“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
~William Arthur Ward
In the spirit of expressing gratitude during this Thanksgiving week, I want to thank a few CEOs and companies that get it right and for whose policies I am thankful:
• Delta CEO Richard Anderson, who is bringing back the traditional values of the airline company and says that we need to recognize that only companies that have a sense of integrity survive. He has a bell on his conference table and during meetings anyone who thinks a rule is being broken can ring the bell.
• David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, who before the presidential election warned his 7,000 employees that they could face layoffs if Obama was re-elected. Instead he gave everyone a five percent raise.
• The department store Von Maur because it refused to bow to the Black Friday madness and is staying closed on Thanksgiving Day so its employees can enjoy the time with their families.
• TOMS shoes for donating a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair the company sells. To date the company has given away two million pairs of shoes in 25 countries.
• Warren Buffet and Bill Gates for starting The Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage very rich people to give most of their money to philanthropic causes. Ninety-three people have taken the pledge, representing untold billions of dollars of wealth that will go to do good in the world.
• Southwest Airlines for not charging those rip-off change fees.
• Retired CEO of Xerox Corporation Anne Mulcahy. Although the company’s stock dropped 15 percent the day her appointment as CEO was announced in 2001, she led the turnaround of a company that was $18 billion in debt, on the verge of bankruptcy and facing an investigation by the SEC. Anne spent her first 90 days flying around all the country just listening to peoples’ perspective on what was wrong. By 2005, Xerox earned $978 million on $15.7 billion in revenue and had no core debt by 2006.
Here’s a quote from Anne that CEOs in the midst of trying to salvage failing companies should take to heart:
“By the time I stepped down as Xerox’s CEO in 2009 — and as chairman in January 2010 — Xerox had become the vibrant, profitable and revitalized company that it still is today. What made the difference was a strong turnaround plan, dedicated people and a firm commitment from company leaders.”
Lastly, I am thankful for all the businesses that hired me and allowed me to make a difference for companies and their employees.
And it’s thanks to them and all the lessons I’ve learned during my decades of experience that I have plenty of material for my soon-to-be-published book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me.”