Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Enterprise's Corporate Culture: Micro-Management

I spent 26 years with Enterprise (1974-2000), eventually becoming one of its highest paid, and probably, most irreverent executives. At the peak of my career, which happened to be my final year with Enterprise, I was raking in close to $4 million per year while overseeing one of the company's most profitable and fun-loving operations (the original West Group).

I retired after making it through the first year of the current millennium. By that time, the company that I loved had evolved into a humorless and micro-managing bureaucracy; not that there's anything wrong with that; but I clearly didn't fit into that type of environment, so it was time to go, with no regrets; except of course, I wouldn't be making so much money.

For the last four or five years of my career, I was constantly under the corporate microscope, and I was all too aware of that feeling. I knew it would only be a matter of time before something going on in the West Group, whether it be legitimate business issues, or personal issues aimed at attacking anything that seemed like a plausible flaw in my character, would be dissected so thoroughly, they'd have to find something wrong, real or imagined, sooner or later.

I recently published a book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, giving my perspective of the people and events that shaped the company's destiny, as well as countless personal lives as well.

I had many fond memories of Enterprise, but as is the case with most huge corporations in America, a culture of "fear" has pervaded the ranks of the company's upper managment, from the micro-managing corporate drones, known as Corporate Vice Presidents, down to the General Managers and Regional Vice Presidents in the field.

This isn't the type of environment to breed success and keep employees happy and motivated. The result has been the highest employee turnover in company history over the past year or so, and I don't see any positive signs of things getting better any time soon.

These are the worst of times for Enterprise, but I feel the only way this company is going to get back on track, is changing this culture of fear and micro-managing. That change desperately needs to be initiated by the company's CEO, Andy Taylor. He needs to step up and truly lead this company out of the morass, because their current path is heading for certain failure.

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