Happy at work at Motek

I met Motek’s CEO Ann Price at the 2006 WorldBlu Forum on democractic organizations, and her story of how they work at Motek was tremendously inspiring.

Motek make warehouse administration software and here’s some of the great things they do according to this excellent article in American Way Magazine:


  • Price offers her employees a $5,000-a-year travel benefit for flights, tours, cruises, you name it – but only if they take at least a three-week paid vacation. She gives employees another two weeks off for paid holidays throughout the year and leases luxury automobiles for any employee who has worked at the company for at least 10 years. Then there’s the fact that Price sends employees home at five p.m. sans laptop and locks the doors on the weekend.
  • …every Motek employee has a designated backup available to provide cover while they’re out of the office. The only requirement is to check with the backup to make sure he or she is around before the employee leaves.
  • The company keeps a single to-do list… Anyone can enter an item, including customers and vendors. The list can include everything from ordering ink cartridges to customizing a specific function for a customer. Motek divvies up the tasks at meetings and teams don’t pay any attention to who entered particular items.
  • Price doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to bonding with customers. She designates individuals – from top executives to line workers – heroes for their roles in effecting change at a company that uses Motek’s software. Then she sends out a professional photographer who shoots for Fortune magazine – at somewhere between $8,000 and $15,000 a shoot – to snap their photo, which she then posts on the Motek website. There, you can read all about the person’s achievements and how they were able to deliver superior results.
  • For Price, the endgame isn’t to earn money at any cost. And it isn’t about ruling the software industry. No, Price has bigger ambitions: She hopes to change the world.

The result: Happiness and profits. Eighty percent of the technical team has been with the company for at least 10 years, compared to an industry average employment span of 18 months. In 2005, Motek’s revenue per employee topped $217,000. Competing firms’ revenue typically ranges from $150,000 to $200,000.

This is a wonderful story of great, unconventional leadership focused on making employees and customers happy rather than on growth and profits. With growth and profit as the results.

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