Marketing maniacs

Delegating comes easy to
Joy Gendusa. The owner,
founder and CEO of PostcardMania doesn’t need to
be involved in every decision
because she knows her management team is quite capable
of considering all aspects of a
situation, then making an
informed decision.

Gendusa’s theme of employee empowerment is woven
throughout the $21 million
organization, allowing her
163 employees at every level
of the postcard direct mail
marketing company to make
decisions and take action.

Smart Business spoke with
Gendusa about why empowerment is important but that the
buck still needs to stop with
the CEO.

Q. How do you empower
your employees?

I’m not a control freak at all.
When I put somebody in a
position, I expect them to
wear that hat as if they are the

I expect them to make decisions based on what they
think Joy would do in that situation, and if they get it
wrong, I say, ‘Well, you missed
the boat on that one. I would
have done it this way, but
thanks for making an executive decision.’

I’m more appreciative of
people taking charge than
leaning on me for answers for
everything. I say to them,
‘Pretend this is your money:
How would you handle it?’

I really do believe in empowering my people at every level
to make decisions based on
what their post is, what their
job is.

Q. How do you create a
successful company culture

We allow zero office politics. There is no back-biting,
there is no talking crap
about anybody here. You do
that, and you are so fired. So
if you find yourself getting
involved in that sort of thing
in your past job, you won’t
last here, so you might not
want to take this job.

We tell them where it’s at
right at the get-go. If you’re
going to suck up to someone
high up and treat your
peers like dirt, you
won’t last here.

Everybody wants to
know what your benefits package is; you
can’t get mad at them
for that. But back in
the day, I had no benefits package. I hired my
best people when I had
nothing to offer but a
dream. We’re looking
for people who want to
be part of the dream.

You won’t get there
by kissing ass or back-stabbing. You’ll only
get there by hard work
and good production

Q. How do you make
sure you’re hiring the
right employees?

When we interview, the first
thing I do is want to disarm
the person in the chair. I want
them to be comfortable with
me, so they’re not showing me
their game face; they’re showing me their real face.

Once I get them out of that
interviewee mode, and they’re
in true communication with
me — and I know the difference — then I just talk to them, find out things like what
they are the most proud of in
their life.

I want to find out about
them. If I can’t get them in real
communication with me, I’m
not hiring them. If you can’t
disarm them and get them to
be real with you, don’t hire

Q. How do you deal with
bad decisions?

When I decided to have a
business, I decided that I am 100 percent responsible for
everything that goes on in this
company, whether I touched it
personally or not. Bottom line,
it’s me.

If someone wants to sue
my company for something,
it’s because I didn’t know
what was going on and I
wasn’t proactive enough, so
I’m responsible.

I’m the check writer; I’m
the one who’s going to go
bankrupt if everything dies
— nobody else. And I’m the
one who makes the biggest
amount of money for when
things go well. With that, I’m
100 percent responsible.

So when I realize that I was
wrong in hiring someone or
if I was wrong in agreeing to
some decision or if I was
wrong in not agreeing to
something, then half the battle is knowing you’re responsible. It’s so much easier to
take full responsibility than
to blame.

Most people who I’ve met
in my life, business owners
or otherwise, defensively
say, ‘It’s because he didn’t
show me what this was; if
she would have told me; if I
had been shown’ — and they
get angry. I don’t do that. It’s
much easier for me to say,
‘OK, what process is not in
place that this wasn’t shown
to me?’

I don’t enjoy getting angry.
It doesn’t yield any good
benefit to me. If I have anybody working for me where I
need to get angry for them to
produce what I need them to
produce, then they don’t
work for me anymore. It’s
just not what we have going
on here.

HOW TO REACH: PostcardMania, (800) 628-1804 or