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Meet Paula Marshall, author of Finding the Soul of Big Business: One Company's Ego Elimination Strategy
http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/2012/1/Meet-Paula-Marshall-author-of-Finding-the-Soul-of-Big-Business-One-Companys-Ego-Elimination-Strategy/Page1.html
Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

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By Norm Goldman
Published on January 28, 2010
 

Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Paula Marshall
Author of Finding the Soul of Big Business: One Company's Ego Elimination Strategy

 


Click Here To Purchase Soul of Big Business

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is honored to have as our guest Paula Marshall, author of Finding the Soul of Big Business: One Company's Ego Elimination Strategy. Her book discusses ways to integrate the many philosophies that have informed her experience as a female CEO in America. Paula is CEO of The Bama Companies.

Norm:

Good day Paula and thanks for participating in our interview.

Could you tell us something about yourself and Bama Companies?

Paula:

Well, Bama was started in the kitchen of my Grandmother, Alabama Marshall, in 1937. People would line up on the sidewalk to buy slices of her pies. Today, Bama Companies manufacture over one million hand- held pies per day. From those pies made in 1937, to the pies we make today, there is one common thread: consistent quality in every product we manufacture.

Norm:

Among the leaders you have chosen to adopt as a mentor, one has been Dr. William Edwards Deming. What most interested you in Dr. Deming?

Paula:

Deming helped the Japanese car companies become the titans of industry they are considered today. He integrated statistics into manufacturing to raise the overall quality of products. When I was faced with a quality problem many years ago, because we were trying to cut costs, I went to a Deming seminar out of desperation. I was looking for answers, and had heard he was a guru in the field of manufacturing. He asked the hundreds of people in the audience, “Who here is a CEO?” Being the only woman in the room, I gingerly raised my hand. Mine was the only hand raised. He began a one-on-one mentorship with me, because he knew that true change had to come from the top of an organization.

Norm:

What has been your most challenging moment in business and how did you deal with it?

Paula:

It would have to be the moment I mentioned before, about having a quality crisis. We had changed suppliers, and the new ingredients had caused our pies to fall apart in the fryers at McDonalds. Every McDonalds in the country had to shut down for two hours while they cleaned the apple pie gunk out of the fryers. I knew then that there had to be a better solution than going with the lowest priced ingredients, because then you sacrifice your quality. I started enhancing my knowledge of Deming’s principles, and began to restructure the company to be focused on quality. This meant not only focusing on the quality of the ingredients, but the quality of employees and relationships too…everything had an impact on the product.

Norm:

Do you think great managers are born or can people be taught to be great managers?

Paula:

We have thorough training and education that continues throughout a person’s employment at Bama. I believe with the right tools, anyone can be a great leader. It might take a lot of personal work and growth, but if given the right support system and environment for learning, any manager can be a leader.

Norm: 

How did you decide you were ready to write Finding the Soul of Big Business?

Paula:

I have always wanted to share my philosophies, and my work with Deming. I wanted to tell the world how focusing on people, building relationships and continuous training, though expensive on the front end, will pay off in the future. About five years ago, I began to see the business climate changing ever so slightly. There had always been big bonuses, but they began to grow at an alarming rate. Things like Enron and the “Tech bubble burst” were happening. I knew it was time to send my message out into the world, before American businesses suffocated from their own greed.

Norm:

Why do you think this is such an important book at this time in our society?

Paula:

In 2008, when the markets crashed we were all given a wake-up call. We were told by the free-market we created that it could not sustain the way we were doing business. My manuscript was completed before the crash, but it was not pure coincidence that my book came out soon after. People will be looking for a new way to do business, and I believe that my book will help them start to see what that looks like.

Norm:

What makes your book different than the thousands of other business books? Whom do you think will benefit from your book and why?

Paula:

Bringing love, spirituality and the concept of the ‘soul’ into the office have historically been looked down on. The big wigs see this as feminine and ‘touchy feely,’ to them, business isn’t supposed to be ‘personal.’ In my opinion, I don’t see how something you do for 40 hours per week for most of your life isn’t personal. I want my employees to bring their whole selves to work, not just their analytical minds. Introducing the idea that you can be yourself at work and be respected, listened to and valued, that idea is what attracts people to my book.

Norm: 

Was your work improvisational or did you have a set plan?

Paula:

The book was originally a much different product than what it is today. Like any big project, it went through many phases and though it wasn’t my original vision, I think it carries my message all the way through in a much more cohesive way.

Norm: 

What's the most difficult thing for you about being a writer and writing your book?

Paula:

Finding the time to really devote to a project like this has been hard, but also the editing process is hard. I had a lot of content that I wanted to see make it to the book, but as a whole it didn’t work with the message. Having to cut the book down to a manageable size was probably the hardest part.

Norm: What were the most surprising things you learned in writing your book?
Paula: Being a CEO, when I make a decision I see it go into action immediately. The effect is not seen instantaneously, but I can see the results fairly quickly. With the book, it has been a refreshing, though sometimes frustrating change. It takes upwards of three years for a book to take off, and I am starting at the bottom. But I am devoted to getting my message out, and helping change American business for the better.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and your book?

Paula:

My website www.findingthesoulofbusiness.com and I also write a blog regularly at www.paulaamarshall.wordpress.com. Thanks for your support in helping change the way business it done!

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavours.

 Click Here To Read Norm's Review of Finding the Soul of Business

 Click Here To Purchase Soul of Big Business