With less money to spend and smaller marketing departments, it’s time to rethink the way you look at marketing.
“The challenge is that the number of marketing tools available are increasing exponentially,” says Bo Bothe, president and chief creative officer of BrandExtract. “With so many options available, CEOs need to stop thinking about the way they’ve always done things and start thinking about how to market more effectively and efficiently.”
Smart Business spoke with Bothe about how to get more marketing impact today for less money.
How can you begin to market more effectively?
Start over. Start thinking strategically instead of tactically — force yourself to rethink what you’re doing. Companies waste far too many resources on tactical solutions, before they get their brand position and messaging in order. Right now, you should be asking yourself, ‘If I can only have one marketing goal this year, what would I do to achieve it? What would move the needle most?’ Then work backward from there.
The business landscape has obviously changed in the last 18 months, and a company that doesn’t take the time to re-examine whether or not their marketing and messaging is in line with their customer needs will be left behind as business continues to improve. Talk to the key stakeholders in your company — sales, marketing, customer service, distribution — and find out what they need to do their job more effectively. You may be surprised to find out that it isn’t a brochure or flashy Web site. Then, talk to your customers to find out what really matters to them today; they need you to convince them why they should be interested in you.
What is the most important step you can take to market more effectively?
The biggest mistake leaders make is not engaging their employees. Companies come up with mission, vision and value statements, but they often don’t communicate with employees about how to talk about them and what makes them valuable to the customer. Whether you have 20 employees or 20,000, imagine if every one of them had a clear understanding of the value the company provides — they would all become an extension of your sales force. Now think about the media channels they have at their disposal today. Your sales efforts can be much more effective if your whole employee base is on message.
Engaging your employees to sell is done most effectively through constant and consistent communication. It’s not just posters and newsletters. It’s town-hall meetings and training managers to train their people — not only about what you want them to say but why it is important. You need to set the strategy and make sure it is communicated to leadership and that leadership is communicating it to management and that management is communicating it to employees. This ensures that your employees are educated about what’s going on and that everyone knows where you’re headed and why it’s valuable for both them and for the customer. If you do that, they’ll be able to bridge the gap for you and make your marketing efforts more efficient.
How can you better target potential clients?
Profile your customers. What does your best customer look like? If you know that, then you know where to most effectively focus your marketing and sales efforts.
You also have to know what you’re good at and focus on it. That doesn’t mean you stop marketing or reduce your investments, it just allows you to invest in the right things. Cost-effective marketing is about knowing your audience, knowing what you want to get from that audience and focusing on the best people to get it from. That allows you to reduce inefficiency and become more cost-effective because it doesn’t have you running down the wrong path. You also need to talk to your customers. I don’t mean polling, I mean actually talking to your customers to find out whether or not they have a clear understanding of your company, the range of products and/or services you offer and what differentiates you from the competition.
What do you need to beware of when considering your marketing options?
Be wary of shiny objects. Remember that all of these new media choices are additional tools (just like a brochure or Web site) and, whatever you do, make sure you have a strategy to make them work for you. Just because everyone’s on Twitter doesn’t mean you should be doing it. Focus on what can move your brand forward, as opposed to doing something just because everyone else is doing it.
How do you measure results?
It comes down to understanding what matters most. Is it increasing order size, growing the client base, driving more people to the Web site or something else? You need to define what is going to make a difference and ask how much, if any of it, is moving the needle. Approaching your marketing efforts with specific goals in mind increases your chance of success and provides a foundation that enables you to make decisions about your marketing spend. Marketing needs to be thought of as a revenue generator, not an expense. If you don’t have an internal system of measurement, you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, so everything becomes important. And we all know that approach is a very costly proposition.
Bo Bothe is the president and chief creative officer of BrandExtract, an integrated branding and communications firm that guides growing companies by providing strategic branding solutions, marketing communications, advertising, print and interactive services. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 942-7959 or visit www.brandextract.com.
Born: I was born in a town called Bedford, which is about 50 miles north of London. I moved to the U.S. in 2002, and I lived in Charlotte, N.C., and I was only there for 15 months, and then I moved out of the U.S. and into Texas. I like Texas. It took me about 10 days to go native. I’m collecting boots and hats and stuff like that. I have 23 pairs of boots now. I just keep seeing a pair somewhere that I can’t live without, so I keep buying another pair. People look at me with some amusement. I think they think I look like a fully fledged Texan, but when I open my mouth, they sort of stand there open-mouthed.
Education: I went to Pilgrim Grammar School. I left school and joined the police force.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a professional soccer player.
What was your first job ever?
I worked on a farm. That was before I left school. I actually milked cows and drove a tractor because that was the macho thing to do, to drive a tractor.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I think I’ve ever been given was actually listen to the old folk. As much as I love listening to the young folk because it’s so refreshing what they have to say, the old folk come out with some things that you should never forget because it’s wisdom. I think, above all, it’s simply treat other people the way you expect to be treated yourself.
What’s your favorite board game and why?
My favorite board game is backgammon. I guess the reason is because, like most other things in life but people often don’t recognize it, it’s about skill, strategy and a lot of luck.
In today’s marketplace, companies are looking for every advantage they can get to not only survive but thrive. And to do this, you as a chief marketing officer or CEO must find a way to change the game for your company.
“The market has changed, the economy has turned and clients aren’t thinking about the rational buying decisions they made in the past,” says Jonathan Fisher, CEO of BrandExtract. “If you’re selling the same way and approaching and reaching out in the same way you’ve always done, you’ve probably lost all competitive advantage. You really have to think about new and fresh perspectives in the way you do business to change the game and make the playing field a little less level.”
Smart Business spoke with Fisher about how to take a fresh look at your business and leverage that information.
How do you get started with looking at your company in a new way?
It’s about rethinking what you know and what you’re doing in the marketplace. It’s about looking for the obvious. You have to challenge the norms and ask, ‘What are we doing? Why are we doing it? Is there anything we could be doing differently?’
At the same time, you need to take a close look at current gaps ‘What aren’t we doing? What’s missing from the industry right now that we can provide?’ and then start thinking, ‘We could sponsor that. We could build that. We could survey that.’
As an example, there is a law firm that has been doing industry surveys for six years, and it creates trend data that it gives away for free. Now, survey processes aren’t new, but most companies do it for their own benefit, not for the industry’s benefit. By taking a leadership position in the industry where this kind of information previously didn’t exist and putting the survey together of its own accord and of its own time and money, this firm now owns this space. And because it has the intelligence from the trend report it does every year, it was able to completely shift its sales tactics. It’s able to use this to shape fees, proposal processes and messaging on the Web, and carve the data up for vertical industry segments for a greater competitive advantage.
This firm uses the data as a door opener and a reason why you should talk to its attorneys versus someone else’s which is always the challenge to developing new business: Why you?
When you’re looking for that game-changing idea, who should be involved in the process?
You have to be willing to step back and engage people who have the ability to offer a different perspective about your products or services, whether that’s an outside consulting or marketing firm or your customers or someone within the company who hasn’t had a chance before to bring ideas to the table.
It’s all about listening with a fresh viewpoint. Ask your clients for their perspectives on how they see your products and services being used, or bring in outside consultants who have experience helping people identify fresh points of view. Or reach down into your organization to hear from people you don’t usually have contact with.
Smart leaders look at the whole company. It takes strong leadership to recognize that there’s always something you don’t know. If you’re open and receptive to finding out the unknowns, then you are typically going to uncover a game-changing opportunity.
This means creating a culture that’s willing to constantly evaluate and improve, that knows it’s never maximized its opportunities. I don’t know any CEO who would say he or she can’t do something better. You need to create open-door policies, create a cross-pollination of ideas and get different people and different teams together on a regular basis so those opportunities can flourish.
If a business is doing well as is, why does it need to seek game-changing opportunities?
Your competition is always looking to move up, and they will find a better way to do business. The number of businesses unaffected by the economy and satisfied with current sales are few. If this describes your business, then congratulations because you’re the exception. But if not, then uncovering new opportunities and creating competitive barriers can swing the pendulum back to having the marketplace edge.
Category leaders rarely maintain their category position. It’s only a matter of time before someone will outthink you. For CEOs who say what they’re doing works just fine, obviously they’re not thinking about the future because change is inevitable, whether it comes from the competition, from the technology, or from the market forces that are out there. You always have to be looking ahead, and you have to be thinking about your game-changing strategies.
Jonathan Fisher is CEO of BrandExtract, an integrated branding and communications firm that guides growing companies by providing strategic branding solutions, market positioning communications, advertising, social, print and interactive services. Reach him at (713) 942-7959 or (214) 770-7378 or email@example.com.
For Eric Werner, everything starts at the top.
In any organization, the leader’s job is to set the vision that everyone else will follow, affirm the mission for which the company will stand, and help craft the goals that will serve as the means for realizing the vision and mission.
They are lessons Werner has learned in a career as an entrepreneur in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Werner is the CEO and owner of both Texas Subs and DFW Tanning, and he is also president of Sunset Tan Franchising LP. His Subway and LA Sunset Tan franchises generated a total of $35 million in revenue last year.
“The first thing is that, as a company, you want to have a mission statement and goals,” Werner says. “Where do you see the company three to five years from now, what is the mission statement of the company, what is your purpose of being in existence?”
Smart Business spoke with Werner about how you can build your company to be a success, both now and in the future.
Be the starting point. The CEO is the face of the company. Using the example of Wal-Mart — for years, people saw Sam Walton. He was the face of Wal-Mart. No. 2, the CEO needs to set the company’s philosophy and principles. Whatever we do, I want the people in our company to be honest, upfront and fair. If we make a decision for one person, we have to make it for another person. The third thing is, the CEO has to set the vision. Where are we going with this company, where do we see ourselves in two or three years? Most of the successful companies out there do goal setting. The leadership at Wal-Mart, Subway and other successful companies do goal setting. And that gives people something to shoot for. You might make it, you might not, but you’ve set that goal. If you don’t make it, chances are you’re going to at least fall close to it.
The person at the top of the company, even when they are around an employee, that employee looks at that person in a different light. You try not to be intimidating, but at times, being around the leader will be intimidating for an employee, just because of the position you hold. Regardless of how you’re viewed in a given situation, you do have a sense of professionalism to project out there. People are going to emulate your attitude. If you’re out there and have a poor work ethic, it will trickle down through the company. That underscores how important it is to set the tone for your company.
Build successful employees. You build confidence in employees with recognition and praise that is sincere, not just praise that you hand out all the time. If people know you are a good judge of character, they’ll respect your opinion more. I liken it to Simon Cowell on ‘American Idol.’ When Simon gives praise, it means something.
A second method is to have contests with awards. People are competing against each other, and you have an award at the end of the contest, which gives the winner a sense of accomplishment. A third method is simply the time you spend with your people in group meetings. That gives them a sense of self-worth because they know they belong to the team.
A lot of people don’t need praise, but a lot simply need to know they’re doing a good job. When they do get praise and recognition, they work harder for the company. Too many times people focus on the negative, and I always try to lead people with a positive feeling about the company and try to instill a sense of pride in working for the company.
Promote the mission. You have to have a mission statement promoted throughout the company. We have a company workbook in six or seven sections. The orientation section outlines the company, the philosophy, the policies, what you can be terminated for, how to increase your pay. We give people the ability to control their own destiny with their pay based on the number of training classes they take and based on their performance. You also could display plaques in your office that show your employee of the year or store of the year. There are many different ways to promote your mission.
Where leaders might go wrong with communication is that they’re strong on delegation, but they’re weak on following up. I always follow up, and people know I’m going to follow up. If people know you’re going to follow up, you probably won’t need to repeat yourself too much, because they know you’re going to ask. But if you’re weak at following up on whatever you’ve directed or delegated to somebody, then you’re going to be telling them over and over because they know you’re not going to follow up.
Seek support and feedback. Find a monthly CEO round table in your area, other leaders you can bounce ideas off of. They will make you accountable when no on else will. They can help you address situations to make you a better CEO. There are also CEO coaches out there, if you prefer more one-on-one coaching. They can go over how to better yourself as a CEO.
In-house, with your own employees, you can hand out surveys and set up anonymous feedback channels. Those types of surveys will ask employees questions like, ‘Do you think the company treats you fairly?’ and, ‘Do you think your manager treats you fairly?’ and give employees an opportunity to give their input on how management is leading.
Collin College2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway Plano, TX 75074 (972) 881-5790 www.ccccd.edu Cary A. Israel President About Collin College is a community-centered institution that helps students develop educational skills along with character and marketability. The college offers courses in the arts and sciences, technical programs, continuing adult education for academic, professional and occupational programs. The college serves 45,000 credit and continuing education students annually. The college offers more than 100 degrees and certificates in a wide range of disciplines. Founded: 1985 Key majors Accounting, government, technology, hospitality and food services management, chemistry
Eastfield College3737 Motley Drive Mesquite, TX 75150 (972) 860-7100 www.eastfieldcollege.edu Jean Conway Interim president About Eastfield College has been serving the Mesquite, Garland and eastern Dallas community since 1970. The college has a close relationship with the business community and continuously studies, analyzes and appraises the college’s purposes, programs and organization to enhance institutional effectiveness. Founded: 1970 Key areas of study Computer and business management, business and industry corporate training, criminal justice, GED information
Richland College12800 Abrams Road Dallas, TX 75243 (972) 238-6100 www.richlandcollege.edu Steve Mittelstet President About Richland College of the Dallas County Community College District focuses on teaching, learning and community building. The White House and Department of Commerce named Richland a 2005 recipient of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, the only community college to receive the award. The college helps students prepare for a baccalaureate degree or certificates in dozens of career fields and training in technology for students who want to advance their careers. Founded: 1972 Key areas of study Engineering, humanities, ethnic studies, business, technology, social science
Southern Methodist University6425 Boaz Lane Dallas, TX 75205 (214) 768-2000 www.smu.edu R. Gerald Turner President About Southern Methodist University has a student/faculty ratio of 12-to-1. The college offers almost 80 majors for undergraduate, graduate and professional courses and has a total of 10,829 enrolled students. Students are enrolled from across the country and from 92 other countries. Founded: 1911 Key areas of study Arts, business, education, human development, engineering, law
Tarrant County College Northeast Campus828 W. Harwood Road Hurst, TX 76054 (817) 515-6100 www.tccd.edu Larry Darlage President About Tarrant County College Northeast Campus is the oldest of four colleges in the Tarrant County College System. The college offers a list of online and ITV courses through the college’s Center for Distance Learning. The college also offers continuing education courses and adult basic education skills classes. The college also hosts a variety of courses for students who use English as a second language. Founded: 1965 Key areas of study Accounting, business, economics, marketing, office administration
The University of Texas
at Arlington701 S. Nedderman Drive Arlington, TX 76019 (817) 272-2011 www.uta.edu James Spaniolo President About The University of Texas at Arlington is a public university that offers undergraduate through doctorate degree opportunities. The college also offers courses in continuing education and distance learning. The university has won the Gold Best Practices in Excellence in distance learning teaching and serves more than 22,000 students a year with continuing education programs. Founded: 1895 Key areas of study Engineering, nursing, science, business, liberal arts
The University of Texas
at Dallas800 W. Campbell Road Richardson, TX 75080 (972) 883-2111 www.utdallas.edu David E. Daniel President About The University of Texas at Dallas offers more than 125 academic programs. The college focuses on new knowledge and new art that enriches students’ lives. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate through doctoral degrees. Founded: 1969 Key areas of study School of Arts and Humanities, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, School of Management, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of North Texas1155 Union Circle #311277 ? Denton, TX 76203 (940) 565-2000 www.unt.edu Gretchen M. Bataille President About The University of North Texas is a public university that offers undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees. The university is one of the largest universities in Texas, enrolling nearly 35,000 students. The Denton campus offers 97 bachelor’s, 101 master’s and 49 doctorial degree programs, many of which are nationally recognized. Founded: 1890 Key areas of study College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Merchandising and Hospitality Management
In today’s economy, many tenants are downsizing and have excess space. Subleasing is an efficient way to reduce occupancy costs, but marketing that space can be a challenge.
“It’s important for tenants and brokers to do their homework and due diligence before putting space on the sublease market,” says Steven Schneider, a Vice President with the Dallas office of Grubb & Ellis Company.
Smart Business spoke with Schneider about what business owners need to consider to effectively market their space for sublease.
What should tenants do first when planning to sublease?
Before listing the space, the first step should be to review the sublease/assignment section of the master lease between the tenant and landlord. In some instances, a tenant may be required to provide written notice that it is going to market space for sublease.
There will also be language regarding landlord consent. In some instances, a landlord will not approve of a sublease to an existing tenant in the building, to a tenant with whom it is currently negotiating, or to a tenant that it does not deem creditworthy. The landlord may also have the right to recapture the space.
The bottom line is that it is imperative to have an understanding of any potential issues that might prohibit a tenant from securing consent to a potential sublease.
What are the keys to marketing your space?
Because of the supply of available sublease and direct space, you need appropriate pricing, which requires knowledge of other buildings and subleases in your submarket. Is the tenant currently paying below market, at market or above market rental rates? How long is the term? Are there other options in the existing building that are similar in size and quality? Compare the landlord’s quoted rental rate along with lease comparables for the existing building and other buildings and subleases in the area to help establish your pricing.
Sublease space is primarily going to be marketed at a discount to direct space in the building and below market for comparable buildings in the submarket. The key is to market the space at a price point that will attract interest and generate activity from the start. Knowing the market and how much to discount the space will help a tenant start saving money on rent sooner rather than later.
Because most tenants are trying to dispose of space to save money, sublease space is normally marketed on an ‘as is’ basis, which means the tenant is not willing to spend money on improvements. In these situations, it’s common for a tenant to offer abated rent to offset some of the costs for a subtenant to make the space ready for occupancy. The amount of free rent is normally based on the term of the sublease, the condition of the space and the needs of the subtenant.
What can a broker do to help market the sublease?
The broker needs to be proactive and diligent in marketing the sublease.
Assuming the landlord will consent to a sublease with an existing tenant, one of the first steps in marketing the space is to contact the other tenants contiguous to the sublease space and the rest of the tenants in the building to make them aware of this new opportunity in the building.
Brokers utilize Web-based listing services and the Internet to market the sublease listing as well as direct marketing through phone calls, e-mails and mail pieces to tenants in the submarket that fit the profile of the space or that may have an upcoming lease expiration. How can tenants add value to their sublease space?
Many tenants have excess furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) that they no longer need. In a market where there is excess supply of used furniture and the value of the furniture is 10 to 20 cents on the dollar, a tenant will generate more value and increase the marketability of the space by leaving the FF&E in place. If the FF&E does have some value to a potential subtenant, you may be able to secure a higher rental rate.
These ‘plug-and-play’ scenarios are very attractive to companies that are going into their very first lease space or growing in size and ready to take that next step into larger space.
How can tenants minimize subleasing risks?
Before entering into a sublease agreement, it is important to review the financials for the entity signing the sublease. Is the company profitable? How long has it been in business? Does it have the necessary funding? Who are the investors/owners?
There is always some sort of risk when entering into a sublease but doing the necessary due diligence will lower your risk. If there are concerns about the financial stability of the company, asking for an increased security deposit, increased prepaid rent, or for personal guarantees from the principals or owners may be necessary.
Is a buyout of the master lease a feasible alternative?
Most landlords will only entertain a buyout or termination of the master lease if there is a tenant in hand to backfill the space. If the prospective subtenant is looking for a longer term than the sublease provides or the creditworthiness of the prospective subtenant is the same or better than the existing tenant, then the landlord may be willing to negotiate a buyout.
The advantage of pursuing a buyout instead of a traditional sublease is that, by terminating the master lease, the tenant avoids the risk of a subtenant not satisfying the terms of the sublease. The disadvantage is that the tenant may have to pay a negotiated lump sum cash termination fee.
Aetna2777 Stemmons Freeway Dallas, TX 75027 (214) 200-8000 www.aetna.com Carl King President, Aetna Southwest About Aetna provides a broad range of insurance and employee benefits products that are tailored to small, midsized and large multinational employers. It is one of the nation’s leaders in health care, dental, pharmacy, group life and disability insurance, and employee benefits. Key products Aetna open access Elect Choice (EPO), Elect Choice (EPO), Open Access Aetna Select, Aetna Select, Open Access HMO
Community Care2505 N. Highway 360, Suite 300 Grand Prairie, TX 75050 (817) 861-7700 www.amerigroupcorp.com Aileen McCormick CEO, Southwest Region About AMERIGROUP is the largest private company providing health care coverage exclusively to low-income families. Key products Medicaid programs, Medicare programs
Blue Cross Blue Shield
of Texas901 S. Central Expressway Dallas, TX 75080 (972) 766-6900 www.bcbstx.com Raymond F. McCaskey President and CEO About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is the only statewide customer-owned health insurer in Texas. The company provides access to affordable health care through a variety of HMO and PPO networks. Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 5,600 Texas employees to serve Texas customers. Key products BlueEdge HSA, Blue Choice PPO, BlueEdge Wellness Rewards HCA, BlueExtras, Blue Care Connection, BlueCare Freedom Dental
CIGNA Healthcare of Texas2250 W. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 400 Irving, TX 75036 (972) 582-7200 www.cigna.com David Toomey General manager About CIGNA Healthcare in Dallas offers managed medical, pharmacy and dental care services, including integrated indemnity and group life and health insurance for employees that is primarily offered through their employer. CIGNA HealthCare also offers behavioral health benefits and assistance and work-life support programs. Key products Medical, dental, vision, behavioral care, pharmacy
Delta Dental Insurance Co.70 Parker Square, Suite 150 Flower Mound, TX 75028 (800) 775-0523 www.deltadentalins.com Robert Budd Vice president About Delta Dental covers more than 23 million people in commercial and government programs throughout the nation. The parent company represents one of the largest dental benefits systems in the country. Key products Delta Dental Premier, DeltaCare USA, Delta Dental PPOSM, DeltaVision
Humana Inc.8111 LBJ Freeway, Suite 200 Dallas, TX 75251 (800) 651-9079 www.humana.com Celina Burns President About Humana is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.4 million medical members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplemental benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals. Key products Medicare, Smart Suite, PPO, high-deductible plan, CoverageFirst, PPO
UniCare Health Plans of Texas3820 American drive Plano, TX 75075 (972) 239-9000 www.unicare.com David W. Fields President and CEO About UniCare Health Plans of Texas provides the State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) program, the Medicaid managed care program for Texas, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps Texas families who are not eligible for other state health care programs. Key products FIT Plans, high-deductible plans, HSA-compatible plans, consumer choice plans
UnitedHealthcare Insurance5800 Granite Parkway, Suite 900 Plano, TX 75024 (469) 633-8500 www.unitedhealthgroup.com Thomas J. Quirk Texas CEO About UnitedHealthcare’s nationwide network includes 560,000 physicians (and other care professionals), 80,000 dentists and 4,800 hospitals. Our pharmaceutical management programs provide more affordable access to drugs for 13 million people. Key products Health savings accounts, high deductible, short-term medical, Choice HMO, Choice Plus
Baylor All Saints
Medical Center at Fort Worth1400 Eighth Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76104 (817) 926-2544 www.baylorhealth.com Steven Newton President About Baylor All Saints Medical Center is located near downtown Fort Worth. Baylor All Saints is a 537-bed hospital that offers convenience and personal attention, a respected medical staff, and advanced medical technology. The medical center has been serving the Fort Worth community for more than 100 years. Founded: 2002 Key services Emergency care, family medicine, digestive care, digestive, heart and vascular care
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas3500 Gaston Ave. Dallas, TX 75246 (214) 820-0111 www.baylorhealth.com John B. McWhorter III President About Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the first of eight hospitals in the Baylor Health Care System. Baylor is a not-for-profit health care facility serving the community through education, research and community service since 1903. Baylor Dallas provides care to 300,000 patients through physician and specialty networks. Founded: 1903 Key services Cancer, digestive, heart and vascular, imaging and radiology, women’s health
Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital1301 Pennsylvania Ave. Forth Worth, TX 76104 (817) 250-2000 www.texashealth.org Oscar L. Amparan President About Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth has served Tarrant County for more than 75 years. The hospital is a full-service medical center offering specialized capabilities in oncology, trauma, cardiology and women’s services. More than 800 physicians are on hospital medical staff, with 710 beds. Founded: 1930 Key services Oncology, trauma, cardiology, women’s services, diabetes care
JPS Health Network1500 S. Main St. Fort Worth, TX 76104 (817) 921-3431 www.jpshealthnet.org Steve Montgomery Chairman About John Peter Smith Hospital provides care for families and individuals in Tarrant County, focusing on diagnostic and surgical care. The hospital also provides services for the community’s psychiatric needs. With a strong volunteer service, the hospital is able to provide individualized care to patients and their families. Founded: 1906 Key services Cardiology, orthopedics, trauma, heart care, inpatient care
Medical City Dallas Hospital7777 Forest Lane Dallas, TX 75230 (972) 566-7000 www.medicalcityhospital.com Britt Berrett CEO About Medical City Dallas Hospital offers a breadth and depth of medical care in North Texas. The hospital performs 95 specialties and has recently advocated infection prevention for patients. The hospital supports the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women’ ;s Health program as an extension of patient and community care. Founded: 1974 Key services Emergency medicine, cardiac care, transplant, bariatric surgery, gastroenterology
Medical Center1441 N. Beckley Ave. Dallas, TX 75203 (214) 947-8181 www.methodisthealthsystem.com Michael A. Mayo President About Methodist Dallas Medical Center provides health care to more than 161,000 patients per year. It is the main teaching and referral center for Methodist Health System and one of the leading teaching and referral centers in Texas. Founded: 1927 Key services Cancer, digestive issues, neurology, women’s and children’s services, and ear, nose and throat
& Hospital System5201 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas, TX 75235 (214) 590-8000 www.parklandhospital.com Dr. Lauren McDonald Chair, Parkland Board of Managers About Parkland Health & Hospital System is the county hospital for Dallas. It serves as the primary teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The hospital system employs more than 8,000 and generates $2.4 billion in business activity each year. Founded: 1894 Key services Emergency care, rehabilitation, trauma, burns, spinal cord injuries, cancer
of Dallas8200 Walnut Hill Lane Dallas, TX 75231 (214) 345-6789 www.texashealth.org Mark H. Merrill President About Presbyterian Hospital Dallas currently has 866 beds and more than 1,200 physicians on the medical staff. It is a community-based hospital serving as a referral center for North and East Texas. There are more than 1,200 physicians on the medical staff. Founded: 1966 Key services Cancer, trauma, emergency, breast care, behavioral health
When she’s not serving in her capacity as the CEO and co-owner of Benefit Seminars Plus, Marcia Zimmerman trains bird dogs in her spare time.
Though training a dog to flush a game bird out of hiding is quite different from training an employee to carry out a company’s mission statement and embrace its core values, Zimmerman, who co-founded Benefit Seminars Plus, says she sees some similarities in the approach.
“Training is all about being simple, consistent and encouraging,” she says. “So with my people, there is a lot of telling them, ‘You’re doing a great job, and thank you so much.’ People gravitate toward praise.”
If you approach your employees with a positive attitude, they will learn to carry that positive attitude over to their work and their relationships with your customers. It’s one of the main reasons why Zimmerman has been able to grow Benefit Seminars Plus into a company that earned $36 million in revenue in 2008.
Smart Business spoke with Zimmerman about how you can empower your employees to have a winning attitude.
Take the right attitude. As a leader, everything that comes out of your mouth is a megaphone to employees. They amplify everything that you say. So you have to put on your leadership face when you walk in the door. And even if you’re having a bad day, you are having a good day when you walk in that door, and everyone who is working for you is doing a great job. I’ll pick out people and take them with me to the bank. I’ll run errands with them, and ask them what they think about a different project we’re working on. Then I’ll spin it and give them 100 percent credit for the idea. They’ve touched on something, and I’ll make that larger.
Maybe they spark an idea that hasn’t been explored, and I will think about that further. They had just touched on the tip of the iceberg, and they’re not even sure if it’s a grand idea, but oftentimes, it is. It’s those little intimate moments that make the difference, moments that don’t seem to be important, moments without pressure.
Also, in a boardroom setting, whenever I have a new hire, someone who has joined our organization, I give them a little talk before we go into a boardroom scenario and tell them all ideas are open. I call it ‘open ego.’ We don’t have ownership here. This is a mind-meld, and don’t worry about anything you say, because it could have value.
Stay humble. Whenever a leader thinks they’re the only one who can do a job well, that just shuts down any kind of creativity or ability of others to take responsibility. It’s the one thing that really bothers me when I see other executives who are so ego-driven about themselves. I’m pretty ego-driven, as well, but I don’t think I’m the best at what we’re trying to deliver. I think everybody else is better.
I open myself up to these people in my company. I had a valuable employee who left me about 20 years ago, and I was crushed, but I asked this person why they were leaving me, what happened to make them want to leave. I wanted them to tell me everything, and I took everything to heart that this person told me.
Opening yourself up like that takes humbleness. My employees know I make a lot of mistakes, and they’re always helping me correct them. I am a great idea person. I love developing systems, making things better, delivering more to the customer, but I’m not great at following those systems. They know they have to jump in and help take care of me.
Praise, but don’t gush. You have to read body language. It’s the same thing with a dog. If you overpraise a dog, the dog will shut down. The praise has to be sincere. Truly I want to manipulate them, but don’t want them to feel manipulated. Manipulation is a negative word, but the definition of manipulate is to encourage someone to do something that is good.
Everyone is motivated a little bit differently, but the bottom line is we all want to do a good job. We all want to be good people; we all want to make a difference in the lives of others, and being a leader means helping people do that.
Whenever you praise people for any idea they have, they are motivated to share additional ideas. If you’re getting people focused on the same vision, if you just do a great job and love what you are doing and give it your heart and soul, the money flows. You have to give to get. For that reason, everyone in our organization is tied to the bottom line. If we were to lose a client, everybody’s pay goes down. If we gain a client, everybody’s pay goes up.
I tell newly hired people that their basic job is to make the person above them look good. Then I tell the person above that their job is to develop the person below you. And when you get the people above and the people below working as a team and everyone [is]being recognized, it is a comfortable environment to work in.
How to reach: Benefit Seminars Plus, (214) 520-9605 or www.bsplus.com
With every word he speaks and every move he makes, Lynn Gravley is aware that he’s setting an example for his employees.
Gravley, who founded NT Logistics Inc. in 1999, says that self-aware leaders recognize the qualities they want their employees to exhibit and then try to create followers throughout the company by exhibiting those qualities themselves.
“You just try to be straight up and communicate with everybody, exhibit excellence and demand it,” says Gravley, who serves as president and CEO at the $90 million company. “I sometimes lack in exhibiting that, because we all have our flaws. But you just try to be straight up, communicate and hope everybody else is, too.”
Smart Business spoke to Gravley about how to prove yourself to be a leader worth following.
Get everyone focused. You try to constantly communicate these visions and values. Not that we’re saints, we have our failures, but you just treat people how you want to be treated. That is hard to beat, just setting the example.
One of my favorite sayings is ‘clearly define the written fill-in-the-blank’ — goals and objectives or whatever. So many times I can sit in here and ramble on about something, but we fail to see that we’re trying to get to a certain mark. E-mail is tremendously important, but you have to stay after the relationships, because they’re huge.
A lot of my people will e-mail more than they’ll even call. It seems to be more convenient today. But I’m all the time telling my people to make time to call. Make time to talk. Business today is so much more than just our daily tasks. Take time to talk to our customers, our carriers, ask them about their families, because those things do matter.
You don’t have in-depth conversations with e-mail. You do it to your people, and tell them that you want them to do that with your customers. Show the value of it and tell them that you want them to have that same relationship with your customers.
I make rounds. I try to do it at least three times a week, go out and spend time with my operations people, ask them how they’re doing and how their families are. I ask them what their issues are, what hills they’re trying to climb today. In addition, every time we get a new employee, I always tell them that we’re going to play straight up, because that’s the way we built this business.
Steady the ship. A lot of times you have to stand at the very bow of the ship and tell your people that the waves aren’t all that big — even if you know they’re big.
Communication takes on an added layer of importance in this economy. It wasn’t too long ago, maybe three months ago that unemployment was kicking up, people were scared, but we came right out and told our people that because of the conservative nature in which we’ve run his company, we think we’re in a good position to weather this storm.
We’re all going to continue to chip away, but we want you all to know that things are good and we’re going make it. We also tried to spur some aggressiveness by telling our people that this was an opportunity to take some market share away from our weaker competitors.
When there are wins, you certainly celebrate them, and you celebrate them in different ways. When certain groups have wins, we’re very quick to talk about it louder than usual. You want people to overhear successes. But by the same token, if we stub our toe as a company, you want people to hear about that, so you can take the opportunity to pick them up and tell them that we’ll get it next time. It all comes back to communication. You have to communicate the good, the bad and the ugly.
Encourage and reward. I’ve never been successful at creating something where people give me ideas, but I’ve been successful at making them feel a part of something in which they wanted to share those ideas.
That’s the goal. Recognition is huge. There is an old saying that people will die for a trophy. People will also stay at work late for a bonus. Attaboys are huge, and I probably don’t do them as often as I should.
But you also have to draw the line on incentives at some point. It has to remain special. If it ever becomes routine, you’re blowing it. You can’t clearly pinpoint a place where it becomes routine, but you have to be constantly aware of it.
Your direct reports need to help you set that culture. To do that, you have to demand that what you are giving them, they are giving to their people. You see that in the relationships they have with their people. You can tell if what you are saying and demonstrating is working by the relationships they have.
When you get things on a personal level and your employees know that you care and that your managers care, that’s what employees want. People want to know that the company cares about them.
How to reach: NT Logistics Inc., (469) 362-5000 or www.ntlogistics.com
Born: Syracuse, N.Y.
Education: Earned an automotive mechanic certificate from the State University of New York at Morrisville
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
Listen to your people. That’s No. 1. No. 2, be consistent in your communication. No. 3, whatever you commit to, make sure you do it.
What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?
Obviously, a business leader today has to be as advertised. They have to be who they say they are. They have to lead by integrity and lead by example. More than anything, they have to care about people. Somewhere along the way in American business, it became fashionable to make cuts at the expense of employees, instead of motivating employees to become leaders. Somewhere along the line, you have to lead by example.
What is your definition of success?
To build a thriving business that can stand the test of time, in a culture the employees truly live and in which they feel motivated and helping us post good financial results. If any one of those results aren’t there, if the financial numbers aren’t there or the employees aren’t getting taken care of, the company is going to unravel. You need the customers happy, the employees happy and the ownership happy to be a success in business. If you don’t have any one of those three, you’re not going to win.