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The Best Business Plan? Relationships

The Best Business Plan? Relationships

If Phoenix Christian Jade Meskill's success is any indication, collaboration and investing in employees isn't pie-in-the-sky idealism. It's just smart business.

The loneliness and isolation that mark modern Western life are amplified in a place like Phoenix.

By far the largest city in the second-fastest-growing state, with 4.2 million, Phoenix has wittingly or unwittingly taken on a spirit of more, bigger and—possibly most significantly—farther. It's the opposite of a place like New York City, where tight quarters lead to creative use of compact areas.

The vast horizons in the Valley of the Sun are breathtaking. But the sheer possibility offered by all of the land can lead to fragmented lives, long car rides, and moving farther and farther out.

Enter Jade Meskill, a Phoenix entrepreneur who's built his company around fighting such isolation with a vengeance. His strategy is simple: he values human beings. And his values have driven him to make ample space—literally—for community and collaboration.

This wasn't always the case. In his first job as Chief Technology Officer for a distribution company in Chandler, just outside Phoenix, Meskill rose to the top fast and was ready to do things his way.

"I wanted to build a great environment where people loved to work," Meskill says. "I gave my employees really flexible schedules, a totally open work environment, and good pay," Meskill says. He even threw in video games. "I wanted people to like working for me," Meskill says.

"But they hated it, and they hated me."

Meskill says he went through a couple cycles of employees who responded to his management style with the same distaste. He had to dig deeper to figure out what was going on.

"I couldn't just blame my employees," Meskill says. "I had to ask how I was responsible for what happened." As a follower of Jesus, Meskill knew that people had gifts and talents given by God. He also knew he was not a perfect boss. What he had yet to do was make his management approach line up with what he confessed on Sunday morning.

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Comments Are Closed

Displaying 1–4 of 4 comments

Jim Nelson

October 27, 2012  5:57pm

Laudable effort. May more Christians do the same of reaching out to collaborate instead of contributing to individualism which has clearly gone to far.

S Park

October 26, 2012  10:15am

My main critique is of the article, not Gangplank. Again if you read the introduction carefully, its focus is Meskill's management style and that it failed for some (unexplained) reason. Without much of an explicit connection, the article then leaps to Gangplank and its approach. The reader has to make that connection, which apparently is that Meskill prevented his people from collaborating in some way or other. But its not clear.

emilyg

October 25, 2012  4:15pm

Rather than the point of this article being to identify all specifics about Gangplank and Jade, I think it's a great highlight of how a Christian is creating space for business people to collaborate on the work they do. S Park, why don't you check out Gangplank yourself to see their work in action!

S Park

October 25, 2012  11:28am

Aside from vague references to "collaboration", the article doesn't really answer the question as to why "they hated it and they hated me", or how he changed "his management approach line up with what he confessed on Sunday morning". And putting everyone in a big room with long tables is not the answer for every collaboration and productivity issue, and in fact can create other issues.

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