Group W: formerly TelePrompTer, formerly Theta Cable, serving Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and a dozen more cities in the LA area. The early '80s
There was a big shot meeting scheduled for this afternoon with all the Group W executives. Group W had bought out our company 6 months ago and this was the first big-time meeting that was going to tell us what's going on.
It's really looking forward to this meeting because these guys were not cable TV managers. They were seasoned business Managers from Westinghouse. I was anticipating a big opportunity to learn something.
Eight guys wearing suits, one secretary and even I was wearing a suit, I was the Regional Engineer.
After 15 minutes, the meeting finally started rolling along and I decided that these seasoned managers were not very different from all the other managers that I've run into in the cable TV business. Some were ill-prepared, most of them seem bored except for the CEO who seems to be totally engaged.
We were about 45 minutes into the meeting when it happened.
What happened? Well, my fleet manager came into the meeting room unannounced without knocking and came over to me immediately, and whispered in my ear. I told him I'd meet him back down at the garage in the parking lot in a few minutes. I stood up and informed the Westinghouse Group W CEO that we had a problem and I had to leave for a short while. He asked me what was going on and I explained that the fleet manager was the only guy in the warehouse/fleet garage area and a big tractor-trailer with a lot of fiber cable on it I just pulled up to unload. There was nobody available to unload and the driver was threatening to take off if we didn't get busy unloading all this cable.
The CEO asked me if this fiber cable was important. I told him that we had been waiting weeks for this shipment and we were at the point that we were delaying projects because we are out of material. It was especially important.
The CEO, much to my surprise, stood up took off his suit coat, and started undoing his tie. He said to the whole room, "Gentleman take off your coats and ties we're going to work."
I led the group down the hall down the stairs and outside to where the truck was idling with an unhappy driver glaring at me. I told everybody that I would run the forklift if they could just help me roll these things out of the way after I got them off the truck. The CEO said don't you have any ramps or anything so we can just manually roll some of these off the truck? I said we sure do I'll show you where they're at.
20 minutes later the truck was unloaded, nobody injured, and we were all back up in the conference room pouring cups of coffee and putting our tires back on.
I had misjudged this entire group of managers. When they needed to do something, they did it, no hesitation. I was extremely impressed. I wasn't extremely impressed with their ability to get this cable off the truck, but I was sure impressed with their motivation.
When it came to leadership these guys were the real deal.