Pasta & Referrals


What does pasta and referrals have in common? Everything, according to AmSpirit Business Connections Director, Jim Kehoe.

In working with his Chapters, Jim shares NPR Planet Money Podcast #400. In this 7-minute podcast, the program host relates the story as to how the Barilla Pasta Company turned around the performance of its manufacturing plant in Southern Italy.

In summary, the Barilla Southern Italy plant had an extreme absentee problem that was impairing production and, in turn, financial performance. To address the problem, managers relied on a risk of loss, performance reporting and accountable peer pressure.

The risk of loss was , if performance does not improve, the plant would close and relocate, terminating the employment for thousands of employees, good and bad.

The performance reporting was making public the absentee records: who was absent, when and how often.

The accountable peer pressure caused friends and co-workers to encourage (and even demand) those chronically absent to get to work because if the plant closed, it would cost them.

As Jim points out, great Chapters within AmSpirit Business Connections embrace the same motivators that the Barilla managers deployed.

The risk of loss is, if the Chapter does not function appropriately, it impairs what members can make through the Chapter via the generation of referrals.

The performance reporting in our Chapters is tracking attendance, ensuring members do their lunch assignments, completing the Chapter Performance Report and instituting professional fees.

The accountable peer pressure is where members hold fellow members responsible to do what is required to keep the Chapter functioning optimally.

So it may seem that pasta and referrals have little in common. When it comes to the manufacturing pasta or generating referrals, however, the most important ingredients are risk of loss, performance reporting and accountability.