These days there are tons of companies that say they want their people to be more engaged, but are they giving them permission to do so? Yes: permission! It’s subtle, but powerful.

Permission is a powerful idea in determining company culture. Are you giving your people permission to be creative, make decisions, solve problems, and take responsibility? Or, in the name of efficiency, structure, or compliance, are you preventing the very type of support you need?

Here are some ways to give your people permission:


Some part of employees’ compensation should be based on sales, growth, and profits. It will take some time to identify and agree upon metrics used to measure those key indicators, but get started now and tweak it every year until it’s right.

If you offer a bonus, make it quarterly. A year is too long for them to remember, and after a poor first half of the year, they may just give up. Quarterly is short enough to remember, and if they have a bad quarter, well, there’s a new opportunity next quarter.


Your staff can’t help you if you don’t tell them what you need. Many businesses believe in the “need-to-know” policy which keeps employees in the dark. We believe in the “know-the-need” policy which includes them in the company’s challenges, opportunities and triumphs.

They already have your corporate knowledge and a stake in solving your problems, especially if they share in your success. We suggest quarterly meetings with sales and sales support staff (i.e., everybody not in sales) to brainstorm solutions. They will surprise you with their great ideas!

To read the complete article, please visit The Business Journals  



Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact