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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Bounties will revolutionize business

By Art Garfamudis
Page 2

Gregg Williams
What if we applied the bounty system of Gregg Williams to the world of everyday business?

Editor's note: Art Garfamudis originally wrote for Page 2 in 2008 before he retired to dedicate himself to preparing his safe house for any number of civilization-threatening crises. The depletion of his potable water, dried food and ammunition has lured him out of retirement to again present his unique perspective on the sports world.

Nobody's ever trusted me enough to make me a manager of anything, but if they did, I know what I would do first: I'd look around for good management styles I could copy. Another thing I would do is take ideas from past jobs I had that I thought worked really well.

So, if someone came to me right now and said, "You're in charge," there's one man I would turn to for managerial inspiration: NFL defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

How come? Because the best job I ever had (not counting this fine sinecure) was one where all the employees were incentivized. The incentive program created by Coach Williams has been in the news of late, and I think it's just the thing to light a fire under a workforce. For the past few years, people have been working hard just because they feel lucky to still have their jobs in a crappy economy. Is that a sustainable morale model for a productive workforce? Hell no. Now, more than ever before, the economy needs to turn its eyes toward Gregg Williams as its guiding light -- and not just because of the incentive portion of his program, but for the entire Williams approach. I encourage businesses of all stripes to embrace the Williams Method. Here's how it can work:

Dealing with competitors

Face it: competition is a part of capitalism. No matter what business you're in, someone else is going to be in it, too, prying the food right out of your hungry mouth. With the Williams Method, employees would be incentivized to directly challenge competitors. For instance, their supply chain can be disrupted by taking out their delivery personnel. There's no better time to hit someone than when they're unloading a truck. If they are then unable to complete the delivery: bonus. If they can't make subsequent deliveries: extra bonus. Of course, to really disrupt a competitor's ability to compete, you probably need to aim higher. A CEO or COO who've had their bells rung good and proper won't be so quick on the trigger when it comes to innovating and challenging your ability to dominate the market. They'll be too busy trying to remember what day it is and how many fingers are being shown to them to focus on profit margins and market realities.

Dealing with clients

Sometimes the biggest roadblock to success actually comes from the people who are paying your company to perform. Who wins there? Nobody -- unless they use the Williams Method. Here are some common problems experienced by providers and how they can be dealt with using the Williams Method.

Your client gives you vague and inconsistent requirements. The high-low will set them straight. When someone gets hit in two different places from two different directions, they'll be more likely to do your bidding from that point forward.

Your client fails to communicate their needs properly. They'll have more time to work on their communications skills resting comfortably at home after having their knee twisted six ways to Sunday, won't they?

Your client doesn't start the project on time. Bend their arms like they're the hands on a clock to remind them that in business, time is money.

Your point of contact isn't engaged with the project. This one is pretty obvious: make sure someone else becomes the point of contact -- someone who saw their predecessor get rolled away on a stretcher thanks to your highly motivated staff and realizes it would be in his best interest to stay on topic.

Dealing with in-house perceptions

A common complaint among employees is that management has lost touch; that they're too far removed from it all to get what employees are going through. I say that management should never be afraid to get its hands dirty to show the rank and file that "we're all in this together." So, managers, don't be afraid to lower your shoulders and drive it into a competitor's groin when he's looking the other way. Your employees will react well to you showing them how it's done. They'll also see that you're a can-do badass who leads from the front -- the kind of person they would want to take orders from.

Dealing with underproductive employees

According to one estimate, "80 percent to 90 percent of the sales are made by 20 percent of the sales force." So, why bother having the other 80 percent of the sales force at all? What would get them motivated? What if they knew there was a bounty on all underperformers? Think they'd hit the phones a little harder then? Under the Williams Method, those not pulling their weight might be idling around the water fountain one moment and lying in a crumpled heap the next, wishing they'd put in the extra effort to make their quota in the previous quarter.

That's the beauty of the Williams Method. It works on every level of business functionability: externally, internally and business-to-business. Embrace it -- before your competition does.

Artemis Arthur Garfamudis originally studied typing at the Miss DuPrix School of Business on Route 22 in North Plainfield, N.J. He has since taken several refresher typing courses. It is with great pride that he types all his own columns.

Follow Art Garfamudis on Twitter @artgarfamudis ... if you dare.

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