Author: Success In A Bundle

This page is an ongoing blog for Success In A Bundle, LLC. It is a source that reflects on topics that are relevant right now. We are passionate about healing the world so there is an emphasis on positivity as well as the nonprofit sector. Collectively, as a human society, we have all the answers to eliminate all problems. Individually, we know nothing. Spread love.

It’s Official: Micromanaging Kills Productivity

New research suggests the more you try to dictate how and when employees work, the less they will accomplish.

Ever wonder what really makes employees work harder?

Let’s start with what doesn’t. Contrary to the instinct of micromanagers everywhere, watching over your employees’ shoulders and dictating where and when they should work is perhaps the worst tactic for productivity. 

New research from University of Pennsylvania professor Alexandra Michel finds highly educated employees work more when given autonomy over their schedules. In fact, they’ll often work to the point of exhaustion. 

Michel saw this herself, when she began her career at Goldman Sachs years ago. There, the average investment banker burned out after nine years and typically quit by age 35. To understand this, Michel spent 12 years studying young executives at two large investment banks.

When employees were pressured to work more, they were less inspired, she found. But when allowed to set their own pace, taking fewer vacations and working on weekends, they could accept it because it was their choice, Michel explained in the summer issue of The Sociological Quarterly, where her study was published. 

Of course, employee-dictated schedules aren’t without their flaws. Michel noted many autonomous bankers worked excessively hard, suffering “debilitating physical and psychological breakdowns” as well as back pain, insomnia, addictions, and eating disorders. Others often sacrificed personal needs at the expense of a healthy work-life balance. So while the work schedules were on their own terms, their judgment, creativity, and ethical sensitivity suffered, making life miserable for those around them. 

What’s your take on how much autonomy employees should have regarding their schedules?

5 Ways to Know You Are Ready For Entrepreneurship

Some employees dream of the day they can fire their boss and become the master of their own destiny. How do you know when the time is right?

Some employees dream of the day they can fire their boss and become the master of their own destiny.  How do you know when the time is right?  If these five bullets describe you you’re ready to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur.

Understand the difference between tasks and responsibilities. Employees wait to be handed a task to carry out.  Even if you carry out that task to perfection, it doesn’t mean you are ready to be an entrepreneur.   Taking responsibility means asking questions about the task you intend to complete.  If you regularly ask these questions, you are on your way to becoming an entrepreneur:

  • Is this the best way to accomplish this?
  • Does this even need to be done?
  • Will someone always need to check my work?

Grow up!  You are now an adult and you act like it.  Chuck Blakeman says this best:

Adults ask questions, most importantly, “Why?” Unlike the Silent Generation, they don’t live passively but are self-motivated, self-managed, creative, and problem solvers. They don’t shut up; they make waves. They don’t sit down; they are highly visible. And they don’t expect the company or other adults to take care of them.

Take a risk!  Most employees value security over anything else.  They want the security of a paycheck.  The security of a pension.  The security of “knowing it all” without the fear of owning any responsibility.  An employee will never take a leap from the edge because it’s too risky.  The fear of failure is far too compelling to take a chance.  At the same time, entrepreneurs do not take foolish risks.  They have counted the cost and understand the cost and reward of risks.  If you ever want to lose employee status, you have to jump in anticipation of the payoff.

Stop thinking you can do things everything by yourself.  The Lone Ranger had Tonto to depend on for help. You need someone to lean on for advice, accountability and support. A major role change is going to be stressful, no matter how positive it may be. Finding a mentor, business coach or trade organization of fellow professionals can be invaluable. Having a support system will give you perspective and lead to stronger choices earlier in your transition.

Don’t wait for the perfect plan… none exists.  Employees are always waiting for the perfect plan to be in place before making a move.  In their minds, the world is completely linear and the best time to take action happens when the stars of the universe align perfectly.  Throw that nonsense out the window. Only Hollywood writes those kinds of scripts.  Planning is a good idea, but the minute you put something on paper, it will need adjustment.  Take General Patton’s advice here: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”  Just get started with your new project, business, or venture.  It is not going to finish itself, and it will never go as you plan. And that’s fine in the world of the entrepreneur.

Are you ready to do your own thing? Please take a moment to share this article and your comments with others.

This Deli Makes $50 Million a Year By Staying Small

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It’s crazy to learn about a deli that makes $50 million dollars a year. It’s stranger yet how they’ve done it.

Most restaurants grow their revenue by opening more locations and eventually developing a franchise model like Subway. You sell more and more sandwiches as you open more and more stores. The problem is that the quality inevitably declines. Your restaurant becomes more about volume than great food and remarkable service.

Zingerman’s, a deli based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, faced this fork in the road: open more locations or face continually stagnating revenue growth. Instead of choosing the conventional franchise path, they blazed their own trail.

 

They grew from $5 million to $50 million in annual revenue in a way that allowed them to stay small and preserve the things about the company that made them special. But it wasn’t in food or service where they innovated to drive 10x revenue growth but in an unexpected way — by innovating on organizational structure and company culture.

Keeping It Zingy — Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

From the very beginning, Zingerman’s founders Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig had set out to do something totally original and “build an extraordinary organization.”

But rather than focus on profits like everyone else, they wanted their company to have a different organizing principle — one “where decisions would not be based on who had the most authority but on whoever had the most relevant information.” This would allow “everyone to help run the business” and each employee to feel “personally responsible for its success.”

So in 1994, with the deli producing $5 million in annual revenue, the founders sat down and wrote their vision statement for what they called “Zingerman’s Community of Businesses,” a loosely organized group of local businesses under the Zingerman’s umbrella that gave its employees an opportunity to become partners.

Each ZCoB business would be founded and operated by a Zingerman’s employee-turned managing partner who had gone through extensive in-house training on Zingerman’s company culture, values, and how it does business. Both the managing partner and Zingerman’s would contribute capital to get the business going. The result is a bunch of small startups based on the Zingerman’s company culture and brand, all based locally in Ann Arbor.

Like the startup world, some ZCoB businesses have failed while others have succeeded. Today, ZCoB spans nine businesses along with “650 employees, 18 managing partners and combined annual sales of $50 million” of which the Deli only accounts for $14 million.

Do Well By Doing Good

Business journalist Bo Burlingham calls companies like Zingerman’s “small giants,” which are “companies that choose to be great instead of big.”  In tech, it’s companies like 37Signals, Moz, Wistia and Buffer that eschew VC cash in favor of growing slowly so that they can build a company that’s unique and remarkable.

But it’s hard not to focus on making money, because entrepreneurs are besieged by near-constant pressure to expand and grow.

Small giants think differently, sharing seven characteristics:

1) The leaders question the usual definitions of success in business and imagine other possibilities

2) The leaders build the kind of business they want to live in, rather than accommodating themselves to outside forces

3) The companies have an extraordinarily intimate relationship with their locations

4) The companies cultivate exceptionally intimate relationships with customers and suppliers, based on personal contact, 1:1 interaction, and mutual commitment to delivering on promises…

5) The companies have unusually intimate workplaces…

6) The companies may have unique corporate structures and modes of governance

7) The leaders bring passion to whatever the company does. “They had deep emotional attachments to the business, to the people who worked in it, and to its customers and suppliers…”

via Book Summary: Small Giants

For Zingerman’s this alternative thinking meant eschewing the well-trodden franchising path and imagining a new way to structure their company, all based on the values that inspired them to start Zingerman’s in the first place.

The happy twist is that small giants like Zingerman’s ultimately find financial success beyond their wildest dreams, and they do it by choosing not to focus on money.

Time Warner rejected $80B offer from 21st Century Fox: Sources

Twenty-First Century Fox, the media empire run by Rupert Murdoch, made an $80 billion takeover bid in recent weeks for Time Warner but was rebuffed, people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

The bold approach could put Time Warner in play and might again ignite a reshaping of the media industry, prompting a new spate of mega-mergers among the nation’s largest entertainment companies.

Mr. Murdoch has built a global media juggernaut over nearly five decades spanning studios, television channels and newspapers, in part, by pursuing bold deals that were often rebuffed at first by the targets of his overtures, only to later acquiesce.

The Time Warner Center in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
The Time Warner Center in New York City.

Together, Fox and Time Warner would become a colossus with an array of television networks and channels like Fox, Fox News, FX, TNT and TBS; the premium subscription channel HBO, movie studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers and other high-profile outlets. It would also combine Fox’s growing sports business with the broadcast rights that Time Warner owns for professional and college basketball and Major League Baseball, among other sports.

The combined company would have total revenue of $65 billion.

As part of Fox’s proposal to buy Time Warner, people briefed on the proposal said, Fox indicated that it would sell CNN to head off potential antitrust concerns since Fox News competes directly with CNN. Putting CNN on the auction block would likely stir up a bidding war for the news channel; both CBS and ABC, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, have long been seen as interested suitors.

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Fox first approached Time Warner in early June, these people said. Chase Carey, the president of Fox and a longtime top lieutenant to Mr. Murdoch, met privately with Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeff Bewkes, these people said. Later that month, Fox delivered a formal takeover proposal worth $85 in stock and cash for each Time Warner share.

At the time, the bid amounted to a roughly 25 percent premium to Time Warner’s stock price, these people said. Fox indicated it would pay 60 percent of the price in stock and 40 percent in cash. The media giant said that it would raise $24 billion to help pay for the deal and stressed that its bid was not dependent on financing. At $85 a share, Fox would be paying about 12.6 times the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization last year.

Fox estimated that a combination would create $1 billion in cost savings and possibly more, primarily by cutting sales staff and back-office functions, these people said. Fox insisted in its letter that it planned to keep Time Warner’s most successful managers and creative executives as well as its various channels and studios.

Time Warner’s board discussed the proposal at length, the people briefed said, and early this month sent a terse letter rejecting the offer, saying that it was better off remaining independent.

Among the points of contention: The stock portion of Fox’s offer would be made using nonvoting shares, these people said. Unlike Time Warner, which has no controlling shareholder, Fox is controlled by the Murdoch family and has two tiers of stock, voting and non-voting.

Representatives for Fox and Time Warner could not be immediately reached for comment.

Read MoreApple, with IBM, aims to dominate biz computing

It is unclear what Fox’s next steps will be. With the disclosure of the takeover approach, pressure from Time Warner shareholders could mount on Mr. Bewkes to begin talks. About 70 percent of Time Warner shareholders, including many big mutual funds, also own shares in Fox.

While the talks between Fox and Time Warner have thus far been considered friendly, people involved in the discussions said that Mr. Murdoch is determined to buy Time Warner and is unlikely to walk away.

Mr. Murdoch has been planning the deal with his inner circle: Mr. Carey; his son James; and the company’s chief financial officer, John Nallen, people briefed on the matter said.

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Already, a team of Wall Street advisers have been hired on both sides: Fox is being advised by Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners, while Time Warner has hired Citigroup and other advisers.

For Mr. Murdoch, an acquisition of Time Warner might be a capstone to his long career. People close to him have long said that he sees such a combination as a natural part of a consolidating entertainment industry. Time Warner itself has been part of several of the highest-profile mergers of the past few decades, including the merger of Time and Warner in the 1980s and the disastrous $165 billion sale to America Online at the height of the dot-com boom.

Mr. Murdoch’s approach follows Time Warner’s spinoff of its legacy print publications, a move that some analysts have said could spur the interest of potential suitors. Beyond Fox, however, it is not clear who would have both the interest and the financial firepower to pursue a deal, though rumors briefly arose that Google was interested in some sort of partnership.

Read MoreUS could lose $20B from corporate tax inversions

Mr. Bewkes was asked last week by Variety magazine about speculation that Fox or Google might seek a deal. He replied: “I know nothing about it.”

—By CNBC anchor and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin

Google Earth Ad Tells Lost Boy’s Miraculous Story

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A new ad (video below) for Google Earth has gone viral, thanks to the emotional and heartwarming story of Saroo Brierley, who used the app to find his family 25 years after he was separated from them. Then a five-year-old boy in India, Brierley was lost after accidentally boarding a runaway train. He ended up being adopted by a family in Australia.

But for 25 years, he was intent on finding the family he inadvertently left behind. Brierley acknowledges that it was exactly like searching for a needle in hay stack, but that he knew that the needle was at least there. Armed with nothing other than the memories his five-year-old self harvested of home, Brierley fruitlessly searched. And searched. And searched.

Years passed. And then, a breakthrough: Google Earth. Using the app, Brierley searched. outward and around from the Calcultta train station where he was discovered as a boy. He spent countless hours using the technology to tour the streets of India, relying on his memory to find his home. With persistence and dedication, he eventually found it and was reunited with his mother and siblings–all thanks to Google Earth.

The Google Earth ad isn’t the first time Brierley’s told his story; in fact, he wrote all about it in his book, “A Long Way From Home.” But whether you’ve already heard the story, or are being introduced to it for the first time in the following video, there’s no denying that it packs emotional punch. After all, what are the odds that a boy an ocean away from home would ever be reunited his family? Probably the same as finding a needle in a haystack.