The Squeeze


Expenses overtake revenue at a small midwest company. But unconventional management methods save the family business, employee jobs and builds a sustainable corporate culture.

(Available at

A novel that relates the fight for survival of a small, family-owned, Midwest manufacturer.

Barely breaking even, Brookings Manufacturing is feeling the “squeeze” even after five years of Lean implementation–from its competitors whose prices are 25% less, from employees with trust issues, from the bank who questions the company’s ability to pay back loans, and from the EPA who is citing the company for violations. Its new CEO, Adam Brookings, finds himself at a crossroads–sell the barely profitable business and leave the fate of his lifetime friends/co-workers to chance, move 200 manufacturing jobs overseas and substantially affect the local community, or try something new–and quick!

But what?

The company turns itself around by implementing “sustainability.” Sustainability goes beyond Lean, which only looks at the financial bottom line, to include two additional bottom lines–social and environmental–in decision making at all levels of an organization. Sustainability embraces the three Rs–respect, relationship, and responsibility. It is about respect for each other, respect for our earth, and respect for future generations. It is about relationships with one other, and relationship with future generations. It is thinking of ourselves as stewards, in a long line of stewards. And it is about being committed to helping customers, suppliers, and employees grow and succeed.

When Brookings begins using the Triple Bottom Line to make decisions, employees, customers, suppliers, and even its bank stand up and take notice. The success of sustainability lies in its linking of personal values to ethical business practices. Improvement efforts are given new momentum and people have greater enthusiasm since they are empowered to make decisions that will directly benefit their children and the community. Everyone knows what’s in it for them if their employer, family, and community make decisions that make the world “sustainable” for business, the human race

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