Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

Posts tagged ‘Winning team Culture’

Eight Great Practices for Creating a Winning Team Corporate Culture

Never Doubt Committed People

You can have the best business plan and build the finest facility but, at the end of the day, none of that matters without a winning team of employees that are committed to the business and its success.

Of course, it helps to hire the right people to begin with – those with a winning personality and mindset that best fit your ‘winning team’ culture. 

Beyond hiring winners, however, creating (and sustaining) a true Winning Team corporate culture is not something that magically appears. It must be cultivated and will flourish or flounder depending on how it is managed.  

To help you with that, here are my great eight practices for creating a Winning Team corporate culture that support world-class sales and customer service objectives:

  • Unengaged Employees Don’t Create Engaged Customers

While this is more of an affirmation than a practice, it’s really important you keep this fact at the forefront of your creating a winning team corporate culture efforts.  If employees are displeased at work you can bet some of that displeasure is spilling over into their customer interactions and, ultimately, costing the business substantial dollars in lost revenue. All of the following practices foster and build employee engagement.

  • Set The Bar

Do you have documented values and best practices that set of standards of performance and state clearly what your organization stands for and what is expected of employees to achieve it? Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Communicating your organizations’ commitment to excellence through values and best practices ensures everyone is on the same page and there is no confusion with your Winning Team Culture mission.

Establishing values and best practices is an integral part of my exclusive training tool-kit/portal program for clients. Visit Your Training Portal for details.

  • Demonstrate Care

A Winning Team Culture can only survive and thrive in a caring and supportive environment. When employees feel like machines, not human beings, they become emotionally detached from the business and tend to go through the motions to get through the day.

To build a winning team culture, managers should always treat their team employees exceedingly well. Do you treat your employees in a manner that is consistent with the way you want them to treat customers? Many managers do not, yet they expect their personnel to excel when it comes to positive customer interactions.

Managers should initiate contact with team members on a regular basis, both formally and informally.  Taking time with employees to show an interest in their work, listening to their issues and experiences demonstrates that you value their contribution and builds morale and motivation.

  • Communicate Well

Can you hear me now? Too often employees don’t feel like they have a true voice in the company, that no one is really listening and their opinion doesn’t matter. Winning Team cultures encourage information sharing and promote an environment of open communication where employees are comfortable contributing their feedback and ideas.

  • Live “Winning Team” Every Day

Creating a winning team culture is not something that happens at the corporate headquarters behind closed doors. It’s in the stores, the service areas, the warehouse, and everywhere else employees interact with customers and each other.

Managers need to be physically (and mentally) present in the workplace to consistently communicate the winning team message with employees, reinforce a commitment to excellence and promote continuous improvement for individuals and the company as a whole. 

  • Be a Champion Cheerleader

Perhaps nothing builds a Winning Team corporate culture better than recognition. It’s amazing what can be achieved when people feel appreciated! Recognition and praise goes a long way towards building positive team spirit and morale. Managers should always seek out opportunities to acknowledge both individual and team efforts and celebrate jobs well done.

Make saying ‘thank you’ a habit and always let employees know when they have performed well. This reinforces and encourages proper behaviors, builds trust and strengthens the culture.

  • Promote Progress

The old adage fits here, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”.  It’s the same with employees and corporate cultures, they must move forward or they will deteriorate over time. Managers need to make progress a priority and not settle for status quo. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to encourage the next phase of employee and team growth. Engagement and productivity improve when employees know how they are doing now and what they can expect in the future.

  • Have Fun

Okay, I admit it, this is my favorite one. As I discuss in my Pinnacle Performance training, having fun at work is a business strategy. It gets back to practice # 1, unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. There’s a reason so many market-leading companies are also considered to be the best places to work. They know happiness matters and they create a culture of fun in the workplace that improves employee morale and productivity.

See my YouTube video, Workplace FUN Tips! for some fun inspiration.

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit

Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!

Put Some Zip In Your Do Da

“Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!” is one of my favorite Pinnacle Performance maxims and for good reason…  it is the fuel of high performance!

We all have that daily ‘Do Da’ we do but all too often there’s little zip in it.

The fact is positive attracts positive in all we do. A positive, upbeat attitude typically influences a similar positive response in your customers, co-workers and everyone else you interact with.  Conversely, a negative or poor attitude repels, typically influencing a similar negative response from others.

Pinnacle Performers in sales or customer service demonstrate Zip with their upbeat, friendly tonality never sounding bored or tired.   

Your outward appearance also says a lot about your Do Da. High level politicians up to the President of the United States are coached on body language and how to present themselves to the public because we the people expect leaders to look a certain way.

Leaders (that people want to follow) and successful folks in general are not those that look like they’re carrying a heavy burden and dragging themselves along day after day.

We’ve all seen these sleep-walking Sally’s at work:


To quote Aerosmith, their ‘get up and go must have got up and went’. A sweet emotion interacting with these folks it certainly is not. 

For your selling/customer service/life purposes, recognize that people naturally gravitate towards people who are successful and avoid failure at all costs. Pinnacle Performers project Zip with an energetic pep in their step, good posture and a can-do demeanor that delivers a message of confidence and success. 

Did you see the The LEGO® Movie? I sang “Everything Is Awesome!” for about a month straight and still do whenever it pops into my head. Perfect inspiration to get your Zip going!

Everything Is Awesome

This guy has some serious Zip in his Do Da too:


Insert your peppy self here…

Peppy Pete

Here’s a short clip on the topic from a keynote presentation I gave back in 2012:

In a nutshell, you can achieve more and contribute to making work (and the world) a better place with more Zip and less dip in your Do Da!

Sale Away Do Da Logo

Show Your Zip with assorted apparel and unique merchandise available here > Pinnacle Performance Online Store

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

(I don’t just preach Zip for your Do Da, I practice and teach it too)

Retail Management Success Lessons from the Failing of RadioShack


It has been said that in every crisis there’s an opportunity. This is certainly true in sales and customer service; every missed sale or customer service failure provides a lesson learned – an opportunity to do better the next time around.

This article presents a retail failure of epic proportion, that of RadioShack corporation. Once a thriving retail giant, the company is now on life-support and fading fast.  Over the past four years, the retailer’s market capitalization has fallen by nearly 97% and with 10 straight quarters of losses their demise appears eminent.

RadioShack’s end would put them on the list of failed consumer electronics retailers that includes Circuit City, CompUSA, and Tweeter – all down and and out in recent years.

It would be easy to point blame on the changing marketplace with more and more electronics consumers shopping (and purchasing) online and that is certainly a threat that RadioShack did not successfully counter. Best Buy, by comparison, is profitable today due in large part to meeting that threat head-on by growing their e-commerce business with increased product availability online and speedy shipping.

But it’s not that easy…

True world-class companies understand that nothing really matters unless they have a great team of happy, engaged employees who believe in the mission at hand and are committed to providing the very best experience to shoppers and the very best service to customers. I call this PRIDE and it’s a very real element that you can see, feel and experience when doing business with world-class retail, hospitality and professional service businesses. Great managers foster PRIDE as part of creating a winning team culture.

So how has RadioShack been doing on that front? The answer to the question is covered (from many angles) in a disturbingly fascinating article published just before Thanksgiving by a former employee of RadioShack.

In the article the author, Jon Bois, provides a unique perspective of what was going on behind the curtain during his 3 1/2 years with the company.

Interestingly, Jon and I share a very similar recollection of the early days of RadioShack. An excerpt:

I bet RadioShack was great once. I can’t look through their decades-old catalogs and come away with any other impression. They sold giant walnut-wood speakers I’d kill to have today. They sold computers back when people were trying to understand what they were. When I was a little kid, going to RadioShack was better than going to the toy store. It was the toy store for tall people.

 I agree with that sentiment. Sadly, much of Jon’s account can be summed up in this excerpt:

But as this company has spent the last decade-plus trying to save itself, the happiness of the employees has always been the first to go overboard. Its store managers are worked so hard that they become unhappy, half-awake shadows of themselves. Labor laws have been brazenly ignored. Untold hours of labor haven’t been paid for (when I quit, on good terms and with two weeks’ notice, they withheld my final paychecks for months and wouldn’t tell me why). Lawyers have been sent to shut down websites that have bad things to say about RadioShack. Employees who make a few dimes over minimum wage are pressured, shamed, and yelled at as though they’re brokering million-dollar deals.

RadioShack is a rotten place to work, generally not a very good place to shop, and an untenable business to run. Everyone involved loses.

Ouch! That’s certainly not the image RadioShack, or any company, wants to project to the public. But, as is so often the case, happy, engaged employees will be great advocates for their companies. Unhappy, disengaged employees will be (along with unhappy customers) the biggest critics.

Here’s the whole article >

A eulogy for RadioShack, the panicked and half-dead retail empire

No doubt there will be some that dismiss Jon’s account as the rant of a disgruntled former employee. Just know this.. even if the story is 50% true it is still 100% disgraceful and wrong. And, from these failings, there is a lesson to be learned for all retailers. 

Make a Great Day!



Best Retail Workplaces

The best retailers know that customer engagement begins with employee engagement . These successful companies focus on creating and sustaining a winning team culture – literally taking care of the employees that take care of their businesses.

In the article I shared on twitter this morning (link below) from Fortune Magazine, 20 great companies are featured as the current best employers in retail. 

If you want to be the best employer, then have a look at what the best retailers are doing for their employees:

Sale Away’s Pinnacle Performance Credo

Here’s my company’s new, special edition, less-filling, environmentally-friendly Pinnacle Performance Credo:

Pinnacle Performance Training

For details visit > Pinnacle Performance Credo

Feel free to share with friends, family, general bystanders and everyone in your professional network.

Make a Great Day!


Let’s Link-In!

How to be Engaging and Memorable: A Lesson from Virgin Airways

Richard Branson

In my “Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!” post I wrote about how a positive, upbeat attitude naturally improves your interactions with customers, co-workers and human beings in general. 

The sad fact is there’s far less than Zippy behavior out in the marketplace today with employees in countless organizations providing customer service with no life in it. Their bored, unengaged going through the motions demeanor demonstrating that they would rather be somewhere else (anywhere else) than serving customers.

The problem is so common that most customers have learned to live with it, usually tuning-out during and then forgetting about their lousy experience afterwards.

A good example of this is the airlines industry. With clients spread out over No. America, I travel frequently for business and have occupied a seat on just about every domestic airline there is. My experience has revealed there’s a clear distinction between those airlines that ‘get it’ when it comes to engaging, memorable service and those that don’t.

Case in point: Anyone who has flown knows that shortly before take-off a flight attendant will announce the FAA-mandated flight safety information.  Most airline attendants do this as if their reading a restaurant menu, all facts and figures, no emotion whatsoever. Consequently, 98% of the passengers tune-out and focus on something more interesting; a book, the view outside, the back of the chair in front of them, etc. For the record, it’s a sure sign your safety (or any other) announcement is failing when the  Solafeet Foot Tanner in the SkyMall catalog is more intriguing!

A few airlines do this noticeably different, Southwest and JetBlue being two of my favorites, with employees regularly injecting ‘fun’ into their customer interactions and typically making announcements with added humorous flair.  In fact, on a recent JetBlue flight the attendant received a seated ovation from the captive audience that was clearly entertained and engaged by his funny flight safety rendition.

And now,  Virgin Airways trumps them all with their version of the flight safety announcement in this entertaining video that was just released on October 29th:

As I posted recently, Richard Branson and Virgin Airways understand the importance of having fun to engage their internal customers (employees) and external customers to create memorable experiences.

Ask yourself and your customer service team: What can we do differently to add more fun in our customer service process to create more engaging, memorable experiences?

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at

Enthusiasts Drive Your Business


Ever been to a NASCAR race? If you have, then you know those are special events well-attended by a special brand of people.

Having partaken in a couple NAS­CAR race-day events at NH Motor Speedway, I can testify that racing is alive and well, and New Hampshire is certainly not alone in attracting the masses to its local NASCAR events.

The first thing a novice attendee (like me) notices is just how far away from the track you have to park – so far removed that I couldn’t even remotely see the track from our parking spot. So you need good walking shoes.

As you trek the five or so miles to the track, the next revelation is the sheer magnitude of campers you encounter along the way. I lost count at 1,271 or thereabouts. And the fascinating thing is almost all of the campers are not locals. Taking in the license plates, you realize the whole country is here and accounted for, from as nearby as the New England states to the South, West, and everywhere in between.

Who are these people? And, more importantly, why did they travel all this way for this?

The answer is they’re enthusiasts, and, like NASCAR, your tire and auto service business is dependent on them to grow and prosper.

At a NASCAR event, these enthusiasts are loyal, devoted, committed followers who happily march the miles (and pay the fees) to attend each event – essentially, doing business with NASCAR as often as possible.

What a concept!

I also learned that there are not only NASCAR race enthusiasts, but more often than not, NASCAR race driver enthusiasts. Case in point: As I was sitting there watching the cars warm up before the flag dropped, the clearly southern gentleman next to me screamed at me, “Who ya here to see?” I wasn’t there to see anyone in particular, but using my keen powers of perception, I noticed he had a Jimmie Johnson hat, shirt and banner so I shouted back, “I like Jimmie Johnson.”

The guy turned to his pals and screamed, “He’s here to see Jimmie!” I was now part of the club, an insider enthusiast among true insider enthusiasts. Coincidentally, Jimmie Johnson went on to win the championship that season, a fact that likely earned me ‘fortune-teller’ status with my new friends.

A Winning Team

People love winners. Which brings me back to you and your business. Have you created a winning team at your business? As I wrote in my article “Eight Great Practices for Creating a Winning Team Culture”, your business must live “winning team” every day with leadership consistently demonstrating, communicating and reinforcing the company’s commitment to excellence.

Above all else, enthusiasts are enthusiastic. Winning teams are much the same in that they look like winners and act like winners. There’s an old saying in sales: “success breeds success.” The same is true for business.

Have a look at your staff. Are they communicating success or distress? Success looks a certain way. It has a good mood, stands tall, looks people in the eye, is attentive, confident and engaging.

Conversely, failure has an unmistakable look all its own. Disengaged, depressed, foot dragging, off-putting. If your business is the only one in town, a monopoly, none of this matters. I bet that is not the case. Given that consumers likely have many choices for your products and/or services, yours better convey “winning team.”

Buying is primarily an emotional experience. Customer loyalty is driven by emotional engagement. You need only be at a NASCAR event for 10 minutes to realize there is a very high level of emotional engagement there. It would take the Hulk to pry the typical fan away from the track.

Emotional engagement and creating enthusiasts is all about how customers feel when they do business with you and, more importantly, how they feel when they’re done.

Enthusiasts’ feel good about doing business with you and take it upon themselves to promote your business at every opportunity!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at


P.R.I.D.E. is an acronym for Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence!


My Pinnacle Performance sales, customer service and winning team culture training is driven by research of world-class organizations; market leaders, customer service champs and many companies that are also considered to be the best places to work in the world. What did these businesses do to achieve their market superiority? What are the best practices and principles that guide and motivate their culture, engage and influence their customers, and deliver high-performance results? And, most importantly, how do you apply these winning elements in your organization?

As I pinball around North America training organizations on Pinnacle Performance we learn (and work to adopt and institutionalize) the answers to those questions. Answers that would take far more time than we have here and now.

However, there is something you can (and very much should) do now that will have a substantial positive impact on your organizations performance. That’s something is practicing PRIDE in all that your organization does.

I want to be clear here… Most executives already believe they have PRIDE. If you’re an owner or senior manager then it’s safe to say that you’re likely committed to delivering excellence in your organization. That’s not the problem.

The problem is that results for an organization are rarely the result of the senior executives efforts alone. By and large results originate from the employees that meet, greet and interact with customers (and potential customers) at the point-of-sale.  It is here that PRIDE is most vulnerable and often falters.

Let me give you an example… One of the companies I cover in training is a leading gourmet retailer. I’m intentionally leaving out their name here but they are a very popular, recognizable brand that most likely has a store location a short distance from where you are now. Their sales/customer service model for employees is a fairly straightforward 3 principles: Connect, Discover, Respond. This is how employees are trained and what they should be doing on a customer-by-customer basis to deliver the best results for the customer and, ultimately, the business.

The reality is that this model, and every other training model, only works when the employees that need to carry it out have true PRIDE. When I teach about the gourmet retailer, countless trainees think or say “I’ve been there… that didn’t happen to me”. That is true and the answer as to why often goes back to the employees lack of PRIDE.

Doesn’t training teach PRIDE? Good question.. In short, no. As the first letter implies, PRIDE is something personal. It is fostered by effective leadership and enriched by a winning team culture environment and should certainly be reinforced in training.

Here’s another example…

A popular restaurant chain (again, leaving name out intentionally) with locations through-out North America trains their staff that when greeting a party seated at their table they should 1) squat down to eye level or sit at table if a seat is available and 2) ask if guests have eaten at the restaurant before so they can welcome appropriately. I have likely personally dined at this establishment over 50 times in the past 10 years alone and have only seen this simple 2-step act maybe 1/3 of the time. I’d bet that percentage is pretty accurate for all guest greetings across the chain. Again, ALL staff is trained that way, not 1/3. The simple answer for the discrepancy is PRIDE. Many employees that attend training (and ultimately work for a business) are tourists, they’re just along for the ride and really don’t care what the company wants. The most important thing to these disengaged folks when they attend training is “what time is lunch?” and “when do we get out of here?”  

Your organization may be preaching and teaching world-class practices and principles but if the employees are simply going through the motions and don’t buy-in and commit to practicing PRIDE then results will suffer.

PRIDE is the executable of Pinnacle Performance. To maximize results, all employees must practice PRIDE every day in all customer interactions. 

Show Your PRIDE! Print this poster and display where your team can see it daily > Champions PRIDE Poster

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services visit Steve can be reached @

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