William Hoffman

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:35

In through the out door

When he interviewed for his first job at Park Farms in 1977, Ted Hawk told the owners he would give them his all in exchange for his wages for two years.

After that, if both sides were satisfied, he declared, he would ask for equity, too.

"I don't like working for a wage," says Hawk during an early morning interview from his office. "I'd rather take part of the risk and get part of the reward. ... I started here driving trucks. I didn't know what I was making until I got my first paycheck."

Pretty bold for a 26-year-old fresh out of the Navy. But 23 years later, Hawk is chief executive officer at one of Ohio's three biggest poultry processors and is midway through a 6-year plan that will transfer company ownership to him and other Park Farms managers.

"I don't know anybody who was not happy," Hawk says of the proposal to cut him in on the family-owned Park Farms of Canton.

Jim and Tony Pastores, who owned and operated the business, were skeptical at first, Hawk says. But he never saw them disagree in public.

It was a valuable lesson: Airing ownership or management disputes before employees only increases employees' anxiety.

"Behind closed doors, things can be very, very intense," Hawk says. "But if you have turmoil and chaos and disagreement in your ranks, (the competition) will eat your lunch."

Ted Hawk grew up the 11th of 12 children on a farm in Canton, not far from the company in which he will soon share ownership. His father owned a custom machine shop.

"I grew up with a good work ethic. I think Dad thought kids were just a cheap form of labor," he jokes. Turning serious, he recalls, "When you grow up as number 11 out of 12 kids, you learn to work as part of a group. You learn to work with very different personalities, from very timid to very aggressive."

Hawk joined the Navy and trained as an instructor at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., before a two-and-a-half year stint aboard a nuclear submarine. Park Farms was his first stop after that. Founded in 1946, sons Tony and Jim Pastores assumed control of the business in 1969.

Park Farms employs approximately 476 people, with about $90 million in annual sales. The plant processes 1.2 million pounds -- 300,000 to 325,000 chickens --each week for markets in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Cincinnati.

"At this time ... the chances of me being successful in this business are greater than that of the [Pastores'] children," Hawk says, adding, "I will not be the sole owner -- it's still a team sport."

The goals of family business founders, Hawk believes, are little different from those of other owners -- they want their works to continue to grow and develop successfully; they want the business to keep earning income for their offspring; and they want those offspring to succeed in their own right.

Hawk's proposition provided the Pastores an opportunity to place their children in the best positions to reach their own potentials.

Hawk says he earned the trust of both his employees and Park Farms owners by learning and implementing some trust-building policies.

Success depends on everyone working together. Virtually every business, large or small, constitutes a chain of events, a failure in any of which could spell disaster for the chain as a whole, Hawk says.

"While you can have a few outstanding personalities, unless the entire organization is dedicated to the job and doing it well, what happens is that one single thing causes so many problem and chaos, you cannot do the job properly," he says.

Canton suffered a heat wave in 1995, and a large portion of Park Farms living stock died. Balmy weather made loading and properly disposing of the rotting carcasses a paramount challenge.

Hawk called for volunteers, and workers and managers from all departments and levels of the company responded.

"When you start a team effort, typically what you have is an undesirable job, and it's difficult to get volunteers," he says.

An all-together-now principle inspires everyone to work harder and smarter.

"People want to work for someone they can respect," he says. "No one starts a new job and says, 'I want to do a terrible job.'"

Don't force square pegs into round holes.

"You don't want someone working for you who gets up in the morning and says, 'I really don't want to go to work there,'" Hawk says.

Before he disciplines an errant employee, he demonstrates how the error hurt the organization. Then he asks how management can help avoid future problems. Most employees respond well, he notes.

Training is the best answer for employees who cannot seem to do the job right, Hawk says. Relocation (inside the company, he emphasizes; termination is a last resort) may work for people no longer content with their assignments.

"Try to fit employees to what their natural interests are," Hawk advises.

Don't fail to communicate.

"The day you forget that every employee can teach you something about your organization, you're in trouble," Hawk says. "Don't be afraid to listen to somebody's idea, and if it's a good one, use it, because there's normally more than one way to do a job."

Be ready to prove someone right.

Don't argue about business based on emotion or prejudice, or the "way it's always been done," Hawk suggests.

Marshall your facts and test them against your problem, or against colleagues who believe in another way. Even if you don't solve the problem, he says, the company benefits.

"If you tell someone you're trying to show they're right, you're buying ownership of their problems."

Be ready to explain.

Any Park Farms employee dissatisfied with a manager's answer can schedule an appointment with Hawk on 48 hours' notice, the CEO says. Managers are encouraged to solve employees' problems, with the knowledge that if they don't, Hawk will.

"You have to set up a culture in your company that listens," he says. "All most people want is an understanding of why. ... Very few people are unreasonable."

"You can be wrong, but you should never lie," Hawk says.

Managers should be open to honest disagreements in private with other managers, he says. The goal is to develop a consensus for a more effective solution.

When presenting the decision to employees, he stresses, "There should be one voice, one goal. ... You should sell (the consensus decision) like it was your own decision, your own goal." How to reach: Park Farms (330) 455-0241

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:09

Sell-piece

Sell-piece

Once derided as baubles, promotional products have become an important marketing tool to businesses, consumers and even employees: Just look around your office.

By WILLIAM HOFFMAN

Researchers recently conducted an informal survey at O'Hare International Airport, asking a random sample of 500 travelers over three days if they had a promotional product on their person. Seventy-five percent of them did, the researchers found, and of those, 75 percent could remember the logo or slogan imprinted on the item without reaching into their pocket to look at it.

That's the kind of result the Promotional Products Association International loves to report, admits PPA director of marketing communications Ray Finfer, while acknowledging the unscientific nature of the study. What can't be disputed is the surge in promotional product sales-from $5.2 billion in 1991 to $9.4 billion in 1996 (and pushing $11 billion in '97). Those sales figures are forcing marketers to take a second look.

PPA is one of the oldest trade groups in the nation (founded 1904), and its produce, oft-unrecognized as such, adorns historical museums and Fortune 100 executive desks alike. "A promotional product is a useful item that someone imprints with a name, logo or slogan for giveaway with no strings attached," Finfer explains. A 1997 PPA study concluded that 95 percent of business executives have an item in their office imprinted with another company's message. "If you look on your desk, you'll probably find three, four, five promotional products," Finfer notes.

Some tips for companies interested in promotional marketing:

It can be cheap... Promotional products distributors are not manufacturers. Rather, they contract with different manufacturers for quantities of various items, then imprint and resell the items to you. You can rarely buy direct from the manufacturer. Distributors are overwhelmingly small: 14,700 reported 1996 sales volumes of $2.5 million or less, while just 373 reported higher sales. And 82 percent of distributors said their 1996 average promotional product order was $1,000 or less.

...but it doesn't pay to be. "It doesn't behoove anyone from that standpoint to be shortsighted," according to Cliff D. Quicksell Jr., director of marketing and business development at Imprint Inc., in Towson, Md. Not only do flimsy handouts reflect poorly on your company, adds Marsha Londe, director of corporate accounts at Shadco Advertising Specialties Inc. in Atlanta: "The employee who is disbursing an item should feel good about the item he or she is disbursing."

Work with your distributor. "I try to be an extension of [my clients'] marketing department, and if they don't have a marketing department I will try to fill that role for them," Quicksell says. He estimates that he asks new clients as many as 150 questions about their companies and their objectives for a promotional products marketing campaign before reviewing possible sell-pieces. His carefully coordinated campaigns routinely generate 40 to 100 percent response rates, compared with 2 to 4 percent for direct mail. He also offers one-of-a-kind imprinted products, such as a $12,000 lead-crystal chandelier sold to a law firm. "There are promotional products to fit every situation."

Target your audience. Promotional products are rarely free giveaways to everyone who walks through the door. By determining in advance who you want to reach (exceptional employees? prospective buyers?) and why (general goodwill? more sales for a particular product?), you increase the likelihood of a successful campaign. "Promotional products are simply a tool to communicate, and that's why the tool must match the ultimate recipient," Londe says. "If it doesn't match the ultimate recipient, you've wasted your money."

Plan ahead. Londe suggests planning a promotional products campaign at least six weeks in advance. This gives the distributor time to consult with the client, fine-tune a campaign, produce a proof for customer review, locate economical manufacturers, etc. "It's a matter of refining the product after learning the demographics," Londe says. "It's costly not to plan ahead."

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:09

Personnel

Tend it, don't end it

Like all company assets, electronic mail is something over which you want to keep control.

By WILLIAM HOFFMAN

Michael Smyth, ridiculing Pillsbury Co.'s sales management and a planned holiday affair, communicated his gossipy comments by electronic mail to his supervisor. Previously assured by Pillsbury that their comments would not be read by management, both believed their exchange was private until they were fired for sending "inappropriate and unprofessional comments" over the company e-mail system.

Smyth's suit against Pillsbury for invading his privacy was thrown out after a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Smyth sacrificed his privacy right when he voluntarily transmitted his messages over the company's e-mail system. The judge also ruled that Pillsbury's "interest in preventing inappropriate and unprofessional comments or even illegal activity over its e-mail system outweighs any privacy interest the employee may have in those comments."

Case closed? Not quite, says Steven R. Wall, a partner at the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius who represented Pillsbury in Smyth vs. Pillsbury. "The law hasn't caught up with electronic storage of those transmissions," Wall notes. For instance, companies that use proprietary third-party services such as America Online may be prohibited under the eavesdropping provisions of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 from searching their employees' e-mail on AOL.

There are no known cases pending before U.S. courts on these grounds. But with e-mail used by more than 90 percent of companies that employ 1,000 or more workers, and with easy setup and access afforded by AOL and local Internet service providers, the management issues are certain to become dicier. "It is a productivity concern," says Eric Rolfe Greenberg, director of management studies at the American Management Association. "You just want to make sure there is a cost-control measure, that the tool you give people is being used for the intended purpose and no other."

For the moment, an e-mail policy couldn't be easier to formulate: Simply tell all employees that they can never use your company's e-mail system for any personal, non-business-related purpose. Few employers need be that totalitarian. "I've always been mystified by the companies that prohibit any personal use of e-mail, because employees have been making occasional personal phone calls since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone," says Lewis Maltby, director of the workplace-rights office at the American Civil Liberties Union. Given that most e-mail systems are quicker and cheaper than local phone service, "You should probably thank the employee for using the e-mail rather than picking up the phone."

The e-mail industry's trade group, the Electronic Messaging Association, offers guidelines but no model for a company e-mail policy. "If we were to provide a model policy, people would just have to customize it anyway," says Paul Moniz, EMA vice president. "In regard to privacy, employees should make sure they understand the company's policy, and employers should make sure they have a policy and give it to employees so they know what it is."

Don't rely on current law in lieu of a written policy. Wall says, "The primary purpose of a published policy is to eliminate any chance that the employees will rely on practices or ad hoc actions in determining what's right and wrong." Inconsistent application of a policy could open your company to a wrongful termination or discrimination suit, he notes.

Have your employees sign your written policy, and remind them through bulletin boards and company communications about the essentials of the policy. Offer a resource inside the company who can clarify any misunderstandings. Inform employees if and when your company is likely to review e-mail messages stored on your system.

And, finally, maintain a file for receiving and a process for identifying, terminating and deleting unwanted external communications. Maltby says, "If you tell your employees when you will and won't read their e-mail, it'll be very unlikely you'll have any liability problems down the road."

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:09

Building trade

Building trade

Even if the era of big government is over, the era of big federal construction projects is not.

By William Hoffman

Managers at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center hope the newly dedicated $800 million-plus complex will act as a stage for educating growing businesses about trade.

"The idea is that this is a national platform, but there's a distribution channel out through these other trade centers, and from the government's standpoint it's also out through their regional agencies," explains Brian F. Dacey, managing director for Trade Center Management Associates, the property-management company for the building's private-sector tenants. "There is a clear emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in trade education, because the larger corporations tend to have resources and people in Washington to gather the information they need."

The Reagan Building will house headquarters for the Department of Commerce's Trade Information Center, "which is sort of the heart of the [federal government's] trade information network," Dacey says. Information can be accessed by walk-in, via the Internet, or at any of nearly 100 trade centers in cities across the United States. Public and private entities will teleconference events from the Reagan Building to local chambers and other trade-oriented groups, or over the Internet using high-speed audio/video software that can be accessed from a desktop computer.

Small-business groups appear skeptical about the impact of the new building and its outreach efforts. "It is important for small and growing businesses to look to foreign markets for new opportunities," acknowledges David K. Voight, director of the Small Business Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Yet while the Chamber has witnessed "dramatic" growth in the number of small companies engaged in trade, Voight notes that fewer than 20 percent of all small firms are involved. "A business that's based in Alliance, Neb., isn't going to be reaching out" to Washington-based trade educators, he adds. "It's really up to them to reach out to Alliance, Neb."

Dacey says Reagan Building planners approached small-business groups early on for insight about programs, and incorporated their suggestions during construction and program development. But Kristen Hogarth, spokesperson for the National Federation of Independent Business, says trade issues are "not on the radar screen" of the organization's 600,000 "mostly mom-and-pop" member firms. "We don't get involved in trade," Hogarth says; a recent NFIB poll of members found that less than 1 percent expressed an interest in the subject.

Originally conceived as a $400 million project under President Reagan, Congress appropriated $738 million for construction begun in 1991 under President Bush. Beth W. Newburger, associate administrator for the General Services Administration-the Reagan Building's landlord-says the project was completed for $816 million including "capitalized interest" (essentially, debt on the money borrowed to build it). At 3.1 million gross square feet, the structure is the second-largest federal building in the nation, after the Pentagon, which has 6.5 million square feet.

Billed as a "public-private partnership," the Reagan Building was paid for entirely by taxpayers. The "private" portion of the partnership is primarily commercial real estate, which will occupy about one-quarter of the available office space. Federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for International Development and the Customs Service, will take about 1.4 million square feet. Newburger and Dacey estimate that private- and public-sector tenants' rents-at $35 per square foot, about average for that area of Washington-will repay the construction cost in about 30 years.

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:04

The code-breaker

Last year, a network of more than a thousand computers took five months working round-the-clock to successfully crack the data encryption standard that businesses rely on to scramble and keep secret their most sensitive electronic information.

That test put the lie to claims by U.S. Commerce Department, law enforcement and national security officials who repeatedly insisted to lawmakers that DES could withstand any but the most sophisticated supercomputing hacker attempts to break it.

Then, early this year, a second attack on DES succeeded after 39 days.

And this summer, one $250,000 custom-built computer cracked the code in just 56 hours.

That computer was built by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a high-tech policy group based in California. EFF entered the machine in a contest sponsored by RSA Data Security Inc., a Silicon Valley company that makes cryptography programs. The DES system it cracked was based on a 56-bit key-the length of code used to unscramble the encrypted data-that the U.S. government allows software makers to export as long as they promise to include a law-enforcement "back door" at some point in the future. The computer sorted 88 billion keys per second for more than two days to find the one 56-bit key that worked.

One way to strengthen DES resistance to code-breaking attempts is to lengthen the key, says Greg Garcia, coalition manager at Americans for Computer Privacy, a Washington, D.C.-based industry and policy group. Cryptographers estimate that "if you took a platoon of supercomputers and set them to break a 128-bit encryption, the time it would take them to run the number of combinations available would be something like 6.3 trillion times the age of the universe," Garcia says.

Of course, that's with today's computing power. In a few years, 256-bit keys may be needed to keep secrets. But that's not the main thing Garcia and the 90 or so software-makers in his group are worried about.

Rather, it's the insistence of the Clinton administration and the FBI that cryptographers imbed that "back door" into every encryption system they write. Law-enforcement and national-security officials say they need that back door to monitor the computer and online activities of criminals and terrorists. But Garcia and his group argue that "what you're doing is setting up a whole infrastructural vulnerability."

"This is going to affect everybody," Garcia says, "whether or not you use a computer." Everything from municipal power and water systems to corporate bank accounts and proprietary business information relies on some form of encryption to secure it from prying eyes. "Think of any scenario where you want to protect information, and somebody else wants to get it." Yet software manufacturers will have to incorporate "key recovery" routines to open a back door into protected system, if the FBI proposal is not thwarted in Congress.

Two bills-H.R. 695, the Security and Freedom through Encryption Act, and S. 2067, the so-called "E-Privacy" Act-are pending in Congress to address "key recovery" and close the back door. "We support both these bills very strongly," Garcia says. As a compromise, ACP proposed setting up a NET Center to make industry-encryption experts available to law enforcement for emergency code-breaking. The Clinton administration has said it is considering the idea and may announce an agreement this fall.

As long as the FBI resists attempts to close the cryptographic back door on new encryption software, Garcia says no business's information will be completely secure. And the $2 billion-a-year U.S. encryption software industry will be vulnerable to competition from manufacturers, such as Germany, where key recovery back doors are not required.

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:04

Reading the reader

When O.J. Simpson's lead defense attorney, Johnnie Cochran, started handing out plaudits for the stunning "not guilty" verdict that ended his client's mesmerizing trial for double murder, he thanked first not his "Dream Team," nor his client (who was burning rubber back to Brentwood), but his jury consultant, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius.

Before that moment, Dimitrius was a cypher to mainstream America-blended into the background of an All-Star defense team, yet tantalizingly central to the decisions they made every day. In fact, Dimitrius had consulted in more than 600 jury trials, turning her keen people-reading skills on panelists deciding the fates of L.A. riot celebrities Rodney King and Reginald Denny, the McMartin Preschool defendants, and going on to coach defense lawyers for delusional old-money heir and murderer John duPont.

Her new book, Reading People: How to Understand People and Predict Their Behavior-Anytime, Anyplace (with co-author Mark Mazzarella), distills some of that experience into a practical guide anyone can use to learn more about the people they live and work with. "The book is basically teaching people the skills by which they can surround themselves with the quality individual that is important to them," she says. This summer, Dimitrius took a few moments from her publicity tour to speak with SBN.


Have you ever been misled or lied to in a business deal?

I'm sure I have been... We all have been.... Had I been paying more attention to the traits and characteristics we talk about in the book, I could have been more attentive and tuned in perhaps to some of those issues.

As a jury consultant, do you believe you've ever consulted for a guilty client?

I've said that I don't believe that it is ethical or professional of me to ever share with anybody publicly what my own personal impressions are.

Is there a client or case you would not take?

I've certainly been presented with some difficult situations over the years. And I'd have to say I can't think of one right offhand.

If you couldn't be a jury consultant, what would you be?

Someone involved in a lot of public speaking. I enjoy that, and I think that I bring a lot to the groups I've spoken to in the past. It's a result of my life experience.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?

"Trust your instincts." I got that from my mother.

Coming up in business, what mistake do you most wish you'd avoided?

Being too trusting of people.

What's your favorite card or board game?

Backgammon.

What person living or dead do you most admire?

Katie Couric. She is a strong, articulate, intelligent woman who comes across like the girl next door. She's charismatic, she's compassionate, and yet she's a very strong figure as a woman.

Would you prefer personally to be liked or feared?

Liked. That's an easy one. That's just definitely part of my personality. I'm a first-born, what can I say. First-borns are generally very anxious to have people like them. That's sort of the nature of the beast.

What word or phrase do you feel you most overuse?

"In view of...." I use it a great deal, and there's probably a more appropriate way to say it.

Do you wear false eyelashes or artificial nails?

No, to both.

If you had to hide out from everyone who wanted to talk with you, where would you go?

I have no idea.

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:04

No sympathy for the devil

Six months ago, I pointed out how little we really knew about the relationship between President Clinton and Monica S. Lewinsky, and appealed for a suspension of judgment. After Clinton publicly confirmed some of our worst fears, a reader of that old column implored me, "Don't you feel betrayed?" I told him: "You obviously don't know who you're talking to."

I'd have had to have voted for the scoundrel to feel betrayed by him; I didn't, and I don't. Offhand, I can't think of anyone, except maybe Chelsea Clinton, who really has the right to feel betrayed, in the sense of once having trusted and later realizing that trust was abused. Consider:

Hillary? She knew what she was getting into, at least from the moment Gennifer Flowers pimped her story to the supermarket tabloids. And she'd have had to be both blind and stupid to have not at least suspected one of the myriad stories about her husband held some particle of truth.

Al Gore? CNN's Bill Schneider acutely noted that "Al Gore is locked in the trunk of Clinton's car." Of course it should be added that in 1992, One-Heartbeat-Away didn't exactly have to be pulled kicking and screaming into that car.

Congress? Puh-leeze.

The American people? The one-quarter who voted for him knew what they were getting. The one-quarter who voted for his opponents suspected all along. And the roughly one-half who didn't vote at all can be held neither responsible nor blameless for the fact that our Republicratic system offers basically two choices, both in shiny packages pushed by aggressive ads, of products that are still ultimately just sugar-water.

In fact, the storm of betrayal seems centered almost exclusively on Capitol Hill, around think tanks, and in big-city newsrooms where a storm always boosts ratings or circulation. Those few protesting they are outraged - simply outraged - by Clinton's licentious behavior aren't feeling betrayed. They're expressing mortification because they got suckered.

Clinton's presidency now looks like one long scam, with the only payoff being that he gets to be president. He has shown no sincere interest in wielding the power of that office for any purpose other than that it is his. His cornerstone health-care plan was abandoned almost as soon as it was born, to Hillary's secret advisory committees, to congressional horse-trading, to unanswered attack ads, to creeping public indifference as economic recovery set in.

His other "achievements" were either natural outcomes of the economic cycle (balanced budget), initiated before he took office (NAFTA and GATT), implemented in forms no other Democrat would accept (welfare reform), or forced upon him by external developments (Bosnia). No progress has been made on America's Brobdingnagian debt, while U.S. military entanglements stretch farther around the globe than ever.

And as chief executive officer of the world's only superpower, the most powerful man on Earth, leader of what humorist P.J. O'Rourke called "the only undefeated socioeconomic system in the league," Bill Clinton still has time in the Oval Office to tryst with a 20-something intern for a hummer.

That's not betrayal you smell wafting over the land. That's shame and disgust, tempered by the embarrassed realization that we've all been had. Clinton's poll numbers remain strong in part because of the economy (watch this space), but also because marks don't relish confessing (especially to the told-you-so chorus of the Rabid Right) that they've been taken.

For his part, Clinton seems content to hang on, humiliated, useless impeachment-bait, come what may. His inner circle - Hillary, Al - will hang with him if not because they are complicit then out of hope that they may yet salvage something from the experience. Yet as always, larger forces are at work. Dittoheads scoff at the notion that Clinton's scandals may be reflected in our stuttering stock market and world market woes. They so far neglect to consider the reverse effect. Richard Nixon stepped down in 1974 on the cusp of a global recession, the first of three that rolled over the U.S. economy during the following eight years. Perhaps Hillary should ask her psychic to tune this channel for some insight.

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:03

Talk is not cheap

"If I had a dime for every time I was asked to book Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates for a public speaking engagement," says Laura Fenamore, "I'd be rich."

Fenamore, president of the Golden Gate International Speakers Bureau in San Rafael, Calif., daily fields requests from businesses, charities, non-profit organizations and institutions seeking the benighted wisdom of celebrities from Apple Computer's Steve Jobs to filmmaker George Lucas, movie star Whoopi Goldberg to pop music legend Elton John. But, Fenamore adds, "I don't think people have a clue about how celebrities charge, and what it takes to get a celebrity speaker."

Every company would love to have Bill Gates as keynote speaker at their next company meeting. To that ambition, public speaking experts advise: Stop dreaming. Most are too much in demand even to respond to speaking requests, Fenamore says. Besides, adds Victoria Chorbajian, president of Chorbajian Speaking Enterprises: "I know more people who are sole proprietors who I would like to give [speaking] business to, because they are more particular, more careful, and give attention to how they can serve their customers."

Make no mistake: Fenamore can book heavy hitters for your next sales meeting or trade show. "With the cash, it's no problem," she notes. "Without the cash, it's a big challenge." But the biggest of Big Dogs - Gates, Winfrey, John and Goldberg - remain out of reach for even the most well-heeled meeting planners for one simple reason; they don't speak for money. If you have a large meeting dedicated to a cause near to their hearts (e.g., AIDS care for Elton John) or interests (e.g., Apple devotees for Steve Jobs), certain celebrities can be convinced to donate their time. But realize, Fenamore says, that there are a hundred equally sincere requests in line ahead of you.

If you're willing to step down from the Mount Olympus of the public speaking pantheon, these pros say there is plenty of worthy talent available to address your next engagement.

Do your homework. Consider the culture of your company, the nature of your audience, and the message you want to send. If you had a celebrity speak at last year's sales meeting, a lower-tier speaker this year may send an unintentionally negative message. Review your speaker's books, tapes and marketing material carefully before signing a contract.

Get referrals. Find a company satisfied with its last keynoter, and contact that individual's agent or speaker's bureau. If you don't want the same speaker, the bureau may refer you to appropriate alternatives. Trade journals, local newspapers and service organizations such as Rotary and Lions Clubs may suggest reputable speaking professionals.

Timing and location can be key for the budget-minded meeting planner, says Terry L. Paulson, president of the National Speakers Association in Tempe, Ariz. Local speakers won't have to make hotel arrangements; speakers visiting for another engagement will already have them made.

Negotiate the package. "People have this feeling that if I'm going to spend $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000, I should be able to get this extra time with [a celebrity speaker]," Fenamore notes. "And it's just not going to happen." Second- and third-tier celebrities, especially local heroes like Olympic medalists or high-profile entrepreneurs, will be more accessible for pre- or post-speaking duties including photo opportunities, autograph sessions and such.

"You will find typically that a celebrity speaker will not make many changes to their content for the audiences they address," Paulson observes. "They don't have to." A speaker's bureau can find a professional suitable to your business's specific needs at a reasonable price ("reasonable" is defined in the industry as starting around $2,000). You can then consult with the speaker about particular themes appropriate to your venue. If your budget allows for a celebrity speaker, consider hiring an additional professional who can deliver an address tailored to your audience.

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:03

Days of our lives

In what it calls the most comprehensive national survey of its kind, the Families and Work Institute claims to proven what employees have been complaining about for years-Americans are working harder, long hours at a faster pace than a generation ago.

The New York-based non-profit research group interviewed 3,551 people, 2,877 of them wage or salary workers, for its "National Study of the Changing Workforce." Surveyors asked employees about numbers of paid and unpaid hours worked; frequency of bringing work home, and of being required to work overtime with little or no notice; comparison of regular daytime shifts with other schedules; number of nights required away from home within the previous three months, and other statistics. Respondents were also queried using a measure of perceived job pressure developed at the University of Michigan with funding from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Virtually every measure showed increases compared with similar studies by the institute taken in 1977 and 1992. "People describe their work as much more demanding than 20 years ago," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute. Paid and unpaid labor time for men and women working more than 20 hours a week grew from 43.6 hours per week in 1977 to 47.1 hours in 1997. One in three employees brought work home at least once a week in 1997, up 10 percent from 1977.

Subjective measures also showed employees believe they're working harder. In 1977, 55 percent of those surveyed said their jobs require that they work "very fast"; by 1997, that figure had grown to 68 percent. In 1977, 70 percent said they worked "very hard"; by 1997, 88 percent agreed with that statement. Sixty percent said they didn't have enough time to do all their required work in 1997, up from 40 percent in 1977.

The institute's findings have been greeted with skepticism in some quarters. "Whenever you hear a blanket statement that we're working harder than in previous generations, it should always raise a red flag," says John A. Challenger, executive vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the international outplacement firm that tracks workforce trends. Changes in the types of work done from generation to generation and in the intensity of labor make apples-to-apples comparisons difficult, Challenger contends. "It's hard to figure out if Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have actually hit the same number of home runs in the same way as Babe Ruth or Roger Maris."

Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Washington, says, "There's little doubt that people are busier than they used to be, but that's not necessarily the same as working harder." The rise of two-earner households has reduced home and leisure time, he notes, while non-labor activities such as commuting time and family demands have increased or been divided more equally (household chores, child care and such). "All of these have combined to make people feel busier and that they are working longer hours, when technically they are not," Bartlett says. "It's the lack of flexibility that's frustrating to employees, as much as the number of hours worked."

But Galinsky stands by her researchers' results. Subjective standards like the University of Michigan job-pressure measure took a back seat to statistics expressed in hours and weeks. Moreover, she notes, other studies have shown perceived work pressures can result in increased real stress, anxiety, health problems and complications.

Galinsky attributes the increased workplace pressures to the 24-hour rapid-response global economy, new technologies such as laptop computers and cellular phones that allow employees to take their work wherever they go, and corporate downsizing, in which "the work didn't go away, there were just fewer people to do it."

"I think this is the frontier issue of the workplace," Galinsky says, and "I don't think people have begun to deal with it yet." In fact, Bartlett and Challenger say, employers have begun to deal with it, by introducing flexible work schedules, child- and elder-care programs, one-time bonuses when pay raises aren't feasible, and other innovative programs.

"We're in that in-between phase when people are adjusting from the old rules into the new rules, and are perhaps getting the worst of both worlds," Bartlett says. Challenger believes smaller companies have some advantages during this transition because they "can create much more rapport and whole-company togetherness." He adds: "You try to counteract the extra stress [by] creating extra comfort, satisfaction, camaraderie."

Monday, 22 July 2002 10:02

Present at the creation

If they really did place likenesses of people next to the words that best defined them in the dictionary, Guy Kawasaki's picture might fit next to marketing genius in a future edition of Webster's. In 1984, he helped launch Apple's weird new Macintosh computer, with its kiddy-cute icons, virtually no supporting applications, counter-Orwellian promotional campaign...and the rest was history.

After leaving Apple a few years later, Kawasaki started a software company, wrote his memoirs and returned briefly to Apple before starting his latest venture, a high-tech seed capital firm called garage.com. You can almost hear the smile in Kawasaki's voice. He still periodically refers to himself as Apple's "chief evangelist," and he is guileless in his enthusiasm for his former employer. He paused a moment before embarking on a promotional tour for his new book, "Rules for Revolutionaries" (HarperBusiness; forthcoming), to speak with SBN.


Of the three dictums that you suggest in your book for capitalist revolutionaries-create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave-which is your weakness?

Create like a god. I do not see myself as a creator or visionary. I see myself as a great recognizer of what can sell. I would not rank myself with [Apple Computer founder] Steve Jobs or any other visionaries who see the future of personal computing or whatever market. But having seen a Macintosh, I can sure as hell tell you it will sell and how to sell it.

Which of the three do you believe is your strength?

Work like a slave.

Does a modern capitalist revolutionary as you define him or her have to own a computer?

No. There are many industries and many markets where without a computer you can still be a revolutionary. But the key part of the question is "have to"-you don't have to, but it sure would make life easier.

What kind of computer and operating system do you use?

I only use a Macintosh.

How much time per day do you spend online?

Approximately three hours a day answering e-mail, offline. Online browsing, 15 minutes.

What would it take to get you to go back to Apple?

There is no scenario under which I'd go back to Apple. I'm completely dedicated to garage.com. I wouldn't go back at a mid- or low-level, because I'm too senior and I require too much compensation. And I wouldn't go back at a high level because working at a company like Apple takes 110 percent of your life.

What device would you most like to design for yourself?

I would like a Breitling Aerospace watch with a worldwide Iridium [satellite] beeper.

What do you like most about the new Volkswagen Beetle? Probably the flower vase. There's a flower vase on the dashboard. It's so unexpected. It's a wink between Volkswagen and its customers.

What cause would you volunteer a month off for without pay? There isn't one. Say my primary cause is child abuse. If someone asked to me to work in this child abuse center for a month without pay, I would tell them, "You know what? In that month I can make more money and give it to you and do more good than I could working there myself."

What's the best advice you've ever gotten?

Never ask someone to do something you wouldn't do. I believe [former Apple executive] Jean-Louis Gassee told me that. But Jean-Louis Gassee says so many things, it eez hard to keep track of zee French madman.

Who do you most admire?

Charles Barkley, because he takes it to the hole.

What deceased person would you most like to spend 20 minutes with?

(Sears and Roebuck co-founder) Richard Sears. He took a very simple concept and just ran with it, and I'd like to know what he learned along the way.

What habit would you most like to break?

Spending three hours a day answering e-mail.

Market share or profit margin?

The answer is neither. Customer satisfaction.

Ignorance or bliss?

I would say ignorance, because ignorance can lead to bliss. You see, in my mind, my perspective, ignorance, i.e., not knowing how hard it is to do something, will enable you or empower you or just by accident allow you to create a revolution. And creating a revolution, when you succeed, is a blissful accomplishment. If I knew how hard it was to evangelize Macintosh that first time, I would never have tried. So my ignorance led to bliss.