Three articles in the Aug 7th edition of The New York Times, both separately and taken together, hammered home the importance of including everyone in the search for solutions, innovation, and excellence … the more inclusion, the better the prospects.
The first, a brief interview with Alan Trefler, founder and CEO of Pegasystems, highlighted Trefler’s managment mandate that “Your opinions are respect (and required).” It took a decade, he said, for him to learn to listen and learn from others. Now he’s built it into the culture of the company. The hard part, he noted, was learning to actually listen to others.
An article about states scrambling to find ways out of economic quicksand noted that Colorado has a “bottom-up program to collect ideas and build relationships on the ground with local businesses and county leaders. Fifty meetings were held across the state with upward of 10,000 people participating in person …”
Wow! 10,000 people giving the state ideas and the state is listening, with the idea that it can build a reputation as a place where people work together. And where entrepreneurship is valued.
Finally came the article in the Business section about Pret A Manger, a burgeoning fast-food empire that stresses teamwork to such a degree that employees are rewarded for cooperation, choose who is hired, and willingly pick up the slack for their colleagues. Sales in its US stores are up 40% despite the economy and employee turnover is 60% compared with the norm of 300-400% for the fast-food industry.
Working together from the bottom up: the basis for business success, responsible civil society, and community well-being.
What have you learned by listening to others and working together? How has listening and teamwork improved your business?
Flickr image:The Happy Rower