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Transform Your Workplace!
Imagine a company where people are excited about coming to work and giving their best efforts every day. In this innovative and engrossing business parable, Harry Paul and Ross Reck show managers at all levels how they can immediately and easily increase productivity by tapping into the discretionary effort of the people who work for them. Starting from the most basic aspect of business reality—that people intentionally regulate the amount of effort ...
Transform Your Workplace!
Imagine a company where people are excited about coming to work and giving their best efforts every day. In this innovative and engrossing business parable, Harry Paul and Ross Reck show managers at all levels how they can immediately and easily increase productivity by tapping into the discretionary effort of the people who work for them. Starting from the most basic aspect of business reality—that people intentionally regulate the amount of effort they put into their jobs based upon how they feel they're being treated—the authors point out that the most important part of the job of every manager, team leader, supervisor, and executive is to treat people in such a way that they become excited about applying all their discretionary effort toward performing their jobs.
At the book's center is the story of Nancy Kim, a human resources director at a magazine that is struggling with all the problems associated with unhappy employees—low productivity and morale along with high absenteeism and turnover. After she openly challenges the CEO's new management-by-the-numbers system, she's charged with turning the situation around immediately. Filled with real-world studies, Instant Turnaround! shows anyone how to turn the workplace into a destination—a place where working hard feels like hardly working because it's engaging, enjoyable, and fulfilling.
In this compact and accessible business parable, Paul and Beck (coauthors of Revved!) claim that savvy managers can turn any company around by creating a happy, positive workplace and valuing employees. While empowering employees is a straightforward concept, according to the authors, most managers "don't live it." Lessons in making this seemingly effortless turnaround are recounted through the story of an ambitious HR director at a distressed magazine publishing company. With the guidance of a successful entrepreneur, she revitalizes productivity and amazes her skeptical, numbers-oriented boss. While elementary in tone and message, a simple wisdom emerges that can be understood and shared by any manager in any industry. In dismal economic times, this small and genial fable provides the hopeful message that it is still the individual human spirit and cooperation that propels innovation and productivity. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A serious problem
New York, New York—An informal gathering of prominent management gurus. Attendees include: Dr. Thomas "Tom" Schweppes, a university professor from the U.K. and author of How to Recognize and Reward Employee Performance. Tom is an affable senior citizen with a zest for life and a heart as big as the outdoors. "Electron Joe" Scott, author of Winning with People, which details his experiences as a legendary CEO. Joe is an outspoken messenger about what's wrong with corporate America and what needs to be done to fix it. Dr. Maxwell "Max" Maxum, author of The Magic of Being Nice. Max is a devoted family man who is committed to spreading the word about principle-centered living. Freddie Kim, author of The Authentic Manager. Freddie is a self-effacing and friendly person and the junior member of the group. His passion is converting his observations and ideas into effective management practices that produce immediate results. . . .
The group was chatting as Freddie entered the room accompanied by a woman none of them had met.
"Freddie, you brought a guest," said Max.
"This is my mom, Nancy. With me living in San Diego, wehaven't spent much time together lately, so we thought it would be fun to spend a weekend in New York. She's the executive vice president of Biz Trenz, the highly successful magazine that targets fast-growing and progressive companies. I'm sure you're all familiar with it," he said proudly.
"Wow! Yes, we are, and we're glad you came," said Tom.
"Thanks," she smiled.
"You've been holding out on us, Freddie. You never told us your mom was a business executive," said Max.
"Sorry about that. It just never occurred to me to tell you."
Tom changed the subject. "I really look forward to these times when we can get together to catch up on what we're working on and share our stories about what works when it comes to motivating employees. We don't do it nearly enough."
"I agree," said Joe. "You know, the last time we did this was almost two years ago."
"I guess we need to do something about that," said Max, the informal convener of the group. "So, who'd like to start us off?"
"I would," said Tom. "I had a plant manager contact me a little over a year ago after he had been to one of my programs. He was panicked because the productivity in his plant had fallen off and he was in danger of not meeting his quarterly profit goal. He'd had several meetings with his employees to let them know that their performance was not acceptable, but they were not responding. So he asked if I had any suggestions on how to turn this around."
"What did you tell him?" asked Freddie.
"I told him to circulate through his plant several times a day and act like he cared about his employees. I asked him to call me in two weeks and let me know what happened."
"What did he say?" asked Joe.
"He thought I was joking at first, but when he found out I was serious, he agreed to give it a try."
"Did he call you?"
"He did and he was totally blown away by how quickly things had turned around and how he was back on track toward meeting his goal."
"That's a great story," said Max. "I have a sales example I'd like to share. A vice president of sales for a large pharmaceutical company was very concerned about his sales numbers. After being flat for months, his numbers were starting to slide. Trying to turn things around, he required each member of his sales force to make two extra sales calls a day, but this wasn't getting the job done. He asked me what I thought he should do next."
"What did you tell him?" asked Joe.
"To cut the number of calls that each salesperson had to make each day in half, and instead of focusing on making sales calls, to have his staff focus on building long-term relationships with their customers."
"What did he say to that?"
"He was stunned at my suggestion, but after we talked about how customers prefer to buy from salespeople they like and trust, he reluctantly agreed to try it."
"Did you find out what happened?" asked Freddie.
"I did. He called me a year later and was he ecstatic! His sales had increased by 95 percent over the previous year. He told me he was thinking about cutting the number of calls that his salespeople had to make each day even further. His comment was, 'Focusing on building long-term relationships is far more productive than focusing on sales calls.'"
Max leaned back in his chair and said, "You know, none of this is rocket science. We've known since the 1920s that paying positive attention to the people who work for you has a dominant impact on their productivity. That's the message all of us believe in and focus on in one form or another. And each of us has dozens of examples that show how the payoff for doing this is incredible, and the impact is immediate. Yet we're still not seeing wholesale, across-the-board implementation. We're still seeing and hearing from a lot of unhappy workers out there. Why do you think this is?"
"That's a good question," said Freddie. "I think there's a disconnect between our people message and the executives and managers we're trying to reach."
"What do you mean?"
"Almost every executive and manager I talk to is quick to admit that people are their most important asset, but they don't live it—they pay lip service to it, but don't take action. In reality, they behave as though the opposite is true."
Excerpted from Instant Turnaround! by Harry Paul Copyright © 2009 by Harry Paul. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted October 14, 2012
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