In the years before nursing homes the elderly were usually put in attics and basements to rock away their twilight years. Sometimes a large thud sounded through the house when one of them would attempt to get up, hence the term “off his rocker.”

A loud thud was created recently when TTB Management fell off its own rocker. What is this all about? It’s about a rocking chair of course. Since time immemorial TTB (formerly under ATF) presented a commemorative rocking chair to employees who reach 40 years in service. This is a rare event as most employees don’t reach this milestone.

TTB Management, in a painfully twisted decision, involving lawyers, decided to end this custom. They claimed that they don’t have the money, it’s not “legally required” and it’s not “critical to TTB’s mission.” They didn’t stop there. Even pins and certificates will be discontinued under this tortured logic.

They Just Don’t Get It!

TTB Management has forgotten one big thing. You have to give a little to get a lot. Pins, certificates, rocking chairs, are all practically free of charge in comparison to what these things bring to the organization. This is lost on all the bean counters and footnoters. These people only see a chair as a chair, a pin as a pin and a certificate as a certificate. The rocking chair, in actuality, represents continuity between junior and senior members of our team, and collegiality between managers and employees.

Respect, honor, and collegiality are absolutely priceless in any healthy organization. Instead of being treated with respect, honor and collegiality, employees are now treated like surplus IBM Selectrics to be carted off without hesitation. Congratulations TTB Management! You saved a hundred bucks on a rocking chair. You lost a hundred thousand on social capital. Is that captured in your “balanced scorecard?”

Never chase pennies while the dollars walk out the door.