The Most Important Question You Can Ask Your Employees
Culture matters - to everyone
Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of the Home Depot, was introduced to the startup life as a kid. His father launched a mail-order pharmacy business out of the one-bedroom apartment the family of four shared in the Sunnyside section of Queens, New York. Four years later, darkness set in when Blank's father died suddenly. His mother picked up the pieces of both the family and the family business. She plowed ahead and became a successful entrepreneur, ultimately selling the company.
"My mother used to say, 'Make decisions for the right reason and live with the consequences,'" Blank tells Inc. That's why, for instance, he decided to delay the reopening of the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, a dude ranch he owns in Montana, because of the risks of COVID-19, even though it typically runs at more than 90 percent occupancy and guests were yearning to return. "We knew that if we opened we would bring disease into the community," he said. "We decided we couldn't do that." The ranch remains closed.
Mom's advice was a life lesson that served him well at Home Depot and in his subsequent investments. Those include the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer's Atlanta United, Mercedes Benz Stadium and PGA Tour Superstores. In his new book, Good Company, Blank focuses less on the nuts and bolts of running a business and more on behaviors that help build a lasting culture that will forever empower employees to make the right decisions for the right reasons. That's part of why Home Depot thrives today, long after he left active management. "Every time you reinforce the culture, you reinforce the fabric of the company," he said.
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