Archive for May, 2011

Productivity Associates’ Open-Book Philosophy Builds Partnerships

May 23rd, 2011

Productivity Associates Incorporated (PAI) employs an extremely rare open pricing structure that guarantees PAI and its customers are teammates. It is uncommon today to find a company willing to disclose its costs. But PAI does just that, setting itself apart as an organization that wants to be forthcoming, work openly with its customers, and build a mutually beneficial relationship. With its open-book philosophy, PAI and its partners develop synergy.

An open pricing philosophy is so unusual, that you may wonder how it works. I liken this to hiring a general contractor to build a home. Some contractors charge a fixed price. For instance, you may pay them $500,000 to build and deliver a completed home. The contractor then seeks bids from subcontractors for labor and materials to get the home built. You are not informed about the prices the subcontractors are charging. In this model, the contractor has an incentive to use cheaper materials, and poor quality workmanship, as his profit is determined by the difference between what you pay him, and his costs to get the home completed. This structure does not align the contractor’s goals with your own, and there is no transparency.

On the other hand, you and your general contractor may employ a cost-plus structure. Under this type of contract, you pay the contractor a fee for overseeing the construction of the home, and then you pay for the actual cost of building the home. As each of the subcontractors bid on the job, you and your general contractor work together to decide which to accept. In this system there is full transparency, and you and your contractor can work together to determine what sort of cost and quality trade-offs you want to make. The general contractor does not have a motivation to cut costs, and your incentives are aligned.

The goal of Productivity Associates is to partner with you, much like the contractor in the second example. PAI discloses all relevant cost and profit figures in order to build a trust, and partner to grow together. Beyond that, when you work with PAI, we team with you to ensure you stay within your budget.

PAI’s open-book pricing philosophy demonstrates by actions, that we stand behind our stated goal to partner with you for the long term. In this mutually supportive partnership, we cultivate trust and are successful only when we grow together.

Our Reading List

May 23rd, 2011

At PAI we strive to always be learning. And with a mission of continual growth, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to glean insight and wisdom. Below are a selection of the titles which have influenced our culture. They are filled with invigorating concepts which have informed our vision and mission.

Tribal LeadershipTribal Leadership

People gravitate towards particular groups, forming “tribes.” The authors of Tribal Leadership delineate the types of tribes, their traits, and how an organization can leverage these natural groups to maximize growth and teamwork. Tribal Leadership describes the five levels of team development, and then offers a blueprint for how to move tribes from average to outstanding performers.

Delivering HappinessDelivering Happiness

Inspired by Tribal Leadership, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, shares his business lessons-learned in Delivering Happiness. Hsieh is known for creating an outstanding corporate culture, which is largely responsible for his company’s success. In Delivering Happiness, this proven leader teaches us how focusing on the personalities within an organization can translate into financial profit.

The Great Game Of BusinessThe Great Game of Business

The Great Game of Business remains a powerful guide to creating a profitable company even twenty-years after its initial publication. In it, Jack Stack touts open-book management. He illustrates that sharing with employees the big picture empowers them to take greater responsibility for their roles within an organization, and to creatively contribute to the company’s vision. When the financials of an organization are revealed to employees, they gain a greater understanding of the causes and effects of their everyday actions. At that point, an employee is transformed into a team member, and the company becomes stronger.

At PAI, our open-book pricing philosophy takes heavily from this partnership-building concept.

Good To GreatGood To Great

Why is it that a poorly performing company is more likely to become great than a company which is doing “ok?” That is the question, Jim Collins asked. His extensive research, which provided the interesting answer, is found in Good To Great. Many times “good” is the enemy of “great” because it creates complacency. Very rarely does a company transition from good to great. In this best-seller, which has broad application for individuals and companies alike, Collins defines the factors that influence companies that have successfully reached the level of great.

Our goal at PAI, is to never accept “good,” but rather to strive for “great,” offering our partners valuable solutions, and delivering beyond expectations.

Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from MaslowPeak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

In his book, Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, Chip Conley explores psychologist Abraham Maslow’s pyramid based theory of the hierarchy of human needs. There are applications for Maslow’s principles for everyone from employees to customers. By understanding the hierarchy of human needs, a company can achieve greater growth, and create a positive atmosphere. At its core, Peak is about bringing out the best in employees and customers.

Way Of The Peaceful WarriorWay of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

Humans perennially quest to determine the meaning of life. In Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman challenges the reader to find that meaning moment by moment. By living in the “present,” a person can be purposeful about each activity in which they engage. Millman explains how living this way leads to a greater happiness and fulfillment.

Don’t Drink The Water

May 19th, 2011

I thought I had this video on my site already, but couldn’t find it when I searched. It is definitely a classic, definitely gross.


May 1st, 2011


This Week I'm Thinking About: Jonathan Wilt