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Why Is Everyone Smiling? (2007)


SmilingHow many small businesses have a full-time employee whose official title is Queen of Fun and Laughter? How many have a CEO and COO who dress in matador outfits for a company holiday video version of “Dancing with the Stars?” BerylHealth is a “Top Small Workplace” because of one secret—its focus on people. Visitors report they feel the “vibe” when they walk in the door.

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As part call center company, a business normally known for high turnover, low morale, and a boiler room environment, BerylHealth created a special culture resulting in low attrition, high customer loyalty, and profits reinvested in employees. What BerylHealth does behind the scenes to take care of the needs of its internal family sets it apart. It operates with a true spirit of camaraderie; the loyalty of team members at every level; a leadership team that operates with a true servant mindset; and a CEO, Paul Spiegelman, who believes that everyone deserves a chance to feel important. He rewards people frequently, respects their efforts and opinions, and informs them of everything that impacts them. He gave away his car to an employee who walked to work, replaced another’s Christmas gifts when her apartment was robbed, bought a plane ticket for an employee to visit his dying mother, and sits for hours in a Santa costume while BerylHealth kids climb on his lap. Even the company name, defined as “a family of gems,” illustrates the emphasis on coworkers, the people who created the vibe behind his secret to passion, productivity, and profit.

Read his book about how BerylHealth changes lives and discover how you can implement the same techniques to make your company a top place to work.


“For nearly forty years, J.D. Power and Associates has been synonymous with measuring customer satisfaction and helping businesses understand what customers really want. In his first book, Why Is Everyone Smiling, Paul Spiegelman drives right to the core of the solution…focusing on people; building a culture of customer satisfaction from the top down; and empowering employees to do the right thing. As a result, his customers are not only satisfied, but are true “advocates,” with an almost religious zeal about his company. What really drives business is the human touch, and Paul has the touch.”

James D. Power IV
Executive Vice President, J.D. Power and Associates
Co-author of Satisfaction: How Every Great Company Listens to the Voice of the Customer

“Anyone who reads my columns in Modern Healthcare knows how much I respect customer service.  Customer service starts with great leadership, yet too many executives are so mesmerized by their own success that they forget the basics.  Paul Spiegelman “gets it” and knows that the basics is all that matters.   In his book WHY IS EVERYONE SMILING?, he compassionately explains that the key to business success can be simply traced to how you treat your own people.  In the healthcare industry, we haven’t been known for stellar customer service, but the landscape is changing and we have to change with it.  We are so fortunate to have a business leader in our great industry that can help lead the way.”

Chuck Lauer
Author, Motivational speaker and former publisher of Modern Healthcare

“As a longtime leader at Southwest Airlines, and as someone whose leadership responsibilities include safeguarding and perpetuating our unique culture by supporting employees and “looking after the family,” I was delighted to find a like-minded leader when I had the privilege of getting to know Paul Spiegelman.  When it comes to respecting and valuing the most important resource in any business—its people—Paul “gets it.”  He not only “gets it,” he does it.  A visit to Beryl  makes clear that he puts feet to his words—it’s a warm, friendly environment in which the creativity, productivity, and unique contributions of each individual are recognized and appreciated.  How exciting that he is sharing in this book the mindset and strategies that have resulted in Beryl’s phenomenal success!”

Cynthia Williams Young
Director, Internal Customer Care, Executive Office, Southwest Airlines, Dallas, Texas

“In my book Hardwiring Excellence, I define business excellence as a commitment to purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference. I travel the country teaching hospital CEOs that their best chance of success is to focus on their own people and develop a culture of service. I would encourage each one of them to take a few pages out of Paul’s book. I am confident health care leaders will use the information to make healthcare even better.”

Quint Studer
Founder and CEO, Studer Group

“Why Is Everyone Smiling is the right question to ask—and if you can’t answer that question, read this book! Paul Spiegelman has captured what it takes to turn everyday business into a powerful and positive business experience for his people and into a powerful and profitable business as a result. How can you not smile when you work for, are served by, and interact with a business that understands and lives by the simple truths about how to bring out the best in its people? This is a must-read for any business leader who has looked in all the wrong places to find answers for their toughest business problems.”

Larry Peters
Professor of Management, Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University

Is he crazy? No question! Does he really make bizarre videos to inspire and motivate? You bet! Are his efforts achieving results? Absolutely! Paul and the team at Beryl continue to move the organization to the next level through a series of strategies and tactics that are innovative and creative. More importantly, they are possible for any other organization … only if they are committed to excellence.”

Britt Berrett
President, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas

Why is Everyone Smiling? provides real-world insights and applications that are lacking in most business books today.  No theory here.  Spiegelman punches his success factors with fresh, front-line tools and experiences that can help every leader create bigger smiles…. and profits!”

Lee J. Colan, Ph.D.
Author, Sticking to It:  The Art of Adherence

“One of the best leadership books I have read – lucidly written, and genuinely touching and heartwarming”

Abir Sen
Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, RedBrick Health

“When I wrote the book Contagious Success in 2004, I couldn’t help but profile what Paul Spiegelman and his team at Beryl have accomplished with their company culture. I am thrilled that he has now told the whole story, so others can learn from his simple, yet measurably successful approach.”

Susan Lucia Annunzio
President and CEO, Center for High Performance


“As I began to share Paul Spiegelman’s thoughts about “the secret behind passion, productivity, and profit,” I realized that there really isn’t a “secret” to be revealed. Rather, the challenge is to assemble and then – key point – retain those people who are so excited about being part of a given organization that they go what Napoleon Hill once characterized as “the extra mile” to add value to their organization and to its customers. It is no coincidence that many (most?) of those on Fortune’s annual list of the “most admired companies” are also #1 or #2 in their respective industries in terms of profitability and cap value. They also have the highest retention rate of valued employees and far more applicants for an open position than do any of their competitors. In fact, those who work for competitors are the most eager to work for them. The title of Spiegelman’s book is apt: If an organization’s employees (or if you prefer, as do Wal-Mart and JCPenney, associates) are not smiling, you can be certain that its customers aren’t.

This is an especially personal book and it must be because Spiegelman is obviously a passionate as well as a thoughtful and sensitive person. However, what he shares is really not about him; rather, it is about others within and beyond the Beryl organization who have found joy for themselves and created joy for others in the modern workplace, one in which, regrettably, joy is seldom experienced. I especially appreciate his provision of “stories” shared by thoughtful and caring people such as Julia, John, Melanie, Michael, Lance, Jared, Lali, Juli, Maricela, and Rhonda. Throughout the narrative, Spiegelman also includes a number of communiqués between and among people who are struggling to understand important business issues, to solve problems, and to share (often with stark candor) their opinions about a given situation. However different high-performance organizations may be in every other respect, all of them are transparent in terms of communication, cooperation, and most importantly, collaboration.

In the final chapter, Spiegelman explains that he wrote this book to “share simple secrets that might help other leaders successfully advance their business. I wrote it as an appeal for old-fashioned values in the commercial arena, with special emphasis on treating coworkers well.” The “stories” provided by others provide a human context for each of the “simple lessons.” In this instance, I am reminded of what Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” What Spiegelman and his Beryl associates share may seem “simple” and that’s true, but only if viewed within the context of Holmes’s observation.

There is a great deal of substantial value to be learned from this book. That said, the challenge to each reader is to apply lessons learned effectively and consistently. Awaiting them is what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton have aptly characterized as “The Knowing-Doing Gap.” I agree with former Texas football coach Darrell Royal: “potential” means “you ain’t done it yet.” Credit Spiegelman and his Beryl associates with sharing what they have learned about the “what” and “how” of establishing and then sustaining passion, productivity, and profit within any organization (regardless of size or nature) by putting a smile on everyone’s face, by having fun, and thus sharing a sense of joy in what they do and how they do it…together. It remains for each reader to apply effectively what she or he has learned.”

Robert Morris
Top 20 Amazon.com Reviewer, Independent Management Consultant

“Paul Spiegelman gets it. He knows that the secret to building a culture of excellence starts with a focus on people. In his book, Why is Everyone Smiling?, The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity and Profit, (2007, Brown Books Publishing),Spiegelman demonstrates that when the leader shares a passion for excellence and empowers his staff to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason; great things will happen. As the CEO and co-founder of Beryl, Spiegelman has first-hand experience building a successful company from the ground floor up. He’s no stranger to the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship but his steady, unwavering approach to focusing on the work environment and doing the right thing was a prescription for sure success.

In order to build a reputation as a service-centered company that goes above and beyond the expected to thrill its customers, Beryl went above and beyond to excite and thrill its employees. The results have been stellar.

This book is not written as a “how to” manual but rather as a story of one company’s journey from a tiny start up to a nationally recognized brand. From the beginning, the founders understood that employees’ loyalty leads to customer loyalty and ultimately a profitable business. These guys know that they need to be accessible, visible and approachable in order to gain their employees’ respect and trust. I especially appreciated Spiegelman’s candor about mistakes he made along the way and the important lessons learned in the process.

As an entrepreneur myself, I was equally enthralled with the Spiegelman brothers’ business journey as I was with their culture-enhancing approach to leadership. Their story of the Beryl Corporation is one worth sharing. It reminds us to never lose sight of our vision and to remain true to our values in virtually every decision.”

Kristen Baird
Author of Customer Service in Healthcare – A Grassroots Approach to Creating a Culture of Service Excellence

“This is a great book.  Spiegelman describes the ABC’s for becoming a great company – from building the brand to become a premium provider while at the same time being a top place to work.  The first-person, connect to purpose employee stories at the end of each chapter are powerful.

This book would be a great preassignment for an LDI focused on People Pillar skills – selection, retention and reward/recognition.  This is a must read for any leader with a  large numbers of employees.”

Lynne Cunningham

“Your message is right on the mark. As I read your words it makes me stop and realize that we need to continue to focus on our most important asset – the people who make up the face of our organizations. Although my hospital was No. 1 in patient satisfaction for all Tenet hospitals in California last year and our ER was No. 1 in the nation, you reminded me that we can’t take if for granted and need to continue our focus.”

Ron Yukelson
Associate Administrator/Director, Business Development
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center

“I just finished it last night and was extremely touched by your various thoughts, insights, suggestions, stories, employee e-mail messages, and especially anything and everything you wrote about Barry. Wow .. what an undertaking … both your book and the vision and growth that you’re achieving at Beryl. And I’m excited to see what you and your team will continue to do as you now work to “change the world”

Kim Athmann King
President & CEO, Strategy Advantage

“I got your book earlier this week and I just wanted to write to thank you for sending it. I’ve actually already finished it; and more than just “read”, I took notes! It was a really amazing story, inspirational to hear about the successes and challenges that Beryl has faced and I found it incredibly helpful to hear about all the ideas and suggestions that you’ve implemented with regards to creating and sustaining a culture that supports to core vision of your business.. It truly sounds like you have an amazing, special place there, and one that you guard and guide carefully.

I guess what struck me the most is that while on paper there is so much that is vastly different about the nature of our business, when you get down to the true basics, there is a great deal of similarity between what you endeavor to do for the callers and your co-workers, and what we strive to do here. Granted, we probably have a lot more guests that are celebrating than the calls that your co-workers take, but the mission in many ways is the same: giving our guests the best experience we can possibly provide. We talk a great deal here about “anticipating desire,” about figuring out what a guest will need or wants or expects and providing it to them before they ask for it. We want to exceed the expectations of every guest that walks into one of our properties. The section on “Details and the Personal Touch” could have been taken from The French Laundry handbook verbatim.”

Carly Guthrie
Director of Human Resources, The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

“Hi Paul,

I got your book and kind note. I confess that I brought it home never expecting to read it. I have a stack of journals a foot high I am waiting to read. I took the book out of my briefcase and pondered where I should put it. I decided to glance at it. Next thing I knew, I had read the whole damn thing! I know you are a savvy businessman, but didn’t know what a good writer and storyteller you are.”

Jack Seidel, MD
Medical Director, Medical City Pediatric Triage Program

“It is a small world. I have a friend in the MBA program at TCU, and he recommended that I read your book, ”Why is Everyone Smiling?”

I did, and it has changed my whole approach to business and life in general. Like the Beryl Companies, Site Selection Group, LLC formerly Trammell Crow Company – Site Selection Group, has chosen to remain a tight-nit community of employees.

Thank you for writing this book.”

Jackson Myers
Senior Consultant, Site Selection Group, LLC


I wanted to let you know I finished your book. I found it to be a great read, I couldn’t put it down and actually finished it in one day. I learned a few things I didn’t know about the company and it motivated me at a time when I really needed it. Thank you for my signed copy and for putting me in the book, I had no idea I was in there until someone told me to look at that page. It really means a lot to know that you still have that card. I know that Barry is very proud of you and how you told the great story of you three brothers starting Beryl. Thanks again for being such a great CEO, friend and family member!”


Hayley Winslager
BerylHealth Call Advisor

“Paul –

I could not end this work week without thanking you for the signed copy of “Why is Everyone Smiling?”that you gave me during my visit to Beryl this week. I had an extended flight delay on my return trip home and was able to almost complete the book before I got back to Knoxville! I could not put it down! I was truly inspired and gained a whole new insight to the Beryl culture. I have tremendous respect for you as an individual and as a world class leader. I am looking forward to the opportunity to strengthen the Beryl/Team Health partnership and anticipate much success in the partnership moving forward.”

Cindy Reed

“It was wonderful! I want to buy copies for lots of folks at Mount Sinai.

And I can’t tell you how excited I was to see my name and to read the references to Mount Sinai – the Survivor contest and Lara coming to consult with HR.

And I loved reading about you, Barry and your story – about the things that have always impressed me about Beryl.

And I enjoyed seeing the smiling faces of Angela, Jason, Jared, and others and of reading Angela’s note to you, Jared’s story, references to Linda, Lance and Lara. And the story you and Linda had told me about the guy who had another job.

It was so motivating! I want others to read it so they know more about Beryl and know that the value we get is worth a lot more than the low bid. And so they can learn and be excited about your philosophy.

Thank you so much!

And, Paul, I so admire you for writing it and am so motivated and energized by it!”

Marianne Coughlin
Mount Sinai

“Paul, thanks so much for the copy of your book. I intended to read the entire book before sending you a note but I am half finished and feel the need to thank you now given the number of “gems” I’ve picked up already. Almost every page is earmarked…there are notes throughout (yes, I might have to ask you for clean copy). I’ve embarrassed myself by laughing out loud on the plane while reading the book. I’ve also had to wipe some tears away. What a story. What a company. What a man who made it happen and makes it happen each an every day. You have so much to be proud of!”

Kyle Rolfing
CEO, RedBrick Health

The Beryl Institute Small Giants