featured in Personal Excellence Magazine
, January 2012:
featured in Harvard Business Review, May/June 1998:
Richard S. Miller, vice president of global services (GS) at AT&T, leads some 2,000 sales and support professionals serving major corporations and government clients in the eastern United States.
organization generates $4 billion in annual revenues; its expense budget is about $200 million, of which real estate represents 6%.
In December 1996, Miller
learned on a television newscast about a competitor's initiative to pursue an AW program.
Driven into action, he
asked the help of AT&T's
global real estate (GRE) organization in developing a new facility.
idea: a shared office that staff members who spend much of their time with customers outside the office would use as needed, without having assigned workstations.
The objective: creating an environment in which teamwork would flourish while reducing real estate costs.
unit, then in the early stages of developing AT&T's
Creative Workplace Solutions strategy, had not yet planned the type of facility Miller
and GRE's planning director, Thomas A. Savastano, Jr., formed a team to consider the alternatives.
The team rejected several scenarios.
One would have refitted a building already occupied by Miller's
group, but that would have disrupted existing operations.
Instead, the team opted for a three-part plan: redesign vacant AT&T space in Morristown, New Jersey, as a shared office; move 200 employees from five traditional office locations and 25 others from three satellite offices to the new facility; and redeploy the space to be vacated.
The total group included 58 salespeople, 101 technical specialists, and 66 management and support staff.
knew that the staff would need full-time space in the new facility.
estimated that at least 60% of the sales and technical people would be out of the office with customers at any given time and therefore could share work space.
At the time, the GS organization was beginning to transform its technical specialists into virtual resources; that is, rather than dedicate individuals to specific customers, these individuals would float from one account to another as needed.
That change, Miller
reflects, eased the transition from a conventional to an alternative workplace.
featured in Success Today magazine
, June 2003:
friends thought he
But then, what are friends for but to tell you you're nuts for taking on the impossible?
And that's what it looked like when Rick Miller
went after the top sales job at Lucent Technologies
, a company with a once-golden reputation that had tarnished to a dull brown by the time Miller
arrived on the scene.
When Miller took the job of senior vice president global sales at Lucent Technologies last May, the once high-flying telecom's stock, which had fetched $57 in December 1999, had crashed to under $4 per share.
By September 2002 it would dip below a buck a share.
Everywhere there was a deathwatch, as reporters, analysts and telecom insiders united in whispering that the once glorious company (a 1996 spin-off from AT&T) was not long for this world.
"When I joined Lucent, it definitely made a statement," says Miller, a onetime president of AT&T Global Services who immediately before coming to Lucent had served as president of Opus360, a dot-com that had provided staffing solutions.
"I chose Lucent; it didn't come after me.
I pursued it," relates Miller
"I saw that this was a company with fundamental strengths.
It's a place where I knew I could make a difference."
Not quite a year into his
says, "You can definitely see the progress.
In 2002, our customer satisfaction rating" - based on an annual survey Lucent asks customers to complete - "was the highest in history.
We are helping our customers' bottom lines.
We have been very aggressive about getting our pricing in line.
When the telecom market turns - and it will - we will be ready.
There have been a lot of misperceptions about Lucent
and about our sales team," adds Miller
"I want to change that."
Miller backs up his
threw open his
sales team to interviews by Selling Power
- and that's because he
wants to get out a loud message: Lucent
is going to be a place where hard-charging sales executives make a lot of money, because this is a new company where selling rules.
"A lot of people think we're about technology," says Miller
, who acknowledges that because Lucent's roots lie in Bell Labs
, the company's technology heritage is rich.
"The rest of the organization can look up to the very top and see the commitment to selling, to building customer relations," says Miller
"We share that information with people who would be interested," says Miller
, and he
well realizes that in a battle for the hearts and minds - of customers and Lucent employees alike - it's critical to get out positive information.
Commitment to selling from the top executives was a start in reviving Lucent's fortunes, but Rick Miller
knew when he
came aboard that he
had inherited a shattered sales force.
The numbers tell it all.
At the start of 2001, Lucent
had 106,000 employees.
Today it has around 40,000.
That's a lot of bodies cut loose, and the sales team suffered losses too.
had to bandage these wounds and get the sales force refocused on making the deals that would keep Lucent alive.
How would he
"We have gotten smaller but we also now are putting our money on our sales force," says Miller
, who explains that in 2003 he
has put strong emphasis on three key programs designed to pump up the sellers.
For several years, recognition programs were suspended - Lucent
just didn't have the money to spend on traditional morale boosters.
But in 2003 Miller
shook lose money to fund programs (such as a winter trip to Scottsdale for high producers) and, probably just as importantly, the company has taken big steps to engrain low-cost but powerful recognition programs into its culture.
In the lowest months Lucent did little training, but Miller
has ratcheted that up: "We have doubled the dollars we are making available for training," relates Miller
How much training will be involved in 2003?
"This tells our salespeople we are investing in them," says Miller
who knows the research is plentiful showing that when a sales team is invested in, it feels more valued, and usually that translates into a harder working, more dedicated group.
"We have committed ourselves to providing market-level compensation," says Miller
, who indicates that there has been a broad revision of the compensation program for sales reps.
Throughout the revision process, says Miller
, reps were consulted with the hope of producing a program that would more effectively motivate the sales force.
may have shored up Lucent's relationship with its reps, but what about with customers?
"We are going back to the basics of selling," says Miller
, and to him that means building lasting relationships that lead to sales.
Listen to Rick Miller
, however, and the changes are just beginning for Lucent
"We've made a strong start, but there's more to go," says Miller
who acknowledges that Lucent
still has challenging times ahead.
adds, every stock picker knows the strategy for beating the market is to buy low when you believe a stock is bound to rise.
"That's what I tell people about my coming to Lucent
," says Miller