Most companies try to discourage office politics, but not Lamalie Associates. The Cleveland-based executive search firm even goes so far as to sponsor in-house political campaigns.

Recently the firm's partners, who are also its owners, had to pick a new president. Since they all know a lot about choosing executives, they decided on a one-partner, one-vote election, with secret ballots and campaign platforms. The two candidates even traveled to each of the firm's eight offices to talk to the 25 voters and address their concerns. One big question: if elected, what will you do to make sure your disappointed opponent doesn't leave the firm?

As it turned out, that wasn't a problem. Partner John Johnson won the election as president, but his opponent, Robert Pearson, was elected chairman of the board -- to which Johnson reports.

-- Martha E. Mangelsdorf