February 1997 Issue
Is There Enough Customer in
your Marketing by Michael Lane
Money Sense by Hal Minot
The Blanchard Management Report
by Dr. Ken Blanchard
Rewarding Employees by
Seven Tips for Managing
Older Employees by Personnel Decisions, Inc.
Book Review: Hope is not a
Method . . . by Norman R. Augustine
Coaching to Win at Work by Clinton
O. Longenecker and Gary Pinkel
1997 NMA Directory
1997 Board of Directors
NMA Staff--Headquarters/Field Operations
(back to Contents)
Competing for the Future
Gary Hammel and C. K. Prahalad,
recently published a book Competing for the Future. As your association addresses
1997, the title of this book is most appropriate. NMA IS Competing for the Future. You and
I join the whole family of NMA members in meeting that competition.
"Competition from what?", you may ask! Competition from the impact of
corporate restructuring from the results of mergers and consolidations; for valuable
resources, both financial and people; from changing views of what management and
leadership are; Competition to the very paradigm of the NMA and how the association deals
with needed change while still retaining the values, principles, and quality that have
marked the present and the past. Competition for the future--what a challenge!
NMA is on the move with a commitment to Excellence! It is committed to win the
Competition for the Future, not just 21 to 20 but 100 to 0. Membership numbers are
important, because it is through a strong and growing membership that value-added services
What value-added services?
Recently, the Executive Advisory Committee of the NMA gave answers such as these to
- Promote teamwork
- Provide training in areas that your organization does not or can not.
- Emphasize the professional development aspects of NMA.
- Provide a forum for communications and networking.
- Showcase the accomplishments of the chapter and its members.
Each chapter and, yes, each member of the NMA family should ask, "How can I help
my chapter provide these values and more?" The answer to that question is important.
Your NMA leaders are working to move the association towards the 21st
century. "How?", you ask. Through a well structured marketing plan, through such
provided services as the NMA Learning Resource Center, through identified growth and
value-oriented initiatives for 1997, through aggressive long-range planning and through a
deliberate focus on being an ever-growing direct provider of member services and benefits.
Those customers are you, the chapter that you belong to, and the sponsoring organization.
How can you help?
- Seek out every opportunity to involve yourself in the professional development
activities of your chapter.
- Encourage your peers to join your chapter.
- Showcase your skills by participating in or leading chapter activities.
- Be a positive influence in your workplace.
- Seek out your chapter leaders and National directors and share your ideas, concerns and
suggestions with them.
- Use the NMA chapter to prepare yourself for change.
To be the "Best in Class," and the "Supplier of Choice" is the way
that your association will Compete for the Future.
Success in that competition is good for the organization that sponsors your chapter,
for you, and for the NMA.
So what is my part in this competition for the future? I made a commitment to achieve a
sense of excellence during my term as Chairman of the Board. In achieving that sense, I am
reminded of something that I read once. It goes like this, "Every job is a
self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." I
intend to make my signature bold and easy to read.
There Enough Customer in your Marketing
by Michael Lane
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Peter Drucker wrote 40 years ago that "a business is not determined by the
producer, but by the customer." This is especially true in today's hyper-competitive
marketplace where--unless the supplier stays up-to-date about the customer's
thinking--changing needs or new technology can obsolete the supplier's product or service
Today's successful industrial
companies competing on an international basis, have one common trait; a strong emphasis on
Organizational Marketing. Organizational Marketing is the attitude that every area of a
company must place the highest importance on responding to the customer's needs and
perceptions. Defining customer needs and perceptions is the responsibility of everyone in
the organization who has contact with the customer.
This customer focus is especially difficult for those organizations in transition from
traditional government or aerospace market environments. These companies face the
formidable task of changing an organizational culture heavily dominated by the technical
or manufacturing disciplines. Unlike the government market that rewards adherence to
strict specifications supported by elaborate documentation trails, the
commercial/industrial marketplace rewards companies that deliver maximum value/performance
and consistently respond to changing customer needs. This requires a different emphasis
within the organization.
Moving into the commercial marketplace requires the supplier to completely understand
the customer environment, including how the business is run, critical operational
processes, and how the customer generates profits, so that the supplier can consistently
deliver higher value and better solutions to improve the customer's performance and
profits. Each individual and manager must play a role in this understanding by providing
critical information to complete the "customer picture." For the first time,
individual performance in these companies will also be measured based on customer
satisfaction and responsiveness to customer needs.
Transitional companies must adjust to the reality of a market where customers are free
to withhold new orders or move business to a competitor. These decisions can be based on
many factors, because customers are seldom committed to the supplier for long-term
contracts. Since customers act on perceptions of the company and its products/services,
everyone who comes in contact with the customer can affect the business relationship.
Because many individuals outside of the traditional sales and marketing functions can
affect customer perceptions, managers have a responsibility to instill a "sales"
or customer attitude in their employees. Fundamental to this process is the manager's
consistent demonstration of sales sensitivity to customer's needs. Some companies take the
process further by providing basic sales/service training for non-sales employees.
Everyone must remember that one person's indifferent or unresponsive contact can seriously
damage months of relationship building.
Another key difference for transitional companies is that, in the commercial/industrial
market, a long-term relationship must be built after the sale is made. Unlike government
markets, where requirements are explicit, successful commercial/industrial suppliers must
be skilled at recognizing the implicit follow-up and service requirements for each
customer. Every person who comes in contact with the customer can contribute to the
overall picture of the customer's "after-the-sale" service needs and can affect
the relationship building process.
To illustrate the importance of understanding the customer's environment, a leading
supplier of deposit bags for the banking industry failed to recognize the advantages of a
new disposable, plastic deposit bag introduced by a new competitor. The new product had
significant cost and operational advantages for the bank end-user. This manufacturer's
inability to understand the new product's benefits for their customers caused the company
to lose over half of its market in a few short years. Instead of using their commanding
market position to control the new technology, they attempted to prevent its penetration
into the market; as a result, several new competitors quickly became the dominant
Company personnel who came into contact with banking customers failed to
"listen" to the real customer needs.
Because Organizational Marketing requires the entire company to focus on the customer's
real needs, it is essential that not only sales and marketing personnel, but also top
management, have face-to-face contact with customers on a regular basis. Executives of the
most successful commercial/industrial companies spend considerable amounts of time in the
marketplace with customers to increase their understanding of the customer's/business.
This insight, added to the collective intelligence from the rest of the organization, can
create a complete understanding of the customer's environment. Everyone must think in
terms of the value they are delivering to the customer's operation, with a clear
understanding of competitive functional substitutes.
Successful Organizational Marketing also requires a commitment to be responsive to the
market. In order for a company to respond successfully to market needs, the marketing
planning process must be fully integrated into the operational and strategic planning. In
fact, market considerations must lead the company in developing plan requirements, in
order to guide decisions on company direction, asset allocation, and investment.
Many of today's popular programs, such as TQM and ISO 9000, are simply a response to
customer and market needs for improvements in quality, and compatibility with
international standards. The company's commitment to respond to the market includes
dealing with deficiencies in products, service pricing and costs. Deficiencies are
anything that the customer perceives to be negative. Management must be unemotional and
pragmatic in evaluating these deficiencies.
For example, a medium sized flexible
packaging manufacturer had always viewed itself as having the highest product quality in
the industry, and believed that its service was competitive in the market. When sales
failed to track the market, a closer examination revealed that from the customer's
perspective, there were alternative suppliers with competitive quality and service. Over
time, this company had failed to continue improving its products and service, which
allowed the competition to close the gap that had once separated them.
The reality of the commercial industrial and business-to-business marketplace is that
business customers buy only to satisfy and economic requirement or to improve economic
performance. The Organizational Marketing objective is to interpret the customer's needs
through a complete understanding of the customer's business. This organizational
commitment will show a supplier how to serve the customer better than the competition,
while improving the supplier's own corporate performance.
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Managing Your Credit Can Build Net Worth
by Hal Minot
Too often, when people talk about living comfortably and enjoying financial security,
they think that building assets--what you own--is the only way to increase wealth. Few
realize that effectively managing liabilities--what you owe--is a powerful way to build
When you add up the costs of your
financial goals--whether buying a home or vacation property, sending your children to good
colleges, enjoying a comfortable retirement or leaving an inheritance to your
heirs--saving enough can seem challenging. Integrating smart credit strategies into your
financial plan can help you reduce expenses, lower taxes, maximize asset growth and take
advantage of new financial opportunities.
Let's take a look at some of the liability management strategies for home financing,
personal credit, and investment financing that can help you meet your financial needs over
Mortgages usually represent your single largest financial commitment. To select the
right mortgage, you need to consider your risk tolerance, return on investment, length of
time you plan to be in your home and your current and future cash-flow situation. Here are
some of the best options to consider. Mortgages with 100 percent financing can benefit you
if you think the earning potential of your assets will exceed the cost of financing a down
Assets normally required for a down payment can remain invested, and you can also
maximize your mortgage interest deductibility.
Mortgages with interest-only payments help you increase your cash flow by lowering your
monthly costs. Making interest-only payments allows you to maximize your tax deductibility
and apply your savings to other investments or repay costly consumer credit.
If you plan to be in your home for a short period, a mortgage that offers an initial
fixed-interest rate based on the amount of time you are in your home can help you lower
your interest expense and monthly payments, when compared to traditional fixed-rate
mortgages. If you expect to be in your home for 10 years or more and can pay extra points
up front, you may even be able to lower the mortgage interest rate and save thousands of
dollars in expense.
Refinancing a high-rate mortgage can also bring significant savings. The monthly
payment on a 30-year, fully amortizing $100,000 mortgage with a fixed rate of 10 percent
is $877.57. If the mortgage is refinanced at 7.5 percent, the monthly payment drops to
$699.21 a savings of $178.36 a month and $2,140.32 a year.
Personal credit often comes in the form of unsecured personal bank loans and credit
cards with annual percentage rages of 18 percent or more. These rates are high because
there is no collateral to secure the credit. If you use the equity in your home or your
eligible securities to secure credit, you can usually cut your credit costs by 50 percent
A home equity line of credit, which may be used for multiple purposes such as financing
college or home renovations, can be your most advantageous source of credit. Establishing
a home equity line of credit not only can reduce the cost of your credit, it can provide
potentially tax-deductible interest.
When you establish a home equity
line of credit, you are borrowing against a home's value. You can usually borrow up to 80
percent of its value at a rate that is only one or two points above the prime rate. The
interest expense on a home equity line of credit may be tax deductible on loans up to
By consolidating large outstanding debts at a lower rate, you can free up your cash for
other needs or pay off the outstanding balance sooner. What's more, with a line of credit
you access only the funds you need, so you pay only for the credit you need.
Just as asset-based financing is often the best way to meet credit needs,
liability-based investing can be an attractive way to meet portfolio objectives. The
prudent use of margin borrowing can help you meet the goals of your overall financial
With interest rates generally much lower than those of personal loans, margin borrowing
is often the least expensive source of credit available. By borrowing against your
eligible securities, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, instead of selling them to
raise cash, you may be able to maintain your long-term portfolio objectives while still
meeting your short-term cash-flow needs.
You may also be able to maximize tax deductibility of interest by purchasing securities
with proceeds from a margin loan. The interest expense incurred on margin debt for the
purchase of taxable securities is deductible to the extent of your net investment income,
which includes interest, dividends, and net capital gains from the sale of investments.
Most margin loans have no preset repayment schedule or prepayment penalties, and margin
balances can be reduced as new funds are received. While margin borrowing offers numerous
benefits, check with your financial consultant to determine whether margin borrowing is
appropriate for your financial situation.
Put Strategies to Use
By considering a wide range of liability management resources and strategies, you can
reduce the cost of your credit, both before and after taxes. Talk with your financial
consultant about how you can manage your assets and your liabilities together to build
your net worth.
Hal Minot is Group Manager, Marketing and Business Development, for Merrill Lynch
Blanchard Management Report
by Dr. Ken Blanchard
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In our book, Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute, John Carlos, Alan Randolph and I
contend that the first secret to empowering people is to share information with everyone.
Without information, people cannot act. With information, people cannot help but act.
Once you have begun to make your people your business partners by sharing information
with them, the second key to empowering people is to create autonomy through boundaries.
One of the problems in the past with empowerment is that the assumption was that empowered
people could do anything they wanted. They were in charge. That assumption just does not
make sense. A river without banks is just a large puddle. What permits a river to flow is
its banks. In empowering people, the banks are boundary areas or guidelines within which
people can operate. Top management takes a lead in providing these boundary areas. They
include the following:
Everyone needs to know what business you are in.
What are the beliefs that drive your behavior?
What are the big picture bottom line goals that should focus everyones behavior?
What are people being asked to do and contribute?
Whats in it for people if they perform well?
How will people know what good behavior looks like?
Boundaries could also include policies and procedures. As I learned from coaching
great, Don Shula, when we wrote Everyones a Coach, you need to have a plan and then expect
the unexpected and be ready to change that plan if necessary. In football, audibles are
when the quarterback or defensive captain changes the plan on a given play when they
realize that it wont work. Shula emphasized. though, that effectiveness at calling
audibles begins with a plan.
This concept was verified by two of our top consultants when they had a chance to
observe the training of Seeing Eye dogs. They found that two kinds of dogs were thrown out
of the program. The first kind was obvious--these were dogs who were completely
disobedient. They wouldn't do anything their master asked of them. The other kind of dogs
dismissed were ones that were completely obedient dogs. These were dogs that would do
whatever their master wanted.
The dogs that worked best were dogs that would do whatever their master wanted unless
it didn't make sense. For example, standing at a corner, the dog's master says,
"Forward." The dog looks and sees a car coming at sixty-five miles an hour. He
thinks, "This is a real bummer" as he leads his master out into the middle of
the road. Instead, a dog that is allowed to think can make a choice that best fits the
given circumstances. Can you imagine letting dogs think?
We know that many organizations dont let their people think. How many times have you
been in a situation where a front line employee says, "I'm sorry. It's our
policy" when the policy makes no sense? For example, one time when I was checking
into a top hotel, I was put on the special executive level. When I went to check in, the
woman in attendance told me they had no rooms available until after 2:00 p.m. I said,
"That's O.K. with me. Would you store my bags?"
She said, "Fine" and asked me what else she could do for me.
I said, "I need to cash a traveler's check."
"I can't do that," she said. "I don't know what your room number is
"Why do you need my room number?" I asked.
"I have to put it on the back of every traveler's check."
"That's a good policy," I said, "but you have my bags. It doesn't make
sense in this case."
Her responses included, "It's our policy, I just work here, I don't make the
rules," etc. Can you imagine a Seeing Eye dog under those restrictions. They would be
dead at the first busy street.
Empowerment begins with boundaries. There is nothing wrong with policies or procedures
or any other guidelines. Empowered employees welcome them, but recognize they can use
their brains and call audibles when they don't make sense. Empowering people without
giving them any boundaries will lead to disaster and failure.
Copyright 1996 by Blanchard Management Report, Blanchard Training and Development,
Attn.: Bob Nelson, Publisher, 125 State Place, Escondido, CA 92029. Past articles,
reprints, special topic requests, interviews and annual subscriptions are available.
Phone: 800-728-6000, x5201
Employees--How to Keep Incentives from Becoming Entitlements
by Bob Nelson
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Many managers are hesitant to use incentives in the workplace because of a fear of what
it may lead to in the way of increased expectations on the part of employees. The logic
goes: "If I give them something extra for doing what I expect them to do, I will have
to keep giving them more and more in the future to simply maintain what they are doing
now." Such managers are afraid that the use of incentives in general--money or
otherwise--is basically a slippery slope that once begun, can never be contained.
This line of reasoning is unfortunate in that such managers are abandoning one of the
most powerful forms of human motivation that is known. They will never experience the
benefits that result in increased morale and productivity, and return to the bottom line
from a well-run incentive program. It is similar to a person who refuses to drive a car
because the brakes might fail or because they read that a significant number of people are
killed each year while driving their vehicles.
The fact of the matter is, with certain cautions, it can be relatively easy to obtain
highly desirable results from the workplace while at the same time minimizing the risks to
the organization. Following are a few guidelines Ive found that can help to keep your
incentives in check.
Link incentives to performance.
This makes incentives less likely to come across as largesse that is equally distributed
to all members of the company whether individuals performed or not and more closely ties
incentives to the success of the organization. Recognizing such things as birthdays,
anniversaries, attendance, years of service or passing out turkeys at Christmas are all
examples of programs that are rewarding presence rather than performance. Yet these are
some of the most common incentive programs that exist in this country. It is much more
beneficial to get employees focusing on behavior and results that can make a difference in
the competitive advantage of the organization--or directly lead to increased revenue.
Doing so will help break down the notion of the organization as a paternal caretaker of
employees. Rather, employees need to be recognized for the contribution they have
made--and earned--for the organization.
Use variety in your choice of incentives.
Not only will having different incentives keep them fresh, but individual incentives will
be less likely to become entitlements. For example, if each quarter the company made its
revenue goals a half-day off awarded to all employees, by the second or third time
employees will come to expect this incentive as an ongoing benefit for no other reason
than it has been done repeatedly. If, on the other hand, the first quarter you gave all
employees a half-day off, the second quarter you did nothing and the third quarter you
held an ice cream party, the variety not only adds fun to the workplace, it minimizes the
expectations that can arise from the repeated use of the same incentive. The same logic
holds true for incentive programs. Change them when they start to become stale or lose
Emphasize non-monetary incentives.
Studies have shown that you can obtain a greater increase in productivity through the use
of non-monetary recognition items (merchandise, plaques, life style items, etc.) on a
dollar-per-dollar basis than by using only cash to increase productivity. Or, at the very
least, combine non-cash with cash awards. In a recent study of manufacturing team
motivators, more than half of manufacturers say cash works best when combined with
non-cash incentives such as recognition programs, training and development, promotions,
and changes to work content. Many other studies have shown that employees find the most
meaningful incentives to be things that have no cost at all, starting with a personal
thanks from ones manager for doing a good job.
Raise the level of awareness and skill on the part of your managers to make a more
frequent use of such no-cost, low-cost incentives within their work groups and within
individual jobs. Autonomy, flexibility, visibility, involvement in decision making,
interesting job assignments and extensive information/communication can all be used with
great success to help obtain extraordinary performance from ordinary people.
Bob Nelson is vice president of Blanchard Training and Development, Inc., in San
Diego, CA (800-728-6000) and author of the best-selling book, 1001 Ways to Reward
Employees (Workman Publishing) now in its 13th printing.
Tips for Managing People Older Than You
by Personnel Decisions, Inc.
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Today's management ranks are full of fresh young faces. Its no longer expected that
those with the most years of experience will drive American business. Factors such as
leadership ability and potential, as well as versatility of experience and training, now
get people the top spots.
But life is not all wine, roses and fancy sports cars for young managers, according to
David Peterson, vice president and director of Coaching Services for Personnel Decisions,
Inc. Being young poses many challenges, he says. For example, many young managers find it
personally difficult to manage people older than they are--particularly those who are
their parent's age. Following are recommendations from Peterson that will help turn this
challenge into an opportunity for greater professional success.
Know with whom you're dealing.
Remember, these people may not have grown up watching The Brady Bunch or Scooby Doo, says
Peterson. Take time to get to know your older workers and the "world" from which
they came. Go to lunch. Talk about family and personal and professional values and goals.
It will help you develop more effective, meaningful management techniques.
Consider older workers your secret weapon.
Most companies are working in team environments. Lucky you. Research shows that the most
successful, productive teams include people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Older
workers clearly will be assets, if you truly respect their input and ideas.
Complement, not compete.
You will be most successful with older workers if you recognize that each of you has
something unique to contribute. Life experience, of course, is one area in which you'll
always lag behind older workers. Talk about these differences. Then develop a plan or
method for bringing together the best that each of you has to offer.
Stay in touch.
Continue to build and strengthen your relationship with older workers during face-to-face
meetings, check-in phone calls or e-mail notes. "Our work has shown that most older
workers at some point begin worrying about job security," Peterson says.
"Managers need to know about and handle these types of concerns before they affect
the employees job performance."
Focus on your accountability.
Your goal, and your duty, is to contribute to the company's success. Becoming intimidated
by older workers could affect your performance and jeopardize your job and career.
Become a mentor.
Remember, you are the manager because you had something special that the older workers
didn't have. Make it your goal to share your talents. Help your older workers to develop
additional skills and increase their level of responsibility.
Build mutual respect.
"You won't get what you don't give," says Peterson. Give older workers--and all
workers for that matter--plenty of your time and attention. They'll reward you with
respect and commitment.
Personnel Decisions, Inc.
2000 Plaza VII Tower
45 South Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402-1608
Review: Hope is not a Method . . .
"A Clear and Compelling Plan of Action That Can Be Readily Applied by Any
by Norman R. Augustine
Gordon R. Sullivan and Michael V. Harper. Times Business, a division of
Random House, 294 pages; appendices; notes; references; index; $25
(back to contents)
With books and articles on management, leadership and business strategy flowing from
the pens of recognized or self-professed experts almost as fast as the U.S. Army overran
Iraq, students of such subjects might be inclined to shrug off a volume on the Army's
As the authors themselves ask, "What do two soldiers have to say to America's
In fact, in Hope Is Not a Method, retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon R.
Sullivan and former CSA Staff Group Director Michael V. Harper share a great deal of
insight, experience and practical advice with all leaders of today and tomorrow. Weaving
facts and historical vignettes among their "10 rules for guiding change"--each
illustrated with examples drawn from the authors' combined 62 years of military
experience--Gen. Sullivan and Col. Harper have written a book that is engaging,
informative and even entertaining (drawing on our own observation that effective leaders
must have a sense of humor).
Skeptics who recoil at the notion of applying military experience to civilian
enterprise miss the mark and must first disengage three myths: that getting results in the
military is as easy as giving orders; that the military need not compete in the way
businesses must to win and retain customers; and that the military is exempt from the
bottom-line pressures of the private sector. Having served some 10 years in the Pentagon,
I can offer assurance that the management challenges encountered by those who lead the
Army are at least as difficult and complex as those faced by any corporate executive--and
have far greater consequences.
The authors point out that leaders, whether in the war room or the board room, must
give the right orders and fully involve teams of people to achieve desired results. The
Army also must compete--against other armies, terrorists and paramilitary groups--with
stakes that far surpass those of any traditional bottom line. And, with total U.S. defense
spending slashed by more than 35 percent in constant dollars over the last decade, the
Army has been compelled to pursue the same sort of cost-cutting and productivity
improvement initiatives that have swept industry. Unlike most corporations, however, the
Army remains accountable to a "board of directors" with 535 members (of
Congress) and a "chairman" who also happens to be the Commander in Chief.
With misconceptions and the all-too-customary emphasis on dissimilarities set aside,
one begins to appreciate the many parallels between the U.S. Army and its counterparts in
corporate America. If the Army were a private enterprise, it would have more than 1.4
million employees, annual revenues of $63 billion, branch offices in more than 100
countries, strategic alliances with virtually every major nation in the world, and rank as
the ninth-largest U.S. corporation on the Fortune 500 list.
Like virtually every U.S. business, the Army has been confronted with the often harsh
realities of a new world order--in its case, precipitated directly by the Cold War's end.
For the Army, this meant eliminating more than 600,000 positions, adjusting to intensified
competition for available funds in the face of sharply reduced budgets and adapting to new
missions--all without sacrificing its readiness to fight.
That the Army not only adapted to this radical change but also emerged as a leaner
organization tailored to today's demands is a tribute to its leaders, including Gen.
Sullivan, and to its uniformed and civilian personnel. The opportunity to learn firsthand
the lessons of how this was accomplished is perhaps the most compelling reason to read Hope
Is Not a Method.
Central to the Army's successful evolution, the authors relate, was the early
recognition that change was more than an external environmental force--the stuff of
newspaper headlines chronicling geopolitical developments--to which the organization had
to respond. By embracing change as a process, focused through the lens of a finely
articulated sense of purpose, the Army was able to fundamentally transform the manner in
which it prepares for and engages in increasingly diverse missions worldwide.
While many in the Army looked to their leaders for a sense of certainty about the
future, particularly in the wake of communism's collapse, Gen. Sullivan points out that
such expectations are unrealistic. He adds, "What a leader can--and must--do is
create a vision, a context within which an organization can act to create its
After developing a value-based vision for the future by drawing on the collective
wisdom of the Army's top talent, leaders crafted a strategy to set its transformation in
motion. The process of change began at the top, but deliberately involved everyone in the
organization through techniques such as leveraging information technology to inform and
empower--from stock clerks in logistics centers to soldiers on the battlefield. As one
example of how this new approach translated into mission success, the authors cite the
decision to equip mortar crews with state-of-the-art targeting and positioning technology,
a move that reduced from eight minutes to three the time required to observe, engage and
destroy a target. This is a remarkable "cycle time" improvement many business
leaders will envy.
The example also illustrates one of the book's fundamental premises: that simply
improving on existing processes is insufficient to achieve radical transformation. New
ways of conducting business must be found, with ideas percolating across all levels of the
organization. As the authors point out, "Doing the same thing you have always
done--no matter how much you improve it--will get you only what you had before."
Equally important to the Army's success were fundamentals such as open communication,
realistic training, experience-based learning, empowering, and cultivating future leaders
capable of thinking strategically and inspiring others to embrace the Army's future
vision. While such techniques have on occasion been applied elsewhere and have been
discussed in various books (though seldom as clearly), what makes the Army's story so
compelling is the ultimate simplicity with which the transformation process was conceived
No organization places a greater premium on leadership than the U.S. military. While Hope
Is Not a Method documents a remarkably successful application of the principles of
leadership, vision and organizational transformation outside the standard business
context, the authors draw such clear parallels between business and the military that
their work is of great value to the leaders of virtually any enterprise.
I have always believed that business, sports and the military have much in common, with
the lessons from each adaptable to other situations. In Hope Is Not a Method, the authors
provide a clear and compelling plan of action that can be readily applied by any
organization in these times of Darwinian change.
NORMAN R. AUGUSTINE is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of
Lockheed Martin Corp. He served as assistant director of defense research and engineering
in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1965-1970, as assistant secretary of the
Army for research and development in 1973 and 1974, and as under secretary of the Army
"From Army Magazine, December 1996. Copyright 1966 by the Association of the
U.S. Army and reproduced by permission."
Coaching to Win
by Clinton O. Longenecker and Gary Pinkel
(back to Contents)
"My boss is always talking about how we must become
more competitive and that we've got to be a team but I sure wish he'd act more like a
An employee's lament
America is a country that is driven and even obsessed with the concept of competition and
the importance of winning. This is true in both the world of sports and business. In the
sporting world winning records and championships fill stadiums and coffers and elevate
sports personalities to celebrity status. In the business world market share, profits, new
product innovation, earnings per share and brand recognition determine the winners and
losers in an enterprise system that tends to be very unforgiving of those who are less
than competitive. The similarities between sport and business are numerous but no where is
this more true than in the leadership role of the coach/manager. Winning teams in both
arenas do not just happen. They are developed and nurtured by effective leaders who must
perform their roles with conviction, vision, passion, energy and skill. Without effective
leadership, both athletic and business efforts are destined to frustration, mediocrity and
There is a current trend in the workplace encouraging supervisors and managers to
become proactive coaches. In a recent book by Don Shula and Ken Blanchard Everyone's a
Coach the authors contend that every person in a leadership position is indeed a
coach with the capacity to help others achieve goals (win) or to cause others to struggle
in their endeavors and fail (loss). The problem lies in the fact that all too frequently
managers do not think of themselves as being in the role of a coach in the modern
workplace. Organizations are frequently telling managers and supervisors that they must be
"a coach to their people." Yet, organizations provide surprising little support
in redefining roles, training and coaching for the very people (managers and supervisors)
they need to function effectively as coaches. A manager's role as coach requires a very
specific focus and set of behaviors to be effectively enacted. A coach is a leader who
focuses his/her energy on helping others improve their performance and achieve goals. So
the real question becomes what do effective coaches do to help their players succeed?
Some people believe that being an effective coach is simply the ability to motivate
people (e.g. give good pep talks, challenge and inspire others). Yet, motivating people is
only part of the key role of a coach. The modern day coach in both sports and business
must also create a "performance system" that enables people to perform
effectively. Since performance is always a function of motivation X ability X support, all
three components must operate in concert if people are going to achieve higher levels of
performance in any area of their lives, and especially at work.
To illustrate the point, look at each of these three performance scenarios. Take a
motivated accountant and place them in a situation where they do not have the right set of
skills for the job or the support they need to get the job done. The outcome is
frustration and failure. Put a talented, properly equipped salesperson in a job without
creating a climate to motivate them to achieve and performance will suffer. Ask a
motivated and talented engineer to do a job without proper support and resources and their
performance is typically less desired. By definition it is the coachs job to help people
succeed and improve their performance. That is their focus. If a manager really wants to
enhance the performance of his or her people they must take a systematic, process oriented
approach. Specifically, it is the coachs job to ensure that all three of these critical
performance factors are addressed on an ongoing basis to help people at work.
What Real Coaches Do
In our opening quote an employee of a large manufacturing organization made a very telling
comment which could be summarized by stating if you want us to become more effective (a
winner) please help us get there (coach). We have developed a list of specific issues that
address the degree to which a manager is effectively coaching their people in the three
critical performance areas: Motivation, Ability and Support. Based on our coaching
experience, organization research and personal practice, we can safely say that these
factors have been found to be critical coaching behaviors in helping others achieve higher
levels of performance across both the sporting and business worlds. Review each of these
factors and evaluate yourself as to the degree to which your management style addresses
these critical performance factors on an ongoing basis with each of your employees.
A real coach must be an effective motivator of people. That is to say, he/she must help
create a desire in each of their people to achieve high levels of performance. Each of the
questions below addresses a key motivational coaching issue that effective leaders
continually monitor and address.
- Focus--Do your people have a clear and unambiguous description of what their job
- Vision--Do your people have specific goals they are pursuing that have been jointly
- Feedback--Do you provide your people with ongoing feedback on how to improve their
- Outcomes--Do you create linkages between desired results and actual outcomes for
performance in terms of rewards and corrective actions?
- Reflect--Do you celebrate success and encourage people to learn from their mistakes and
Without motivation, performance improvement is difficult at best. If a manager does not
address each of these issues an employee/player's motivation will not be as high as might
otherwise be the case. A coach cannot really force people to be motivated but rather can
only create an environment that encourages people to want to perform. It is not surprising
that every manager wants their people to be motivated. What is surprising is how little
attention some managers give to the five practices identified above.
A real coach continually develops the ability level of their personnel to ensure that
their people have the skills, training and intelligence to perform their jobs effectively.
A coach must continually take active steps to enhance the abilities of their team. Key
coaching issues in the ability arena include:
- Resources--Do we have the patience and discipline to recruit and select talented people?
- Information--Do you know the strengths and weaknesses of each of your people?
- Barriers--Do you effectively orient people to your team/department to speed up the
- Authority--Do you make sure people are properly trained to perform their current duties?
- Teamwork--Do you have a development plan for each of your people to enhance future
As the complexity of the modern workplace increases, the ability of an organizations
workforce is the key to long-term organizational success. Individual managers need to set
aside time to focus their energies on enhancing the ability and talents of their people.
Without effective coaching in this arena a managers workforce cannot achieve its full
potential. You cannot have a great team without a strong and talented group of players.
A real coach provides the ongoing support that his/her people need to get their work done
and experience a sense of achievement/accomplishment. Providing support takes on many
forms but the underlying issue is that a manager is creating a workplace where people can
get things done with a minimum of hassles and frustrations. Key support coaching issues
- Acquire--Do my people have the resources they need to get the job done?
- Know--Do people have the information they need to perform their jobs effectively?
- Orient--What organizational performance barriers must be removed that prevent my people
from getting better results?
- Train--Do my people have the authority/sanction they need to get the job done?
- Develop--Do my people work together effectively as a team?
The answers to these questions will be a strong indicator as to the degree to which a
manager is effectively managing the context in which people work and perform their duties.
Without support and teamwork, workplace frustration and a nagging sense of defeat are
inevitable. These key managerial practices are all issues that help equip people to go
into the workplace and compete. And while we would not send a football player onto the
field without set plays, a basketball player onto the court without shoes or a baseball
player to bat without a bat, we frequently send employees into the workplace without
properly preparing them for the contest. It is a sad fact of organizational life the
plans, projects, programs, policies, and procedures frequently take precedence over
people. Yet, real productivity gains and winning most often come from people who are
motivated, talented and properly supported by a coach who cares. Think about this as you
address each of these fifteen questions and ask yourself this question: "Since I am a
coach, what kind of team do I really have and what is my record?"
Two final caveats must be stated that are particularly important to a manager's
effectiveness as a coach. A real coach demonstrates a personal level of caring for his or
her players. People care how much you care before they care how much you know which is the
key to earning peoples respect. Real coaches are desirous of seeing other people succeed
and they do whatever they can to help people realize their potential and feel like
winners. This characteristic is difficult to fake and requires a strong belief in helping
others be their best (which is a quality lacking in far too many coaches). Finally, the
factor that allows coaches to profoundly influence others is trust and credibility. If you
are going to ask something of your people you must be willing to lead by example. If you
are going to talk the talk you'd better be willing to walk the walk. If not, a coach will
quickly lose their ability to have a positive influence on others. So if you are ready to
take your coaching skills to a new level look at the key motivation, ability and support
factors that cause performance to improve and look for ways to help your people win at
Clinton O. Longenecker, Ph.D. is the Stranahan Professor of Management at the
University of Toledo. He has written extensively on management and human resource issues
and is an active organizational consultant and management educator.
Gary R. Pinkel is the Head Football Coach at the University of Toledo and has over
20 years of coaching experience. His teams have compiled the best winning percentages in
UT football history and were ranked 24th in the nation in 1995 when he was selected Ohio
Collegiate Coach of the Year after an 11-0-1 season. He is an active motivational speaker
and advisor to business managers.
Last updated on July 5, 1997 by Sue Kappeler, CM.