September 29, 2009
Last fall, I spoke at the annual Catalyst Conference.
There are 2 more days left in the relaunch promotion for my book.
Check out the promotion details and contribute your voice today...
September 28, 2009
This is my final few days of the relaunch campaign for Saving The World
At Work. Please join me and win/help! One point I make throughout the book is that
one person, through leadership, can change how his/her company does business.
Today's excerpt from the book focuses on the importance of patience, tolerance and
Don Ostler is a saver soldier who used these three rules effectively to
evangelize a controversial idea. The delivery operations manager at Green
Mountain Coffee Roasters, Ostler oversees twenty‐four trucks driven by fortyeight
drivers covering four warehouses around the country.
Concerned about global warming, Ostler realized that transportation was a
primary driver of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ carbon footprint, so he
decided to try to cut transportation‐related emissions.
In 2004, Ostler started experimenting with mixing traditional and
nontraditional fuels, as well as placing nose cones on the front of his trucks to
reduce wind drag. None of these efforts moved the needle, but the process
educated him on the different variables that determine fuel efficiency. As he
pored over fuel data, he stumbled upon the culprit that generated most of his
fleet’s eco‐waste: engine idling during deliveries and pickups. This one factor
accounted for 30 percent of all gasoline used by his fleet.
Ostler also realized that his drivers tended to leave their trucks running the
entire day, even as they loaded and unloaded trucks during delivery stops.
Drivers believed that idling preserved comfortable temperatures in the cabin,
and that repeatedly turning an engine on and off could damage it.
Because Ostler knew these beliefs were long‐standing, he couldn’t simply
mandate change. If the drivers didn’t believe in an idle‐reduction policy,
they’d ignore it. Instead, Ostler decided to educate the drivers through a
curriculum of presentations, events, and progress reports.
So Ostler kicked off the company’s 2005 annual drivers’ meeting with a
fifteen‐minute PowerPoint presentation that offered up a few facts, including
how much fuel idling wasted, how much money that cost, and what it all
meant to the company’s bottom line.
Next, he asked drivers to explain why they idled during deliveries. They told
him what he already knew: climate control and engine wear. He responded by
giving several of them a homework assignment: Try turning off the engines
and testing climate preservation. Ostler promised that, in the meantime, his
maintenance group would research the issue of whether turning off the
engine created wear and tear.
Most of the crowd was visibly skeptical. But over the next few months,
drivers discovered that their cabins stayed cool or hot long after they’d
turned the engine off. Meanwhile, Ostler’s maintenance crew found evidence
that idling ran an engine hotter than normal and contributed to its wear and
tear in the long run.
Ostler presented his ongoing findings at quarterly warehouse luncheons,
during which he told drivers that while there might not be any individual
savings here, he was concerned about the big picture. The company should
do its part to help the planet because the planet needs help. This is what the
company stood for, and so should the drivers.
Ostler convinced several drivers to turn their engines off during deliveries.
But he still had skeptics, so he knew his job wasn’t done. Ostler’s presentation
at the next meeting focused on the accomplishments of a handful of drivers in
that first year. Then he created a scorecard system that helped each driver
measure his own idle time and fuel efficiency. One man, a vocal naysayer from
the beginning, was so impressed with these accomplishments that he
converted and soon became one of the no‐idling movement’s leaders inside
During 2006, the idle‐reduction program helped save the company 5,000
gallons of gasoline. Idling dropped from 30 percent of engine running time to
less than 10 percent. Ostler was so proud of his team’s accomplishments that
he created and distributed T‐shirts saying, “GMCR Saved 5,000 Gallons of Gas
Annually with Idle Reduction, and I Helped.”
The joke at the company is that the drivers have so bought into this
program that they now shut off their engines at a long stoplight. Once he
knew this program had worked, Ostler took up a new cause, evangelizing biodiesel
fuel to business managers at the company. Over time, he has helped
enhance Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ image as a sustainable company,
adding to its longstanding reputation as a fair‐trade advocate.Through their persistent
efforts, Ostler and the rest of his Green Mountain evangelists helped the company finish
at the top of Business Ethics magazine’s2006 Top Corporate Citizens list.
September 25, 2009
According to Dr. Max Maltz in his classic self-image book Psycho Cybernetics, our habits are worn like garments on our personality. Whether they are good habits (remembering other people's birthdays) or bad habits (smoking), you wear them as a statement about who you are.
That's why bad habits can hurt your self-image. When you repetitively do something that you know is wrong or harmful, and you can't control yourself, you lose your sense of personal power. The longer you let the bad habit continue, the more powerless you feel. Eventually, you develop a negative attitude about the person behind the bad habit -- YOU. It's impossible for you to believe that "anything is possible" if you can't put down the candy bar or quit mindlessly surfing the internet. Over time, the bad habit leads to more bad habits and eventually you feel like your life is beyond your control. You program yourself to reward any accomplishment with an indulgence of your bad habit. Make a sale, have a smoke. Finish a project, have some retail shopping therapy. As you do this, you pull yourself out of the positive feedback loop and force your behavior back into the downward spiral of self-loathing and self-abuse. Instead of basking in what you had the power to do (the task, project, etc.), you immediately sink into what you cannot control...your bad habit.
If you want to improve your self-image, and dramatically boost your confidence, quit a bad habit. Oh come on, you know you have several of them. We all do. Several years ago, I decided (over a few years) to quit my bad habit of smoking. It was not an easy task, and I had several failed attempts -- each one made me feel foolish, non-commital and addicted to tobacco. When I finally quit smoking, and stayed away from these coffin nails for six months, I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. I had conquered one of the hardest habits to break! It lifted how I felt about myself, my appearance, my heath, my will power and even my sense of strength. Ultimately, it improved how I viewed myself psychologically, and I extended that positive self-image into the rest of my life from personal to professional.
You can have this too. First things first, isolate two bad habits you need to break. A bad habit is any practice that produces more harm than good over the long haul. Usually the bad habit has a short term value proposition such as pleasure, convenience or novelty. Of the two habits, pick the one you'll wipe out before October 31. Here are a few ways to kick the habit:
1. Fall in hate with the habit and in love with yourself -- Do some research to confirm why this bad habit has bad health, relationship or financial impacts. Look down at your behavior and see this habit taking control over your life like a controlling friend. Develop an attitude that you don't like the habit, and you can't stand its smell, taste, look or feel. See others that have the bad habit and notice how the habit is ruining them. Give the bad habit a negative nickname. I called cigarettes my dunce-sticks.
2. Quit your habit in public. Tell your family and friends you are giving this up. If possible, recruit a trusted friend to help you and ensure you'll keep your word. If you try and quit a bad habit in private, it is easy to cheat on the program. When you say you are quitting smoking or round-the-clock sports viewing, it's easy for you to get nailed by a supportive friend when you backslide. Seek out a support group and join a community.
3. Set a concrete date for the habit to be completely gone. Even if you miss the date, the goal is likely to give you a reason to quit now and not just "some day".
4. Each time you backslide, give yourself a chance to redeem yourself by quitting again. You can't see quitting as all or nothing. By noting when you've had the courage to get back on the quitting train again, you are reinforcing your belief that you have tenacity and don't give up easily on a goal.
5. Celebrate when your bad habit is gone. Have a party, reward yourself with something constructive (or fun). This will inform your psyche that you've done something right and have control over your own behavior. As others participate in your celebration of power, you'll fall into a positive feedback loop.
6. Pick another bad habit to slay. In the world of sales, there's an old saying: The best time to make a sale is when you just made a sale. This applies to personal power too. The best time to kill a bad habit is when you just eliminated one. Trust me, you'll always find more habits to change in your life, hopefully they'll get smaller and smaller in impact over time.
Your ongoing commitment to own your behavior will give you a sense of life-momentum. You'll feel like your maturity is soaring and self-respect will surely follow. Who knows, your willpower example may lead others to shun their bad habits too. Then you'll feel like a leader, which can only grow your confidence more -- and paint you into the "I don't do that anymore" corner.
September 24, 2009
As you know, I'm in full-on relaunch mode with Saving The World At Work.
September 23, 2009
One of my recent bits is: The only reason to have a meeting is to change the world.
September 22, 2009
Today's post will offer a free excerpt from Saving The World At Work.
The Law of Reciprocity states that people will give back when they’ve been given to.
For the most part, every time you do the right thing for your customers, employees, partners, and/or greater community, these people will find a way to repay you, through loyalty, by giving thoughtfulfeedback to improve your business, by telling their friends to buy from you or to work at your company.
As Adam Smith, the grandfather of Western economic philosophy, wrote in The Theory of Moral Sentiments: “No benevolent man ever lost altogether the fruits of his benevolence. If he doesn’t always gather them from the persons from whom he ought to have gathered them, he seldom fails to gather them from other people, and with a tenfold increase. Kindness is the parent of kindness.”
Since Smith, thousands of equally intelligent people have made similar claims. Yet we often find the Law of Reciprocity difficult to believe. This doubt is due in part to the fact that we grossly exaggerate the number of times people don’t repay our thoughtfulness. We hate to be wrong about making bets on people, so when it happens, we remember those incidents much more vividly than those in which people pay our kindness back with kindness.
But adherence to this law actually expands our ability to trust people and make investments in them. We develop informed faith and a purposeful sense of trust in people’s nature; we make a leap and put our money on people doing the right thing in the long run; we believe goodwill eventually produces profits and revenue.
Several years ago Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute, asked me to speak at a leadership event for his company in Las Vegas. One night Jim took my wife, Jacqueline, and me to a casino, and although Goodnight is a billionaire, he searched high and low for a five-dollar blackjack table. When he found one, he gambled one chip at a time, despite the fact that he had developed a winning mathematical formula. Given his wealth, I asked Jim why he bet so conservatively. “I make all my big bets on my people,” he replied.
Make an informed bet on a person at work and note his or her inclination to give back. If you’re a manager, make a bet on one of your direct reports. If you’re a clerk, take a gamble on a coworker. If you’re a purchasing agent, make an investment in a supplier. I believe you will find, more often than not, that the other person will recognize and appreciate your investment and make an attempt to reciprocate.
You may even find that they outgive you. For example, when you invest time in mentoring an employee, you may well discover that he or she gives back multiples of your investment in time, effort, and effectiveness.
September 21, 2009
Over the last few weeks, three high profile people have failed to shut their mouth -- and landed in hot water as a result! Joe Wilson ("You Lie!"), Serena Williams ("I will shove this ball down your throat!") and Kayne West ("Beyonce made the best...") all said what was on their mind at the time.
September 18, 2009
Yesterday, Ad Age's Good Works blog posted an essay I wrote provocatively titled: Corporate Social Responsibility Is Dead.
September 17, 2009
Here's my manifesto on "the end of the recession."
Through September 30th, I'm going to give away my library of GREAT books on sustainability, branding, leadership, CSR and innovation. I've got a lot of duplicates as well as books that I've read/scanned notes, etc.
Every day, I'll have my social media partner (Out:think) randomly select a winner. I'll tweet who the winner is with his/her @ and provide contact info. Winners get to choose from the library. If you win, and you've RT http://bit.ly/relaunch more than 3 times, you will also receive a limited edition Saving The World At Work T-shirt!
If you tweet multiple times, your chances of winning go up!