After 10 years serving progressive service contractors in the industry, Contractors 2000 has a new chief, president and chief operating officer Greg Niemi, and a renewed vision -- to help its members become "Simply the Best."

This new attitude was on hand at the organization's Super Meeting XXI, held March 21-23 in Tempe, Ariz. Keynote speaker Dr. Ken Blanchard spoke about his Gung Ho!R program for creating the right leadership to motivate employees to create a high-performing organization.

"There are two aspects of leadership," he explained. "One is a visionary role -- doing the right thing -- and the other is an implementation role -- doing things right. Most leaders and organizations can get the vision set, but get into trouble trying to live according to the vision and direction."

To become "the best," Blanchard says companies must provide their employees with worthwhile work, control over achieving their goals, and provide positive reinforcement regarding progress.

Attendees also were able to see the Gung Ho! program in action within their own industry. SECCO Inc., Camp Hill, Pa., is now using Dr. Blanchard's philosophies to create a better and more profitable company. Dr. Jim Harris moderated a panel discussion with company President Barry Kindt and other members of the SECCO management team.

When asked how the Gung Ho! program gave his company competitive advantage, Kindt said that SECCO had better community recognition and better recruitment, which in turn brought him better employees, which gave him a more profitable company.

He said the two main hurdles he encountered were developing relationships with the people in his organization, and learning to establish trust and delegate responsibility.

Interspersed in the discussion were videotaped segments of employees in question-and-answer sessions. This "interaction" with SECCO employees gave a unique before-and-after picture of the company.

Out-of-the-box thinking was the topic of keynote speaker Dr. Robert Kriegel.

"Don't outwork your competition, outthink your competition," he said. "The key is to change the game and rethink the rules. Identify the 'sacred cows' in your organization -- those people or ideas that are inhibiting change and new opportunities."

Continuing this theme was Harris in his session "WOWing Employees!" His five key points were:

1. Capture the heart -- Give employees a compelling vision to strive for, balance work and family, and make work fun. "Set values for your company as you would your family," he said.

2. Open communication -- Make listening a priority, use multiple channels of communication to get your message across, and give feedback in real time. "The most influential mode of communication is face-to-face," he said.

3. Create partnerships -- Eliminate status barriers such as time clocks, pay for performance, and serve the frontline partners (your employees) first. "Treat your employees as adults and share the good and bad with them," he said.

4. Drive learning -- Guarantee employability not employment, promote visible and action-filled learning, and encourage life-long learning. "Hire to drive culture, not fill slots," he said.

5. Emancipate action -- Allow employees the freedom to fail, encourage challenges of the status quo, and allow employees to help fire the right customers. "Give your employees the freedom to succeed," Harris said.

The next major event is Super Training Week, a condensed version of C2000's training schools, held Oct. 16-19 in Nashville. The week concludes with Super Saturday, a mini-version of the Super Meeting.

C2000 has memberships available in previously closed market areas. For more information, contact Lisa Schinstine, membership sales consultant, at 651/426-2000.