"And to be an owner, a true owner, you have to care."
Having once worked in a corporation where the culture of ownership was exceptionally strong, I was very interested to read what Stack and Burlingham had to say. And while this book was not what I expected—I guess there are different ways to build a culture of ownership—it's a very powerful account of how the Springfield ReManufacturing Co. (src) developed and maintained their ownership culture while evolving and watching their stock grow from 10 cents per share to more than $80 per share.
Stack takes us inside the src and details his adventures over the years from 1982, when he and 12 other managers purchased the company, to current-day, a point where he says he is working on his exit strategy. Tucked into the text are Stack's 14 ownership rules to help businesses build a culture of ownership and out-perform the competition. As he introduces each rule, he details specifically how it applied in the src's evolution.
As I read the book, I felt as if he was talking directly to me. He tells the reader not only what happened, but also his joys, frustrations and fears. We learn not only about his successes, but about his bad decisions and failures as well. All in all, it's a very personal account.
Trainers might not like what he has to say in the very first chapter: "I'm not saying formal instruction is worthless, just that it's overrated. According to an authoritative study conducted by the Center for Workforce Development, formal training programs account for only about 30 percent of what people know about their jobs. The rest they pick up informally. " Not a very good commentary on formal learning. But if ever I have seen a lifelong learner, Stack is it. He has an amazing ability to look at what's around him, learn from it and apply the lessons to business. You'll just have to read the book to find out how he learned to "grow a business but still keep it small" from the model of a Chinese firecracker manufacturer operating out of village huts.