Wednesday, June 16, 2010

John Ringling on How the Brothers Made Decisions; A Rare Family Democracy ...

From the story John Ringling penned for The American Magazine in 1919, reprinted in Bandwagon, perhaps the most remarkable disclosure is this:

Let's say that one of the brothers had an idea he felt passionately about, but could get not even another brother to support his proposal. He still might, in the remarkable House of Ringling, have a chance:

"One thing which we agreed upon early was that majority rule should not prevail in all cases. We never believe that any three should force their dictates upon two. Often, if only one held out for an idea to which the other four were opposed, we would argue and try to convince that one; but if he insisted, we agree to gy his plan. The verdict usually was "All right. We think you're wrong, but if you insist, we'll try it.:

"If the plan succeeded we gave him the credit, and if it failed we said nothing about it. Not all have succeeded, but some of the biggest improvements and advances we have made have been the result of trying out some idea which, at first, the majority opposed."

They were the wonder boys of the circus world. No wonder they ascended to the top of the big top. No wonder the world would soon sing their praises.

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