Executive Style Column: Inspiring Sales Excellence through Community Giving
By Marc Hausman, Strategic Communications Group
Interview with Barry Morris, Vice President of Federal Operations, Polycom
Twentieth century American humorist Arnold Glasgow once observed that “success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire.”
Corporate leaders invest considerable time, energy and resources to inspire their sales representatives to catch fire. They offer recognition, rewards and awards to motivate exceptional sales outcomes.
Polycom’s Barry Morris has sponsored his share of incentive programs. He directs the company’s federal government business, and oversees operations, sales, channel relationships and marketing. Traded on the NASDAQ and with nearly $1.5B in annual revenue, Polycom is well established as the world’s leading provider of unified communications solutions for telepresence, video and voice.
Each year during the holiday season, Morris follows a different path when it comes to inspiring his team of government sales and business development professionals. For the past four years, Polycom Federal has contributed non-perishable food, coats, winter accessories and toys to LINK.
LINK is a non-profit, volunteer run coalition of churches and community organizations that provide emergency assistance to families in Herndon, Sterling and Ashburn.
The organization has proven the ability to make a meaningful and measurable impact in the Northern Virginia region. In 2010, LINK volunteers provided food and grocery store gift certificates to about 80 families each month.
During last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, LINK supported an additional 1,400 families through a Holiday Basket Program. More than 7,000 individuals received food, winter coats and toys.
While Polycom Federal’s contributions to LINK are motivated by a spirit of giving and goodwill, Morris has also turned the company’s community participation into an enhancer of sales excellence and overall office morale. A friendly co-opetition exists among the company’s sales teams as they strive to out perform each other in their contributions.
“Our involvement with LINK allows our employees to make a real difference in the community where they live and work,” Morris told me last week during a phone conversation. “It also fosters a fun and competitive environment among our sales groups. It keeps them sharp.”
That sharpness translates into donations for needy families in the region. This year Polycom Federal has already collected more than 1,400 pounds of food, winter coats and toys for distribution by LINK.
“The stereotypes about the type of person or family in need have long been shattered,” said Morris. “This is an issue that is prevalent in every community across the country. Our desire to contribute reflects a core part of Polycom’s principles. My approach is to continually reinforce this desire, while motivating our teams to excel. To use a cliché, it’s a real win – win.”
Marc Hausman is president and CEO of Strategic Communications Group, a social media and public relations consultancy based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Read more at http://www.thestrategicguy.com.