Busy Bunz: Management and Workers in Play

Overburdened with a towering stack of boxes that blocked my vision, I charged full speed out of a stockroom and nearly flattened a passing vice president. While this might not seem like a good way to begin a career, it proved just the ticket as an introduction to Sam Stern, legendary merchandising director at both Rich’s and Macy’s, the top Atlanta department stores during the sixties.

A year later, at the tender age of nineteen, I was made a junior executive on Mr. Stern’s staff where I was exposed to the full impact of his business philosophy. In a word: busy. Always. Without pause. One day, as I thoughtfully surveyed the sales floor contemplating how best to conduct a rearrangement, I heard him call to me. “Mr. Driver,” he said, approaching with his typically brisk pace, “we do our thinking at home.” In other words, plan before you come to work and while at work, stay busy.

Years later, in charge of my own operation, I learned a better lesson. Navigating with an internal leadership compass, I discovered the importance of nurturing creative instincts. I also discovered that action, rooted deeply in thought and guided by continuous reconsideration, yields far superior results than activity for the sake of mere busyness. This productive trajectory lasted only long enough to illuminate the higher road.

To my horror, as the twentieth century progressed, I witnessed business practices spiral downward as self-interest narrowed and top management responded with misguided, counterproductive directions. The role and perspective of all managers shifted as reaction turned repressive and jobs became hollow processes. Leadership seemed to disappear as the value of meaningfulness waned and focus drifted once again toward empty activity. Many businesses remain in this dystopian, dysfunctional world separated from universal benefit.

Problems are different now than in the sixties. They’re more intense. Every aspect seems alienated from everything else. But somehow, perhaps because we seem to have reached the nadir, a path forward is opening. Many are blind to its faint outline but some sense the opportunities that await discovery.

To me, having climbed out of the quagmire with memory of the past, the possibilities for the future are exciting to contemplate. That is why I was compelled to explain how we can emerge from the past into a vigorous and widely beneficial future. And that is why the format is a play, bristling with dialogue and alive with action.

And it’s not an ordinary play in one important aspect. It’s free, written in the public domain so that everyone can use it as they see fit. Busy Bunz begs to be used however you determine:

• Quote from it — long or short segments. Your choice.

• Use portions for role play.

• Let controversial quotations serve as jumping off points for discussion.

• Highlight fragments and leave them as anonymous hints for your boss.

The whole play can be enacted, of course — if you dare — and it won’t cost a dime.

The object is to spread the word of how things can be better for managers, workers and their employers. In an age when freelancing is increasing dramatically and when employees and freelancers often work side-by-side, reconsideration of old norms is necessary.

Busy Bunz is an opportunity for reevaluation, one that you can tailor to your specific needs. But it is also a challenge that every manager, every worker and every company should consider for the benefit of their future.

Busy Bunz is available free in contemporary format (ideal for small screens) here.

Busy Bunz is available free in traditional format here.

in the public domain by Michael Driver (no rights reserved)

Follow on Twitter: @mdMichaelDriver