Are You Full of PEE?
When I started lecturing on undergraduate programmes at the Faculty of Military Science in 1991, I started off using the techniques typical of the day. Unfortunately I frequently found half of my class asleep. I must confess, sometimes I felt like falling asleep as well!
Then I changed direction and started teaching in fields that I had an interest in. What I found was that students, and especially MBA students, would forgive you a lot if you were passionate and enthusiastic about what you where lecturing on. My constant advice to new lecturers would be that if you were not enthusiastic about your work, how could you expect your students to be excited?
In the real world of work, I also found that the best and most productive people working for me were the people who were energetic and enthusiastic about their work. They were the ones that landed the clients and clinched the deals. They were the ones that attracted other employees to them for advice and mentoring. It therefore was a no-brainer to look for the people who were energetic and enthusiastic.
What do I refer to as PEE?
• P: Passion: According to Wikipedia, Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love.
• E: Enthusiasm: According to The Free Dictionary, Enthusiasm refers to a great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause. It also refers to a source or cause of great excitement or interest.
• E: Energy: The Free Dictionary explains Energy as an intensity or vitality of action or expression; forcefulness, as well as a capacity or tendency for intense activity; vigour and vigorous or intense action; exertion
What do people full of PEE do?
• They are committed to their jobs.
• They attract like-minded people to come and work for the same company.
• They create customer evangelists out of ordinary clients.
• They enable super-positive WOM.
• They enable the company to achieve above-normal returns.
• As leaders they enable engaged employees, with all the positive spinoffs associated with this.
Where have I seen this at work in South Africa?
Since October 2007 I have taken about 35 groups of MBA students from abroad, ranging from the UK to Denmark, France, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, USA, and Germany, to selected South African companies. In the process I have had the privilege of getting to know these companies that much better. What made a strong impression on me, was the PEE of the people we were exposed to in these companies! Allow me to embroider a bit.
At SABMiller, it was clear that they indeed did view people as an important factor. I hesitate to use the concept of asset, as assets tend to depreciate! The passion of a Nicola Jowell, a Vaughan Croeser, and a Shaun Francis had senior managers on MBA programmes from the USA, The Netherlands, and the UK excited and impressed about South Africa.
At Spier, Annebelle Schreuders and Heidi Newton-King equally impressed students from the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA.
At Backsberg, we have Clive Trent and Danwin James as examples of people who are full of PEE and committed! I have already written about these two gentlemen in my posting “Will the real owner of Backsberg please stand up.”
At Kids Development Academy we find Rian Truter, the executive manager of kda, who is full of PEE! It is one of the USP’s of kda that they indeed do have a Rian!
The principal of Eversdal Primary School in Eversdal, Bellville, is another example of a PEE person. Dr Heinie Brand serves as an example for his personnel and the kids who are fortunate enough to go to Eversdal Primary!
The MBA group from the UK who visited ABSA last week were exposed to three gentlemen who definitely were full of PEE. The students were still gushing when they returned to the hotel!
And so I can go on. The wine industry especially is an industry where I have picked up a lot of people full of PEE. And I do not want to suggest that the fruit of the vine has something to do with it. Here I have been exposed to the people at Badsberg, Beyerskloof, Darling, Durbanville Hills, First Cape, KWV, Riebeek, Swartland, and Tokara, to name but a few. I have no doubt in my mind that the success of these wine companies is directly attributable to the quality of the people working for them. Ordinary people full of PEE making ordinary companies great companies!
I have also had the privilege of being exposed to Ford, Toyota, and VW here in South Africa. Again, the PEE that these people were filled with was clear for anybody to see! It is therefore not strange to me at all that these companies are doing well globally. If they have the same kind of people abroad that they have here in SA, the reason for their success is a no-brainer for me.
I probably run the risk of antagonizing a few of my friends and connections, but I would have to use the rest of the afternoon to name all the great people working for great companies I have been exposed to! Let me therefore conclude the examples with the above companies.
The bottom line? As a South African I am proud of some great companies filled with people full of PEE. And if great scholars such as Jim Collins, Lynda Gratton, Kim Cameron, Robert E Quinn, and Christo Nel are correct, these companies are great because the people in them are great! It is the Farmer Brown analogy: the chickens “taste so good ‘cos they eat so good.” In our case, the companies are so great because their people are so great!
Being full of PEE is a choice! You are not born with it. You decide whether you want to be full of PEE! You decide whether you want to “ship it,” as Seth Godin would say. You decide whether you want to “crush it,” as Gary Vaynerchuk would say.
Have you decided?