Leadership Lessons Are Everywhere
I’ve always been a believer that leadership principles and examples can be found everywhere. You can see great leadership at work when you watch a parent interacting with a child. (I think many of us honed our negotiation skills that way, too.) I’ve learned great truths from watching a movie. You can learn great principles from unexpected places if you’re looking for them.
In a previous post, I wrote about Zingerman’s, the Ann Arbor based collection of businesses mostly centered around great food. One of the founding partners, Ari Weinzweig has written several books about customer service, business practices, and leadership. You will find leadership principles on display at Zingerman’s. You will also find that Ari discovered some of these principles in the least likely of places.
An Anarchist Turns Capitalist
As a student at the University of Michigan in the 1970s, Ari was influenced by the writings of 20th century anarchists. He quotes now obscure names like Mikhail Bakunin, Rudolf Rocker and Nestor Makhno. (Yes, it is odd that an early anarchist turned into an entrepreneurial capitalist. If you think that’s strange, it’s just part of many ironies involving Ari. He grew up in a kosher household and is now the author of The Guide to Better Bacon. He even runs a Bacon Camp.) Though he obviously abandoned his anarchist roots, he adopted some of the thinking in running a business. He is also careful to explain the difference between anarchy and anarchism. Anarchy is a “state of leaderless bedlam” where anarchism is a philosophy based on individual respect and freedom from unnecessary authority. In any case, it seems that his philosophy led him to a high respect for people, allowing them to pursue their own passions, and giving employees more freedom and choice because they generally will do the right thing.