Perhaps you recall the story about the century-old Malden Mills Industries textile plant in Lawrence, Massachusetts. When a fire destroyed the heart of the operation in December 1995, Aaron Feuerstein, president, CEO, and third-generation business owner, refused advice to close the mill, pocket the $300 million in insurance money, and move the operation.
Instead, feeling an obligation to his employees and the community, the then 70-year-old Feuerstein vowed to rebuild the business. He also announced that all 3,000 employees would receive full pay for the next 90 days and health insurance for 180 days - despite the fact that this cost him $1.5 million a week and risked his entire savings.
"When all the textile mills in Lawrence ran out to get cheaper labor down south, we stuck," Industry Week magazine reports he reminded his workers. "We're going to stay and rebuild."
He kept his promise.
Within 10 days the mill was operating again, thanks to new machinery air-freighted in and workers toiling around the clock to restart production. Within two months, 70 percent of the workforce was back on the job. By 1998, all the employees who wanted to had returned to work.
Leadership lesson: Feuerstein says is himself. "It was unthinkable for me to run away when we were in crisis," he told Industry Week. "We must show workers the kind of loyalty they extend to us. When companies act in an ethical way, it's good for business and good for the shareholders."
From: Leadership...with a human touch, November 16, 1999, Page 11-12
Author & Motivational Speaker
Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his eleven-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and hostage negotiating expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.