Balance, Grace and Crashing

Balance, Grace and CrashingUMass

Just shy of my fifth birthday I was pedaling along, struggling to relax into that certain combination of caution and grace, hoping for balance on my two wheeler. It was an early foray into the world of self-propulsion, but at least my father was running along, holding the back of the seat.To reassure myself, I asked my father if he was still supporting me. I called out to him approximately every eight seconds. He continued to announce his presence, but something seemed odd. His voice was fading, more and more of a shout, but as if from far behind. I turned, to find him some 50 yards back. For another few feet, I was more free than ever in my life. Until I crashed into a ’58 Caddy (parked) I was exhilarated by the thrill of my first solo flight.

Flash forward to a conversation with a close friend, after I’d spent fifteen adult years in my family’s fourth generation retail store alongside my parents. “I don’t know if I could ever run the business without my parents at the helm. I know that I have a lot of the necessary knowledge and skills, but do I have what it takes to really take charge?” More…

Openness, trust and support – solid armor to battle a downturn

Winning Workplaces Success Stories – IRMCO

Openness, trust and support – solid armor to battle a downturn

The road to a winning workplace can begin in an unusual way. In the mid-1980s, suffering from the cancer from which he would eventually die, William O. Jeffery, III committed his final years to making the company he owned and ran a better place for his people, and its products better for his industrial customers. Out went the oil and animal fat-based lubricants IRMCO had made for decades. In came much more environmentally friendly, water-based products.

As he overhauled his product line, so, too, did Jeffery remake the way management dealt with its employees. “He got extra-focused on people,” recalls his son and IRMCO’s current CEO, William C. “Jeff” Jeffery, who runs the 22-employee Evanston, IL, company, with his brother, Bradley. A key first step was to put in place what is now commonly referred to as “open book” management – sharing all financial details, except payroll, on a regular basis with all employees. More…