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Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty, and Profit Hardcover – Feb 1 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Brown Books (Feb. 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612540384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612540382
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #927,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Those who have read Paul Spiegelman's previous book, Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit, already know that the company he co-founded with his two brothers in 1985, Beryl, is a very special human community. Almost everyone who works for the firm is smiling and he explains why.

As I began to read Smile Guide, in which two dozen of those workers explain why, I was again reminded of my favorite passage in Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching that describes the leadership and management style among those who have supervisory responsibilities at Beryl:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

What we have in this volume are insights as well as 'perspectives on culture, loyalty, and profit' provided by 24 people who work at Beryl. As Spiegelman notes, they 'speak for 350 coworkers who, having been given a purpose and the opportunity, are responsible for creating and sustaining the company.' It should be noted that Beryl's clients are more than 500 hospitals throughout the United States to which it provides outsourced customer service solutions in the healthcare industry. Beryl has turned a commodity business (call centers) into a service for which its customers are willing to pay a premium. As Spiegelman observes, 'Our secret is to connect our culture to our customers and, in turn, be able to invest our profits back into our people to give them better resources to do their jobs.'

I now ask you to pretend that you are visiting Beryl as I once did and Paul Spiegelman comes out to the reception area to greet you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How and why a values-based company can make the world a better place by enhancing the lives of those who work there. Jan. 17 2012
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Those who have read Paul Spiegelman's previous book, Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit, already know that the company he co-founded with his two brothers in 1985, Beryl, is a very special human community. Almost everyone who works for the firm is smiling and he explains why.

As I began to read Smile Guide, in which two dozen of those workers explain why, I was again reminded of my favorite passage in Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching that describes the leadership and management style among those who have supervisory responsibilities at Beryl:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

What we have in this volume are insights as well as "perspectives on culture, loyalty, and profit" provided by 24 people who work at Beryl. As Spiegelman notes, they "speak for 350 coworkers who, having been given a purpose and the opportunity, are responsible for creating and sustaining the company." It should be noted that Beryl's clients are more than 500 hospitals throughout the United States to which it provides outsourced customer service solutions in the healthcare industry. Beryl has turned a commodity business (call centers) into a service for which its customers are willing to pay a premium. As Spiegelman observes, "Our secret is to connect our culture to our customers and, in turn, be able to invest our profits back into our people to give them better resources to do their jobs."

I now ask you to pretend that you are visiting Beryl as I once did and Paul Spiegelman comes out to the reception area to greet you. During the next several hours, he introduces you to several of his colleagues. In effect, that is how the material in the book is presented. Here are specific examples of what you would learn from a series of conversations as revealed in the first three of eleven chapters:

In Chapter 2, Glenda Dearion, Andrew Pryor, and Maricela Rodriguez explain how Beryl measures "fit as well as skill, and the relative importance of each," when recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the people it needs.

Then in Chapter 3, Bob Willey, Jhan Knebel, and Jennifer McDonald explain how Beryl has established and continues to nourish a "learning environment" for which training develops leadership at all levels and in all areas, ensuring meanwhile that training that "teaches" what Beryl "preaches," and during which enthusiasm is "contagious."

And then in Chapter 4, Jennifer Mills, Lara Morrow, and Lance Shipp explain how and why communication at Beryl "must be done in multiple mediums and with great repetition." As Spiegelman explains, "This isn't about announcements...it is about consist two-way dialogue" between and among those who "always know why they're there doing what they do, how it connects to [Beryl's] vision, and what's in it for them" if they help the company - and each of its clients -- get there.

Those who read this book will appreciate the provision of a detailed "Tips and Tools" section at the conclusion of most chapters. However, obviously, the primary purpose of this material is NOT to encourage cosmetic imitation of what Beryl is and does; rather, to help leaders in other companies to learn how what Beryl is and does can guide and inform their own efforts to make their companies more values-based, to make the world better place, and meanwhile to enhance the lives of the people who work for them. Oscar Wilde once advised, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." As Beryl demonstrates each day, that is as true of companies as it is of individuals.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book. Jan. 12 2012
By Lynne Cunningham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is thoroughly readable and full of great ideas for creating a culture that is a differentiating strategy. Each chapter ends with summarizing tips and tools. I read an early version of this book and really liked it. With editing, the content is even better, easier to read and more exciting.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An insider's guide to employee engagement Jan. 18 2012
By Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Peter Drucker said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." In other words, you can have the most comprehensive strategic plan in business history, and it won't gain an ounce of traction without a culture that is aligned well enough to execute the strategy. That alignment comes down to people.

Paul Spiegelman knows what it takes to build a culture that will drive and support strategy day in and day out. In his latest book, Smile Guide, Employee Perspective on Culture, Loyalty and Profit, Spiegelman tells the story of the Beryl Companies' success, not through his own eyes, but through the eyes of the employees. Beryl is the national leader in healthcare call centers, an industry that is notorious for low morale and high turnover. Beryl has become the leader by nurturing its people and creating a culture where people are engaged, empowered and loyal. The result is a better quality product, financial performance and growth.

What I love about this book is the way the reader is drawn into the Beryl culture through the many and varied perspectives of employees ranging from senior executives to the customer service agents. Each chapter addresses one facet of culture which is brought to life through stories and examples and ends with action steps that the reader can implement in his or her own organization.

Another thing I applaud Spiegelman for is not shying away from the tougher issues associated with organizational culture. It's one thing to inspire your employees with a fun, engaging environment, but what do you do about the few that want to push boundaries or take advantage of corporate and peer generosity? This book hits on those topics as well. By addressing the tough stuff, and sharing how they dealt with these challenges, the book reminds us that we can't let ourselves be stifled by the few bad apples. Doing the right thing for and with the employees will pay off.

This book is a sequel to Spiegelman's 2007 book,Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit but stands firmly on its own. I think it's a must-read for anyone who wants to improve the organizational culture. The stories are inspiring and the action steps are practical.
Proof that employees matter & make a difference! April 1 2013
By D. Loftus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after having read the previous books by Paul Spiegelman which speak to the importance of a company's culture and employee happiness at work as it relates to and impacts the client relationship for the better. This compilation of actual employee commentaries is inspiring! It is too bad that many companies do not "get" the connection. Great read!
Unique viewpoints for business and culture April 24 2012
By Glenn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Having spent time with many of the individuals featured in the book, I can tell you that this second perspective on the success of Beryl is a great complement to the first book to explore it, "Why is Everyone Smiling?"

It's the troops side of the story.

I read a lot of "business success" books and they tend to be a combination of valid (but difficult to apply) theory, personal ego stroking and "what's the latest trend?" in business. The spots where "Smile Guide" diverges from this course are
A)immediately from the start and B) in its voice(s). If you're looking for a book that would engage your employees as much as it does your leadership, this is a work that could accomlish both.

One key to remember if choosing to purchase is that very few of the contributors to the book have penned business tomes before. (I'd gather none outside of the CEO who wrote the book I previously mentioned.) Turn on the right perspective when reading the book and you'll get the most out of it. It's not "buzzwordy" because that's not language of how they're working inside of the company. That's refreshing.

Overall, put on your employee perspective glasses and you'll get the most out of the book.

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