Pay It Forward

Politicians aren’t the most popular people in the country these days. I know they don’t put a smile on my face and the majority of them, on both sides of the aisle, have lost my respect. CEOs are having a rough time of it lately as well. Outrage seems to be brewing more and more everyday with news of scandalous executive bonuses hitting the headlines at a time when so many organizations are failing, layoffs and job losses are increasing, and citizens from coast to coast are losing their homes. Corporate CEOs aren’t exactly the most popular people in America these days. It must be increasingly lonely at the top. And for good reason.

However, just when you think it can’t get much worse, you come across a situation that restores your faith and makes you realize there are good people out there. If you look long enough and hard enough you can find them. It’s just a shame that it’s that difficult.

Jack Windolf, CEO of Bollinger Insurance in New Jersey, recently received $500,000 in deferred compensation when he sold 51% of the company last year. Faced with the option of hoarding more than a half a million dollars, he chose instead to distribute it among all those responsible for his company’s success. He gave each of his 434 employees a $1,000 bonus check conveying a belief that his workers add value to the company and deserve to share in that value.

While the scope of Windolf’s own economic stimulus program isn’t as big as President Obama’s $787 billion, it’s giving a boost to hundreds of people. What is truly impressive is that these bonuses didn’t come from company coffers or the pockets of taxpayers … they came from the CEOs own pocket.

Windolf called the bonuses “a mini-economic stimulus package,” and his only request was that the employees spend the money to help the weak economy and indulge themselves a little.

“We encourage them to spend it. We hope they can help jump start the economy,” Windolf said. “I like it when they spend on themselves rather than pay bills.”

While it’s true that $1,000 doesn’t go very far in today’s economy, each of those 434 employees now has additional funds to help them cope with their individual financial challenges. You can bet that the respect Windolf has shown his workers is sure to yield huge dividends.

Obviously, there are bosses out there who do care and want the best for their workers. Maybe other CEOs should take note.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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