One final piece to cap the week that was on Syracuse's move to the ACC. I'd like to share a story with you that touches on the issues of "loyalty," "hypocrisy," and "greed."
In the early 80's Big East Corp was founded. Seven people, Connie Eticutte, George Towne, Provo Dense, "Saint" John Redman, Bastion Collagge, Seton Hall and Sara Quse, were the original employees working for CEO David Gavitt.
Big East Corp made basket balls, tiny balls that you could put into baskets and fill them when not in use. It was a niche market but a market they soon became the leader in. As they grew, the company expanded. Exotically-named new employees like Nova Wyldkatt and Pitt Panthur filled in the ranks as the company soon became the No. 1 basket ball manufacturer in the world.
The sky was the limit for Big East Corp and CEO Gavitt decided to retire at the company's apex. He handed things over to his VP, Mike Tranghese. Tranghese had vision. He saw opportunity. And he saw expansion.
CEO Tranghese decided to diversify BEC's product line to include foot balls, tiny balls that people could put on their feet when not using them. There were a lot of people already in the foot ball market and the market leaders were well established (SouthEastern Co., etc.). Nevertheless, the move was full steam ahead.
Original employees such as Bastion Collagge and Sara Quse were placed in charge of the new endeavor. Along with Pitt Panthur, the company hired some outside talent with loaded resumes, including Wes T. Virginia, Mia Mee, Virginia Teck, Scarlet Night and a temp (Elle Awl). Pretty soon, Big East foot balls were off and running.
Over the years, both the basket ball and foot ball divisions flourished. Big East Corp maintained its market leader status in basket balls while remaining competitive in foot balls, thanks mostly to the wunderkind status of Mia Mee.
Employees like Sara Quse and Pitt Panthur worked double-duty, overseeing both divisions and providing solid contributions in both. While some employees only worked in one division or another, it was those who crossed over to both that felt they brought the most value to the company, especially as the market for foot balls became more and more lucrative.
Still, CEO Tranghese favored the basket ball division. He even brought in one of the market's biggest hot shots, Dame Fightunirush, to the basket ball division. The move was strange because Dame's strength was in the foot ball sector. Tranghese made the strange decision to allow her to continue operating independently from Big East Corp in that business, basically as a competitor. The rest of the employees looked around and wondered what was going on.
Then, in 2003, something happened. A.C.C. Inc., a rival basket ball and foot ball manufacturer, had made some big in-roads in both sectors but mostly in basket balls. They recognized that foot balls, however, were the future. Any manufacturer smart enough to recognize that and adjust accordingly would have a leg up in the near future.
At the time, Big East Corps' two best-performing employees were Mia Mee and Virginia Teck. They were the top two producers in the foot ball division and were basically calling their own shots. A.C.C. came to both of them and offered a bigger piece of the pie and the two were more than happy to jump. However, they wanted a third BEC employee to join them. A.C.C. reached out to Sara Quse and made their pitch.
The pitch made sense. It was forward-thinking. It was foot ball-first. It was the smart play. Sara liked it but she wanted to remain loyal so long as BEC was willing to move in the same direction.
She went to the CEO and asked him what his plans were for the future. CEO Tranghese told her, in no uncertain terms, that BEC would continue with business as usual. The basket ball division would remain the centerpiece of the company in spite of the fact that the foot ball division was making more money. It was about "doing the right thing" for employees like "Saint" John Redstrum (nee Redman), Nova Wyldkatt and Seton Hall, all of whom continued to work in basket balls only.
Sara knew what she had to do. She told A.C.C. that she would leave and go work for them. Unbeknownst to her, A.C.C. had also been talking to Bastion Collagge and decided to hire him instead. Sara had no choice but to return to BEC and continue her work in both divisions.
BEC tried to combat the defections by hiring some up-and-coming talent from mid-sized competitor CUSA-TEK. Loiue Ville, Mark Ette, Cindy Natty, DaPaul Bludiamon and S. Flora Daw all moved up to the big boys. While Louie, Cindy and S. Flora worked double-duty in both divisions, Mark and DaPaul only worked in basketball.
The temp (Elle Awl) was also let go due to poor performance.
Financially, the foot ball division continued to grow as that market blossomed. Meanwhile the basket ball division was becoming bloated. They were out of room in their first floor office space. Due to lack of adequate space, DaPaul was forced to take up residence in the basement.
Longtime employees like Sara, Pitt and Wes looked around and wondered what was happening. It seemed as though the basket ball division was growing even as profits were dwindling while the foot ball division wasn't receiving the kind of attention it needed despite record profits being reported by BEC's competitors.
Connie Eticutte understood this and asked to be added to double-duty. Nova Wyldktt was attempting to do the same but the current foot ball employees were concerned with the size of her workspace.
CEO Tranghese said he had a business plan and he was sticking to it. That the business plan was from 1982 gave many employee's pause.
In 2009, Tranghese stepped down and his VP, John Marinatto stepped in. Marinatto was long seen as a puppet for everything Tranghese stood for. Rumor began to swirl that employee dissent, especially in the foot ball division, was growing.
Meanwhile, the foot ball market became hostile. Top employees were jumping from competitor to competitor. Major corporations were attempting hostile takeovers of others. The market looked at Big East Corp, with its backwards mission statement and poor decision-making, and started wondering when its top employees would start looking elsewhere again.
Sara Quse saw the writing on the wall. She knew that everything that was wrong in 2003 was still wrong in 2011. The company, in the face of common sense, was continuing to favor long-time employees who were under-performing simply because they had been with the company for years. Employees who were pulling double-duty in both departments were not seeing their needs met. They were overworked and underpaid. Meanwhile, folks like Provo Dense, John Redstrum and DaPaul Bludiamon continued to receive extra benefits despite the fact that they were showing up late, performing poorly and all seemed to be living more off their reputation than consistent bodies of work.
Sara went to the CEO again. She sat across from John Marinatto while he ate a meatball sub. She explained that the market in 2011 was nowhere near the same as the market in 1981. That, if Big East Corp wanted to remain one of the Big Six in the industry, it couldn't put all its resources into the basket ball market. The focus of the entire company needed to be foot balls.
She outlined a plan. Trim the fat in the basket ball division. Get rid of non-performers, which included some who had been with the company since the beginning. Many of the established top employees out there wouldn't jump so BEC needed to look at the up-and-coming talent that was out there. Fresh faces who might not be big names now but would work hard and become team leaders very soon.
Marinatto said, "I've already hired one guy. Used to be one of the best in the foot ball biz, went through some hard times but now he's back. His name is Tex Christian."
"That's fantastic news," said Sara. But she warned him not to stop there. The foot ball division was still behind in terms of talent and resources. "We need more workers. More producers. We just can't keep up as-is."
Marinatto thought about it. "Well...I suppose I can reach out to Lt. Navel A. Cademy. He's a foot ball legend."
Sara's head dropped. "Sir, with all due respect, he WAS a legend about fifty years ago. He wouldn't know the first thing about the foot ball market in 2011 and it would take years to turn him into a consistent employee, if he even could be one at all."
"My mind's made up," said the CEO. "I think I'll give his cousin Aerfus A. Cademy a call too."
Sara was bewildered. "Sir, you're just throwing out the names of people who were in this business decades ago. There's no forward-thinking in that. All due respect, that just seems lazy."
The CEO got angry. "You listen to me you little shit. Big East Corp has been in business for over thirty years. We've done it by focusing on basket balls. We've done with by focusing on tradition and history and the past. We've done it by focusing all of our resources and efforts on making sure that the original employees of this company who work in basket balls are the ones most tended to and most taken care of because without them, we don't have history and tradition.
"All this nonsense about 'you have to focus on foot balls' is garbage. That's just some new-age bullcrap. Maybe that's how they do things in the South. But we're Big East Corp. We have values. We have tradition. We have loyalty. And if you don't get that, tough shit."
Sara composed herself. She nodded, stood up and walked out. Marinatto unwrapped his post-lunch meatball sub and began eating it, content with himself and the future of Big East Corp.
Sara marched back to her cubicle and looked at her neighbor, Pitt Panthur.
"He said what I told you he was gonna say, right?," said Pitt.
"Yep," sighed Sara. "It's time."
She picked up the phone and dialed the number for A.C.C. Inc.
Three days later, Sara and Pitt were both offered contracts by A.C.C. The contracts included full benefits (including dental), a 401K, a free gym membership and three weeks vacation. Most importantly, however, A.C.C. explained to Sara and Pitt that they had a plan. That plan was to take advantage of the booming foot ball market and reap the financial benefits of it and then using that success to help seed the advancement of their prestigious basket ball division.
A.C.C. had also now pilfered five of Big East Corp's most talented employees and seemed deadset on putting its rival out of business. Not that it was personal, far from it. Just the natural way one company would react to a competitor unwilling to take advantage of the market they both compete in.
Sara Quse settled into her new office (with a window!), sat down and reflected. She looked back on her thirty-plus years with Big East Corp with smiles. So many great memories, so many great campaigns, so many great employee retreats and so many great power lunches. She was sad to see it all end.
Most of all, however, she was sad to know that this once-great company was being run into the ground. She was sad to see so many of her fellow employees stuck there, unable to find a job elsewhere because the reputation of Big East Corp had fallen so far.
She sent a letter of recommendation to the ACC CEO on behalf of Connie Eticutte but she wasn't going to hold her breath. There was talk of bringing Dame Fightunirush over as well, though Sara knew that cocky bitch would never do it, even as her foot ball profits were in the toilet.
She picked up the photo from a corporate retreat while at Big East Corp and smiled. She hoped George Towne, Wes. T Virginia, John Redstrum and the others would be well. As for DaPaul, well, she never cared for him all that much. Hopefully he didn't get her old cubicle.
Then, Pitt Panthur, Bastion Collagge, Mia Mee and Virginia Teck showed up at her office door. They were all on their way to Bennigan's and wanted to know if she'd like to join them. Never one to turn down a good Monte Cristo Sandwich, she agreed and joined them.
Together again, along with an entirely new group of co-workers in a company that has it's eye on the future. Sara tried her best to find that at Big East Corp but they refused. No one could call her disloyal or greedy for looking elsewhere to find it then, right? Right.
Sara had the best Monte Cristo Sandwich of her life that day. And she knew there were many more to come.