Some believe that e-mail is dead. This is largely because they receive so many spam messages and unsolicited e-mails. However e-mailing is certainly not dead and just like any platform or medium, it all depends on how it's used and leveraged. For Robert Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners has been inspiring his employees by delivering e-mails each Friday morning with a leadership theme, quote and related tip/article around personal growth. With some CEO's getting in trouble in creating toxic company cultures, we connected with Robert to learn a little more about what his company does, how he creates a great culture and how other entrepreneurs and CEO's can do the same.
Tell us your story. (Why did you start your business)
I started Acceleration Partners because I saw a huge opportunity in the performance marketing industry to do things in a better way and to be more brand-centric. The performance model has tremendous attributes and upside, but had been taken advantage of for years. This is a primary reason why I wrote Performance Partnerships.
I also started AP because I wanted to create a unique culture and a place where people could learn and grow in all aspects of their lives.
Tell us about your business and what you do?
Acceleration Partners is the largest independent performance management agency in the US, Our team manages and oversees affiliate programs for large brands, including adidas, Reebok, Target, StubHub, Warby Parker and more.
Last year, our clients’ affiliate program generated $1.5B in online revenue. We are also expanding globally to Asia and Europe.
Why do you feel inspiration is important?
Ninety percent of what we see and hear is negative. Be it the news on TV, on the internet, in the paper or on the radio, we're surrounded by a sea of negativity and sensationalism. Yet, exposing ourselves to all that is how most of us choose to start our day.
Deep down, I think we all want more inspiration in our lives. We need to be both inspired and pushed out of our comfort zone in order to reach our true potential.
How have you been able to inspire your employees?
A few years ago, I began the habit of getting up earlier, write in my journal, and be reflective, appreciative and grateful. I'd go over my goals and values. I'd devote time to reading stories and quotations that inspired me. Finding, reading and journaling about these pieces of inspiration soon became an integral part of my morning routine and allowed me to be more intentional and focused throughout my day.
Gradually, I felt compelled to share the positive and uplifting resources I was coming across with others.
I decided to start by sending a weekly email to the thirty people on my team at Acceleration Partners. The email was originally called “Friday Inspiration” and I sent it out each Friday morning to the whole company.
What kind of results have you seen?
My goal was simply to encourage our team to be inspired to achieve more, help them remove their self-limiting beliefs and motivate them to become better.
I figured my Friday Inspiration emails would likely be skimmed, perhaps even ignored, but to my surprise, employees immediately started writing back to me with positive reactions,. Many told me they looked forward to the messages each week.
This positive feedback encouraged me to share the Friday Inspiration concept—both the e-mails and the responses I’d received from my employees—with other CEOs whom I believed shared similar values and would appreciate the concept.
Today, over twenty thousand people and counting are receiving Friday Forward emails across the world, from over fifty countries across six continents.
What are a lot of company cultures are missing today? How can they fill that gap?
I think a lot of companies are inconsistent about what they do and what they say they do. This makes it difficult for people to properly judge if it’s a right place for them to work. Often, it’s not a matter of a “good” or “bad” culture; it’s a matter of fit. That said, I will say that a company that preaches about their company culture but then behave in ways that contradict it are unlikely to keep good people for long.
What do you see is the future of company culture?
With fewer employees having long-term loyalty to a company, combined with the continued explosion of the “gig economy,” I think it’ll grow even more challenging for companies to recruit and retain top talent, especially if they don’t have a culture that stands out.
What advice would you give to leaders? (can include tips for CEO's, leaders or managers to implement their own version of a Friday Forward in their companies)
It doesn’t take much effort for CEO’s/people in leadership roles to have a positive impact on their own people or those outside their organization. Here are a few ideas on how to get started:
1) Start Writing: The more you write, whether it’s for yourself or your organization, the more your thoughts become clear; this makes it easier to share them with others. Even if you aren’t ready to start a regular Friday Forward, your writing can have value for your team, especially if you are authentic and share your vulnerabilities. You would be surprised what can inspire people.
2) Take Interest in People as Individuals: I’ve consistently found that when someone is struggling while at work, it’s often due to something happening outside of work. As a leader, you can help address the root cause of the problem rather than the symptom. Take the time to get to know the people working within your organization; understand their frustrations, hopes and dreams. This isn’t “fluff” or “soft”, it matters much more than you realize. It also drives performance.
3) Show, Don’t Tell: People emulate what we do rather than what we say. Leaders need to lead by example, whether that is being open to feedback, taking a vacation, putting family first, being transparent, respecting the chain of command or following established protocols. Set the example for the behavior that you want your employees to show you and you will have to talk about it far less than you think.
4) Communicate Vision and Values: A leader’s job is to set the vision for the organization and be constantly rallying employees around where the company is going and why that is important. It’s also essential to consistently reaffirm the company’s
Anything additional you would like to tell us?
I just finished my second book titled, Friday Forward: 52 weeks of Inspiration, which is an amalgamation of my first year of Friday Forwards. It weaves in the key lessons I learned along the way, how the concepts I discuss in each post have impacted my own life as well as the impact these weekly messages have had on others. It is scheduled to be released early next year.