What did he do next?
How did he do it?
What are the risks?
How can I do it?
All of these questions and more are answered in The Business Card. Take a look at a sample of the terrific stories of a changing man, and a changing business…
Chapter 1: Be Careful How You Pray
One evening Peter drove through the streets of Johannesburg with his father. While it was a beautiful evening, Peter was distracted by his thoughts––he had been troubled in discerning God’s will and direction for his family, as well as the family business. For most of his adult life, Peter had been groomed for the role of CEO in the multi-national business that his father and his father’s friend had started in 1958. Peter understood that such a commitment would have to be thought through prayerfully and carefully. The two men were deep in conversation, when suddenly an old car crossed their path and broke down right in front of them. Even more odd, two men jumped out from the car….
Chapter 2: God is a Slice
Following his life-changing experience, there was no question in Peter Freissle’s mind that it was time to leave South Africa. In 1994, Peter moved his family to Spartanburg, SC, where his Dad, Manfred Freissle and Dieter Egler––his business partner––had started a business in 1978––Polydeck. God blessed Peter with a wonderful family and a great opportunity to grow the business in the United States. When Peter relocated to South Carolina, the company only had 30 employees. Yet by 2005, sales had grown rapidly, employing well over 100 individuals in the surrounding area, as well as a sales team scattered around the globe. It did not seem as if life could be better.
Chapter 3: The Ghost of Business Past…
How bad could things really be?
Peter Freissle was a hard-charging businessman that had grown up in the family business. From an early age, Peter’s dad––Manfred––had introduced him to the family business with a work ethic that was “results oriented.” In 1958, together with his German business partner, Helmut Rosenbusch, Peter’s father started the business…
…the local temporary agency––was reluctant to send their people to Polydeck. The turnover rate of temporary personnel was so high, and so many complaints had been lodged against Polydeck that many of the local agencies refused to work with Polydeck.
Chapter 4: Birth of a Business Card
Things were changing fast at Polydeck. At first, because of the years of heavy-handedness by management at all levels of the business; the employees were skeptical about the new policy of “Do unto others….” While it certainly sounded like a good idea to everyone on the manufacturing floor, it would require a restructuring, as well as a retraining of the management team. Peter’s story had sounded good, and the second meeting pleasantly surprised them, but a lasting change of attitude was difficult for the employees to grasp….
Chapter 5: Rubber Meets the Road
The decision had been made; Peter had new business cards for the entire sales team, including himself. The Mission Statement and the Core Values were clearly printed on the back of the new business cards. Peter suspected that many, if not all of the sales team had kept their old cards and planned to use the new cards only if they felt that they would be accepted….
Chapter 6: There’s Going to be a Barbeque…
“They are going to chew you up and spit you out.” That was David’s counsel to Peter for the big meeting on the following day. David had a meeting with the same people earlier in the day and that was what happened to him….
Chapter 7: What Happens in Vegas
…What a great opportunity for the Polydeck sales department to get in front of potential customers from mines around the world. For most of the Sales Engineers at Polydeck this was not a new experience. They had been to the Las Vegas convention many times….
Chapter 8: Prepare For Battle
…Peter’s Administrative Assistant tells him that he needs to come out of the meeting, and he needs to come out “right now.” There is an officer of the court there and he has asked to speak specifically with Peter. Polydeck, as well as Peter, were being sued.
Chapter 9: Quality You Can Count On?
When the Core Values were established there was a buzz throughout Polydeck. Everyone was excited about the changes, as well as the totally different environment at the “new” Polydeck. As another step in defining the culture at Polydeck, Peter decided to allow all the employees to express their support for the Mission Statement and Core Values….
Chapter 10: The Great Recession
It has been over two years since the inception of the Core Values and the adoption of the Business Card, but without warning, inexplicably, business dropped off by over twenty-five percent. Not just at Polydeck, but industry-wide….
Chapter 11: Caring in the Workplace
The company already offered an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and that did an adequate job of providing some telephone based resources for the employees, but Peter wanted to provide something more tangible….
Chapter 12: Caring Committee
…This need to involve everyone in the “neighborhood” resulted in the formation of the Caring Committee. Initially the Caring Committee was established as a way of reaching out to the community and allowing Polydeck employees to help in home repairs for outside families in need….
Chapter 13: I Caught You Caring
One of the most successful and most treasured programs at Polydeck is “I Caught You Caring.” As the Caring Committee worked through how Polydeck could celebrate the Core Values detailed on the back of the business card, it occurred to them that special attention should be given to specific examples of living out the Core Values….
Chapter 14: His Way at Work
Listening to Peter share his heart and vision over lunch that January day in 2008, Scott was struck with the realization of how God had amazingly been preparing him for “such a time as this.” Over the past nine years, God had been blending Scott’s twenty-six years of business leadership experiences with his growing personal relationship with Christ and a passion to live out his faith in all areas of his life….
Chapter 15: A Future of Caring
As I have contemplated the words of St Francis of Assisi, “All the darkness in the world can’t extinguish the light from a single candle.” I hope that what follows is seen as my humble effort to shine my single candle in the hope that it may be useful to someone, even if it is small and imperfect….