business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times over the weekend had an interview with Kip Tindell, co-founder and CEO of The Container Store,in which he talked about the important components of leadership. Excerpts:

“The way we create a place where people do want to come to work is primarily through two key points. One of our foundation principles is that leadership and communication are the same thing. Communication is leadership. So we believe in just relentlessly trying to communicate everything to every single employee at all times, and we’re very open. We share everything. We believe in complete transparency. There’s never a reason, we believe, to keep the information from an employee, except for individual salaries.

“I always make it a point to give the same presentation I give at the board meeting to the staff, and then that trickles down to everybody in the company. I know that occasionally some of that information falls into the wrong hands, but that’s a small price to pay for having employees who know they know just about everything.

“One of the other foundation principles is that one great person could easily be as productive as three good people. One great is equal to three good. If you really believe that, a lot of things happen. We try to pay 50 to 100 percent above industry average. That’s good for the employee, and that’s good for the customer, but it’s good for the company, too, because you get three times the productivity at only two times the labor cost.”
KC's View:
Interesting that this morning we have two stories - about the founders of The Container Store and Whole Foods - that deal with notions of leadership.

Tindell makes another important point worth noting - that people, like boats, create a wake. If you have the right people, and foster a positive working environment, that wake can be an extremely positive thing, fomenting a momentum and spirit that can transform an organization.

That makes a lot of sense. And I wonder, as I move through retail checkouts staffed by people who often are at best indifferent and at worse oblivious, if enough retailers put a premium on hiring right.