reasonable.
- Measure your progress, stay accountable, and get results regardless of all obstacles.
- Set your own unreasonable goals. Don't wait for someone else to request it of you. Those who have great success in life are driven by goals beyond what others expect of them.
- List EVERY possible obstacle to that unreasonable goal. For each one, write beside it at least one strategy about how you will break through and make that happen regardless of the obstacle. Don't leave that sheet of paper until you've done that for every obstacle in advance.
- Take immediate action on one or several of the steps to reach your unreasonable goal. Tell at least two people what you're doing and what your commitment is, and tell them that if you start to have any excuses for why that can't happen, ask them to support you instead of buying into your story. Ask them in advance to not accept ANY excuses and obstacles.
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