Over these next few chapters, we see Forrest Mars take finally get control of the company years after his father’s death.  He completely changed the company starting with stopping the buying of the hard shell for the M&M from Hershey. He was extremely rash, but knew what he wanted and how he wanted it done.  He expected perfection.  Forrest would go to a store to purchase a piece of candy and make sure it was perfect; if it was not he made sure, it was addressed right away.  Even calling someone at 3:00am and making them go to the factory to address the problem, if the employee did  not like it, he told them he would find someone who would go out at 3:00 am and work. 

                What I would like to talk about is how you treat your employees.  I will tell you, after reading these few chapters; I could not have worked for Mr. Mars.  He was tough and many employees did not respect him.  Many stayed working in the Mars Company because he paid well, even though he would and did slash salaries if the numbers were bad. 

                Is this the type of leader you want to be.  For me that is a hard no.  I want people to respect me just as I respect them.  I worked in Pennsylvania for about six months many-many moons ago.  After being there, I had employees tell me how much they appreciated me because they had never had anyone come in and treat them with respect.  I was blown away.  I cannot imagine treating people as if they were beneath me.  Without employees, your business will not function well. 

                Now granted, Mr. Mars was successful, but at what cost.  He seemed to be out for only the dollar, not to live.  I think as future entrepreneurs, we need to ask ourselves, how we want our business to run.  It can be a fine line, do not let the employees walk all over you, but respect them.  I have found that if you work with your employees, not just become the dictator, you will have a team that will work hard for you and take care of your business.

5 Comments

  1. Katherine,

    Thank you for writing this. Besides customers, treating employees as human beings needs to be priority number one for an entrepreneur. While I understand that the customer can bring the dollar to the business, disgruntled employees will sink your operation in a heartbeat. Not many employers take the time to actually get to know their employees and issues they may have personally or with family/friends. There is a large difference between the employer who “checks the box” and the one who ACTUALLY cares. Treat your employees well, and they will treat you, your customers, and your business well. It is a win-win for everyone.

    Joe Rudy

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  2. Joe,
    You are right!!! Making sure your employees feel valued is important and needs to be one of the top priorities. They are the heartbeat of a company and I have certain business’s that I do business with because the employees are treated so well and it is a family feel when I go in.

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  3. Hi Katherine,
    You make an excellent point about treating employees well. I feel that employees are a resource that will disappear is not taken care of. I have worked for horrible managers and great managers. I chose to stay in a position that made less money because I was treated so well. I couldn’t justify leaving just for a little more money, losing my connection and work family wasn’t worth it. I hope that I can foster this kind of environment in my future business endeavors. Have a great week!

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  4. Hi Katherine,

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts this week. While it sounds like Forrest was ambitious, I also don’t know if that type of leadership is sustainable. It sounds like he was more concerned with the upheaval of the system and proving himself to be different from what came before than actually benefitting the employees in a respectful way. He may have been successful, but the fact that he was so volatile would cause so many problems in the workplace. I don’t think I personally would want a boss that behaves that way, and like those other employees, would have trouble respecting him.

    It sounds like you already have a really solid background in being a great leader! Knowing how to deal with people effectively is so important in any business and in life.

    Cheers,

    Taylor

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  5. Hi Katherine,

    Your post is spot on. At my previous job, before I hired my first staff member, the president of the college gave me a book called “Monday Morning Leadership”. It taught me a valuable lesson on how to treat my supervisees and it can also relate to future employees. Unfortunately, I have worked for a “Mr. Mars” and it was not fun at all. We were all depressed, on edge and most on prescribed medication. After that person left, we were given a true leader who was able to bring out the best in all of us. Without of cloud of misery above our heads, our work performance improved dramatically. The spark was lit in our hearts again. That is the type of leader I want to be for my company. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This book is on my reading list now.

    Take care,
    Alicia

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