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Eat your vegetables. Share. Say you're sorry.
We all remember familiar sayings and lessons from our mothers. Now Rhonda Abrams, one of the nation's most respected business writers and consultants, shows how these lessons--and the values they represent--serve as the foundation for building and running great companies.
In a time of cynicism about business and public life, Abrams offers examples of companies that excel by embracing Mom's timeless values. They know the bottom line is just that--the bottom. The key to greatness is building a business on a foundation of core values and running it in ways that would make Mom proud.
In Wear Clean Underwear: Business Wisdom from Mom, Abrams interprets Mom's lessons for today's business climate. Based on in-depth research and in-person interviews, she builds each chapter around a saying we've all heard from Mom:
"If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" Southwest Airlines bucked the trend of keeping wages and benefits low while competing on the basis of price--and became one of the ten most-admired companies in the country and one of the few consistently profitable airlines.
"Don't judge a book by its cover." A severely dyslexic man realized he'd never get a good job, so he opened his own business, which was built on mutual trust and communication with his employ-ees--a company called Kinko's, now with over nine hundred locations nationwide.
"How do you know you don't like it, when you've never tried it?" 3M became the most innovative company in America by encouraging all its employees to experiment--for instance, the rocket scientist who helped develop a billion-dollar product by designing a Barbie dress.
Sprinkled throughout are sidebars that focus on famous figures and business leaders such as Scott Adams and Ben and Jerry, who share what they learned from their moms.
Wear Clean Underwear: Business Wisdom from Mom offers a refreshing and lively combination of serious insights, solid advice, and heartwarming stories. If you have a business, a Mom, or a life, you'll find Wear Clean Underwear indispensable.
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Columnist and consultant Rhonda Abrams believes today's most successful businesses are shifting from a patriarchal style of leadership to one in which characteristics such as growth, development, maturity, and nurturing--all traits traditionally associated more often with mothers than fathers--have moved to the forefront. Wear Clean Underwear: Using Mom's Fundamental Lessons to Run an Extraordinary Business is her light-hearted but utterly serious examination of this continuing trend, matching familiar motherly maxims like "How do you know you won't like it, if you've never tried it?" and "Don't get too big for your britches" with actual managerial practices at companies such as Nordstrom, Kinko's, and 3M. "Moms everywhere have developed an almost universal language to achieve their goals and instill common values," she writes.
Virtually everyone's mother at one time or another told them to "Clean your plate, children are starving in China" or whatever country happened to be in the news. Think about all the lessons in that one little line: don't waste your resources, understand that you are more fortunate than others, empathize with those who have less.In this clever volume, Abrams shows how such wisdom can be both relevant and useful in today's business environment. --Howard Rothman From the Back Cover:
It's time to start thinking like Mom
"I Don't Care Who Made This Mess, Just Clean It Up!"
By listening to Mom, Nordstrom achieved extraordinary levels of customer service: "Every day we're doing something wrong. We just want to know about it and deal with it, and learn from it, and use that as an opportunity for growth. . . . We don't want to have too much spilt milk, but if something gets spilled around here, five people will rush to clean it up."
--Nordstrom chairman John Whitacre
"If You Keep Making That Face, Someday It Will Freeze That Way."
By listening to Mom, Zingerman's Deli made great pastrami, great profits, and great people: "I could motivate my employees with fear. I could motivate my employees with incentives. What I have chosen to do, though, is to motivate by offering the opportunity for growth and change. When you offer the
. . . chance for someone to change his life, you have an em-ployee who is working with you, someone who sees your goal and his goal as the same one. Such an employee brings an enthusiasm to the workplace that is hard to equal."
--Zingerman's co-owner Paul Saginaw
"If All Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You Jump Off One, Too?"
By listening to Mom, Southwest Airlines became one of the ten most-admired U.S. companies: "What my mother taught me was . . . when you're right, don't let anybody else convince you you're wrong. . . . She was a housewife but loved to talk about business. And how one should conduct oneself in business. You should never seek after money. Money was a by-product of being excellent. If you were excellent, the money would come, and if you were lousy, you shouldn't have the money."
--Southwest chairman Herb Kelleher
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