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Mini-cast 208: From Independence to Interdependence, ICYMI

The EsOp Podcast: From Independence to Interdependence; image of the American flag and host Bret Keisling

With the US elections upon us, we revisit an episode from the July 4th, 2022, holiday weekend where Bret Keisling reflects on what the holiday means to him, and how employee ownership can address what he sees as our most vexing problem in the US, our inability to work together to benefit us all.

The main body of this episode originally aired on July 1, 2022, as Mini-cast 190: From Independence to Interdependence.


Mini-cast 208 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Tuesday, November 8th, 2022, is Election Day in the United States. It is, by all accounts, a momentous election, which is likely to shape the course of our country and states for the near future.

[00:00:12] With elections coming up, I wanted to reshare this Mini-cast episode from July 2020, which lays out in a 4th of July context my hope for our country to adopt an EO vibe. Namely, that regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum or who you support, the one inescapable truth is that we're all in this together.

[00:00:32] I hope you enjoyed this episode and remember to vote November 8th.


[00:00:36] Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. This episode is dropping on July 1st, 2022, as the United States enters into a long weekend in celebration of Independence Day, or the 4th of July.

[00:01:03] As I try to do with any major holiday, I spend a little bit of time reflecting on what the holiday is supposed to represent and, in the case of Independence Day, on the state of my country. In this hyper political time, it often seems to me like demonizing someone you disagree with is more important than working in good faith to find solutions to our problems. This is particularly disappointing in the context of employee ownership, where it is all about the "we." We grow the pie. We share the pie. We work together and we share the benefits of working together.

[00:01:34] Fundamental to worker co-ops and ESOPs is that all employee owners are treated alike. They're designed to be inclusive. And the very best of our employee-owned companies work hard on diversity, equity and inclusion, which to me is the very best of what America should represent.

[00:01:50] If you're involved in employee ownership at all, then you're aware that EO is a great way to address a lot of very vexing issues we face. Obviously, it starts with wealth inequality. We also know that employee ownership addresses other issues such as wage inequality. And it's not surprising to see employee-owned companies regularly appear on the list of best places to work. We know during the pandemic that employee-owned companies were three to four times less likely to have layoffs and had significantly less salary reductions as well.

[00:02:20] In fact, in these very troubling times, where inflation is a serious problem and supply chains worldwide continue to be disrupted, we regularly hear of employee-owned companies thriving in this environment.

[00:02:33] Recently, the Employee Ownership News featured an article by Corey Rosen. It was an excerpt from a presentation he made at The NCEO's national conference this past April. In it, Cory posits that employee ownership has the opportunity to create more positive changes through improved civil discourse. We'll include a link to the article in the Employee Ownership News, as well as the link to Corey's full presentation at the conference.

[00:02:59] I think Corey makes a very powerful point and it's another good reason to pursue employee ownership, because we can all benefit from improved civil discourse.

[00:03:08] The best employee-owned companies understand that they need everybody working towards the same goals, regardless of company department, or location, or job description, or even salary and seniority.

[00:03:20] If you listen to the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler, which I produce for the EO Podcast Network, you'll hear that all of Jesse's guests, who are primarily rank and file employee owners, are pretty much unable to talk about EO without speaking, in terms of "we."

[00:03:36] It's become very well understood that a transaction that creates an employee-owned company, be it an ESOP, workers co-op, or employee ownership trust only goes so far. Unless companies work to build a culture where everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals, the benefits of employee ownership are often dramatically reduced.

[00:03:56] Like so many I'm prepared to celebrate America's independence this weekend. But I can't help but feel very strongly that our collective success as Americans, and frankly, citizens everywhere, will be based more on interdependence than independence.

[00:04:11] It would be great if EO as a community could follow Corey Rosen's lead and apply the same sense of "we" to our communities, states, and country as we apply to our employee-owned companies. It goes a long way to addressing what I think is the biggest issue facing the US right now.: Our inability to communicate with each other about issues that affect us all.

[00:04:32] So, this weekend I'll enjoy a festival in central Pennsylvania and attend a barbecue or two. And as I celebrate America's independence, I'll be hoping for a much stronger sense of interdependence in the future.

[00:04:44] If you're in the United States, I wish you a very happy 4th of July weekend and to all of our friends around the world, I wish you the best as well. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well


[00:04:55] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter at EO Podcast Network. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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