The Benevolent Dictatorship
I’m a big fan of democracy. Giving people a voice and a say in their own affairs is fundamentally right and decent. I’m a big fan of republics as well. You need a strong central set of rules, which protects people and contains government. Democracies and Republics around the world rely mostly on capitalistic principles. It goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of capitalism because it’s the world’s great equalizer. Whether you come from Dharavi (the biggest slum in India) or Rocinha (the biggest favela in Brazil), you can succeed if you do 3 things according to the left-leaning Brookings Institute; stay in school, wait till 21 to get married/have kids, and get a full-time job.
But what about your capitalistic venture aka your company? Is your company a democracy? Can a company be successful if it is run like a constitutional republic? In my opinion, no.
Although democratic principles are good for organizing governments, truly democratic companies slowly devolve into anarchy and most fail. Employers should value freedom and the rights of the individual but bigger companies that try to institute democratic systems eventually evolve into bloated bureaucracies. Workplace democracies have been tried around the globe, and only a tiny few have succeeded. If you’ve ever worked in “corporate America,” and 51.6% of us have, you’ll immediately understand how inefficient “decision by committee” can be. If you’ve ever heard the soul-crushing phrase “let’s have a meeting about the meeting,” you’re working in a bureaucracy. If you’ve spent any time at a company with more than 5,000 employees, you’ll understand that mediocrity floats to the top layer of the company like instant creamer in a styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee.
Successful companies, like Madison+Main, are benevolent dictatorships. Not a monarchy. #WhoMadeMeYourKing? Not an autocracy. #ExaltedRulerForLife Author and former OfficeMax CEO Michael Feuer wrote a book on this. A benevolent dictator, as a boss, has the collective best interest of the company at stake. The benevolent dictator will allow many forms of democracy within the company ranks and does a great job of looking after his or her people. At the end of the day, tough decisions need to be made by the person at the top of the pyramid. Don’t get me wrong, everyone in the organization can have great ideas and should be able to bring any idea or concern to the table, but strategic decisions need to be made by the Chief Executive.
One year ago, I gave over the titles of President and CEO of Madison+Main to Molly Whitfield. Congrats to el Presidente on her one-year anniversary as M+M’s benevolent dictator! Trust me, the folks at Madison+Main are better off with a leader who is more benevolent than dictator. As always, I’d love to get your thoughts on the subject. What kind of structure works best for your company and why? Simply reply to this email and let me know. I reply to almost everyone, every week…sometimes.
Monday, March 1 — Big Wins For BIG
Our three-digit project management code for Birmingham Green, our client in Manassas, Virginia, is “BIG.” And they won BIG this week. The senior living facility earned two awards for their staff and leadership’s exemplary dedication to senior care. Birmingham Green’s CEO Denise Chadwick Wright received the Women of Distinction Award from McKnight’s Senior Living and has been inducted into the McKnight’s Women of Distinction Hall of Honor for 2021.
In addition, Registered Nurse Jeong Kim was honored as a Ceca Award Honoree. Kim has been committed to the needs of seniors in her community for more than 40 years. Congratulations ladies, you deserve BIG praise!
Tuesday, March 2 — Zoom Zoom Zoom
I am coordinating speakers for the magnificent Midlothian Rotary Club in March and we kicked off this past Tuesday with a talk from Lucy Corr Foundation’s Executive Director Tammy Shackelford. Tammy started exactly one year ago this week, spending two days in the office and the next 363 at her home because of the pandemic. Tammy and company are doing some wonderful things to enrich the lives of residents at Lucy Corr. If you would like to help support a senior that has been isolating for the last year, visit their website and make a small donation here.
And special thanks to all those who have bought a Midlothian Rotary Club Sportsman Raffle ticket. Because of the pandemic, I am not handing out raffle tickets in person this year and the only way you can get one is by clicking here. It’s only $50 and you get 25 chances to win some really great prizes from Greentop in April. What are you waiting for? CLICK THIS LINK and buy a ticket.
Wednesday, March 3 — Coast To Coast
Six months ago, we started shipping delicious Texas Inn delights across the country through Goldbelly ®, as a way to supplement the revenue we are losing because of Governor Northam’s executive orders (our restaurants are still at 50% capacity or less and we have to shut down between the hours of 12 P.M. and 7 A.M.). Sales of chili dogs, chili beans, and Cheesy Westerns have been slowly picking up speed and on Wednesday we reached a milestone — the Texas Inn has now delivered food through Goldbelly to all 50 states. And although I can not name him specifically, because of confidentiality requirements, I am proud to say that we received an order for a 6-pack of chili dogs from a former heavyweight boxing champion who has 5 sons with the same name and invented the best selling portable electric grill of all time. #YouDoTheMath
Thursday, March 4 — Puppy Love
Instead of attending the Thursday morning Production Meeting, Account Executive Marita Cardenas was mopping up puppy pee as she welcomed a new addition to casa familia, Corbin, an 10 week old Chow/Collie/Basset Hound mix. We told her that in 6 months we’ll allow her to bring the dog into the office. Or sooner if he gets potty trained.
Last year, our client and printing partner Wythken Printing worked incredibly hard for us when we submitted a last-minute order. In less than a week, they printed 176 boxes (or 88,000) business cards and shipped them to over 35 locations. As part of our partnership, Madison+Main creates content for their social media platforms. Check out this gem we posted about Wythken’s owner Ric Withers. Go like and follow their Facebook page…if you “give a sheet.”
Friday, March 5 — Living United
Last week, our clients at Williamsburg Landing were recognized for their life-saving work on the frontlines of the pandemic and their successful workplace campaigns! As part of the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula’s (UWVP) “Better Together” campaign, they were one of the recipients of the Live United Impact Award! Congratulations, folks. You deserve all the accolades you can get for your dedication to those most affected by the pandemic — our parents and grandparents.
A Few of Our Favorite Events
“Leadership is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of people in your charge.”
— Simon Sinek