Tag Archives: Employee Ownership Transformation

On Seeing Solutions

If you have read many of the offerings at this site, you will know that my background includes a long and in-depth relationship with employee ownership.  I served both The ESOP Association and The National Center for Employee Ownership, the national associations which promote employee ownership, was President of the Minnesota Chapter of the ESOP Association for two terms and in 1998, our employee owned company, Foldcraft, was recognized as the Outstanding Employee Owned Company in the Country.  Yes, I was immersed in ESOP.

As a result, I continue to receive newsletters and employee ownership-related materials, usually nodding in affirmation of the great performances that are featured therein.  Shared ownership worked then as it does now.  So I was not at all surprised to read the latest results of the annual Economic Performance Survey (EPS), summarized in the November 2018 issue of The ESOP Report.  Once again, employee owned companies performed exceedingly well and, in many cases, significantly outperformed their non-employee-owned peer companies.  Since the EPS was launched in 2000, the majority of responding companies have recorded increases in profits for every year but two (2002 and 2010) and increases in revenues for every year but one (2010).  The exceptions noted above reflect the nationwide economic downturns of the prior years (2001 and 2009).  Even in those challenging economic times, 29% or more of ESOP companies responding to the survey reported that profits and/or revenue increased.  And there’s the lesson for our cooperative partners in Nicaragua.

We have chosen to work within the cooperative sector by design.  For the essence of cooperativism- shared ownership- is the same motivator as in employee owned endeavors.  We have always believed in the power of collective wisdom and work; the employee ownership model simply brought some new tools and direction to the coops with whom we work.  Notions of shared benefits, transparency, broad participation, financial literacy and the importance of a cohesive cooperative culture are not natural outcomes with ownership: they each need understanding and practice.  And maybe especially that last item, culture.

As is true in the most successful employee-owned companies, the participants of a coop have an essential need to fully understand the collaborative nature of their organization.  It’s not enough to join a coop in hopes of benefitting from market presence or volume buyers.  Every coop member must understand the machinery of the coop, and the cog that each represents to keep that machinery running.  Without that individualized participation, it’s like trying to win a baseball game with a first baseman who won’t field the position, when every position is vital.  It’s what makes up a team.

But an individual’s impact on organizational culture is more than just fielding a position.  It’s the absolute knowledge that one is part of something bigger than self, that there is strength and security and a sense of “we can do anything together” that inspires and drives the group to thrive.  The strength of collaborative work fashions a safety net that is nearly impossible to replicate individually.  For organizational success, cooperative members must embrace the idea that “we are in this together.”

For Winds of Peace Foundation, that message has remained unchanged over the past dozen years of our focus on coops.  It has been the mantra of the most successful employee-owned companies in the U.S. since ESOPs came into being in the 1970’s.   If the collective efforts of a cooperative are truly in synch, and the rewards of the collective work are truly shared, stability ensues.  Members begin to recognize the rhythm of success.  Momentum builds.  The mindset of the organization transforms to one of expected progress, rather than hoped-for survival.

Cooperatives are not the mirror image of employee-owned companies.  Nicaragua is not the U.S.  But the reality of ownership is universal.  It engenders a characteristic that transcends most of the lines which separate us.  That’s why the truth of shared ownership is as real in Nica as in Nebraska.

And that, in turn, is what makes cooperatives so exceedingly important in Nicaragua today.  Challenging economic times?  With threads in the fabric of the country literally unwinding every day, the nation is in desperate need of institutions that are grounded.  Cooperatives have the ability to be just that.  They can create economic hope.  They can provide a shield of security against dangerous moments.  They can maintain a strong sense of structure when other  forms become distressed.  The coops can represent deep roots against tides that threaten to wash away the groundwork of community.  (For a deeper look into this truth, take a look at Rene Mendoza’s posting in his Articles and Research portion of our website.)

I loved the concept of employee-ownership from the first moment I heard of it.  I was amazed at the power of its best tools, broad participation, open books and financial teaching.  Thirteen years ago I became astonished to learn that the coops of Nicaragua were so similar to U.S. ESOPs in both their difficulties and their needs.

The universal nature of the power in ownership continues to this day.  I never imagined, however, that its importance and potential might figure into stabilizing an entire nation.  But a dream and a reality sometimes are one in the same….




An Ownership Advantage

I attended a party last week.

The gathering was in recognition of  The Minnesota Chapter of the ESOP Association.  The chapter is one of 22 chapters nationally, in the association which represents the 15,000 employee-owned companies across the country.    Minnesota has been a particularly strong chapter in the network and over its 25 years has been a strong contributor to the employee ownership movement.

Parties are normally fun and friendly occasions, I suppose, but this event contained a special air of zealotry.  The 75-80 folks who attended are among the most enthusiastic supporters of the shared capitalism idea, and they are never bashful about displaying such passion.  These were the people who have either led the chapter or been especially active in its work; they are champions of the cause and the effects of employee-ownership.  I had not seen many of these people for nearly ten years, since I retired from the employee-owned Foldcraft Co. in 2005, so the gathering had the feel of a grand reunion.

All of that context provided more than enough reason for a stellar evening, and indeed, the laughter and the hugs were genuine all through our time together.  But there was something else in the air.  There was a tangible feeling that this group of ownership advocates exuded an intensity of knowledge, some sort of awareness that other organizations don’t necessarily experience among their members.   That perception, merely felt by some but outwardly acknowledged by others, recognized the immense power of their shared sense of ownership .

Let me be clear on one major point: not every member of every employee-owned entity demonstrates a deeply-felt sense of commitment, empowerment and liberation.  But those who are able to envision their own development within an ownership mindset have often defied the odds in creating opportunities and experiences for themselves and their enterprises.

In fact, organizationally it’s true whether there is an actual ESOP component in place or not.  Entities that are managed under the terms of transparency, broad participation, engagement and a sense of shared outcomes perform better, feel better, last longer and ultimately have a more positive impact upon the societies in which they serve.   That requires the right people, the ones who share in a vision and who possess the energy to want to go there.  In the words of author Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great:

But I know this much: if we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”

On Thursday evening, the ballroom was filled with the right people.  They have been and continue to be consistent champions of encouragement and commitment for everyday workers to access equity ownership.  They know that such an opportunity is actually a component of our holistic health.

It’s a universal need.  We want to claim a deep and rich ownership of our lives, and the places where we work constitute a major portion of our time.  We long to be integral parts of our labors rather than simply renting out our time and skills.  We need to know what is happening in our vocational lives, what is impacting us, what we can do about it, how we can do better.  Where we have come together in our work organizations, we sense that it could be possible to truly belong to an endeavor bigger than ourselves, in some cases maybe even more important than ourselves.

Some of the best-managed companies around the world have recognized this truth.  The most stable and productive governments have operated under principles of democratization, which are still the envy of people in non-democratic societies.   Employee-owned enterprises often “get it,” as reflected in annual workplace survey data.  And in addition to data, I suspect that we recognize intuitively that fully collaborative efforts will almost always outperform individual ones; “none of us is as smart as all of us.”

It’s a truth that Winds of Peace is working very hard to teach this reality to rural cooperatives in Nicaragua, as well.  It may run counter to the model the government uses.  It may fly in the face of the big company executives there who have copied the traditional corporate models from the U.S.  It even challenges the cultural and historical patterns that shape societal behaviors.  But it’s a lesson worth teaching, and one definitely worth learning.

It’s an advantage that we celebrated last week.  It doesn’t represent the easiest manner in which to organize and operate.  But it’s certainly the best….



Culture, With Three C’s

I referenced here last week in my entry, “It’s All In the Game,” that The Gathering of Games Conference is one that is full of energy and, frankly, full of joy.  It sounds strange to refer to a business conference in those terms, but I think they’re appropriate descriptions.  First-time attendees like my Nicaraguan colleague Rene Mendoza recognize it immediately and cannot help but comment upon it.   In fact, I overheard one participant ask, “Where does all that energy come from?”

The answers to that question could take many forms, because there are many ingredients that constitute such a sense of excitement, including the personalities of the attendees themselves.  But one of the conference break-out sessions provided one perspective that I thought stated the organizational reality pretty well.  It’s not a formula, but wisdom seldom presents itself that way.  In this case, the insight comes in the form of three C’s:


However one might try to define it, character is the glue that holds organizations together.  Even if an organization is temporarily performing acceptably, that performance will be negated in the presence of motives that are personal to its leaders.  Leadership lack of character cripples organizations.

Some leaders simply love the power or their position and the ability to manipulate others with it.  Some seek their own self-promotion.  Others might recognize the chance to leverage their authority for the sake of a few.  And within these instances, the seeds of mistrust, doubt, fear and indecision take root to destroy organizational hope.  It may be assumed that leaders will deeply respect the responsibility entrusted to them, but character is not always sound or automatic.

The character of an organization- its sustainability and chances for positive impacts- is shaped by the character of its leaders and followers alike.  Where members seek to serve as good stewards of their authority and resources, their organizations have a much better chance of surviving and thriving into the future.  And good stewardship simply means the motivation to nurture and protect the the interests of all members and the community-at-large.  It’s the care exercised when members have entrusted to their leaders their economic, social, cultural and community futures for safe-keeping.  Character is the measure of how any of us cares for such precious matters.  “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.”


Of course, organizations must possess the intellectual and energy resources to accomplish their objectives.  But before anyone dismisses this need as too obvious, consider the kind of competence needed.

First, there is the need for the personal competence of the organization’s members.  In a corporation or non-profit entity, members are hired according to the specific knowledge or experience they can contribute to the institution’s success.  In a cooperative or non-profit, members are added according to the specific knowledge or experience they can contribute to the organization’s success; the members must be added on the basis of their common objectives with the other members, and their willingness to contribute personally to the strength of the group.  Too often, organizations are weighed down by the tonnage of unwilling and therefore incompetent members, people who have joined only for the benefits and none of the work.

Secondly, the organization itself has to demonstrate competence.  Throughout its ranks of members, the organization has to ensure that every player is is clear about what is expected.  In successful enterprises, organizations are specific in emphasizing the needs for everyone’s contributions, that without each member supplying his or her piece of the puzzle, the picture can never be completed.

Competence also builds upon the need for the right character.  Character, and all of the expectations of it, can be a learned attribute like any other.  When individuals and their organizations become clear about the need for certain competencies, a high level of ethical behaviors rises to the top of the list.  Such actions only become the norm when the organizational culture expects it.

Finally, if the organization has acquired or developed essential competencies, it can begin to work on business competence.  In short, the members must know, truly understand, how the organization will succeed.  Members have to know the “business equation,” what actions will drive success, what each of them must contribute.   If each player in the game does not have such insight, they might well be playing a different game altogether.  And when members are playing by different rules, seeking different outcomes, the organization loses.


As if the first two matters of character and competence weren’t demanding enough, it turns out that when our organizations have finally experienced success, it’s not enough.  Exercise of stewardship character and personal/organizational competence have to become the habits of a successful organization, practiced, repeated and refined consistently by its members.  Habits are no more than repeated patterns of behavior, and every act by every individual every day has the potential to become habit, good or bad.  Strong organizational consistency is the ability to reinforce the strengthening habits and eliminate the weakening ones.  The best organizations have discovered the importance of teaching its members the differences between the two.

Like competence, consistency builds upon the issue of character.  The strongest organizations maintain a reliably consistent posture with regard to issues of integrity; there are no “situational ethics” which permit decisions that are not in keeping with the organization’s character.  And the greater the consistency of character, the easier it becomes to demand the same of every member.  There are no exceptions to what is right.

The three C’s described above constitute a big part of the high energy experienced at The Gathering.  People become naturally enthusiastic in environments where there is trust, where members can be confident that their teammates have accepted their responsibilities, and that such behaviors can be counted upon day after day.

It’s true for organizations in the U.S. and ones in Nicaragua.  It’s true for businesses and non-profits.  It’s true for secular and church.  It’s true everywhere because it resonates with the human soul.  Organizational environments like these free people to become more than they may have thought possible.  That awakening creates energy, and makes the hallways at The Gathering alive with dreams….



It’s All In the Game

I’ve just returned from a particularly interesting business conference, “The Gathering of Games,” with a colleague of mine from Nicaragua.  Rene Mendoza is the Interim Director of NITLAPAN, an institute specializing in research on and the creation and publicizing of new, local, rural and urban development models and methodologies.  We thought that the themes from the Gathering- teaching financial transparency, broad participation, engagement of an organization’s people- fit closely with the development workshops that Rene and his colleagues have undertaken recently with rural coffee cooperatives supported by Winds of Peace.  We were not disappointed: the wide range of organizations and speakers represented at the conference of over 400 participants provided story after story of transformational success, with results to make even the skeptics say “wow.”

The Great Game of Business is the title of both a book and a movement.  (If you haven’t acquainted yourself with the concept and the company, I urge you to do so.)  But it also stands for some of the most basic needs of organizational life and development, whether in a business, a government agency, a non-profit or other organizational model.  Come to think of it, they’re pretty good guides for personal life, as well.  And within the simplicity of these basic ideas lies the unqualified success of the concept.  In short, they change not only the organizations that people inhabit, but the lives of the people themselves.

Rule Number 1: Know and Teach the Rules.

Every organization- every organism, in fact- has a formula for success.  There are certain things that have to happen in order to experience surviving and thriving into the future.  For all too many organizations, those rules, those keys for success, are known to only a few.  Maybe it’s because it’s because things have always been done that way.  Perhaps access to such knowledge is regarded as a “perk” to a select few in the organization, a sort of “special secret” made available as a badge of honor to high-ranking members.  Or just possibly, these essentials are simply unknown to the majority of people in an organization and there has been no perceived need to know them, that they are, in fact, the province and concern of others.

Whatever the reason, when organizations reserve the understanding of the success equation to only a few, the organization has limited itself, and sometimes fatally so.  To play any game, the entire team has to know the rules, what strategy is being followed and how to score.  It’s not enough for only some players to know, because they’re not always the ones who are capable of scoring.

If I don’t know the rules, it’s essential for me to learn them.  If my colleague doesn’t know the rules, it’s essential for me to teach him/her.  We only win together.

Rule Number 2: Follow the Action and Keep Score.

The only way to know whether we’re winning is by keeping score.  In a cooperative, it might be measured by how much harvest is produced, or how much is paid for it.  In a business, it could be the total sales made, or what kind of profit was generated.  For a non-profit, it ought to be a measure of the impact made in the lives of its clients, however measured.  Whatever the enterprise, it’s not really worth undertaking unless there’s a means to measure the outcomes.

But it turns out that those final outcomes are also made up of many smaller actions, activities contributed by every member of the organization, in some way, big or small. And before we can expect to measure positive outcomes on that final scoreboard, we need to be tracking those smaller, individual contributions that make up the final score.  That’s the responsibility, the duty, of every organizational member to every other member.  It’s the fabric that holds the organization together, that makes it strong or weak, that allows it to grow into the future.

Sometimes it’s hard for individuals to feel personal responsibility for an organization populated by many others; it’s easier to let others take on the obligations.  But that’s like asking a teammate to do all of his work as well as yours, while expecting the same rewards in the end.  It’s not fair, and it doesn’t work.  Being engaged- following every bit of action- is the price that each of us must pay in order to win.  It’s what feeds the scoreboard.

Rule Number 3: Everyone Needs A Stake in the Outcome.

There are no hangers-on in successful organizations (or at least, not many or for long).  That’s why a stake in the outcome is critical to organization strength.  And that stake in the final score comes about in at least two ways.

First, a stake comes about by an individual and all members investing themselves in the organizational group.  It requires a commitment, a pledge, a willingness to do the things that must be done in order to succeed.  If all the planning, or all the financial support, or all of the field work is done by someone else, it’s hard to feel any sense of ownership of an enterprise.  But it’s that sense of ownership, the pride in having something that belongs to you, which drives people through the difficult times and allows for no quit.  Care for an organization only happens when its members have invested a piece of themselves in it.

Second, a stake comes about in the form of rewards, the reason that people invest in the first place.  And on any team, if anyone wins, everyone must win.  If a World Cup soccer or World Series baseball team paid only a few of its members after victory, that team would dissolve in chaos and anger.  Other organizations are no different. It’s neither just nor sustainable to allow only a few to reap the benefits that have been created by the many.  And there is no more certain way for a team, a coop, a business or any organization to fall apart than to allow an individual or group of leaders or a family to be rewarded with benefits that belong to the entire group.

It turns out that organizational development is the great game.  Behind the three basic rules above, there are a myriad of techniques and methodologies designed to build trust and values and genuine caring for one another, and I’ll address some of those in the days to come.  But for starters, the week just ended has affirmed for us that it all begins with the three very simple and wrenchingly-difficult tenets above.

As is true for many games, sometimes it comes down to how badly one team wants to win….



Universal Truths

One of the hopes that I had held during my years at Foldcraft Co. was that some day we might be able to compete successfully enough to acquire one of our local competitors, Waymar.  We actually engaged in conversations with the owner of the company who was contemplating his own retirement, but we never could advance the conversations in any substantive way.  You might imagine my sense of satisfaction, then, when last month Foldcraft completed the process of acquiring that company and its subsidiary in Seattle, Washington.  Some good things just take time to develop.

The acquisition wasn’t free, of course.  The employee owners of Foldcraft have their work cut out for them in order to make a success out of this acquisition.   They will have to learn new things.  They will have to familiarize themselves with the way that Waymar conducted its business.  They will have to envision changes that can be made to blend the two manufacturing operations.  They will have to learn about an entirely new set of customers and their demands.  They will have to make Waymar a profitable enterprise if they are to cover the debt incurred from the purchase, and almost certainly surprises will be encountered along the way.  The two cultures will have to be blended into one, and a collaborative workforce will have to be fashioned out of two previously competing ones.  A great deal of education within both companies will be required.  When you stop to consider all of the hurdles that exist in such a transaction, it sounds downright risky.

That’s one of the realities about being in business of any sort: every one has both its risks and rewards.  It’s never any different.  If success was guaranteed in any particular economic undertaking, everyone would be doing it.  But the tensions between the risks and rewards are what make the success stories so compelling to us.  We marvel at the obstacles that successful enterprises have overcome, and we listen longingly to tales of financial success, often concluding that we should be able to accomplish as much.  Whether a cooperative in rural Nicaragua or a factory on the plains of Minnesota, we love to hear stories that affirm the notion that unlikely- even miraculous- things can and do happen despite the odds.

As a member-owned company, Foldcraft will tackle the challenge in the manner that best assures success, a process that will draw upon some truths and methodologies which pertain to organizational life everywhere.  The first thing that management will do is to recognize that people need to know.  Leaders will ensure that members understand clearly the risks mentioned above and what exactly will be required to counter those risks.  Truth will not be a luxury but a necessity, because where information is lacking, rumors will fill the void and success cannot be built upon innuendo.  There will be nothing automatic about success in this venture, and the owner-members absolutely must know the truths of their new organization, good and bad.

Engagement will require that the members of the organization- Foldcraft and Waymar both- become educated in the new organization’s success equation, those elements that must occur in order for the new business to succeed.  Unfortunately, in all too many organizations even today, members simply do not have knowledge about what creates success for their business.  They only know that they perform certain activities which they have been directed to do, without knowing why or how those activities synchronize with the efforts of others in the organization.  As in any game, the objective is to score, and the players need to understand how those points are made, how certain actions and reactions mesh within the company to reach the goals.  They want to know how to win.  In the case of Foldcraft, principles of open book management will teach members exactly what needs to happen for success and then will track success (or failure) so that members know whether they are winning or losing the game.

Foldcraft will create ways for its members to be involved.   The transition difficulties encountered simply won’t be able to absorb people who not fully engaged in its success; that’s a reality of any business.  Participation of every member becomes magnified in an undertaking such as this.  The company will continue to assemble teams and special project groups to address issues, and for at least two reasons.  First, even when members are excited about contributing to change and improvement, they may not fully recognize what role they should play or where to begin.  The leaders of Foldcraft can help with that by “positioning the players.”  Second, sustainable and effective change needs the wisdom and experiences from as many sources as possible, and that means broad member involvement from all areas of the organization.  Foldcraft has already utilized this approach as it was performing its evaluation of Waymar as a possible acquisition.  Teams of Foldcraft people were involved in assessing factors such as financial health and transparency, company ethics and integrity, employee safety, production methods,  opportunities for improvement, marketplace strategies and more.  Members of Foldcraft shared the responsibility of gathering and evaluating this information under the belief that “no one of us is as smart as all of us.”  As a result, the evaluation was performed more rapidly and thoroughly than it would have been with only a few involved.

Finally, success of the new organization requires that there is a reward for all of the effort and responsibility-taking exhibited by members at both worksites.  In addition to strengthening their job security by forging a stronger company, the members of Foldcraft are owners of their enterprise.  By participating in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) of the firm, the members are the ones who benefit from stock growth.  And that wealth accumulation can have a major impact on those members who remain with the company for many years.  The incentive to make this acquisition successful is firmly in place, for those members who want the chance to make a better future for themselves and their families.

Of course, Foldcraft knows that success is not fated.  It’s only an opportunity, as any enterprise is.  The good news is that the truths and methodologies mentioned above are ones that resonate with most of us.  They feed a human need to belong, to understand, to contribute, to succeed, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  It’s a truth that transcends national and cultural boundaries because it touches something deep in our psyches, something innately human.

Some organizations allow opportunity to slip through its hands, whether through leadership power struggles or greed or lack of transparency or too few members being seriously involved; good ideas die every day at the hands of ignorance and self-centeredness.  Success stories, though, emerge from the foment of universal truths that absolutely lie within our reach when we’re willing to stretch….




Ownership Here and There

I’ve been involved in the notion of ownership quite a lot.  I helped construct an employee ownership plan for my company, I served as a Trustee for that plan for more than 20 years, I was a participant in the plan, I served two terms on the Board of Directors of The ESOP Association (a lobbying and education association serving the employee ownership community), I served on five corporate boards of employee owned companies, I have taught ownership basics domestically and outside the U.S., I’ve written articles for employee ownership periodicals, have touted the values and methodologies of successful ownership to cooperatives in Nicaragua and have delivered more than one hundred ownership addresses to employee ownership audiences over the past twenty-seven years.  You might say that I like the notion of employee ownership.

In the wake of those activities, I continue to reflect on the importance of ownership to individual and collective development, both domestically and abroad.  When I first began working in Nicaragua, I was struck by the similarities between Nicaraguan organizations seeking to strengthen themselves and the employee-owned entities with whom I had worked in the U.S.  It turns out that those elements of transparency, participation, engagement, and collaborative work are not only progressive management strategies, but also universal human needs.  But lately I’ve reawakened to another truth about ownership that is as certain in one society as it is in the other: successful ownership of anything requires commitment, attention and buy-in.

I’ve recounted here the moving testimony from some Nicaraguan coop members who describe actually owning something for the first time in their lives.  I’ve heard tearful stories about how belonging to a group of fellow producers has fundamentally changed families and lives.  We’ve witnessed in wonder at the development of rural peasants who, with no prior experience, have ambitiously taken on the formation and registration of a coop , organized its members, dodged the many political and economic obstacles along the way, and improved their prospects.  The opportunity of ownership is encouraging stuff for the most part, and it’s why we continue working with such people.

But we’ve also seen the “other” side of the ownership equation, the risks and responsibilities.  Recently we learned of an embezzlement perpetrated within one of the coops we have most admired; the discovery was not only disappointing because of the trust broken on the part of the manager involved, but also the realization that the coop members had not been as attentive to their business as they could/should have been.  There is a deeply held hope that the plan for restoration of coop members’ funds as well as WPF assistance can be carried out timely and fully, but there is the nagging question of whether they can accomplish firm footing after such a blow.  There are also the several coops who simply did not repay their obligation, for a variety of stated reasons.

I know that there can be a tendency in the case of U.S. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) companies to see the establishment of an ownership plan as a gift, as a transfer of rights and privileges to be enjoyed by the new owners at their leisure.  Of course, that perception is a false and dangerous one, since the value of the ownership is only as strong as the work being put into it.  Ownership is not a gift, only an opportunity.  But it’s the same opportunity that successful entrepreneurs have embraced and leveraged in development of enterprises which others admire and wonder how to emulate.  There is no magic formula, nothing in the genetics to favor such owners over others.  There is only the hard work applied to the opportunity.  Do all opportunities pan out successfully?  No.  But without the commitment element, even the most favorable opportunity cannot succeed.  It’s a lesson that U.S. ESOP companies preach and teach in consistent cadence.

The lesson is no less true in Nicaragua.  Ownership is a tremendous opportunity, but one which requires the diligence, self-honesty and fundamental skills to give life to that chance.  Aspiring Nicaraguans- as well as North American employee owners- might hear about fortunes made overnight, but such wealth is often, in fact, made in the darkness of deceit and manipulation, where the light of integrity and collaboration does not shine and where lasting advantages cannot survive.  It leads to impoverishment far deeper than money can define. Just ask guys with names like Madoff or Skilling or Lay.

In trying to leverage the opportunities of ownership, there are lots of models from which to learn.  The ones which hold the greatest promise are those which reject notions of secrecy, political influence or personal gain. Because in the long run, secrets become told, political influence changes parties and personal gain, in fact, means that you most often end up alone.

Maybe we all speak the same language, after all….





Available Opportunities

Winds of Peace Foundation (WPF) continues to make available the opportunity for partners to learn basic techniques of business literacy and ownership characteristics to enhance their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Open Book Management and Employee Ownership Transformation are well-demonstrated techniques for enterprise development that can be a big help to people who are trying to learn how to stay afloat.