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Author: SRHCB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 88  
Subject: Paul Sr School of Management Date: 2/22/2004 1:08 PM
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I think Paul Sr and I attended the same school of management, and it wasn't the Wharton School of Business either.* Having been involved in several small businesses ventures of various degrees of legitimacy and sophistication I think I can sympathize with, and perhaps explain, some of his methods that might appear unusual or objectionable as portrayed on the show.

First, you must remember that before setting up OCC, Paul Sr had already spent 30 years operating a successful metal shop, now run by his other son. The fact that this particular episode began with OCC employees playing basketball againt the metal shop crew, with Sr as referee, may not have been insignificant.

Like most accidental entreprenuers, Paul Sr's methods of management were developed on the fly. It's especially hard to learn how to deal with employees, (and it's exceptionally hard when family members are involved), because self made owners feel they can demand of others the same efforts they've put forth themselves. Having been personally responsible for every aspect of a business for so long such people tend to be obsessive about details.

Learning how to delegate authority isn't easy, and as they grow older the inevitable fact that will be forced to do so sooner of later sometimes doesn't sit well. Paul Sr's physical fitness regimen attests to the fact that he does not intend to "go softly.....".

Paul Jr is of an artistic bend, and is quite comfortable focussing his attention on the project at hand while working in disorderly surroundings. Paul Sr likes things to be neat and orderly, perhaps to a fault, but not only is this more efficient, it gives customers a much better impression of the business. Neither Paul is ever likely to change their ways. Mikey is somewhat charged with helping to keep things organized, but he functions by instruction, without any inherent authority of his own.

(I'd also like to emphasize the safety aspect of a neat shop area. Metal fabrication is a dangerous job. Being distracted by a falling coffee cup or tripping over a tool on the floor while using the shear could result in loss of a few digets. Paul Sr has no doubt seen many such accidents over the years. He has to pay the Worker's Compensation Insurance policy to cover such events, to say nothing of worrying about what citations by OSHA or similar government inspectors can do to your business, and your insurance rates!)

Paul Sr knows that he has little leverage to use against his sons, and that arguing with them is an exercise in futility. He may have felt that with Vinnie's having just become a father, this might be a good time to see if he would be ready to take on added job responsibilities. His baptism by fire method of "promotion" might seem awkward, but it's quick, to the point, and certainly keeping in character.

Maybe I'm reading to much into this, but like sykesix pointed out, Vinnie has a nice job with what appears to be a growing company. While he isn't outgoing he appears to be thoughtful and responsible. In the future, as Paul Sr is able to "let go" of parts of the business, Paul Jr will need somebody like Vinnie to assume those aspects of running the show. My guess is he'll do just fine.

SB (been there ...

* For more information about an alternative business education you may wish to refer to a series I wrote on another TMF Board last summer at:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19356882



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