Tao Leaders

The book I am reading right now: The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher. She mentioned Peace Pilgrim in as a woman who was a Tao person. Peace is one of my personal heroes. I named this blog after her. I visited the International Peace University when I was in Costa Rica with my husband 1 ½ years ago where they have a small monument dedicated to her along with peacemaker greats like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Peace, like Dreher, taught that to be a peacemaker in the world, one must have peace within.

I read this morning a chapter on Tao leadership. She quotes the Tao Te Ching:

“When Tao people lead and the work is accomplished,
The people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”

One example she shared is the story of James Treybig, founder of Tandem Computers. The story of the way he structured his company is inspiring. Here are some notable characteristics:

  • He used a team approach that boosted employee morale, creativity, and productivity
  • He promoted an egalitarian atmosphere of openness and trust, rejecting old layers of hierarchy and their symbols such as executive lunchrooms. His door was always open to his employees.
  • He had an office no bigger than his managers.
  • He kept communications open, using e-mail, television networking, company newsletter, “town meetings”, and a quarterly teleconference to keep his employees informed.
  • He rewarded people for new ideas through stock options. Employees became co-owners of the company.
  • Many decisions were made by consensus. Departments met frequently. An entire department would conduct interviews to assure new employees would be good team people.
  • He offered comprehensive health care with dental and optical services, free noon seminars on  health issues. He provided a swimming pool, weight rooms, tennis courts and an exercise facility to encourage good health and a balanced life for his employees.
  • He initiated “popcorn parties” on Friday afternoons where employees could gather in a social setting before leaving for the weekend.
  • He had the lowest turnover rates and built the most reliable computers in the industry.
  • His employees were offered a payed six-week sabbatical every four years for renewal and personal growth.
  • Recognizing its part in the larger human community, Tandem offered special “service sabbaticals” in which employees could take time off with paid expenses for themselves to serve locally or even abroad.

It today’s competitive and greedy business climate, this is inspiring. I believe that there are small businesses in the nooks and crannies of our cities and towns there as Tao leaders running their businesses, honoring their employees, and flowing with the needs of the environment and their communities. We don’t get to see them in the headlines, unfortunately.

This kind of stuff inspires me and gives me hope. It represents the power of good in the world. I sometimes lose hope…fearing that evil’s power is stronger, but today, reading about Treybig, I am more hopeful.