After reading “The Oz Principle” book (for work), I was inspired to write a story in the same theme (or voice) that the authors of the book had used. Here is my attempt at that. This is, of course, a fictional story and any resemblance to actual people or companies is, in fact, purely co-incidental.
The Oz Story
The story of Rod’s Wholesale Auto Logic is one that we’ve heard time and time again. Rod’s was a small start-up company located in North Carolina and it had the fortune of going into business at the exact point in time that this type of company was needed.
Rod’s was founded by an adventurous man who had a salesman heart and a love for fast cars. The company was staffed mostly by former auto mechanics, who shared Rod’s love for cars and enjoyed not having to work on them anymore. After getting the company off the ground, Rod’s was sold through a successful IPO stock sale to a large auto parts conglomerate, “Bubba’s Parts ‘N’ Stuff”. And here is where the story becomes all too familiar.
Almost immediately, Bubba’s began to “trim the fat” at Rod’s, cutting entire departments and reducing the benefits package for most of the remaining employees. Bubba’s tried to bring in their own leadership culture, because Rod himself was out of the picture and his second-in-command from the old days, Jeremy, was the new CEO. Unfortunately, it was quickly obvious that Jeremy and the executive staff at Rod’s had no formal business management training, resorting to “book learning”, OJT, and old-fashioned trial & error. One management fad after another was half-heartedly implemented and then scrapped before those ideals ever had a chance to filter down to the lower employees.
Company morale sank to an all-time low, especially in 2 specific departments – Production and Sales. The foul mood was plainly obvious to almost every employee from middle management on down, but upper management and the executive staff seemed oblivious to this because they stayed focused on one specific goal – the bottom line. The shareholders noticed that even though Rod’s was earning a good dividend (better than any other corporate arm of Bubba’s), the staff at Rod’s was not living the culture that all other Bubba’s staff had been exposed to. Internally, the employees at Rod’s were constantly operating Below the Line and it was plainly obvious that things were not going to improve on their own.
So what can Rod’s do to change their situation and bring everyone Above the Line?