A while back Fortune announced its "100 Best Companies to Work For" and I couldn’t help but notice there wasn’t a single cable company on the list. That got me thinking -what’s Fortune’s beef with the cable industry? To be fair, we as an industry are notorious for patting ourselves on the back and telling each other we’re the greatest thing since Technicolor, but are we? The time has come for us to stop drinking our own bathwater and do a thorough self examination. But where to start? The one-way mirror It’s been proven time and time again – diversity breeds success. But are we really practicing what we preach – especially when it comes to hiring women and minorities for senior executive positions – or are we just paying it lip service? Most companies treat diversity as a legal requirement, when they should view it as an instrument of innovation. A diverse organization brings different perspectives which leads to new ideas. The ‘Snowflake Rule’ We need to do a better job fostering a sense of purpose among employees at all levels. Everyone wants to feel like they are unique and doing something that is good and worthwhile. If your main goal is raising the stock price, then low employee morale and high turnover are sure to follow. I used to work with a CEO who only talked about the stock price with direct reports. Instead, he communicated with his employees in terms they could understand and control. He knew that by empowering employees and giving them a purpose, they would gain a sense of satisfaction and the stock price would ultimately rise, which it did. Mess up, fess up & dress up Good companies trust their employees. Great companies create a ‘we’re all in this together’ atmosphere. I had a boss once who was so passionate about trust that he even had a motto, ‘Mess up, fess up, and dress up.’ In other words, if you made a mistake, acknowledge it, learn from it, and take steps to ensure you didn’t repeat it. His approach was so popular people would have walked to the ends of the world for him. All about the benefits Movie nights at Yahoo!, complimentary car washes at General Mills, free daycare. These are just a few ways some of the most progressive companies recognize employees. Recognizing employees as valued contributors isn’t the exception, it’s the rule. It doesn’t take much, and it makes a huge impact, especially when it comes to attracting the best and brightest. For example, when Cox San Diego built a Zen garden in their new call center, it was initially the brunt of jokes, until the center was named the best place to work in town. And guess what? Call stats, customer satisfaction, and employee morale all increased. Et ‘Al’ We’ve all worked with someone who was a little "eccentric." You know the guy; let’s call him Al, whose idiosyncrasies and comments always seem to be a little peculiar to say the least. People like Al may be difficult to deal with, but the fact is every company needs people like them because they’re the ones that usually come up with the ideas that make us stop and think. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight, but if we continue to surround ourselves with people that can make a material difference at our organizations, not only will our companies’ reputations and bottom lines benefit, but the cable industry as a whole will as well. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even make a few lists. Maggie Bellville is a partner in the Atlanta-based executive search firm Carter Baldwin. She can be reached at mbellville@carterbaldwin.com

The Daily


A Bit More on The WICT Network

The Women in Cable Telecommunications officially changed its name to The WICT Network Wednesday, and we’re learning a bit more. The new moniker is meant

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