Oil Change: Perspectives on Corporate Transformation

By Art Kleiner; George Roth et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2

GENESIS:
THE EARLY YEARS

How did the OilCo corporate transformation begin? One factor was the appointment of a CEO who set the company on a deliberate course of learning and transformation. At the same time, the organization was poised to change.


THE CULTURE OF THE 1980s

The roots of corporate transformationhave much to do with OilCo's longstanding history and culture. Later, when crisis would strike, a number of people within OilCo began to recognize that they could not blame outside circumstances alone. Somehow, the company's own attitudes had contributed to its misfortunes.

SUPERVISOR, OILCO CONSULTING: In the early 1980s, things were booming. Nobody thought about laying off people. You didn't worry too much about where you spent your money. We were buying Univac machines just as fast as we could. There was a naiveté on my part and on the part of many others, and we were paid well to be naive. I think we expected those times to last for ever.

MANAGER, OILCO CHEMICAL: It was not really like a real business. It was more like a giant government agency. It wasn't like having real customers. People tended to be pretty far removed from direct business results.

-15-

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