Helping public companies and their suppliers deliver better and more cost-effective programs since 1994


If there is one overarching theme that comes through in this special issue of the Optimizer we hope, it’s how much the efficacy of our really important tools depend on the people who design, deliver and wield them on our behalf.

As we constantly hear from our corporate clients – and constantly preach to our supplier clients –Yes, cutting edge technologies and cost-efficient production techniques are critically important. But buyers still put service at the very top of their list, and so they should. If anything, public companies rely much more than ever on their suppliers to ‘watch their backs’ and to deliver high levels of service – details that they themselves have all too little time to micro-manage or oversee on a day-to-day basis.

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Over the past 24 years we have had the good fortune to work with some of the biggest and best companies in America – helping them to review a wide variety of programs aimed at shareholders – with the goal of “optimizing” the value-for-money spent. Virtually every client chose “The Tone at the Top” as their number-one decision factor. And every one of them considered “the people who will be assigned to work on our account” as the number-two decision-maker-or-breaker. Very wise criteria indeed.

Accordingly, we have some added advice for readers of this issue where ‘people’ are concerned: As you read the many articles that have been authored by suppliers of services – here and on our website – read carefully between the lines: We believe you can get a very good sense, both of the “tone at the top”...and also of the level of service that will be delivered to you

One other thing worth knowing, we think: We are always happy to help our readers find good people if they have an important staff vacancy – so feel free to call on us.

And finally, when it comes to finding and employing good people, we want to make a very special pitch for the Fountain House Transitional Employment Program, a description of which can be found on our website under the “Doing Well by Doing Good” tab. We first used it ourselves back in our banking days – when we used T-E members to open, sort and deliver our incoming and interoffice mail, keep logs, make photocopies...and later, to water and maintain our potted plants. In 10+ years of using them, we never, ever, had a problem with a TEP worker. (If only we could say the same about our “regular workers”!)

You will hear the same, we guarantee, from Broadridge’s CEO Rich Daly – a champion of T-E and a major user of the program for over 20 years – and from the Wall Street Journal, which, for many years, used Fountain House Members to review and route their all-important letters to various editors, and uses them now to work on their historical archive, among other chores…and from law firms like Cravath Swaine & Moore… and enlightened public-companies like Esteé Lauder and Publicis.

The biggest benefit of this program usually comes as a big and pleasant surprise to new employers: It’s the effect the program has on your existing workers – who will derive amazing energy and job satisfaction from mentoring T-E workers, from watching the many successes of T-E workers - and from “doing well by doing good.”

Currently, we have no recommended suppliers, but please feel free to contact the editors if you would like additional background information and a few names to investigate.