Do you need to already be at the top to make a difference? Senator Obama said in his last debate that if he becomes the next President that he will change from the top down, beginning in Washington; but in his thirty minute commercial he said that he will listen to the people, and that we will become an active part of our Democracy. Wow- I hope he truly can create this type of Utopian environment. But wait, Utopian for who? As Audre Lorde said- The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never allow us to bring about genuine change. I believe that Senator Obama will do what he can, as President- to enact change in Washington, but it is the little guy, or gal- in my case- the little Who in Whoville- that must keep screaming to begin toppling the giants of corporate thought. If you are at the top- then change is not Utopian for you. Not at first. But it could be, especially if you are Ford Motor Company and your sales are in the dumpster.
I have been writing letters, sending emails, making phone calls for three years, after twelve years of standing on a car lot dealing directly with the auto industry in person- trying to get the auto industry to change the way they sell cars. People hate going to car dealerships. Am I right? I sold a lot of cars and in my own little way I changed people’s thoughts about the business; dispelled the negative stereotype of auto salespeople, but then I worked for a guy who had hookers in his office ( I kid you not) and sold cars to people with DUI’s and managers who made a practice of lying to everyone about anything that would make a sell. So, ethically- I was in a losing game. Many of my fellow salespeople, mostly men- felt the same way- but what could they do? Being a woman, or just being me- I kept voicing my concern- and was dismissed. But, as Howard Schultz of Starbucks said-"I have a history of people closing doors and me saying, 'No, it's still open.' "
So, picture this- what if a company like, oh say- Starbucks- teamed up with Ford. If the philosophies of good customer service and true commitment to your employees would combine with selling cars- then we would walk onto a car lot, completely at ease; browse without fear and ultimately buy a car from- a man, a college student, a working mom with three kids, a senior citizen – a disabled person- black, white, green, yellow- from all over the world and your next door neighbor- and we would have a good time. I could sell cars again- and Ford could be number one, again. Ah, coffee and new cars- that’s America- Now this is change I can live with.