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Mixing Work and Play

work-play.jpgFortune does a great job every year of compiling the 100 best places to work. They put out the list for 2009 a little while back. We found their top pick this year interesting.

NetApp, a data storage and management company, knocked Google out of the top spot for the first time in three years.

You can find a great video about NetApp on the Fortune site. NetApp invests time and money to create a culture where people want to work. The video shows people playing volleyball and working out in the company gym. It sure doesn’t look like work!

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They do more than encourage play time at work

NetApp has a program that pays employees to take time off to volunteer for something they’re passionate about. They’ve found that employees sometimes come together to work on a cause. So this program has helped build teamwork among their people.

You may be thinking …

“Well, this is great but it sure wouldn’t work in my business.”

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georgeI understand why someone might think that because it wouldn’t have worked in the businesses I was in before we started Bigg Success. Most of our people were in the field. We didn’t need a gym – the work was very physical so most of our employees got a great workout with their job. We were lucky to see most of our people for fifteen minutes a day. But the details of what NetApp does aren’t really important.

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marylynnYeah, it’s the idea behind what they’re doing at NetApp that we think is most interesting. Bigg success is life on your own terms. The leaders of the company are certainly doing that. They set out to build a great company by creating a great place to work. The founder says that they took a leap of faith and spent time and money to create this incredible environment for their employees.

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That’s three of the five elements of bigg success right there – growth, time and money! But they hit all five because they have found ways to let their employees play at work.

Now isn’t that an interesting idea? Work doesn’t have to be … work.

Something magical happens

In the interview, NetApp’s founder talks about energizing people. They think when people feel good – when they feel motivated – something magical happens.

That’s why we’re talking about them today. They are a great example of something that’s critical to living our lives on our own terms. It’s the bigg idea behind bigg success:

You create synergy between the five elements of bigg success by understanding the relationship between them and discovering ways to get them all working in sync.

Our lives are fuller when we’re able to do that.

We work to make money so we can afford to play. But what if you can work and play all at the same time. Isn’t that so much better?

What if you loved your work so much that it seemed like play? What if that work paid you enough to buy everything you really wanted?

NetApp took a leap of faith that’s paying off for them. Sure, they’re being affected by current economic conditions. But their market share has gone up in spite of it.

It can happen to you too. In your life. In your business.

Look for ways to blend the five elements for your benefit. That leads to bigg success!

Have you found ways to blend work and play?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 877.988.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for stopping by our site today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Bigg success is life on your own terms. Please join us next time as we discuss ramping up your savings one term at a time.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00370-041009.mp3

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A Paint Roller Helps Manage Change

life on your own termsChuck e-mailed his bigg challenge to us. He’s starting a new job next week. It’s his third job as a manager. In the position he’s leaving, he feels he made too many changes too quickly. It created a problem with his directs. He’s hoping we can offer him some suggestions as he gets ready for his new job.

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As bigg goal-getters, we often want to change things too fast as leaders and even in our personal lives. We think we need to lose weight so we jump into an exercise routine and completely change our diets. It’s too much and we end up right back where we started.

We have to be especially careful with change when it affects others. Like in Chuck’s case, any changes he makes will affect one or more of his employees.

Two of our rules for change here at Bigg Success are:

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it’s the best.

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t make it wrong.

Change is essential to make improvements in our lives and our businesses. We want to focus on the changes that will make the greatest impact given their cost. When we talk about cost, we mean your investment of time and money – two of the five elements of bigg success

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
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Get out the paint roller

We heard a suggestion some time ago from a person who had learned to manage change effectively. He said that when he takes on a new leadership position, the first and only change he makes is to paint a single wall of his new office.

He feels like he’s changed something. It relieves that pressure. Everyone around him can see that he changed something. In fact, they often ask, “Why did you paint that wall? Why that color? Why just one wall?” It makes them curious.

You may make a different, but similarly insignificant, change. By doing this, you’re really buying time to find out what is and isn’t working while subtly signaling that change will happen.

Once you find out what isn’t working, you can determine which changes to make in what order based on their impact on your organization … or your life!

What are your suggestions for Chuck?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 877.988.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks Chuck for sharing your bigg challenge with us and good luck with your new gig! And we thank you for reading our post today.

Join us next time as we share a remedy for one of the most discouraging thoughts you can have.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00362-033109.mp3

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3 Questions to Make Your Business Better

question As business owners, we often hear that we have to work on our business, not just in it. It’s a concept that sounds simple when you say it, but how do you get started?

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A lot of entrepreneurs thrive on bending the rules so the starting point isn’t always obvious. You have to create the rules – the operating system – so you will have time to work on your business in the future.

So, early in your business, you work on your business by working in your business!

You begin to develop those systems that will make delegation to your future employees more effective. To do that, ask yourself three questions:

  • What is your vision of the perfect transaction?
    Map out a transaction from beginning to end. Think about what you want your customers to experience during each step of the process. This will include: your advertising, the first interaction, and the closing of the transaction. But don’t forget to include what happens internally to support the transaction and follow-up with the customer.

But here’s the interesting thing when you bring your customers’ perspective in – every customer probably has one or two little things that they really like. If you can gear your organization to make that one customer happy on that one point, you’ll probably thrill the rest of your customers by doing it! They probably want it, too. They just haven’t vocalized it.

  • How can you improve one thing one percent?
    Take your bigg picture and bring in all the things that your customers have told you and begin working on one at a time.

We have a confession to make … these three questions aren’t ours. They come straight out of Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans. It highlights these three questions through a great story and we highly recommend that you read his great book.

So these three questions will improve your performance, help you develop your operating systems, and keep you focused on the most important people in your business – your customers.

Putting it to work

Now you want to improve one thing one percent. We saw a great example of this in action. A company had their entire process mapped out on the wall of their conference room.

They had all these sticky notes up on the wall. Each sticky note represented something they wanted to test – something that represented a potential one percent improvement. These suggestions had been made by customers and by employees.

That’s what makes this concept so useful. It’s a great tool to get employee buy-in.

They get on board because they can see that their suggestions are being considered. More than that, they may get tested. The test results may call for full implementation!

It makes your employees feel like they’re a significant part of something bigger. They are valued. That leads to bigg success with your employees. 

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for checking in on us today. Join us next time as we make a special announcement – a new beginning for Bigg Success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00354-031909.mp3

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I Need a Day Off

puzzle CareerBuilder just released the results of their annual survey on absenteeism. They found that about one-third of all the people they surveyed had played hooky at least once in the last year.

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marylynnWhen I was a DJ working mornings, I had to be to work at 4 a.m. It’s hard to call your boss that early to tell him you won’t be in, even if you are sick!

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Here are the real reasons people played hooky, according to CareerBuilder:

#1 – they didn’t feel like it
#2 – to relax and recharge
#3 – to go to the doctor
#4 – to catch up on sleep
#5 – to run personal errands

Look at that list. Does that tell you how much pressure we feel in our day-to-day lives? Is the only way to remain psychologically healthy by playing hooky?

We also found it interesting that 10% of the time people play hooky is actually work-related. They don’t want to attend a meeting. They need some quality time to work on a past due project. They want to avoid a confrontation with a co-worker.

Companies today are trying to do more and more with less and less. That means you have fewer co-workers. Your day off may leave them in a bind. So try to plan for your time off. If you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed, talk with your boss. See if you could work a little extra for a few days to get a day off. Everyone will be much better off if you’re upfront.

As a boss, do everything you can to honor your employee’s request. If you know you can’t give him or her the requested day off, offer an alternative. Employees today prize flexibility. It’s one of the best things you can do to retain employees who give their best.

Excuses, excuses

CareerBuilder also compiled a list of some of the most unusual excuses employers heard in the last year. Here are three of our favorites:

“I hit a turkey while riding a bike.”
We wondered if this was really a way to save money on Thanksgiving dinner!

“I donated too much blood.”

We found it hard to believe that any blood bank would take too much blood. Maybe this person ran into a vampire!

“My wife burned all my clothes so I have nothing to wear to work.”
So, here’s a question – how is this person going to get out of the house to buy the clothes he needs? We hope he’s not our neighbor!

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georgeI remember one of my managers telling me about an employee who wasn’t at work. It’s my favorite excuse ever. This guy worked hourly and had already used up all of his personal days. He said he was so stressed out by his lack of money that he just couldn’t come into work! Guess what – he got more stressed out!

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What’s the worst excuse you ever heard?

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00260-110708.mp3

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Save the Holiday Party!

holiday We face many important issues in the coming months and years. So we decided to start a movement – to save the holiday party!

Okay, maybe that’s not the most important thing we could address, but we still think that many business owners are making a bigg mistake by eliminating this annual tradition.

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A recent survey by executive search firm Battalia Winston found that fewer firms plan to host a holiday party for their employees this year. In fact, it’s the lowest number in the twenty year history of the study. The primary reason cited is the poor economy.

We think this sends the wrong message. Leaders who portray gloom and doom create an environment of uncertainty. It scares people. People today are looking for signs of reassurance, not signals of impending disaster.

Holiday parties aren’t just about having a party. They’re a great opportunity to show your appreciation to your people. They can help build your team by getting together without the pressure of work. Yet people inevitably talk about work, recalling fun times together from the past year. This builds a sense of comradery which helps get things done at work.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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If last year’s party is beyond this year’s budget, get creative. There are ways to keep the party without busting the bank. Here are some thoughts:

Look for deals

With more companies cutting back, you might be surprised to learn that facilities are more aggressive in pricing deals for those people who still plan to hold an event. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Keep it on site

If you can’t find a good deal, consider having it on site if your facility will accommodate it. Then look for a good deal on catering. You might find that catering firms offer a good alternative since they’re not paying for the overhead of a facility.

Go potluck

If that’s still too expensive, have a potluck. Ask your employees to bring a dish. Consider making it a day-long event. People can “graze” and chat. Just for one day, accept a more relaxed environment full of impromptu conversations.

Make it fun

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marylynnSanta visited us at a radio station I worked at. The employees brought their kids in to tell him what they wanted. It was a lot of fun – all for the price of renting a Santa suit since our General Manager played Santa.

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There are many other ways to make it an event, even if it doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional holiday party. Give out awards. Have an employee who’s into such things produce a fun video or audio.

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marylynnAt one radio station, our production manager put together a fun audio of all of our commercial outtakes. As the disc jockeys recorded commercials, he kept the bloopers and played them at our annual holiday get-together. It was so funny!

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georgeWe gave out gag gifts at one of the companies I owned. They reflected something that an employee had done over the past year that made people laugh. It brought up the joke again and everybody loved it.

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Hold it after the New Year

A number of companies are turning their “holiday” party into an “annual” party. Instead of competing for space during the busy holiday season, they hold it after the New Year. A lot of people really like this because we’re all so busy at the end of the year.

We have friends who turned their annual holiday party into “Christmas in July.” We were fortunate enough to get invited. They had a Christmas tree and played holiday music. It made for a fun evening.

If you do end up doing something different, don’t present it as just the result of budget cutbacks. Tell your people that you want to try something different. Get them involved in finding a good solution.

What do you think? Does canceling the holiday party send the wrong message to your people? What are you doing this year for your people?

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00259-110608.mp3

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