Who Can You Trust

“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.” ~Warren Bennis


It was over 15 years ago when I sat in the GM’s office for a performance evaluation.  I thought this one would be a breeze because I’d just brought a station to number one 25-54, and then number one 12+, and we had a graduated bonus plan – the better you do the more you make.

But when we got to that point he quoted a figure that was way off from what it should have been.  When I asked him about it, he told me if he followed his own bonus agreement it would be too much money.  So I got 60% of what I should have.

I was gone from that station in 6 months.  I could no longer trust the GM in  everything going forward.

Trust is a mandatory issue when you’re working with your “boss.”  If it isn’t there you’ll question everything he or she says.  You’ll think suspiciously of everything coming from that person.

You’ve probably been in those circumstances at one time or another.  It’s an unfortunate ailment of many.  But, have you ever wondered if you’re one  of them?

Many times I see people in charge who don’t want to address an issue, especially a “people issue.”  They’ll tell a little white lie like, “You’re doing fine,” when asked about performance.  Or they may avoid talking to someone about a problem, hoping it’ll go away.  Or there are the people in charge who just don’t respect their own people.

That may seen different than the guy who looked me in the eye and said, “Too bad, this is what you’re getting,” but those little things can erode trust just as much.

A lack of integrity is a lack of integrity, no matter how small.



Frost Advisory #263 – What We Can Learn From Chick-fil-A

Sitting in a drive through will never feel the same to me again.

My new friend David Salyers showed us around The Hatch, an entire building devoted to hatching innovation. The walls were covered with photos of some of Chick-fil-A‘s best customers. (Yes! They had invited them in and actually talked to them!) What a contrast to a radio station’s walls adorned with gold records and photos of artists.

At The Hatch they study the “Points of Pain”: those points that get in the way of a great customer experience. It could be waiting in line, a menu that is difficult to read, or waiting for an order. Anything that detracts from the Chick-fil-A experience they study, and work to diminish or illuminate.

Seems like we can learn some things from Chick-fil-A. What are the points of pain for your listeners?

Is it the songs you play that your listeners don’t love or don’t know? Is it a dee jay that blabbers on about things your listener isn’t interested in? It is lengthly spot breaks, endorsements, or fundraisers that irritate? Is it promotions that are boring and conveyed with all the emotion of a legal disclaimer?

If we took a lesson from Chick-fil-A, perhaps we’d not only eat mor chikin, we’d have more listeners.


Tommy Kramer Tip #108 – Good phone calls don’t just “happen”

This tip is specifically for music radio.

Good phone calls don’t just happen; you have to create an atmosphere that fosters them. When someone opens up his/her heart or fragility to you, that’s not an accident. If they thought you’d be rude or dismissive or not really listen to them, they’d never call you. And it’s not 1995 anymore. Nowadays, the standard throwing out a topic, then saying “What do you think?” just sounds like you want the listener to do the show for you. (I call this “using the listeners as props.”) To get really good phone calls, give me something to REACT to, and you can’t keep me from telling you what I think. You don’t have to ask.

A remedial lesson: How to put a call on the air

When you run the call, just say your thing & then cut to the caller’s comment. You don’t need “Hi, how are you” stuff, and you don’t need to say something like “Darren’s on the line…” (Where else would he be, on the toaster?) or “Jennifer has an idea…” We don’t “narrate” like that in real life, and we don’t “introduce” another person’s comment at the dinner table. And by the way, no one cares about the caller’s name, unless it’s a prize winner. (In Talk Radio, however, the name does serve a couple of purposes—to distinguish one caller from another, and to mention the city or area the call is from.)

The main thing that will set you apart is if you establish a really high standard for phone calls. Just because someone calls doesn’t mean they should get on the air. Like a film editor making cuts in a movie, if it’s not great, leave it out.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #262 – What Messages Are You Sending?

We spent all day in a room together. There were four of us with little in common except for the reason we were there.

One a Cincinnati Reds’ fan, one from Kansas City where I once lived, and one who worked with a buddy of mine named Jeff. Within a few minutes we had common ground and we were new friends.

Interesting, isn’t it? In relationships we build on ramps instinctively, but in our programming we assume that everyone speaks our language.

We assume they know Tobias McKeehan and would really dig two pieces of cardboard to his gig. We assume they know Jeremy Camp as much as summer camp. We assume they use ‘praise’ as a noun and ‘worship’ as a verb.

“The Curse of Knowledge”* is when those with knowledge find it impossible to even imagine what it’s like without that knowledge. Smart companies understand that blind spot so they design common ground in.

There is a reason cast members at Disney wear name tags with their home town. “You’re from Transylvania? We went there on our honeymoon!” A conversation is designed in.

You can build on ramps into the design or you can be like the church that greets its visitors in the parking lot with suspicion:


Everything we do sends a message.

“Where you consistently begin and what you consistently assume determine who consistently shows up. Why? Because your assumptions create the common ground for the journey.” Andy Stanley, Deep and Wide

Leadership Beatles’ Style


“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs


I’ll never forget being at a Wings concert in Seattle when someone referred to the Beatles as Paul McCartney’s first backup band.  For someone who grew up listening to the early Beatles, it was astonishing.  They thought McCartney was the “front man” for the Beatles.

But let’s get past that ill-advised perspective of musical history to look at Steve Job’s idea that they were his business model.

John wrote the rock music, Paul wrote the pop music, George wrote the “deep thinking” music and Ringo just wrote fun music.  Ultimately they went their way as solo acts, but in their most creative and influential time together, they worked to each other’s strengths and controlled each other’s weakness.  Everyone got at least a track or two on the albums, and in concert they played each other’s songs.  More importantly, they seemed to respect each other’s strengths. They were a team, and the four together were larger than their individual careers.

Above all, they respected the differences in each other, and shared in each other’s strengths.

Unfortunately some of today’s key executives think they wrote all the songs of their organization’s music, and everyone else is part of the backup band. Everyone else in the executive band is some sort of problem.  If they’re Steve Jobs fans they selectively pick the ones that are egotistical, and ignore all the times he talked about a team.

It seems to me the Beatles not only accomplished more in their team era than their solo era, but also that they were happier.  That’s reflected in their movies “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” Too bad some execs just aren’t team players.

What does it look like at your organization?  Is the executive team from the Beatles era or the Wings/Plastic Ono Band era?