When I was a child, one of my favorite movies was “The Wizard of Oz.” What an amazing piece of work it was, with music that remains timeless. I will never forget how, whenever Walt Disney announced that it would be showing this classic, I could hardly contain myself until the day arrived. My whole family would gather around our cabinet-model television that looked more like a chest freezer than a TV, and woe to anyone whom dared speak once the show began. I will never forget how much my family enjoyed the show―and still does to this day. They certainly don’t make them like that anymore.
As I think about the adhesives and sealants industry, I am reminded of the similarities between our industry and this American classic, for good and bad. Just like in the movie, many of the actors in our industry are the same; they just wear different costumes at different times and in different places. Fortunately, for our industry, we recently had someone take out the “Wicked Witch” that has dogged our industry for many years. This witch wreaked havoc everywhere she went, making crazy deals, destroying markets and doing more to promote the idea of commoditization than anyone we had ever seen before. Munchkins everywhere are dancing with joy, including 6-ft, 3-in.-tall me.
Despite the fact that the witch is gone, I have serious concerns about the flying monkeys that remain. We all know who they are. They fly around our industry, trying to emulate the same things the Wicked Witch did: making stupid deals and cutting prices in an effort to grow their market share. My fear is that these monkeys believe they are smarter and better than the deceased witch but, in reality, are no more the wiser―and are perhaps even more foolish. They don’t care about the impact their behavior is having upon our industry; they only care about what they perceive to be their own gain. They just don’t get it, and I doubt they ever will. Short-sighted thinkers can’t think about the negative implications their actions may be having long-term for the health of our industry as a whole, and that is truly sad for all of us.
For the last few years, our industry has been wandering around the “haunted forest” in search of courage, brains and heart. It is high time we quit acting like a bunch of flying monkeys with peanuts for brains and begin, instead, to act in a responsible fashion. All of us have a part to play, and we will all benefit or lose—depending upon how we respond to the recent events that should be good for all of us as a whole. Let’s put the monkeys back into the castle and throw away the key, and take it upon ourselves to act like people―with courage, brains and heart. ASI
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