Saturday, December 18, 2010


(Part 1 here) In a interesting turn of events I had the opportunity to talk with a friend last night and he was venting about his work and the way his manager leads his team. I guess, I should say, he was venting at the lack of leadership and how the manager does not go out of his way to empower his employees or show them appreciation. For example, The manager started a internal contest with the team that for every unsolicited positive feedback the company received for a team member, the company would give the employee $20 per positive feedback. Problem is, the contest ended on November 30th and the manager still has not rewarded the employees who received the positive feedback per the rules of his contest. This manager promptly took a very good idea and has now turned it into a BIG NEGATIVE. The employees are now even more disgruntled for not receiving the rewards for their efforts. I can honestly say that my friend is a very hard working man. Would perform above and beyond regardless of the incentive. But, you can see how the employees are disgruntled about it.

How would have James Lincoln handled this situation? By all accounts he would have implemented a similar program to encourage the employees and their efforts. The key difference would have been that he would have promptly followed up on his incentive program and made a big deal about handing out the rewards to the employees. There by encouraging the increase in productivity and setting new standards of performance.

James Lincoln showed that he could have taken the previously mentioned company and turned into a much more profitable company while also increasing the work performance and output of the employees by applying some of the principles that made Lincoln Electric so strong during the Great Depression.

  • Employee Advisory Committee: There was a representative from every department. This advisory committee was responsible for reducing the work week from 55hrs to 50hrs in 1914. Can you imagine telling American workers they have to work 50hr work weeks? But in 1914 there were not the major labor laws that we have in place now. This was a major paradigm shift for this era of industry. 
The company mentioned above also took a vote from all of it's employees about the incentive program. It was  a unanimous "Yes." The employees now felt more empowered and had even more to work toward. As usual there were the nay sayers who said that the incentives would never be seen. Once again, This manager had a golden opportunity to raise employee morale while increasing productivity. So, why was the Lincoln Electric Advisory committee successful and the the other one not? It was the dedication to the program by management and employees. Once the employees saw that their ideas would be acted on, it made them want to come up with different ways to increase productivity. Therefore increasing Lincoln Electric's bottom line during the Great Depression.

Part 3

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