Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chainsaw Al Dunlap

Mean Business by Al Dunlap Another "must own" business book As King Solomon would say, "We only know half of the story on Sunbeam's meltdown at the hands of Al Dunlap." I can find no public record of Dunlap telling his side of the story. Yes, there is a SEC litigation and final judgment against Dunlap and Sunbeam's former Chief Financial Officer, Russell Kersh.
"Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, Dunlap and Kersh agreed to the entry of judgments: (1) permanently enjoining each of them from violating the antifraud, reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws; (2) permanently barring each of them from serving as officers or directors of any public company, and (3) requiring Dunlap to pay a civil penalty of $500,000 and Kersh to pay a civil penalty of $200,000."
So without an explanation from Dunlap, I will remain a fan, but endeavor to keep a close watch on my passions. The tenets in Dunlap's book Mean Business are still valid today. It is the contents of this book that I find refreshing and of great value. His "Four Simple Rules" provide great insight.
  1. Get the right management team
  2. Pinch Pennies
  3. Know what business you are in
  4. Get a real strategy
What many people fail to comprehend is the damage that is done to organizations by having the wrong people employed—regardless the position or level of authority. In the 1989 movie Road House (rated R), Red West delivers this classic dialog on how he got stuck in bad situation:
"I got married to an ugly woman. Don't ever do that. It just sucks the energy right out of you."
The same is true for employing the wrong people, "it just sucks the energy" out of your business. Good people might leave; smart people that you need to turn things around. But rather than fight the "system" they find it easier to move on to greener pastures. I personally have done this on more than one occasion. How sad. There has never been a better time to get the wrong people off your payroll. But you have to build the trust that you know what you are doing. That by removing the deadwood, the remaining organism will live. That is what happened at Scott Paper Company during Dunlap's rein. That is the insight available in this book. A lot of good people were let go... because the corporation was in danger of dying and taking everyone's job. In health care, sometimes a limb must be removed to save the body. What tough decisions have you failed to make? Is your business at risk of death? There is hope... -ski ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Strategy, Tactics & Execution Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533 ©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.
blog comments powered by Disqus