I read this incredible story in a Strategy + Business article, a publication by Booz & Co on 4th February 2011.
One night in 1973, Fred Smith, the founder of the FedEx Corporation, decided to gamble, literally, on the future of his company. Short of funds to pay for airline fuel, Smith hopped a weekend flight to Las Vegas and took the company’s last US$5,000 to the blackjack table. By Monday morning, he had the $24,000 he needed, and then some. Nearly four decades later, FedEx is a regular on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. According to the authors of this paper, there may be a connection between the company’s dramatic story of survival and its high level of employee commitment.
The article which you can read here goes on to detail results of a series of four experiments, where researchers explored how reflecting counter factually on an institution’s origins — that is, considering “what if” scenarios — can influence stakeholders’ actions and commitment.
I found it all fascinating.
What are you prepared to risk to fulfill the dreams you have for your company?
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