Welcome to Massapequa!

A MESSAGE FROM THE MASSAPEQUA CHAMBER 

The age-old mantra that says, “The customer is always right” is – as we embark on year 2018 – about to take on strong challenges. Given a decade or two, it might very well become an anachronism. In its stead, you will find more and more companies embracing an “employee-centric” model. Listen to English business magnate and billionaire, Sir Richard Branson (CEO Virgin Atlantic Airlines) when he says, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the client.” Now almost certainly – the social scientists will say, “We mustn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.” “Every customer is entitled to an explanation whether they’re right or wrong.” This “horse – and – buggy” thinking will get you nowhere. In what credible corporate mission statement will one find the directive that states: “You will (at all times) for $15/hr. – allow yourself to become both a verbal and human punching bag?” Perhaps nothing is more dehumanizing or demoralizing to an employee than to be beat up by a client/customer (best described as a curmudgeon on their best day) for doing nothing other than their job… only later to be thrown under the bus by their employer.

A recent LinkedIn article shows “research conducted by Globoforce found 78 percent of workers said they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized and appreciated.” Just think back to the last time you were working for someone who didn’t appreciate your efforts. It’s a morale-killer and probably explains why you are an entrepreneur or self-employed today. Leadership and management expert, Brigette Hyacinth reminds us that “If you treat employees like they don’t make a difference, they won’t.” It’s time then – to realize – employees are our greatest asset.

The change, of course, is not going to come overnight. The feel-good bromide “The customer is always right” has been the transcendent gold standard for centuries. It still has legs, I am sure, but “Employees First” is coming up on the rail and with time – will begin to edge out this timeworn trope. It’s simple, as British-American, author and marketing consultant, Simon Sinek likes to say (no pun intended) “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Now, no one is suggesting we altogether abandon the “Customer is always right” credo any more than we insinuate sounding the death knell at this time. For certain, “losing a customer is never a good thing, but allowing a culture of mistrust to permeate your team is far worse.” Instead, let’s just be cognizant of a credible, paradigm shift.   Survival Psychology 101 will tell us repeatedly, “that the most common action is inactivity…which in the end…prepares us well for the roles of victim and corpse.”

 

Need more proof,” you say. Sure, listen to Starbucks Executive Chairman, Howard Schultz, who said, “We built the Starbucks brand first with our people, not with consumers. Because we believed the best way to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers was to hire and train great people, we invested in employees.” Clearly, the trend seems to be leaning in favor of companies entrusting their employees to be their best advocates…or at least the successful ones. Do I believe it? As sure as I believe coffee leads to Danish! “Companies that care for their employees,” according to a 2010 Maritz study, “get a ROI that is immeasurable. The ROI is increased productivity as well as employees being great brand ambassadors. This is priceless!”

 

What are your thoughts on this latest philosophy? Are you ready to depart from the old ways either partially or entirely? I’d love to hear your thoughts. We meet again at 12:00pm on Thursday, January 25th at Zona Restaurant (located at 4883 Merrick Rd, Massapequa Park, NY 11762.) We’d love to see you join us. Because as sure as employees are your greatest asset – you the members are our greatest asset – even if we didn’t repeat as champions of the “Best of Long Island.” Yes, I know – I’m as surprised as you. “Winning takes talent,” said former UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden, “to repeat takes character.” We did both. Unfortunately, we came up a little short in our quest for a third straight title. If I knew the winner, I would congratulate them here in these pages. I will, however, be forced to wait one month to do the honors. If I wanted to make believe I wasn’t disappointed, I could soften the blow with “Who cares about winning? We should focus on serving!” Admittedly, it would be nice to do both. Congratulations to all those who either captured their first title or retained their crown. Let us know at the meeting and I’ll be certain to give you recognition. Additionally, let Shelley at the Chamber office know and I’m sure she will be more than happy to include your designation in one of our upcoming e-blasts. A happy Shelley is a happy membership!

Win or lose, we still think you’re special. At first glance, it seems the feeling is mutual. Shelley tells me the renewals for Chamber Memberships are coming in at a pace that far exceeds last year. If you’re one of those vigilant members who have already paid, I thank you. If you have just finished shoveling out from last week’s nor’easter and have since mailed your renewal, I thank you as well. Not sure you’ll be back with us…or still sitting on the fence; let me give you a few excellent reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate another second. In no particular order: 1.) Research shows that consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of their local Chamber of Commerce 2.) Promotion and publicity (utilize our e-blasts and website to promote your business and/or service 3.) Create networking opportunities. General Meetings are a good place to start. 4.) Membership can increase positive perception among consumers. 5.) My term ends on June 21st“And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong,” sing it Don, “After the ‘boys of summer’ have gone.”

 

Before we depart, we have the matter of a couple of upcoming events. Please grab a pen or pencil and/or your utilitarian devices. On February 22, 2018, we will honor our local volunteer firefighters at a noon luncheon at Sal’s Place (1495 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, NY 11758.) Then on March 28, 2018 – It’s the Granddaddy of ‘em all – when we celebrate our 70th Anniversary. This platinum jubilee will take place at the Fox Hollow Inn (7725 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797) Response cards are expected by March 1st. Please don’t miss this great sponsorship opportunity.

Just another party…hardly. Shhhh! Please don’t tell all the septuagenarians on the Board the real reason you’ll be attending. We told them we’re there to celebrate their 70th. The night has infinite potential. The Chamber is turning seventy. Now, that‘s something to celebrate. My opening remarks – I assuredly avow – will not run longer than a typical President’s Message. This alone should be reason enough to attend. See you there!