One of the most remarkable people I have met in my life was a charming, bigger-than-life young woman, Pam Weatherwax.
So the story goes, when I was in junior high school (that’s what we old folks call middle school), I worked at a root beer stand branded Dog n Suds. We called it "Arfn Barf”.
It was located on M-115between the lakes in Cadillac, Michigan. I think there is now a Burger King at this location. (Just so you know Burger King is called Hungry Jacks in Australia.) Anyway, I started out pouring drinks and making sundaes and ice cream cones. I made $1.35 an hour.
The place was a cooker in summer — it was so hot and greasy and sticky. But it was a hopping place during those long summer months; we served a giga-billion coney dogs and gallons of root beer.
Culturally, the workplace was characterized by the cynical, sour attitude of the owner, Marv, but also by his sweet wife, Pat. Nonetheless, Marv was threatening, boorish and a real culture killer. He complained and criticized constantly; he could have used a management 101 class.
And he got it in the person of Pam Weatherwax. Pam, an attractive, yet typical high school student, was a culture creator. She was so alive, refreshing, positive, and spirit-filled. While Marv did his best to create an unbearable work environment, Pam disarmed Marv in mere moments. She turned toil into joy — everyone wanted to work with her because her positive attitude was so contagious.She was bigger than life.
Of course Pam added substantial value to Marv’s business: sales increased, productivity improved, and the customer experienced excellence — pure and simply.
Can you imagine the pricing impact a team of Pams would have on a business buyer who walked into an operating environment that glows with positive attitudes and excitement?
The value creation business model seems to be quite straightforward: hire value creators like Pam Weatherwax, and leave the spreadsheets and ratio analysis to the eggheads on Wall Street.
Sun, August 8, 2010
by Timothy E. Moffit