march 1990

Lou Pearlman, founder and CEO of Airship International Ltd., in New York City, had a problem. Eight of his company's 42 employees were living on the road eight months out of each year to operate the two blimps the company leases. And they were growing weary.

Pearlman offered them raises and bonuses, but family, not income, was the issue. So he proposed spending any raises and bonuses normally incurred over the next two years on extra personnel, so employees' travel time would be cut in half. The managers agreed to a 20-month salary freeze, which Pearlman estimates paid for the cost of hiring the new managers.

"Knowing they can get back to a normal, day-to-day life," says Pearlman, "everyone is more eager to do the things they set out to do."