Stewardship is a concept few people think about. Those who do may think about flight attendants, once called stewards or stewardesses. History buffs or fans of the Middle Ages may know something about the position of a steward. The historical concept is what Louis Chenevert means when he uses the term. Chenevert is the former CEO of United Technologies, and he believes in investing in people and new technologies, a view he shares with the company’s current chief executive officer. It is this investment that helped the company continue to grow, even in the depths of mid-2000s recession.
What can a CEO who believe in stewardship of his company do to help employees grow? One of the best things he can do is to continue his employees to continue their educations. Many companies, including convenience stores and the retail giant Wal-Mart, have some programs that reimburse employees for their tuition. These programs may help the employees go onto different careers, but it also helps the companies find talented employees who understand the culture and want to stay with them. These employees do not have to stay in the often entry-level jobs in which they began their careers.
Louis Chenevert saw that this attitude is appreciated by his customers and employees. When employees are treated well, they may become new customers in the future. This is especially true for people who go on to be successful in their own businesses. He is joined by the owners of the McDonald’s Restaurant chain in this attitude. Many people who work in upper level management at McDonalds started out as employees at the store. People who have worked for the chain often defend it against people who attack it for the treatment of its employees. UTC’s Stewardship program is now reaping the same benefits for it.
See Chenevert speak here: