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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Modify Your Behavior

Marty Edelston realized he offended people so he changed himself.

Key Question:


Be the person people want to work for.

Q: Why did Marty work to change his leadership style?

A:  He was shocked into change. And frankly, that is the only way a strong personality will change. The typical bulldozer entreprenuer usually can not build a sustainable business unless they replace themselves at the top or learn to lead in an organization full of smart people.

Marty's children joined the company and saw a different side of their father. They were the ones who went to him and pointed out that he was mean to employees. What Marty probably thought was delegating or giving direction was actually more like barking orders in a top down manner that made the employees feel belittled.

The good news is that Marty listened to his adult children and went into therapy. He worked on himself to modify his leadership style.

Think about it

What do your employees think of your leadership style? Do you think they work for you out of fear or are they motivated by the vision and goals of the organization?

Clip from: Boardroom, Inc.

Stamford, Connecticut:  In this episode of the show we go inside one of the most productive businesses in the world (using the ratio, gross income to total number of employees). Where the Fortune 500 companies average under $300K per employee; in this small business, it is over $1M per employee.

How can any business be so productive? You'll learn right here.

Marty Edelston, founder of Boardroom, Inc. started this company in 1971. Today they are the publisher of the world's largest subscription-based newsletter, BottomLine Personal; this business with just 78 employees will do over $80 million in sales. This is about five times the productivity rate of the Fortune 500 companies.

He believes these results come from a powerful process he calls, I-Power. Marty believes every person has an endless supply of ideas, especially ideas to improve their workplace. Every week every employee is asked to answer two questions: What can I do to improve my work area? And, what could others do that would cause my work area to improve? Simple, brilliant, easy to do, so what are we waiting for?

Marty was 47 with three children at home when he quit his job as a salesman in the publishing business. He had worked for some of the country's biggest companies and felt there was a need for a publication that ". . . helps people live their lives in this increasingly hostile world."

All the key ideas and videos of this episode...
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Boardroom Inc.

Marty Edelston, Founder & CEO

281 Tresser Blvd
Stamford, CT 06901

Visit our web site:

Office: 2039735900

Business Classification:
Information Services

Year Founded: 1971

Modify Your Behavior

MARTY: This is by Orsey Dershaw. This is a slice of a brain.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Boardroom's headquarters is filled with art because Marty believes art teaches. Art makes order out of chaos.

MARTY: OK. Now these are the clubs of virtue, which are--although they look like junk, they're really quite valuable, and it says you're gonna be beaten.' As it ties into beaten children, `You're gonna be charming or I'll beat you. You be patient, sit there, or I'll beat you. You be efficient or I'll beat you.' Now that's not the way to run things, and as it happens, I was an abused child--not a sexually abused child, though.

HATTIE: But your father hit you?

MARTY: Yeah, a lot. But in that period, it was the thing to do. The children were to be seen and not heard, and you do exactly what the parents say, etc., etc. So I learned a lot from that in trying to change that on th...

HATTIE: And not be that kind of a dad.

MARTY: Well, I was a bad one in the beginning. I had to learn a lot.

HATTIE: You were?

MARTY: Yeah. But I wasn't anywhere near as bad as my father was, but then I would say, `Hey, this isn't right.' When my kids came into the business, I had to deal differently, and I was a very tough boss for a long time, really tough. When my kids were here, I couldn't fire them and I couldn't -- I had to treat them fairly. So if I treated them specially I had to treat you specially. I had to change my whole approach to people

HATTIE: Having them come in elevated the quality of the workplace.

MARTY: It was very helpful. And we worked not to argue. I had a terrible time -- I won't go through the detail now -- but one person -- my typesetter made a tiny mistake, and it was before a deadline, and I was incredibly abusive verbally. And the editor said, `But there's another way, Marty.' `No there's not. If one of us is gonna get ulcers, it's not gonna be me.' `There's another way, there's another way.'

Now the interesting thing is, that there was. It took me years to find it, and it's really important, and that is that we seek the truth.

So I don't remember the last time I had an argument with anybody 'cause I'll be on either side. I have an idea, I have a position, and you give me a better something or other, I'll come over to your side, but let's seek the truth. If we don't have a good answer, let's stop and we'll come back again and come up with a good answer. But I have no idea when the last time was that I had an argument.

HATTIE: But doesn't that go back to what you said your people philosophy is, number one, to respect the other person?

MARTY: Correct.

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