Two unorthodox business approaches that work
Having worked in a number of professional settings, I have seen two non-orthodox approaches do good things for the companies that practice them. One is cultivating loyalty to the company through direct personal engagement between the boss and the workers. The other is involving people at all levels in the decision-making process.
The first works especially well for smaller companies. I have worked for two companies that were managed by people from Lebanon. The companies were very different from one another, one being a computer company and the other being a restaurant; and the CEO's of these companies had very different personalities. But they both went out of their way to engage with employees and build personal relationships with them.
There are a number of ways in which this can be a benefit. One is that one makes and keeps friends - which, besides being a good thing in itself, can also be good for business, as the friends that one makes can come in handy. Another is that trust is built between the company and the employees, and one has less to fear of the workers doing their job badly. Finally, an employee who feels personal loyalty to his employer is going to be motivated to go beyond the call of duty and do as much as he can to benefit the company instead of only doing as much as is required for him to keep his job.
The Lebanese have done well commercially all around the world; and their warm and personal management style has much to do with this commercial success.
For larger companies, where the CEO can't be friends with everyone, loyalty is best built through close worker-manager interactions. Oracle, which has 100,000 employees, cannot have everyone be friends with Larry Ellison; but it can maintain, and does maintain, a much more democratic management style than many other large companies. And having worked for Oracle I can say that their management style works wonders, and for this reason:
They involve people at all levels in the decision-making process.
Now someone may say, Well how can someone with just a few years of experience have useful ideas to offer the company? You'd be surprised. People come in with all sorts of knowledge and life experience, and you never know who will have something useful to say. Involving people at all levels in decision-making process carries a wide array of benefits. It prevents groupthink; it brings in all sorts of useful perspectives that top management themselves may not think of; and it enlarges the pool of ideas from which to choose. Oracle understands this, which is why it has grown from 30,000 employees to 100,000 employees in a decade in which many other computer companies folded. The Israeli army understood this before did Oracle, which is why it has a reputation as the most effective fighting force in the world.
Both of these tactics are not orthodox business; but they have been highly effective for businesses that have chosen to practice them. And the rest of the business world has much to learn from companies that practice these approaches.