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A FEW YEARS AGO, Simon Sinek explained a framework he called Why-How-What. He was drawing a distinction between the way we usually market to customers, and a much more effective method of capturing the emotion and inspiration first.

I have a link to his TED talk at the end; it’s quite good.

I’ve noticed that the same process works remarkably well with engaging and inspiring employees.

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THERE SEEMS TO BE A HUGE DISCONNECT between how older people define “career” versus younger people.

This was well articulated by the author of 50 Ways to Get a Job, Dev Aujila. In a recent interview, he spoke of stability based jobs versus skill based jobs. He was speaking to job seekers, but business leaders have a lot to learn from this.

My parents grew up with the model that success looks like having one employer and one career for your entire working life. That model was already breaking down in the 1970s, and now it’s rarely effective.

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HOW OBVIOUS is your company’s mission?

Is it so compelling that customers can tell you what it is, in their own words?

Is it so clear that your employees are thinking about it in some way every day?

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WE’VE ALL CREATED lots of marketing messages. Our products will solve this problem. We’ll make your life better. We’ll treat you great.

Those are fine. Even powerful and compelling.

But how does this benefit your employees?

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THERE’S A LOT OF FAKENESS in the world.

I would imagine that it’s always been this way, I suppose, but now it’s so much more obvious when people aren’t showing their company authentically in the world.

And consumers are getting really quite sophisticated in detecting fake messages.

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WHEN I GOT my first professional job out of college, I was impressed with the array of employee benefits that companies would provide. Time off. Savings programs. Paid travel.

As I moved into management, and saw what it was like to work in a different country, I realized that a lot of these were supported or mandated by government programs and tax code.

Which is totally fine, even necessary. But those programs aren’t as compelling as we’d like to think, because they’re pretty much standard everywhere.

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WE’RE ALL PASSIONATE about something.

Finding a cure for cancer.  Cherry cheesecake.  Spending time with the kids.  Being inventive.

For everyone it’s a bit different.  But that’s the problem when you’re trying to get a group of people aligned around a common goal.

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I

AM CONSTANTLY RUNNING ACROSS across smart and talented business leaders. And in conversation, I get the intensity of their passion. Yet when it comes to articulating that as a mission statement for employees, they end up with mush.

Our company exists to serve customers and improve lives through our market-leading products and services. We’re responsive, innovative, and deliver consistently high quality.

As said by every company ever. Who would claim they DON’T do that?

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ROBERTO VALDEZ RUNS AN AMAZING BUSINESS recycling mattresses here in Fort Collins.

His heart is in serving those who are looking to rebuild their lives after incarceration or drug addiction. In fact, that’s how he got engaged with Spring Back Mattress Recycling in the first place.

He created a new life based on the support and leadership of Christopher Conway, his boss and mentor. I met Christopher as well, a sincere man who’s on a mission to serve the community.

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MidiCi BRANDS ITSELF AS “The Neapolitan Pizza Company.” New to Fort Collins, you might be skeptical about whether this town needs another pizza place, no matter how good the food is.

I had a chance this week to be introduced to the owners of this great new MidiCi franchise, opened just three weeks ago.  Frank and Kim Brewster come from Greeley and are passionate about the unique employee culture of this business. Read the rest of this entry »

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