In October 2008, there was a moving article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Scott Eckenhoff’s dealership’s valiant yet futile attempt to save his family business through individual sacrifice by the entirety of the dealership’s employees:
Eckenhoff’s business [link], a General Motors dealership that had been relatively healthy just months earlier, was suddenly a credit-squeezed enterprise holding on for dear life.
So two weeks ago, after praying with his family and pulling an all-nighter in front of his computer, Eckenhoff drew up a rescue plan. Half his employees, including a stepbrother, would have to be let go. It was awful.
The day of the layoffs, though, something unexpected happened: The mechanics who had not been fired marched into Eckenhoff’s office. “What can we do to help?” asked the men in grimy work gear.
With that, the lines that had long separated manager from minions, khaki-clad salesmen from grease-smeared mechanics, vanished. The survivors – the salesmen, associates and receptionists spared the ax – had become a single crew trying to save their ship.
At the time, I instinctively knew he was only delaying the inevitable. Continue reading →