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Our millennial generation is teaching us that there is a better way for conducting business in this era. Authenticity is king and discretionary thinking with problem solving by all staff paramount. A command and control mode of operation is a dying tenant. Company growth continues as a vital trait but companies don’t have to be big to be great (read Small Giants by Bo Burlingham).

It has been quite a privilege and adventure this year to visit companies that are genuine and really get it!

Mike’s Carwash comes to mind as a regular customer and being totally impressed at the (often teenaged) staff friendliness. There have been times trying to hide my guilt using the carwash in 10° weather yet seeing this young staff outside spraying, smiling and waving. How and why do they do it?

SRC (Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation) in Springfield, Missouri is a great destination point for any business leader. Jack Stack (book, “The Great Game of Business”) has created an amazing culture of highly engaged staff including shop workers by teaching accounting basics to all then giving the workers responsibility to actual financial report line items and the freedom to perform on it. Mechanics and shop floor workers at all levels speak like accountants and know what they are talking about. Few SRC workers leave the company except to retire cashing out their ESOP stock ownership. Rarely do you see higher morale and an involved team of associates. How do they do it?

Then there is Nick’s Pizza and Pub in Crystal Lake, Illinois staffed mostly with teenagers who are true leaders. Nick has put together a culture fostering drive and motivation that few, if any school systems enable. The restaurant draws enormous crowds (who often tip in 3 figures) and has employee turnover so low their local competitors have been unable to keep up. It is not uncommon for parents to seek out Nick and thank him for the positive character shift they see demonstrated by their kids. How do they do it?

Tasty Catering in Oak Brook, Illinois is a primary example. Employees there function and engage as part of the company “family” and it is enlightening to meet, visit and speak to them. What enthusiasm! How do they all do it? Read Tom Walter’s book “It’s My Company Too” to learn the answers to Tasty’s success as well as several of the companies above. Tom coined the title “employee entanglement”

The Edoc purpose is to change the landscape of corporate America through innovative business services and authenticity. We do this by eliminating status quo and steering companies into the 21st century with a virtual culture we have demonstrated over the past 17 years. The examples above fit this purpose vision. Leigh Buchannan, (editor-at-large for Inc. Magazine) has said that only 11 percent of the workforce is engaged to the degree (in Tom Walter’s words entangled) as the company examples above. We have much work to do.

Since staff emotional commitment has more power than a rational one, consider these four critical elements to begin the transition in your company:

  • An operating foundation of purpose and principles
  • Forward-thinking leadership
  • Ethics
  • Trusting staff relationships

14+ years into the new century; It is time to catch up!

Edoc CEO
Jim Mullaney

READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “The Integrity of Payables

Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a “Fast 55” virtual company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.