Ari on Business

Natural Law #4: People do their best work when they’re part of a really great organization

I suppose there have been times in history, like during the Great Depression, when people would take just about any job they could get. But unless your vision is to be the only person active in your business, you’re going to want to provide a really great place for people to work. Why? Because while offering a great, rewarding, spiritually sound workplace won’t by itself guarantee success, I can assure you that any business that does so will outperform organizations that follow the other 11 natural laws but ignore this one. In fact, I’ll posit that you won’t really be able to make many of the other principles work very well for very long without providing a great workplace.

As with our customers, we need our staff way more than they need us. So how rewarding does the workplace have to be? (Please note that we mean “rewarding” in every sense of the word—financially, sure, but also emotionally, intellectually, and physically.) We’re always working on how to make Zingerman’s a more positive place by sharing our vision (see Law #1 above), by involving people in running the business, by creating and promoting processes for organizational change, by practicing open book finance, by offering great training, etc.

Ultimately people want to feel that their work makes a positive difference; that their extra efforts are noticed; that they can improve the quality of their lives and the lives of those around them through their work. When we accomplish this we have more fun, service improves, sales go up, and all those other good things that we like to see, start to happen—and with amazing regularity!

Twelve Natural Laws of Business:
There are organizational principles that consistently work and, in the big scheme of things, follow a natural order. We call these “Natural Laws of Business.” Our experience here is that the natural laws are applicable for any business regardless of size, scale, age or product offering. Exceptions exist, but I’ll say up front I wouldn’t recommend expending much energy trying to prove these rules to be wrong.