To Err is Human — to Really Muck Things Up Takes a CEO, Part Two
Continuing my list from last week, here’s the second part (tips 8-13) of my rules for CEOs to follow to most effectively manage their direct marketing businesses.
8. Don’t be a negative example. Want your employees to underperform? Come to work sporadically, keep unspecified hours, pull up in a ultra high-end foreign luxury car while your employees drive cars with rust holes, and watch what happens. When your employees lack motivation, blame them, not you. But as a wise old boss I had early in my career told me, “The fish stinks from the head!” Get in before your employees, leave later and drive a regular car to the office (leave the bling home).
9. Don’t go crazy on infrastructure. If business is good and you have some extra cash, build an office your friends, family, competition, vendors, bankers and all will envy. I once worked for a B-to-B cataloger/manufacturer that had a huge windfall client sign up with its wholesale division. The company, which was profitable, saw a revenue increase of about 50 percent. It went about buying a building, adding staff, putting in a new database ERP system that only its CIO understood and generally refurnished its entire office. When the client pulled the plug on the product it had custom-built for the cataloger, guess what happened? Eventually the company cracked under its own weight and went under. The moral of the story: Build your infrastructure organically, one piece at a time.
10. Don’t play favorites. Any time you have a boss and two or more employees, office politics exist. So what if your favorite employee hangs on your every word, coos approval when you speak and is your friend inside and outside the office. My choice is the employee who wants to argue, dissent, even kick my butt (and isn’t afraid to say it) any day of the week over my pet employee. These are the people who have the guts to tell you that you’re fiddling while Rome is burning.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.