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Last Update: Tuesday July 27, 2021

Key Idea: Treat Others Like You Want To Be Treated

These men watched their father and uncle fight and fume so they knew how not to treat each other as they stepped in to lead the company to profits.  These owners practice the golden rule. 

Key Question:


Smart owners treat people with respect.

Q: Why  is employee satisfaction so important?

A: Satisfied or happy workers are productive workers. As business owners, we need to make sure our employees are satisfied as part of taking care of our customers. If the employees are dissatisfied, our customers will not be treated well.

How do we keep our employees level of satisfaction high? We only need to do three things:

  • Follow the golden rule: treat all employees with respect.

  • Provide them with the necessary resources such as capital, financial and human, to meet our expectations and do their jobs well.

If we do these three things, our employees have nothing to worry about. We have established a work environment that optimizes their chances for success and positions us to hold them accountable to the highest standard.

Q: How does a business owner best recognize and reward the valued employees of the business?

A: Time after time, studies have shown us that we are all motivated by more than money. Sure, compensation and benefits are important, but the recognition and reward initiatives that a company undertakes also have a significant effect on employee morale and loyalty. These initiatives do not have to be costly and generally are not.

They do, however, have to be public. Bringing an employee into your office and telling him or her how much you appreciate them just does not have the same effect as a public demonstration. We see these public demonstrations in a lot of small businesses. The plaques on the wall with the engraved plates for each "Employee of the Month" and the parking space reserved for the special employee are two common examples. Highlighting employees in the company newsletter or website is another effective way of recognition.

Think about it

Would your employees say they work in a worry-free environment? What reward and recognition programs do you have in your business? How do you publicly acknowledge the value your employees bring to your business?

Clip from: Calise & Sons Bakery, Providence

Providence, Rhode Island:  Visit an old New England family business. With roots back to 1908,  the Calise & Sons Bakery has been through the good times and the bad.  The founder gave the reins to his four sons and they just about ran that business into the ground. Three grandchildren came to the rescue. They bought the business, and then went to work to retire the debt. They did it, then they built the business beyond anyone's wildest expectation.

Calise & Sons Bakery now serve most of New England, New York and Pennsylvania and increasingly they'll be serving the world. Big chains and grocery stores -- The Olive Garden, Shaws and Albertsons -- depend on them. But, you know, even with such success, it is just not easy. 

The Calise brothers make bread from the same recipes their grandfather brought from Italy.  Yet, it took them nearly 30 years to bring this company back from the brink. The brothers learned on the job. Though there are no MBAs here, their management practices are now case studies in major business textbooks.

The adoption of technology and the acquisition of competitors have fueled growth and prosperity. These owners quickly learned a key big business secret -- grow by acquiring your competition.

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Calise & Sons Bakery

Michael Calise, VP, Sales

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Business Classification:
Food - Bakery - Bread

Year Founded:

Treat Others Like You Want To Be Treated

HATTIE: So what advice would you give the 25-year-old today who has a little money and they've started a business? What would you tell them? They didn't have your mom and dad. They didn't have your parents and they need somebody to tell them how to do a business. What would you say?

JOE: Walk softly, carry a big stick, don't be afraid to work. You gotta roll up your sleeves and you gotta work at it. And anything that's worth getting, it's worth working for.

HATTIE: Do you see this as work or do you see it as a job?

JOE: I see this as enjoyment. Like, I roll up my sleeves every day and I enjoy coming to work right now.

HATTIE: Any fear of failure?

BOB: No.


BOB: As long as these guys can make the product for me, I can sell it. So as long as I can sell it, the place'll do well.

HATTIE: Who in your life has been a hero to you?

MIKE: My father. My father.

HATTIE: What do you think you learned from your father?

MIKE: All the basics--honest, sincere, hardworking. Treat people like you want to be treated; give the second chance when you have to; compassion. Yeah, my father. I know he's up there looking down on us and I know he's very, very proud. And I think my grandfather's got to be the proudest because this is what he would have loved to see if he was living today. He wanted to grow and grow and be the biggest around.

HATTIE: And you are.

MIKE: Yeah, well, sort of. . . . yeah, we are. We are. We really are. I'm not trying to boast, but we really are.

HATTIE: OK. What does one for all and all for one mean?

MIKE: It's one pie. It's one whole pie. That's what it is.

JOE: If one of us is missing, you get...

BOB: We do this just here. Outside we don't get along.

HATTIE: But have you ever heard, `Don't go to sleep on your anger'?
JOE: Oh, many times.

HATTIE: Is that one of...

BOB: No, I never heard it.

JOE: Quiet.

HATTIE: You've never?

BOB: No.

HATTIE: But obviously what you're saying is that when you leave here, if you have a disagreement, you've settled it. You don't go home and simmer and be mad at each other. JOE: Ninety-five percent of the time.

BOB: No, it may take till tomorrow to straighten it out.

MIKE: If we come in in the morning and we had a disagreement the day before, it's straightened out before the day starts. You know, we're wise enough and smart enough to know that we have to run a business and we've got to get along. And you can't run it on anger and you can't run it on different personalities. You work together and you straighten it out. And that's what we do. And we've had a few. We've had a few, but in the next morning, it's all over. It's all forgotten and we just get along and do what we gotta do.

HATTIE: Now so much of the time your mom has been here.

MIKE: Yes, a lot of years.

HATTIE: And she just died in March.

MIKE: Yes.

BOB: Right.

HATTIE: So you know she's still watching you?

MIKE: Oh, she's right on our shoulder.

JOE: Oh, yeah.

MIKE: She's right on our shoulder.

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