Wednesday, October 15, 2014
FIVE AND ONE HALF - Chapter 27
The next day I went to the plant and met the CEO and much of the board members.
As I went through the plant I could see there were many changes.
A notable one was the cafeteria that only served Japanese dishes, which by the way were delicious.
After lunch they brought me into the board room and asked me what I thought.
This was a moment where I didn’t want to say what I really thought.
Instead I said, “I’m impressed with some of the changes you have made.” (I was thinking of the good Japanese food.)
One of the board members, an old man (through an interpreter) said, “Now tell us what you really think.”
“Well okay, but you probably won’t like it.”
I spent the next hour going through every phase of their setup and I said, “There is nothing that can’t be fixed.”
The head man on the board spoke up and asked, “Where you would start to “fix it as you put it?”
“I said I hope I haven’t offended anyone. All I wanted to do was express my observations. I suppose I could be wrong but having worked for a profitable company, I know how a successful company should be run.”
“If you were in charge where would you start?”
“Well I would hesitate to give any advice for it is a process and all changes need to happen at once or confusion will be the order of the day.”
“Can’t you give us any idea as to where you see a problem?”
I said, “Okay, because you are insisting. The first issue I would deal with is culture and tradition. You have incorporated both within your production and it is stifling the company. At home or perhaps in the board room it would be proper but not beyond that.
Your workers spend more time on the tea ceremonies which occur at least twice a day or more and trying to make sure their Obi is hanging properly that they can’t concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing.
This is where to start, dress everybody in comfortable clothes that they can put on in the morning and forget about them the rest of the day.”
The director of the board said; “You’re hired.”
I said, “Hired to do what?”
“To do everything that needs to be changed.”
I replied, “It would entail in shuffling some of the staff and sending some of them back to their home land.”
They said, “Fine!”
I could see they were under the gun to turn this company around.
I said, “I will do this for you on a contractual basis. When I’m finished I will leave and have the right people in place.”
My price was probably higher than it should have been but what the heck they were the ones that messed the company up so they should pay for fixing it.
They didn’t say anything, just signed the contract.
I assured them that in the long run, they would save far more money than I was charging them.
For a week I sat in my office making lists of changes and how to facilitate the changes.
The next week I brought the head of each department and gave them their instructions on how to implement the changes.
Since some of the people were going to be new to their job I spent a lot of extra time with them.
On the third week we made the changes and on the fourth week the fine tuning was done.
The fifth week I spent on setting up new contacts for them and the sixth week the business was up to speed.
I told them for the next month I would come in one day a week and after that I would be finished.
They looked a little nervous but everything went off as schedule and I was out of a job again.
After having been out with Lottie one day I came in and went to Lesley’s studio and saw the artist she hired trying to kiss Lesley.
When he saw me he backed off and Lesley gave him a sharp slap across his face.
I told him to get his brushes and leave while he was able to.
He bristled at my suggestion and said some things he shouldn’t have said.
Even though he was quite a bit larger than me I slammed him to the floor and inflicted a great deal of pain on him.
Lesley finally got me to release him and he took off running out the side door and down the driveway.
I called after him and said; “You forgot your brushes.”
That was the last we saw of him. I went and checked on Lottie who was in her room and didn’t know anything was wrong.
A moment later Ester and the cook came in and asked why Jim was running down the driveway so fast.
Lesley said he isn’t employed here any longer. Ester said I kinda liked Jim but I thought he was getting too familiar with you and beginning to take liberties I didn’t think was right.
Lesley decided to tell her what happened and she said; “Good riddance.”
With Jim out of sight I went about my business.
That night at dinner no one was speaking and Lottie was through eating and was just playing with her food.
Ester was trying to get Levi to finish his strained peaches.
Lesley was sitting there with a grin on her face and finally burst out laughing.
As I stared at her she stopped long enough to say; “I still got it don’t I.”
I said, “Yes, I’m afraid you have,” and we both started to laugh as we looked at each other.
“Let’s see,” I said, “We have been married about eight years with two kids and you still have got it,” as we continued to laugh.
Lottie stared at us and asked; “Got what?”
It was then I realized our daughter didn’t really know how beautiful her mother was.
To Lottie, she was just "Mom," that’s all and it didn’t matter how pretty she was.
To Be Continued