CEO sets a new standard

Opportunity is defined as ?a favorable juncture of circumstances.? ?MIRIAM-WEBSTER.COM

We often hear a well-known piece of advice when experiencing a setback, and it goes like this: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Even so, it is often easier said than done.

Another approach, however, addresses a similar, yet different question as well, even when it?s not the lemons that are the focus, but how they are made.

Let me explain. The best advice comes from other people as they decide for themselves to make changes they hope will have a positive impact on their lives and the lives of others.

Take the story about Dan Price, chief executive officer of Gravity Payments, interviewed by ?CBS 60 Minutes? a week ago. He decided it was in his company?s best long-term interests to raise staff pay to a level that employees did not have to live hand-to-mouth trying to survive on minimum wages.

By 2017, each worker will receive no less than $70,000 a year, up from a base level of about $39,000. As a way to partially finance the salary structure, Price reduced his own $1 million salary to $70,000 as well.

Price refers to a Prince?ton study that indicated job satisfaction peaks at around a $75,000 annual salary. A link to the study is http://www.princeton.edu/ main/news/archive/S15/15/09S18/index.xml?section=topstories.

During the interview, Price said he wants to be a part of the solution for income inequality in Amer?ica. He sees this as an opportunity to position not only his company for a brighter future, but to provide greater opportunities for his employees to worry less about staying ahead of the bill collec?tors and focusing more on their work.

His move follows that of McDonald?s and Wal-Mart in raising the minimum wage in their respective companies.

Though some may say Price?s decision is suicidal and fiscally irresponsible, his company is still quite profitable, and his well-researched plans are to remain that way.

As part of the younger millennial generation, Price is determined to be a part of the solution rather than being a part of the problem that he sees undermines the social reputation and credibility of his company as it moves into the 21st century.

It is also a refreshing change to discover there are CEOs in the business world who recognize how income inequality between management and employees is a huge impediment to not only worker satisfaction, but also productivity.

It?s not whether it is proper for a CEO?s salary to be a multiple of 25 or 1,000 times greater than an employee?s salary, but whether it requires the employee to make inequitable sacrifices in order to sustain that ratio.

This ?new? approach by David Price reflects business practices from an earlier age when Henry Ford decided to pay his factory workers a much higher wage than they were getting. He reasoned that with better living wages, they could afford to buy the cars they were making, thus creating and rapidly expanding his market share, not to mention helping to build an expanding middle class that would fuel the growing economy.

Will this new thinking become a dominant force in America? It remains to be seen. However, the time for us to make a change is coming, whether we like it or not. A growing divide between the ?haves? and the ?have nots? is a prescription for revolution, increasing chaos and internal decay within our society.

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