In my opinion, Judi Jacobsen’s Madison Park Greeting Cards Company embraces two core values, namely developing people and customer delight. The first value can be defined as “the desire and ability of the company to improve the lot of the employees working for it”.The company currently employs 75 people that the society may call disadvantaged. However, Mrs. Jacobsen considers them to be a real asset to her company. As she explains, deaf workers are more focused on the task at hand than their hearing colleagues. The immigrants that work for her cannot speak English well, but they are bright and devoted to their duties. The displaced mothers may lack confidence, but they are great at communicating with customers. Mrs. Jacobsen gives work to those, who desperately need it, and, of course, they cling to such an opportunity and do their best to retain their positions.
Customer delight is also an important value that underlies Judi Jacobsen’s business, because she wants to be useful to her family in the first place and make people happier through her artistic output. According to the business dictionary, customer delight is “the very favorable experience of the client of a business when they have received a good or service that significantly surpasses what they had initially anticipated”. Mrs. Jacobsen views her business as a way of helping people. She excels at understanding the human aspirations, needs, and desires, as her works vividly demonstrate. Having established rapport with clients that goes beyond products and services, Madison Park Greeting Cards Company has nowadays “5,000 regular customers and another 4,000 who order occasionally”. The company’s products are of excellent quality; they meet and often exceed the customers’ expectations. Moreover, they create emotionally positive and memorable experience, which many customers want to relive again and again.
The Difference Between Social Responsiveness and Social Responsibility
In fact, “the term social responsiveness has been popularized as a replacement for social responsibility”. A responsive organization is characterized by the balance between profits and ethics, addressing the fundamental issues of integrity in relation to social problems. I think that Judi Jacobsen is socially responsive, as she recognizes her responsibility to society and acts accordingly in order to contribute to its well-being. She is well-aware of her role in the society, and she wants to make a difference in the life of her family, company, and world in general. I believe that her social responsiveness is accounted for her social status, for she is the wife of a Protestant minister, and she shows virtues, which are worthy of emulation. Mrs. Jacobsen admits that “running a business is not just about making money; it is about making the world a better place. When we do something good, good does come back to us” (J. Jacobsen, n.d.). She sincerely believes in the golden rule, and she treats her employees and customers as she would like to be treated. Through employing the less fortunate elements of the society, she improves the welfare of society as well as organizational interests. Mrs. Jacobsen’s social responsiveness is not triggered by social pressure, but her inner desire to help people. She comes across those, who hardly make both ends meet, and she gives them hope, and with her help they can provide for themselves and their families. The disadvantaged employees can make a substantial contribution to society, if they are given a chance. Mrs. Jacobsen takes time to learn the sign language, and hires people who hardly speak English, because she is moved by their problems. However, what works for her small company will be ineffective for large corporations that rely on workers who can communicate effectively, are good at multitasking, and have great skills to achieve success.
Putting people above profits is the philosophy that distinguishes Mrs. Jacobsen from other business people. She is a real altruist one may think. Her strategy turned out to be successful, as her employees and customers contribute to her success. In all probability, the workers are motivated to work better, because they experience an attitude of exceptional benevolence. Customers like to be catered for, as their needs and desires are of primary importance for the company. Mrs. Jacobsen’s philosophy testifies the fact that investing in people is a rewarding experience.
However, if to take into account management decisions and actions with regard to people-priority-philosophy, then they should focus on employees’ satisfaction with the working conditions and customers’ satisfaction with the quality of goods and services. Besides, the employees are supposed to take an active part in the company’s decision-making process, and the company’s top managers should hold accountability for their actions and promote “we” culture, demonstrate willingness to change, and motivate their workers. Putting people above profits is a challenging undertaking, because there are numerous hurdles to overcome along the way. The employees of the Madison Park Greeting Cards Company take an active participation in the company’s operations, and they are valued as individuals and workers. Besides, working with the disadvantaged people requires patience, understanding, and positive attitude, as well as additional skills on part of the managers. Judi Jacobsen’s philosophy is not a myth, but reality: “I think one thing that’s really meant a lot to me is that people count more than bottom line, except the balance of it… You have to have your business doing well in order to accomplish the goals of helping other people, giving people jobs.”.