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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Listen To All Ideas

Marty Edelston, founder of Boardroom, Inc., says that employees want and need to be heard. 

Key Question:


Listen to the people on your payroll.  Boardroom, Inc. does over $110 million in sales with just 80 employees. This is five times the productivity rate of the Fortune 500 companies. Marty has built a corporate culture that nourishes people. He pays above industry standard but also every employee is involved in this creativity / problem-solving process he calls "I-Power." He believes that every person has an endless supply of ideas and those ideas are needed to improve the business. Every week every employee is asked to contribute two suggestions by answering these two questions: What can I do that would cause my department to improve? And, what can others do that would cause my department to improve?

To top the cake and make the entire process exciting and because Marty knows that what gets rewarded gets done, he pays out cash on the spot for ideas! He wants people to think at work, not just do what they are told to do.

Q: Why is this more important now than ever before?

A: Just two generations ago, most Americans made a living with their hands doing some type of manual labor. Then we started running machines that were making things like automobiles. Today, more and more employees are either service or "knowledge" workers. In both of these areas, employees have to use discretion and intuition to perform at high levels. You must do everything to encourage people to think. Employees will think hard when someone they respect asks them a question then takes the time to listen.

Think about it

What do you do to encourage employees to think, come up with new ideas and share those ideas with others.

Clip from: The People Part

All around the World:  In this episode we explore what it takes to build a team. We talk to business owners in New York City, Stamford, Seattle, Chicago, Tucson, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas, San Diego, and Las Cruces.

The first step in having a sustainable business is to hire good people who are able to carry on in your absence.  As a sole proprietor, we create a job for ourselves and work for our sub-contractors and suppliers.  When you become  an employer, you create jobs for others and put yourself in position to build a legacy and renewable asset.

If you believe your business concept is big enough to live beyond you and if you want to surround yourself with just the right people to make it happen, please study each key idea.

The more successful a business owner becomes, the more likely it is you will hear them say, "The single most important factor in this business is the people." By re-examining very specific parts of prior episodes of the show, we give you the very best thinking about what it takes to grow your business by hiring, training and inspiring others.  This positions you to turn over the leadership when you are ready to make a transition and go on to other projects.

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

Listen To All Ideas

HATTIE: Once you have good people and they know how to do a job, Marty Edelston's techniques will work to keep people continuously improving.

MARTY EDELSTON: Well, I-Power is a simple suggestion system that's sort of automated. It was something that Peter Drucker suggested, not with that name, but he said, `Make your meetings more interesting. Ask the people at your next meeting for two suggestions,' which I did, and I was just knocked over by the suggestions. They were just so fantastic.

Unidentified Man #1: I have two ideas today. We have many premiums in inventory in very small quantities that are still usable, but they're just not being used. So my idea is, why not test a premium offer for bottom-line personal and money's worth, in which we give a mystery gift of six different premiums, our choice? What it does is it utilizes dead inventory and conceivably may be a premium that improves response, so I think it's testable.

MARTY: It's just amazing, and it's not just the suggestions; that's the detail. It's how we get people to think, and it brings about a huge amount of cooperation.

Man #1: You can use premiums that are...

Unidentified Woman #1: Older, like two or three years...

Man #1: ...older or--yeah.

Woman #1: Yeah.

Unidentified Woman #2: Yeah, that's a good idea.

Man #1: Or that, you know, relate to other books that these people might not have received. MARTY: But at some of these meetings you'll come out with an idea and someone else will say, `But we could make it blue,' and then someone says, `Yes, but we can put yellow polka dots on it.' And obviously, I'm saying it wrong. But it's just so exciting when that building goes on.

HATTIE: The give-and-take and the back-and-forth between departments and between units who would not normally talk to one another, and then maybe eventually jeopardize each other's productivity, not on purpose, but just because they weren't talking. But the I-Power gets them together to talk.

MARTY: And we've used it; once you become adept at it, you can use it in other ways. We've had differences between people here, some really unpleasant situations -- you're going to have in any business. We have it, too. And others have tried to solve it, and then I came in a couple of times. And I say, `Hattie, would you please give me five reasons, five things you can do that would make Marty's life better? And, Marty, would you please give me five things that you can do to make Hattie's life better?' `And also, Hattie, would you give me five things that Marty is doing that steps all over your feet, and vice versa? But give it to me. Don't exchange it. Give it to me. I'm in the middle.' And then I will edit it out and change the language so it's acceptable.

And it's just incredible. It's just like magic.

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