The Bill And Dave Way

As a Christmas present from the company this year we all got a copy of a book called “The Bill And Dave Way.” It’s all about how Bill and Dave founded the great company I’m now working for. One of our managers thought this would be a really good idea for a Christmas present and boy was that guy wrong. Morale is extremely low across the shop floor for a variety of reasons. The temps are angry that they can’t get hired on full time permanent, the permanent people are angry because they have been hearing rumors about losing all their jobs in the near future. The news we’ve been hearing is that the company is going to try to outsource the entire PC board business to another company. Nobody knows for sure what’s going on with that but if it happens it could mean that hundreds of people here will lose their jobs.

Everywhere I go in the area, employees have been quoting passages from “The Bill And Dave Way” and shaking their heads in disgust at our management teams, or laughing their asses off. Either way management here looks alot worse for it now that we’ve been reading the book. It seems to me that the people who inherited this company from two truly great men only pay lip service to the corporate culture that Bill and Dave created. From my viewpoint, our management is extremely shortsighted and foolish from the corporate level all the way down to manufacturing. In some ways it’s amazing to me that the company even functions at all because it’s being run so inefficiently.

There’s numerous parts of the book that have caught my attention, but one thing that really struck home with me was a meeting that Bill and Dave had in Sonoma, California in 1957. They invited their top managers at that time to a special meeting in Sonoma to discuss problems and make plans for the company’s future. They wanted to somehow maintain a small company feel even though the company was becoming so successful that they had over 1,200 employees. The largest to date. During the meeting in Sonoma Bill and Dave identified a number of key items that would later become the corporate culture and guidelines called “The Bill And Dave Way”. Item number five on that list is to me, critical. Basically it states that the company must provide good opportunities for the employees, to allow them to share in the company’s successes which they realized those successes would not be possible without the employee. Their goal was also to provide job security for the employees and to provide opportunity for job satisfaction through accomplishments in work.

Our current management has demonstrated to me that this core value no longer matters to them. Bill And Dave’s company has become hire-and-fire. The employee is now treated as a liability rather than an asset. Item number five on Bill And Dave’s list has been abandoned.


~ by factorypeasant on September 25, 2004.

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