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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Important Employees

The Container Store is at the top of the 2004 Fortune 100's Best Companies to Work for for the 5th year straight, placing 3rd this year. If you've never seen them, they have some pretty cool storage items - the kind my mother would want me to use to keep my underwear neatly folded in.

The article about it (Link) got me to thinking about the value we put on employees. Here's a company that goes out of its way to make sure employees are not just satisfied, but happy. Not so coincidentally, the company is exploding in growth.

I know we all know how important employees are. Blah Blah Blah Management 101. (If your not sure I reccommend reading Competative Advantage Through People by Jeffrey Pfeffer - great read) But honestly, how much time a day, or even a week do we spend consciously and actively ensureing our employees are happy??? Not just subconsciously or routinely doing it but stopping, planning and doing it

Seriously - think about it. When was the last time we went out of our way to tell an employee how proud we are of them or how important they are to the company? Maybe even bring them a Starbucks beverage on us... not on the compnay

Maybe I'm preaching to the reflection in my monitor more than anything here, because while I think I'm a good boss to work for, I take for granted all of the hard work that my employees put in to make me look good. If I want business to boom at the church like it does at The Container Store, I better start implementing.

Bearly Drunk

True story - A bear gets drunk, passes out, but has a preference on what brand of beer he drinks. Just what we need... an alcoholic bear with sophisticated taste.


Monday, August 30, 2004

Too Much Customer Service???

I am all about customer servcie. I think it is a great asset to a company. Honestly during my time at ISU while getting my MBA, customer service is about all we talked about in some classes.

However, let me pose this question. Can we have too much customer service?
What I mean is, customers come to expect what they are given. 50 years ago, no one expected to get a punch card when they bought a sub sandwich. Today if you don't offer one, your Subway, Blimpies, etc is going to fail because you don't offer a stupid punch card. Yet, the entrepreneur is continually looking for the next gimmic that will give their product the edge it needs through satisfying its customers. The problem is that these advantages are not sustainable. Only temporary. As a result it becomes common place for companies to have to fork out tons of money to satisfy customers in ways that 3 years ago they didn't even know they wanted.

What spurred me to write about this is a bag of M&M's I was reading and eating at 2:30am this weekend. (bad case of munchies crossed with insomnia) They now offer to custom mix colors for you in your own customized bag. (I also have this gnawing in my brain that I've read about this somewhere else, but can't remember where to give credit to. Sorry to the originator of this if I'm not it)


My point is this: Wouldn't we be better off trying to offer sincere efforts to customers and not creating a want that they don't know they have? It would seem to make it easier on business owners. Or, maybe I'm just on such a chocolate rush I'm not thinking straight.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Extreme Weather

I love extreme weather. Wind, rain, thunder, hail, dark clouds – Awesome! Being a storm chaser would be a blast. Unfortunately, I have never been able to see perhaps the most extreme and most commonly thought of severe weather of the Midwest. A tornado.

My underlying goal in life is to see a tornado. Yes, I know they kill people and do thousands of dollars in damage to homes, crops and whatever else gets in their path, so I’ve devised the following criteria by which I want to see one.
1. Must not be near any people accept myself (and whoever is stupid enough to go with me)
2. Must not be near any homes, buildings or other property.
3. Must not be near any crops, livestock or other commodity.

Essentially I want to see a tornado ripping through uninhabited C.R.P land (for those of you who aren’t from farm land, click here)

My dream almost came true as I was driving up from Missouri. Torrential rains - people pulling off it was so bad. Then as the rain broke I saw across the fields this incredibly dark cloud with fingers coming down out of it. I watched them swirl up and down for about 10 minutes. Finally as I topped this hill and had a great view of the cloud I saw this finger reach down almost touching the ground. Maybe 50 feet off the ground at most. It was dark grey with a white streak running down the middle of it. I slowed down to watch when Deann reminded me that we aren’t going storm chasing with the boys and the baby sitter in the minivan. Doh! Pressed resume on the cruise and never found out if it turned into a tornado or just another finger that disappeared into the clouds again.

The voice of reason is always right, but not always what you want to hear, is it?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Just for Noelle

Only because Noelle has allowed her uncanny ability of multiple posts to transcend from one blog to another, will I give the brief update on family, life etc.

Wife Deann is doing great. She has settled into small town life very nicely. Heading up our Mom's night out group at church she is loving all the social stuff that goes with that.

Son #1 Jacob is now 6 and starting 1st grade this Monday. He is twice as smart as his dad and has a much bigger vocabulary. Really sucks when you have to ask your 6 year old what that word means.

Son #2 Tyler is 2 and way different than his older brother. Where Jacob is very social and intellectual, Tyler is pure rough-house boy. I prayed for a hockey player, then confessed he'd be one for the first year of his life every night when I laid him to sleep. He may never be a Gretzky, but would definately give Tony Twist a run some day.

Me, I'm enjoying work and although it seems to consume my life, I still have fun at it.

Inaugural Post

Inspired by my friend Scott, the happyweeble, I have decided to overcome my fear of commitment to blogging and begin today.

While I won't pretend to have the expertise in blogging that others seem to have, I know I can grow and become the best darn blogger on the face of the earth. Well maybe at least in southeast Iowa.

I'm not sure what it is about the commitment factor that has kept me from blogging for so long. This blog has actually been set up for 2 months as of today, but something about knowing that I should write, but don't think I have time to do it kept me away. Perhaps also my inspiration, Mr. Happyweeble, blogging like a mad man, posting the Encylopedia Britannica plus some has not only inspired, but intimidated.

That aside, hold on and fasten your seatbelts, let the blogging begin.