» » Spark: How Old-Fashioned Values Drive a Twenty-First-Century Corporation: Lessons from Lincoln Electric's U

Download Spark: How Old-Fashioned Values Drive a Twenty-First-Century Corporation: Lessons from Lincoln Electric's U epub

by Frank Koller

Cleveland-based manufacturer Lincoln Electric has thrived for more than a century. It survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, the decline of industrial America, and the recent credit crash with impressive profits. While factories across the Midwest fired employees and shuttered their doors, Lincoln Electric fulfilled its promise of “Guaranteed Continuous Employment,” a company pledge to avoid layoffs for economic reasons. By promoting loyalty, trust, and flexibility, Lincoln Electric has built a company of committed, hard-working employees and a reputation of excellence.

In this insightful and spirited investigation, journalist Frank Koller digs deep into Lincoln Electric's inner workings—revealing surprising lessons about what happens when managers view their employees as valued assets rather than costs.

Download Spark: How Old-Fashioned Values Drive a Twenty-First-Century Corporation: Lessons from Lincoln Electric's U epub
ISBN: 1610390539
ISBN13: 978-1610390538
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Frank Koller
Language: English
Publisher: PublicAffairs (August 2, 2011)
Pages: 272 pages
ePUB size: 1611 kb
FB2 size: 1241 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 266
Other Formats: lrf lrf docx rtf

Its how America should be today...I had the privilege to visit the Lincoln Electric factory "behind the scenes" to talk to and witness how workers in the plant (non-union) work for the company and for themselves...they have a profit -sharing system second to none...I witnessed one man operating five milling machines by will never ever find that in a union shop such as GE or General Dynamics where I worked for 8 years...every worker from the Janitor to the President shares in the year-end profits...if a worker screws up a job, he is held accountable - looses some points off his profit sharing percentage but on the flip side, if he, like the machinist above saves his company money in production, he is awarded extra points so at years-end he gets a bigger share of the profits...all the workers I talked to on the production floor, were happy to work there and felt they were part of the Lincoln family...there was a spirit of cooperation in a factory setting I had never experienced while working for GE...Unions were once vital to protecting worker's rights but now they are as corrupt as the present day corporations who are profit driven at the expense of the my friend reading this, be happy that this model is alive and well in today's factory environment...there is hope that this will spread to other factories and well and enjoy the book....Richard Wells
This is one the best books I've read. It's about the success and great management of a great old-school company. It shows how stupid the MBAs are and how you can be successful without the conventional wisdom from the "great thinkers" of business schools.

Lincoln Electric is familiar to blue collar workers already, but you may not know the story behind their success. They are one of the last steel-manufacturer-heavy industrial companies left in the USA, and this is the story of why. Through no-layoff policies and management that is directly involved, hands-on, and concerned about the company and their people.

Lincoln is not a small company. It's not a fluke. This is another approach to management that works. It has seen them through down turns for a long long time. They make great products that I use in my shop every day.
I just finished a doctorate class in corporate business strategy, where I was introduced for the second time to a Lincoln Electric cased study. I just had to do further research on perhaps the most unique company in America? Lincoln Electric is still the most studied business case at Harvard School of Business since it was first introduced in 1975 and for very good reasons. What do you make of a publically traded company of 10,000 employees in twenty countries that hasn't laid off a permanent worker since the Great Depression. Actually even during the Great Depression. That has not failed to pay huge profit sharing bonuses that average 77% of the employees based pay for 80 years plus? Where it is not uncommon for factory workers to earn two to three times the National average in pay? That sponsored continuous innovation R&D since its founding in 1895, and on, and on, and on? Curious, read the Book!
Lincoln Electric - the welder (and supplies) manufacturer - the subject of this book - if they weren't kicking the world's butt at what they do would be bought out, dismantled, and sold off by practitioners of what passes for business management today. How can this company make money when the average annual compensation their 3000-worker strong Cleveland, OH plant takes home is $68,000? That fact alone ought to make anyone interested in Lincoln Electric's story. It did me, that's for sure, about 10 years ago when I first heard about them in a business school case discussion.

Reading Frank Koller's book, "Spark" you do more than satisfy this curiosity. Mr. Koller focuses in on a key aspect of Lincoln that kind of flew below the radar for me till now - guaranteed employment.

As I write this it's the day before Labor Day, 2011. Unemployment is in the news every day. An article in today's paper about the long-term unemployed touched my heart and I thought to myself how desperate and alone so many must be who have had to wrestle with questions about their value in working society - unable to find a place in it for months and years.

Guaranteed employment is not what drives most business managers today, and it's absence from boardroom discussions may be partly why people have become so anti-business since the mortgage-backed securities scandals of 2008.

But Lincoln Electric has delivered on its promise of guaranteed employment even during 2008 and beyond. Dads and moms who work at Lincoln are paying their mortgages, coaching their kids' little league teams, serving on school boards, contributing to charity drives, watching their kids graduate high school, go to college, get married and build for the future because they are not fretting over some fear that tomorrow they'll get a pink slip and be on the street.

Read the book. It'll make you wonder why Lincoln is so rare a sample of industry success. It might even make you mad that virtually no modern managers even make an attempt at harnessing the power that Lincoln has discovered and cultivated for 116 years, in Cleveland, OH.