November 13, 2019

How to Tell People They Own the Company

When Kris Maynard, the CEO and cofounder of Essential Ingredients, gathered employees for a celebration of the company's 15th anniversary, he had a surprise in store. First, he told them that the company was going to have new owners, and that the new owners were in the room with them. “There was a gasp in the room when I said it,” says Maynard. 

Paul Spiegelman of Forbes Magazine describes the rest of the story in his November 4 article:

Everyone began to look around, waiting for the new owners to make themselves known. But instead, Kris looked to the front row of the audience and asked a long-time warehouseman to please stand up. He asked him how long he’d been with the company, and then he asked him to remain standing. Next, Kris looked across the room to one of their beloved receptionists, and asked her to stand and share how long she’d been with the company. One by one, Kris continued this line of questioning until a large group of employees were standing up throughout the room. Finally, he revealed what was really going on. 

“I’d like to introduce you to the new owners of Essential Ingredients, and that’s all of you.”