This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 12, 2002

A Corporation of the Future --- Here Today

Please see the special notice at the end of this Herman Trend Alert.

Located in Miramar, Florida and founded in 1997, Willow CSN is a shining example of what corporations will be like in the future. Though the company employs only 70 associates, it supports 1600 active agents and has a waiting list of 5,000- 6,000. These workers contract directly with Willow's clients, including household names like Alamo, Staples, AAA, and GE. Willow provides the technology and training to the cyberagents and a flexible source of person-power to its clients.

Workers choose their employers and their own hours. Willow-trained agents may be "on duty" 24/7, so they are able to enjoy as much flexibility as they need. . . because they earn a good living without leaving the comfort and security of their homes.

Willow's virtual CyberAgent CSRs® (Customer Service Representatives) are highly motivated entrepreneurs who undergo a rigorous application/training process, at their own expense, before entering the Willow network. The agents typically invest between $1200 and $3500, including the application filing fee, training courses, and the necessary home office technology.

The CyberAgent lifestyle appeals to a wide range of people, including displaced spouses, single parents, primary caregivers (who need the flexibility to work at home), retirees, and to a less extent, the physically challenged.

Willow's Network relies on its award-winning proprietary software software, Starmatic® to manage and monitor interactions between multiple clients and the independent virtual workers. For clients, the technology is a seamless extension of their in-house operations; they are able to manage their remote contractors in real time. For customers, we never know that we are speaking with someone working at home. CyberAgents can even support multiple clients, have remote access to scheduling, and communicate with Willow as well as each other. Clients love it and Willow's annual turnover rate among CyberAgents is less than 10%.

In "Lean and Meaningful" (Oakhill Press 1998), we wrote about the corporation of the future having a core nucleus of administrative people who work with teams of contingent workers to complete projects and serve customers. Though Willow does not employ their agents, it is an excellent example of the corporation of the future. (

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