Ewing Kauffman (left) and Cedric Tallis photographed in 1968. | Via the Missouri State Archives

Video: Ewing Kauffman on uncommon companies, motivation, appreciation



Thursday would have been the 101st birthday of Ewing Kauffman, the famed Kansas City entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded pharmaceutical company Marion Laboratories and was the founding owner of the Kansas City Royals.

In honor of the occasion, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Kauffman to promote entrepreneurship and education, shared old footage of an appearance the entrepreneur made on the Jeanne Palmer Show.

In the clip, Kauffman covers lots of ground: the importance of people, the power of motivation, his guiding business philosophies.

You can view the full video below, but we’ve picked out a few nuggets of entrepreneurial advice from Kauffman.

On the importance of people:

Marion Laboratories, it’s completely dominated by people. I don’t care how wonderful of products you have. It takes people to do production, research and sales and everything else. We say it’s an uncommon company because we take common people and, through the association, they become uncommon.

On the recipe for motivation:

What most people don’t realize, motivation is not one single thing. It’s a lot of little things done day after day, month after month, year after year. Once people get food, clothing and and shelter — the necessities — then money isn’t the only answer. It’s pride in their job. It’s pride in their company. It’s feeling that they’re accomplishing something, doing something worthwhile for society. It’s prestige. It’s the respect of the people with whom they work. So motivation is composed of a lot of little things over a period of time.

On the power of appreciation:

The greatest motivation … it’s appreciation. If people know that the things they do are appreciated, and they’re told, and they’re thanked, they’ll just break their back to do more for you.

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