* TRENDS Set the Stage for Employees to Shine With the right environment, every employee can be a star, says a new book by James Pepitone and Anne Bruce, Motivating Employees (1999, McGraw-Hill). According to the authors, the key is for managers to create a "motivating organization"--one that inspires employees to do their best at all times and encourages an entrepreneurial mind-set and a feeling of ownership.

This is especially crucial among today's knowledge workers, says Pepitone. "It used to be that most of the work in companies was either mechanized or fairly systematized; where the machine does the work and the human tends to it. Now, more than 80 percent of work is knowledge- and service-based, which means that performance is determined by the human performing the job. Given that fundamental change, our number one goal should be to create a motivating environment and organization."

The authors offer eight steps to help employees achieve higher performance, including setting individual performance goals that exceed job requirements, creating clear standards for each job, and letting employees know what rewards they can expect if they meet or exceed goals.

Incentives work best, the authors say, if they are tailored to the individual. "Incentives are a method of communicating. What they tell us is how someone views our performance," Pepitone adds. "But managers must be careful to individualize incentives as much as possible. With a group incentive, every employee may want to go to that destination or do the same thing once they get there." --Robin Amster

* EXHIBITING The Right Shows, the Best Results Corporate decision makers have made participation in trade shows an integral part of their marketing strategies, according to a new survey by Exhibitor magazine. The publication studied 800 trade shows to come up with the top 500 exhibiting companies.

Leading the pack in dollars spent on exhibit space is General Motors, which also happens to hold Fortune magazine's number one spot in its ranking of companies according to revenue. The top five companies for number of trade shows attended included DuPont with 128 shows, Hewlett-Packard Co. with 94, and Panasonic with 91; IBM and Siemens tied at fourth place with 88, and Dentsply International and Johnson & Johnson tied at fifth place with 74.

When it comes to trade show participation, measuring results is a major issue, according to the corporate executives who responded. Hewlett-Packard, for instance, believes in an "integrated marketing approach" in which trade shows play only one part, says Linda Chadwick, an HP marcom manager. Chadwick says the company tries to steer its trade show dollars into "the right shows that produce measurable results."

Finding quality shows and connecting with customers are other major concerns for corporate exhibitors. Panasonic's broadcast division plans to evaluate the shows its employees attend to see if it is targeting the right markets. Dentsply International and IBM, meanwhile, view trade shows as a way to buy "face time" with customers. "I find value in any opportunity where our company can successfully have conversations with specific, targeted customers," says Jim Hasl, who heads all IBM trade shows and events worldwide.

At GM, trade shows are one way to deliver key marketing messages, and they provide a good venue for introducing new vehicles, says Bill Brown, Chevrolet show and exhibit manager. Brown says his division's trade show participation is growing because "Business, in general, is just plain good.

"People are looking to buy cars and trucks, and trade shows are an excellent venue, so we are willing to buy more space and show more cars," he adds.

He also calls the trade show venue a "non-hostile" environment, where consumers are free to check out the latest models and options without pressure to buy. --Robin Amster

all in the numbers exhibiting: the top five (by dollars spent) 1) General Motors $2,136,710

2) Hewlett-Packard $1,975,049

3) Dentsply, Intl. $1,766,664

4) IBM $1,603,548

5) General Electric $1,513,063

Source: Exhibitor magazine

Call in the CIA When Pharmacia & Upjohn developed its new Customer Interface Automation (CIA) sales software, it needed a quick, effective way to teach 1,500 employees how to use it.

Enter The Resources Group, a Raleigh, N.C.based firm, (www.trginc.com) which played on the abbreviation, CIA--as in the software and the federal agency.

"We hired limos to transport students, or 'CIA operatives,' and the chauffeurs wore trench coats and dark glasses," says Gloria Harrell, TRG's director of client services. Each trainee got a packet with his or her special assignment, sunglasses, a disposable camera, an agenda, and a map of downtown Raleigh for a scavenger hunt. The whole experience was tied into computer-generated classroom "debriefings" and spy-themed software sessions.

"If the trainees aren't motivated, they're bored," Harrell says, "and if they're bored, they won't learn." --Bill Gillette

WET, WILD, AND WORTH IT Fifteen meeting executives made a real splash during a recent fam trip to Boise, Idaho. White-water rafting on the Payette River was provided courtesy of Cascade Raft Co. The group also visited the DoubleTree Riverside and Downtown hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, the Owyhee Plaza Hotel, and the Holiday Inn, as well as the Ameritel Spectrum, the Boise Art, Historical & Black History Museum, and Discovery Center. As a result of the fam, two attendees booked meetings in Boise, says Terry Kopp, director of sales at the Boise CVB.

* QUALITY SUPPLIERS BI, Ritz-Carlton Win the Baldrige Performance improvement company BI and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company were recently honored with 1999 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. The companies were among only four overall winners for the year, with the two others being STM Microelectronics Inc. and Sunny Fresh Foods.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award evaluates businesses on seven performance excellence criteria, including leadership, customer and market focus, and performance and business results. Ritz-Carlton also won the award in 1992.

* 1999 CRYSTAL AWARDS SITE Celebrates Incentive Excellence At its International Conference held last month in Las Vegas, the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (www.site-intl.org) recognized companies' incentive efforts with its highest honor: The Crystal Award. Established by SITE in 1980, the award recognizes the blend of business objectives and imagination that create the most successful motivational programs.

And the winners are: First Place, "Creative Use of Incentive Travel to Solve a Marketing Problem": Priscilla Hicks, The Blind Maker, Austin, Texas (for more on this program, see page 20)

Second Place, "Creative Use of Incentive Travel to Solve a Marketing Problem": William E. Bryson, MotivAction, Minneapolis, Minn., for John Deere Credit

First Place, "Multiple Motivation Award Program": Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, Atlanta, Ga., for Diebold Inc.

First Place, "Promotion & Communication": Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, for Diebold Inc.

Second Place, "Promotion & Communication": Alex Granaada, Granaada & Partner, Utrecht, The Netherlands, for Renault Financial Services

First Place, "Best Regional Program--Africa/ the Middle East": Paul Braun, Travel Awards, Capetown, South Africa, and Geoff Amyot, Achievement Awards, Capetown, South Africa, for Samcor

First Place, "Best Regional Program--USA": Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, for Diebold Inc.

First Place,"Trip Delivery--4 Nights or Less": Harith Wickrema, Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa., for Centocor Inc. (see page 33 for more on this event)

Second Place, "Trip Delivery--4 Nights or Less": Charles Imbacher, Worldspan Int'l, Glattburg, Switzerland, for IBM Networking Systems

First Place, "Trip Delivery--5 Nights or More": Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, for London Pacific Life & Annuity

Second Place, "Trip Delivery--5 Nights or More": Timo Heinaro, Experiences Unlimited, Helsinki, Finland, for Elar Partners

First Place, "Outstanding Single Event": Harith Wickrema, Harith Productions, for Centocor Inc.

Second Place, "Outstanding Single Event": Richard K. Lowy, Famous Events/PGI, Vancouver, British Columbia, for Washington Mutual

First Place, "Innovative Product/Service Promotion": Sandra Chipchase, Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sydney, Australia for the "Imagine Sydney" campaign.

Incentive Edge TIME TRAVEL in the big Apple. Why settle for a boring hotel banquet room when you can have a genuine New York experience? The Granite Room at City Hall restaurant in Tribeca, designed by Bogdanow Partners Architects, is an intriguing mix of high-tech with high-touch. Exposed brick walls, cast-iron columns, and reproduction sidewalk street grating overhead reflect the original turn-of-the-century architecture. The room accommodates up to 100 for a sit-down dinner and 200 for a reception. --Regina Baraban

Cool Companies LIGHTBRIDGE Some say there's an art to good management, but Lightbridge Inc., a telecommunications software and services provider, takes the idea literally. The company boosts morale and fosters teamwork by having its nearly 600 employees create original artwork that's later displayed in the company's offices in Burlington and Waltham, Mass., and Broomfield, Colo.

Periodically, employees spend from one to three hours of the work day on art projects, says Kathleen Betts, vice president of human resources. "It reflects our lively, creative, can-do work atmosphere."

The company founder and president, Pam Reeve, got the idea from a local nonprofit called Raw Art Works, which helps young people and adults express their innermost selves via art therapy.

"It creates a feeling of ownership among employees," Betts says, "when they see their work hanging on the walls."

-- Bill Gillette