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Key Idea: Teach Employees How To Own Their Job

Grace Tsujikawa, Ray DiSanto, Ron Bowman, and Albert Black are just a few of the millions of Americans who have transformed their life by delivering an extraordinary service to hundreds of customers.  In their own way, each moved from poverty to wealth.     Homepage

Key Question:


Teach them to think like owners. Groom employees to be independent, creative thinkers, inspired to excel, committed to do whatever it takes…the process is very similar to the process of raising children. This should not surprise us since the goals of each process are very similar. Like raising children, we should have different expectations of our employees at various stages and levels.

The new employee requires quite a bit of nurturing. S(h)e must be oriented to the corporate family, welcomed to its center, and our expectations must be clearly articulated. Common goals must be imparted, as well as where and how the new employee fits in our scheme to achieve those goals. The structural framework of participation is rigid, but comforting, and the new employee feels safe and at home.

Our children grow up quickly, and our employees are new for a short period of time. Watch them carefully, talk to them often, and when you believe they are ready, give them more freedom, more responsibility. Keep them constantly challenged, as you are, and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit that inspired you to hire them in the first place.

Think about it

Do your emloyees own their homes? Do you encourage them to save to buy a home?  Do you teach them how to save and invest?  Do they understand how money works? Is there a pay-for-performance component to your compensation plan?

Clip from: Capitalism: Path to Prosperity

Washington, DC:   What are the essential foundations of life, liberty, freedom, and human rights?   The USA as a working experiment is a good model to study.  Here we can study the earliest documents and concepts and see how these also became the foundations for American capitalism.  Within this structure, we can see how just about any family can get on a path to economic independence.

Meet Michael Novak, a man whose life study is of the foundations of government systems that work. And here he discovered small business has the heart and spirit that sustains and nurtures democratic capitalism.   Michael Novak strikes deep into the heart of public debate about what works and what doesn't work within economic systems, and he says that small business owners are demonstrators. They're on the front lines, risking and fighting the good fight every day. Small business owners take lofty principles and reduce them to nitty-gritty practice.

As a people, the debate about capitalism should no longer be the domain of economists. We all need to grapple with the first principles of ethics, economics, and government. Virtually overnight globalization is a reality and belief systems are butting against one another, often shredding civility and undermining any inherent ethics and morality.

Each of us needs to engage in the historic debate about economic models. What works? What is good for people? Is this singular focus on "Return to Shareholders" a truncation of capitalism? Do we need to be looking at a more balanced model that includes more than the growth of the bottom line?

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American Enterprise Institute

Michael Novak, Author

1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
202 862 5800

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Year Founded: 1947

Teach Employees How To Own Their Job

MICHAEL NOVAK:  Our founders understood that if you're going to build a free republic, you have to build it on commerce and industry. And they, of course, trusted best the small.  

(Voiceover) And that's the basis from which you get an independent citizenry who can act like sovereigns. Who are masters of their own destiny and who know the world because they're interacting to try and create things in a very tough resistant world. And that -- that's also the group that produces the wealth at the bottom which wells up. The wealth of this country does not trickle down, it wells up from the bottom.

The greatest source of wealth in this country are the small businesses.

Slowly I began to think that maybe also my criticisms of capitalism and business were unreflective. Maybe I had all the biases of a good liberal arts education. I used to put it this way - I love liberal education. It's in my family's blood, the Harvard classics of my father, and the rest. Everybody in my family tries to be everything else and we all come back to the liberal arts. Okay, what are liberal arts? It's about freedom. But what are you free from? And it hit me, the force of a single word, work.

The liberal arts are the non-servile arts. The non-commercial arts. The non-industrial arts. The liberal arts are the arts of aristocrats who live like princes and with white tablecloths and they don't work. They don't get their hands dirty. And they have time for art and poetry and logic and books and the rest of it. And there's a certain raised eyebrow. The poor grubby grind who studies hard and stays up late at night and there's great praise for the more gentlemanly, easy going, don't take it too seriously, pursue ends in themselves. You don't have to worry about the grubby means, because we have servants to do that.

HATTIE: We don't have to worry where our next meal is coming from.

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