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Copy This!: Lessons from a Hyperactive Dyslexic who Turned a Bright Idea Into One of America's Best Companies Paperback – March 30, 2007
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"An effervescent memoir." - School Library Journal "As amazing, as ebullient...as its founder, Mr. Orfalea." - Santa Barbara News Press
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I am giving 4 stars because this is the abridged version and it is NOT read by the author. Despite those minor imperfections, this is a good book for business leaders, the ADHD people of society or the dyslexic.
"...you can't take care of your customers unless you take care of your people." (- Paul Orfalea)
"Copy This!" is a book that illustrates the enduring idealism and sincerity of Paul Orfalea. Orfalea's enthusiasm is infectious. His optimism and energy vibrate through the narrative as he explains how his values were challenged over the years by various partnerships, a corporate reorganization and the eventual decision to leave the company he built and guided for over 30 years.
Those of us who lived the "Kinko's experience" can vouch for the effectiveness of Paul's leadership and his approach to team management.
Long ago, I took a job at my local Kinko's working the overnight shift as a machine operator. On my first day of work, my branch manager handed me a wallet-sized, white plastic card with something called "The Kinko's Philosophy" printed on one side. Up to that point in my life, working for a company was all about punching a clock and biding your time until you could punch it again and get on with your real life. I assumed this card, talking about things like "The coworkers are the foundation of our success" and "we trust and care for one another" were just marketing lip service by some faceless corporate human resource office.
But my manager took time with me, said that he wanted me to keep the card with me explaining, "We really believe in these things here. I can't force anyone to be anything more than a clock-puncher, but we can do everything we can to support how you want to work out your days with this company. Your only real job here is to take care of the customer."
Over the next several years I moved up in the company and dealt with dozens of coworkers. I worked with and for the kind of employees you've encountered of heard about who contribute to a miserable experience as well as those who stopped everything to solve your emergency and save the day for you. Paul's philosophy (his "commitment to communication") made it easier to manage the daily operation of a store of 15-20 people on three non-stop, busy shifts
As Paul pointed out on more than one occasion, each coworker -- regardless of their aspirations, ambition or approach to the job -- deserved to be treated with respect and gratitude ...because their performance was the only true measure of my own success. Discipline was to be bundled with coaching and retraining. Even in an "at-will" employment environment, Paul was dedicated to making sure we did all we could to help every coworker succeed.
Understanding and providing for your customer requires understanding your employees and their own needs. While they carry out the necessary tasks to get the job done, your job as a manager is to make that job fun, safe and efficient. The challenge of the organization is to create an environment where managers can do their job. In the case of Kinko's, that meant great opportunities for advancement, solid training programs, profit sharing and excellent wages. Many of those values (and benefits) changed with Paul's departure, but there are still hundreds if not thousands of team members who maintain that positive, supportive attitude toward their most valuable resource on the sales floor.
Most businesses treat their employees (human assets, labor force, whatever form they take) like a herd of sheep to be managed as though they have neither the skill nor experience to contribute to the business process. This book explains how each member of your working team is not just a salary on a P&L chart, but the REASON your operation is successful. It explains that you can have your heart firmly invested in taking care of your customers, but if you don't have the drive to take care of your own PEOPLE, you will be hard-pressed to achieve that goal consistently or at all.
Small business owners, department heads, and CEOs could learn much from Paul's dedication to his team members and perhaps begin to understand that their own success isn't tied to a few lines on a spreadsheet and the demands of a board of MBAs, it begins and ends with the people who run the cash registers, take care of the daily operation and make it possible for executives to spend time pondering "bigger picture" issues for their organization.
Orfalea recognizes that employees, culture, and being "on the business", not "in the business" are the key success factors.
It also (*very* unusual in these typically self-stroking autobiography/business tomes) covers the author's problems with anger management and openly discusses his psychological shortcomings. I feel the author's willingness to acknowledge his ugly side lends a tremendous credibility to his story -- unlike others in this class (Trump, Welch, Etc.), Paul doesn't pretend he is a God Who Walks the Earth.
The book, (and the author's business acumen) tend to be more touchy-feely a la "Ben and Jerry's" story than the pragmatic discussions of the "How I did it and Why" found in books such as "Dave's Way" by Dave Thomas or "Winning" by Jack Welch.
If you enjoy these types of entrepreneur-oriented books, have (or love someone who suffers from) Dyslexia, or are a Kinko's co-worker, you will find value in reading this book. Others may find the minutea of the chronological story of Kinko's and the frequent reminders of his Dyslexia to be somewhat dull.
Most recent customer reviews
Based on the subtitle of this book, I thought it would delive into Orfalea's school...Read more
and how tos on how you can run your own business. Great book for any small businessman