Democracy in the Workplace

by Dr. Edward Lawler, III
University of Southern California

This call goes out to family business owners, managers and employees:Get involved in each other’s business!Read on and keep two ideas in mind.

  • One, any employee may have secret talents and ambitions that can help grow your company.  
  • Two, in the increasingly complicated work place, it becomes more and more difficult to judge the worth of a worker.

Democracy in the work place might sound like a lofty ideal based more on ethics than economics, but motivation expert and USC Business professor Ed Lawler has a formula for companies that may translate into results you can take to the bank (And it can help smooth out owner-successor relationships, too). More…

Kick the Stove

Kick the StoveUMass

My father tells the WW 2 story of a bunkmate who would each morning wake up and kick the stove in the middle of the barracks, then curse and hop around in pain. When asked why he partook in this unproductive ritual, he would explain that his father always kicked the stove–a family tradition. His father’s motive is lost in time.

In wondering why it is so difficult to teach Old Dogs New Tricks, this stove-kicking behavior indicates that old tricks are taking up too much brain-space. Though we think of instinctual behavioras characteristic of lower creatures, human-kind seems stuck in, and often content with, an unsatisfying status quo in the name of tradition and culture.

Family business is often thought to have a competitive advantage because of the inside track inshared visions andbeliefs. But are those values developed consciously and deliberately, or are they inherited assumptions and misconceptions that might be outdated in the present day marketplace, or not serve the needs of current family members, both as employees and humans who ought to be striving to “Be All That They Can Be?” More…