Monday, March 14, 2011

Guest Post: On Company Cultures from Nancy Land

"What started more than 40 years ago as a means to provide myself with a satisfying, creative career evolved into a company with a striking work ethic and unique track record with employees: No employee has ever been fired from Publications Development Company. That does not mean employees have not left, but people who come to work for the company either decide that the work climate suits them or they want or they choose to go elsewhere. Key principles are trust and mutual respect.

To foster mutual respect, I insisted that all new employees spend time learning what others do before choosing the job they want for themselves. This was the way I learned the business so I decided that the best way for employees to learn to respect one another was to teach them about each other’s jobs. In the course of this training program, people discovered some surprising things about themselves—one woman who applied for work in the shipping department ended up  heading the proofreading department; another who expected a position in project management found a far more satisfying niche in the art department. As a result of this crosstraining program, PDC ended up with a tightly knit, mutually respectful workforce able to support and back up fellow employees whenever deadlines were tight or personal emergencies or even vacations intervened.”

After graduating from Bryn Mawr with a major in chemistry and anthropology, Nancy Marcus Land worked as a research chemist at Union Carbide for five years before she developed the germ of a totally unrelated business idea:  to convince New York publishers to outsource publication services, such as  copy editing, design, and composition, to facilitate the publishing process and relieve constant in house bottlenecks. Starting in New York City and later moving to Crockett, a town of 7000 in East Texas, she assembled a team of 20 full time and 20 part time employees who for over 40 years handled contracts from many major publishers, including Random House and John Wiley and Sons. Her business idea spawned a new industry.  Soon every major publisher using outsourced services with the result that more than currently 50 such companies exist.  Nancy reports she always paid close attention to the atmosphere of Publications Development Company as well as the quality of the work. Resisting the current push to resort to less expensive offshore outsourcing, Nancy has now turned her attention to producing and promoting  books for niche authors who want their work published with care and customized attention. Her first product is a novel  on the women of Rwanda, When The Stars Fall to Earthby longtime human rights activist Rebecca Tinsley. 

1 comment:

  1. She is an inspiration for all of us, specially to the women. She had be through a lot of things and I'm so thankful that she would to share them.