Giving IS Receiving

by Ronald Culberson

A retiring car dealer in Michigan gave each of his employees $1,000 for each year they worked at his 47-year-old car dealership.  As a way of thanking his employees, Howard Cooper gave each a cash payment when he sold his dealership – including one loyal long-term employee who received $46,000.

You can read the article and see a video here:  Retiring Car Dealer

I’m a big believer that giving is receiving.  By giving to others, whether it’s our time, money, or expertise, we receive a gift through the opportunity to share the blessings that we have received…or earned.

Sometimes, our society encourages us to get all we can get and hang onto it as long as we can.  I certainly want to have enough money to last through my lifetime and I want to be able to support my children should they need it.  But I don’t want to die with too much in “the bank” or I fear I will have missed opportunities to give along the way.

I love what Howard Cooper did.  Essentially, he said, “You helped me be successful and I want to thank you.”

To me, he Did it Well.  And he Made it Fun for his employees too!

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Business Is Starting To Understand the Power of Social Multi-Media

by Daniel Burrus

The pace of technological change is accelerating rapidly. In the case of social media, it is rapidly becoming social multi-media, meaning we have the addition of photos, graphics, animation, music, video, and more. Why is this happening? Because social media really isn’t about the word “media”; it’s about the word “social.”  It’s about sharing. And as you know, we have lots of different ways to share online.

We have social photo sharing such as Flicker, social video sharing such as YouTube, social game playing in 3D environments, and many others. But what we’re seeing today is that all the social media sites are making it easier for users to add any and all types of media to their posts, thus creating a new multi-media form of social sharing.Google Plus, for example, takes Twitter to a new level in that it allows us, very easily, to put photographs and videos within our social communications. Facebook has allowed us to do that for some time and it’s now making that easier and easier.

The point is that we’ll increasingly see videos, photography, graphics, animation, and 3-dimensional simulations as a part of social media, because, reading words is one thing; actually seeing those words come to life is another.  It’s human nature to humanize technology and adding different types of media to what we are sharing makes the sharing more meaningful, connected and fun.

One of the key benefits of social media is creating social trust. This is important for business to understand, because when you say your product or service is the best, people may or may not believe you. But when people see their friends and others “just like them” saying something is the best, now you’ve developed social trust for your claims. People are then inclined to think: “My friends and colleagues are saying this product is the best, it must be.”

So how do businesses humanize the social media ads and marketing campaigns they’re implementing? They will humanize them with photographs and videos of employees; happy customers using you’re their products, and illustrations of how customers have saved time and money using their services.  It’s time for business to go beyond simply writing blogs and posting tweets, they need to embrace the quickly evolving world of social multi-media.

33 No-Cost or Low-Cost Ways to Reward Employees!

by Colette Carlson

Who doesn’t love to be on the receiving end of appreciation for a job well-done? And in the workplace, it’s especially gratifying to see your hard work recognized. Even with companies keeping a sharp eye on the bottom line, reward programs can be effective. Meaningful doesn’t have to equal extravagant. Don’t get me wrong – a nice Hawaiian vacation could be extremely motivating! But if your budget doesn’t quite accommodate such largesse, consider these no- and low-cost employee recognition ideas:

  1. A hand-written note from a supervisor, with specific, relevant details about the employee’s outstanding contribution
  2. A hand-written note about them sent to their family
  3. On-the-spot verbal praise, within  hearing of co-workers
  4. A designated parking spot for the employee of the month
  5. Leave early on a day of their choice
  6. Allow them to work from home one day of their choice
  7. Have each employee contribute a lovely comment about the person on a sticky note, collect and stick them all over the person’s desk as a surprise
  8. An article in the company newsletter
  9. Lunch with the boss
  10. Lunch with the boss – and a key client
  11. Invitation to sit on a panel discussion
  12. Opportunity to mentor another employee
  13. Crazy trophy that gets passed around from person to person
  14. Name the break or conference room after them for a year
  15. Start an employee bulletin board where you rotate who is featured. Have individual bring in family photos or favorite places. Have others post nice notes about person.

 

Even better, rather than guess what would motivate another, ASK your staff or co-workers to fill out a short form with questions such as:

  • If you weren’t being practical (cheap!), what would you order from Starbucks?
  • What is your favorite fast food menu item?
  • If you could only eat one type of candy the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Favorite musical groups?
  • Best local restaurant of choice?

This will allow you to customize the gift and make it even more rewarding.

 

If you have a budget for employee recognition, consider offering:

16. Gift cards ranging from $5 – $10 for things like coffee, car washes or movies, handed out by supervisors on the spot for a job well-done

17. Tickets to movie theater, sporting event or even the lottery

18. Mobile car washing service visit

19. Flowers

20. Lunch – for an individual or department

21. A department- or company-wide pizza party

22. Round of golf

23. Spa day – or bring in a masseuse to the office for neck rubs

24. Magazine subscription

25. Helium balloon bouquet

26. Groupon they would enjoy

27. Cupcake

28. Buy extra Girl Scout cookies from their child

29. Manicure/pedicure

30. Bottle of wine/six pack of choice

31. Brand new desk chair or office item

32. Pay for a fun class like cooking or sailing.

Most importantly, your company can show that an employee is valued by entrusting them with more challenging work. I didn’t say more work, but more challenging work, which recognizes that they’re an integral part of the company.

Now go reward!

What are some of the ways your company singles out employees for their efforts?

NYT: This Week in Small Business: $931 Billion in Cash

by Gene Marks

(This post originally appeared on the New York Times)

Economy: Still Sitting on Their Cash

Matthew Philips thinks 2013 is going to be a bummer. FedEx turns pessimistic. A Citibank study of small businesses finds that their biggest problem is a lack of sales growth. Still, retail sales rose in August. And in real estate, builder confidence and residential building growth (PDF) continued to gain momentum, existing home sales and prices went up and architectural billings turned positive. Manufacturing in both the New York and Philadelphiaregions weakened. Port traffic in Los Angeles is down compared with the previous year, and weekly rail traffic is mixed. Businesses now hold a record$931 billion in cash.

 

Management: Eat

These are the 50 most powerful women in business. Michelle Patterson sayswomen are leading the economic turnaround. Suzie Humphreys just loves to do payroll! Mark Cuban explains how to make $2.3 billion: “Either you know your business inside and out or you don’t. Either you’re willing to do whatever it takes to win or you won’t. Very simple.” Here are 27 everyday ways to get inspired. Here’s how to tell if you are a micro-manager. Jacquelyn Smith suggests some things you should do on your lunch break every day, including: “Eat. Don’t try to be a hero and starve yourself for the sake of being a hard worker or checking off another ‘to-do’ item.” Brett and Kate McKay offer advice on getting your kids to do their chores. The Exotic Entrepreneur says there are three steps to expanding your business online. Randall King believes every entrepreneur should read these three Kindle books. Michael Hartzell lists three ways to establish a good reputation, including: “Keep informed about fund-raisers and other events in your area and find ways to get involved. … Not only will you be embracing the needs of your neighborhood but it is a great networking opportunity.”

The Campaign: 47 Percent

Here are the 47 percent in one graphic. Gallup says the race is still a dead heat.A guy gets bored during a campaign stop. President Obama leaves a nice wedding gift and celebrates Talk Like a Pirate Day. The cast of “The West Wing” jumps into the fray.

Finance: Two Questions

Here’s what it’s like when two people are dating and start a company together. Ryan Matthew Pierson offers his thoughts on why start-ups fail. Anna Farmery has five tips for developing your freelance career. This is aninvestor’s-eye view of the Chicago start-up scene. Philip Campbell says bewarethe phrase, “Cash is a little tight now.” Caleb Wojcik says getting personal finances in order is the not-so-sexy step that every profitable entrepreneur must take: “The reason that entrepreneurs need to have their personal finances in order before they start taking risks is the freedom and flexibility it offers.” The mobile payment company Square is now worth more than $3 billion. This interactive graphic will help you understand how different financing strategies will affect you and your investors over time. Warren Berger reveals the secret phrase innovators use. Here are two important questions to answer before you invest in a small business. Is “Shark Tank” a good deal?

Your People: Forget Qualifications

Ken Oboh offers advice on finding the right people: “In our hiring, we’ve never looked at what the individual has in terms of formal qualifications; we’ve always looked for people who love the Internet and have a passion for building an online business.” Julie Rains shares the secret for finding great temps. These companies offer work-life balance. One in five job-seekers rejects employers who ban social media. Jill Jusko explains how to develop high-potential employees. An infographic shows where the jobs will be in 2020. This is how obese employees hurt your bottom line. Finally, someone explainswhy the chicken crossed the road.

Marketing Offline: A Really Sweet Halloween

Alyson Stanfield gives advice for promoting events six months out. Susan Ward thinks Halloween could be a really sweet business opportunity: “Large parties with participants wearing elaborate costumes are becoming increasingly popular — excellent news for people looking for niche business opportunities.” Here’s an interesting case study on how a high-end closet company segments its customers. Here are three reasons successful business owners still rely on print materials. This sentence will blow your mind. Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes explains how to build a recognizable brand. Is this the sexiest, coolest, most epic bus commercial ever?

Marketing Online: Social Media Insurance

Ninety-eight percent of small businesses do not have mobile-ready Web sites. These are the six landing-page questions your visitors want answered. Studies show eye contact is the antidote to online animosity. Here’s how small businesses can use six LinkedIn marketing tools. A conference call provider, InterCall, starts a new online community for small businesses. As managing your company’s Facebook page becomes easier, AJ Kumar explains how aFacebook search engine could change the way people find your business. Denise Keller explains how to reactivate your lapsed e-mail subscribers. Andyou knew it was coming: social media insurance.

Around the Country: Sweepstakes

Philadelphia’s zoo will use cards and scanners to track guest behavior, and the city’s opera company gives a surprise performance at the train station. Hershey’s new plant could bring $1 billion to Pennsylvania. The Small Business Administration increases its support for Hispanic entrepreneurs, and the Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey celebrates its “Business Man of the Year.” New York City businesses sound offon the mayor’s sugar ban. Small businesses can go here to win a “neat” prize. JetBlue plans free Wi-Fi and other airlines add routes to the North Dakota oil patch. NCR announces a $10,000 sweepstakes for small businesses. The UPS Store makes a pitch to small businesses.

Around the World: China’s Tantrums

Japanese businesses in China are hit by protests, but Wayne Arnold says that markets are dismissing China’s “anti-Tokyo tantrums.” Here is China by the numbers. The world’s central banks flex their muscles. Russia reveals it isawash in diamonds. Small businesses in France are facing job-creation hurdles. Greece readies further budget cuts. Arctic ice melting is providing opportunities. A company in Britain builds hotels from shipping containers. Afire tornado in Australia burns up the Web. The Obama administration denies plans to invade Canada.

Red Tape: Hanging With NASA

A new poll finds that most people still don’t understand the health care overhaul, and the Congressional Budget Office raises its estimate of those who will pay the mandated tax. Health care costs are expected to continue to rise (PDF) in 2013. NASA’s chief hangs out with a small-business partner and the agency seeks more small-business proposals for high-tech research and development. It’s estimated that pending federal legislation would restrict state and local governments’ ability to levy sales and gross receipts taxes and cost state and local governments $3 billion a year in forgone revenues.

Technology: Setting iPhone Records

The iPhone 5 has record orders, and Walter S. Mossberg loves it. But Anita Li reports that the smartphone’s connectors could be a headache for businesses. Nearly half of business travelers would give up brushing their teeth before giving up their iPads. Anton Wahlman thinks it’s more likely than not that Microsoft will take a beating from Google and Apple in the wake of the Windows 8 introduction. Twitter’s chief executive says that Apple is his mentor and unveils a new look. Mile-high buildings will be possible by 2025, and this robot could transform manufacturing. Amazon Web Servicesintroduces a new hunt for innovative cloud companies. Yahoo gives employeessmartphones (but not BlackBerrys). A Web meeting scheduler, Tungle.me, closes its doors. An investment strategist names the biggest growth sector. Here’s how tablets are making cash registers obsolete. This is how to use Microsoft Excel to manage your life.

Tweet of the Week

‏@charlesarthur: Which statistics package do pirates use to count their treasure? R.

The Week’s Best

Erica Douglass writes about why 99 percent of entrepreneurs don’t make it: “I often hear teachers, coaches and even bloggers describe this as a ‘passion.’ ‘You have to find what you’re passionate about and then do that,’ they say. And to that, I say: Hogwash. You don’t need to go on a mission and find your passion to start a business. You just have to throw away much of your guilt and self-doubt … and own the fact that you were put on this planet to do this very thing that you’re doing right now.”

This Week’s Question: Do you understand how the health care overhaul will affect your business?

Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. You can follow him on Twitter.

To have a moral compass, one needs to be a moral agent:

by Frank Bucaro

So what makes up a “moral agent?” Consider these moral guidelines.

1. A moral agent is a human being who acts, is empowered to make choices and consciously makes decisions.

2. The moral agent needs to consider:

• Motive

This is a fundamental concept for a determination of morality. A good motive is a prerequisite to conduct that is approved without qualification.

• Means

This is the agent, instrument or method used to attain an end.

1. How does one choose it and on what is it based?

2. For what purpose, and to what end and why?

• Consequences

These are the effects or results of a moral decision based on a value, but:

1. How is it possible to calculate all the possible consequences of an action?

2. How can one ever be sure that any action will produce the greatest positive result?

3. At what point, does one discern whether one’s action was right or wrong, .i.e. the consequence?, the motivation?

Once one “becomes” a moral agent,then the moral compass becomes the basis for one’s decisions, the development of one’s relationships, and the real purpose for one’s business. The problem is that, this is not an integral part of most ethics training programs and therefore contributes to the legal/ethical issues that exist today. So………..??????

Are You in Their Head?

by Don Yaeger

College football has once again intercepted a powerful life lesson in the quest for greatness.  This week, the value comes with one glance at the Top 5 Associated Press rankings.  Alabama is the top rated team in college football followed by LSU, Oregon, Florida State and Georgia.  It’s a list of football powerhouses that are the dreaded matchup for every other team on their respective schedules.  Just imagine the kaleidoscope of emotions that run through opponent’s minds when they line up against the firepower and winning tradition of the Crimson Tide.  In many cases, these NCAA treasures have beaten their opponents before they’ve ever stepped on the field.

During the 1990s, Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden spearheaded a football dynasty at Florida State that featured size, speed, skill and intimidation.  The latter wasn’t achieved by bullying teams with late hits and excessive trash talk… Instead FSU weakened the opposition simply by the way they carried themselves to the field.

Recently, college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit reflected on their dominance.  He said that when the Seminoles walked out of the tunnel “9 of the 11 teams that they used to play during that era wanted to go back into the locker room.”  Bowden would lead his players out of the tunnel at Doak Campbell Stadium arm-in-arm, helmets carried workmanlike, and with a focus that made even the most prepared teams have second thoughts.  They were already in the other team’s heads before they even reached the 50-yard line.

Lots of companies and businesses prove themselves as winners long before the first words or marketing pitches are ever spoken.  In some cases it’s not about being the best company or even having the best product.  Sometimes it is how the sales team navigates a meeting.

Opposing teams knew FSU’s product…  They knew of the goosebumps felt when a National Champion head coach led his team confidently onto the field.  They knew of the crowd that would erupt in support.

Years ago, I interviewed a college head coach who made it a priority not only to practice their gameplan, but also to practice his team’s entrance.  He specifically worked with his team on how to get off the bus before a game. He wanted his players to have an air of confidence that would start setting the tone for success.

How do you carry yourself?  Has anyone ever carried themselves so well into a meeting with you that it left you impressed?

Join the conversation today.

High Performer or Average Worker? How Can You Quickly Tell?

by Laura Stack

“The best in every business do what they have learned to do without questioning their abilities—they flat out trust their skills.” — John Eliot, American author of Overachievement: The New Model for Exceptional Performance.

Adding a new person to your workplace team is always a gamble. Usually you can’t tell, just by looking, who will consistently deliver top-notch performance that makes the entire team shine…and who will just show up, do an average job, and fade into the woodwork.

To clarify, “average” does not mean “bad.” Average people define the norm and provide the benchmarks by which we recognize high performance. They do their jobs adequately when properly directed, and you can depend on them in most things. But you build your team aroundhigh performers—the “quantum leapers”—who achieve up to ten times greater impact and results than the average worker. Slow and steady may win the race, but sometimes you need to hitch yourself to a star to make real progress. How can you see this star quality?

Good on Paper. A candidate’s “paper trail” offers clues about their performance ability. Did they graduate college summa cum laude with a double major? Good—that suggests an overachiever. If they’ve quickly risen through the ranks at previous jobs and have a stellar performance record, then you may have a winner on your hands. But you can’t always rule out a personality or attitude change since that last glowing performance review.

The Yoda Attitude. Yoda, the little green Jedi master, once told Luke Skywalker: “Do or do not. There is no try.” Look for this attitude during your face-time with the candidate. High performers confront workplace challenges head-on, applying their experience and creativity to craft tailored solutions that get the job done. So ask your candidate what they would do in certain hypothetical situations, noting how well and how quickly they can construct a reasonable solution.

Sharp, Well-Defined Goals. A high performer has no problem citing his or her goals, both short- and long-term. They can present those goals neatly and quickly, with a solid understanding of the steps required to get there. They understand how to translate goals into action.

Ambition. High performers push themselves to get ahead. These high-energy self-starters radiate confidence, need no one else to motivate them, and maintain a clear sense of direction. They “keep on keeping on” until they get what they want and hit the targets.

Excellent Time Management Skills. High performance burnout can be a big problem. Ambition, solid goals, and a can-do attitude matter very little if a worker can’t juggle time with the best of them. To do you proud for years to come, high performers understand the basics of time management well enough to create a work/life balance that maximizes their personal productivity without exhausting themselves. Working long and working productively aren’t the same thing, so you’ll have to dig deep to see if the person possesses this skill set.

The Bottom Line

You’ve probably experienced the occasional pleasant surprise when someone you’ve written off as average suddenly rises to the top of the performance ladder. Similarly, you may have suffered disappointment at the hands of a “sure thing.” Ultimately, performance matters, not appearance, so take care not to mistake style for substance. Search for the five characteristics outlined above before you assume you have a firecracker on your hands. “Masters of Disguise” who depend on their winning personalities to get them onboard usually can’t hide their weaknesses well enough to evade careful scrutiny. True high performers exhibit a fearless, ambitious, action-oriented—and above all else—results-oriented approach that no one can easily fake.