Maggie Bayless

Maggie is the Founder and Co-Managing Partner of ZingTrain. She developed Zingerman's approach to training (Bottom-Line Training or BLT), teaches several ZingTrain seminars including The Zingerman's Experience, Bottom-Line Training (BLT) and Creating a Vision of Greatness in addition to a host of internal classes. She just published the Bottom-Line Training Trainer's Toolkit and has been chairing a roundtable of small business owners for the past seven years. Maggie's favorite part of her job is the people she gets to work with - both within ZingTrain and the greater Zingerman's Community of Businesses in addition to client businesses from around the world! When she's not working, Maggie enjoys camping in her new Alto Safari Condo, riding the bike path in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and visiting her sons in New York City.

Recent Posts

The Manager's Role in Staff Training

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 9/23/19 12:03 PM

My formal education was first in German literature and then later in business administration.  What I know about training design, development and delivery I’ve learned through on-the-job practice and self study.  I’ve gone to lots of seminars, designed hundreds of classes and workshops, and helped to implement effective training here at Zingerman’s.  Along the way I’ve read many, many books. One of the most influential has been The Learning Alliance, co-authored by Ann Arbor consultant (and regular Zingerman’s customer) Stephen Gill.  The ideas advanced in that book, which emphasizes that employee learning should be integrated into all aspects of the organization not just delegated to the “training department,” formed the basis for Bottom-Line Training™, Zingerman’s approach to training.

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Topics: Training

Why Write a Company Vision and How to Get Started

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 7/29/19 3:29 PM

It’s January 1, 2025 and your business has been quite successful.  What do you see, hear, smell and feel going on around you that is evidence of that success?  If you can describe that scene, you’ll have a vision of greatness for your organization - an incredibly powerful tool to get everyone working together and moving in the same direction.

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Topics: Visioning

How to Hire for Positive Bottom-Line Results

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 4/18/19 5:00 PM

There may be industries out there where employee turnover isn’t a problem, but retailing certainly isn’t one of them. Finding, hiring and retaining good staff is one of the biggest challenges that retailers face, and many owners and managers get discouraged by how hard it is—regardless of the economy.  One of the most frustrating situations is hiring a new staff person, only to have them quit a month or two later. At that point we’ve usually invested a lot in terms of training but haven’t really gotten much back in terms of productivity—certainly a negative bottom-line impact.  Therefore, making improvements to our interviewing and hiring systems (and then making sure that our managers are trained in how to use those systems) is a very good bottom-line investment.

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Topics: Organizational Systems

Why the Best Performers Aren't Always the Best Trainers

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 2/26/19 10:24 PM

OK.  How many of you are willing to admit that you’ve experienced this scenario: You needed someone to train a new hire, automatically chose the person who was the best performer in the job that needed to be trained—and then were disappointed with the results?  Unfortunately, it's likely that we’ve all done that at one time or another.

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Topics: Training

Making a Great First Impression: If You're Only Going to Teach Your Employees One Class...

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 1/24/19 3:27 PM

How do you welcome new hires into your organization? Do you hand them a uniform and point them in the general direction of the front counter? Do you have them attend several days of classroom training before they ever talk to a customer? Do they learn about your organization’s history and vision from someone in leadership? Or do they get their information from the disgruntled employees out on the back dock?

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Topics: Leadership, Training

Giving Great Service to Your Staff

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 12/18/18 3:14 PM

We all know service is important—right?  We’d be surprised if there were a company left in the US which hasn’t incorporated some version of “the customer is always right” into its employee handbook.  Every politician and business leader can quote statistics about the pros and cons of the relentless move towards a “service economy.” And service is the topic most requested by clients who want ZingTrain to speak or work with their organization.  On the other hand, many people feel that the level of customer service that they receive as customers is lower than ever.

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Topics: Customer Service, Leadership

Educating Your Customers: Using Every Opportunity to Teach and Sell

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 11/14/18 1:00 PM

For those of us who sell specialty products, customer education has always been part of the selling process.  Sometimes we’re offering products that most customers have never heard of. Other times we have items with familiar names but vastly superior ingredients or construction. Almost always the prices that we charge are higher than what is being charged somewhere else in our market for something that can SEEM to be the same thing. Our success depends upon customers understanding the differences between our products and the competition’s.

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Topics: Customer Service

Training vs. Consulting

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 9/12/18 2:55 PM

When business owners run into challenges that they’re not sure how to address—or know they can’t resolve on their own—they often start looking outside their organizations for expertise and resources.  Two common places to look are consultants and trainers.

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Topics: Training

Zingerman's 6 Steps to Running a Great Meeting

Posted by Maggie Bayless on 5/14/18 1:00 PM

“Not ANOTHER meeting?!”

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Topics: Organizational Systems

Your Guide to Training

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Enjoy the nuggets of wisdom, techniques, tips, and insights we've gathered from sharing the Zingerman's unique approach to business for over 20 years. We've offered training to thousands of people on topics like customer service, leadership, visioning, open-book management, among many others, and we plan to share as much of that insight we've gathered from doing so with you here.

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