Volume 37, Issue 3, March 2002

theBUSINESS
Some Advice ... Times Three
    From Baseball to Saving the Industry

by Lyle R. Hill

I rarely offer advice to anyone. There was a time when I did … but that was years ago … when I was younger. And I paid for it. Paid dearly for it, in fact. For you see, most of the time, there are only two possible outcomes when you give advice to someone and he actually follows it. 

The first possible outcome is that the advice is taken and a good result occurs. At this point, the person to whom you gave the advice has long forgotten your involvement and takes all of the credit for his good fortune. The other possible outcome is that your advice will be followed and a bad result is obtained. Then, it is entirely your fault. There is a third outcome in which I have also participated, but it occurs a great deal less often than the ones already mentioned. Specifically, I have seen people follow my advice, achieve a positive result and then give credit to someone else who had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the events that had occurred. This bothers me to no end, but I have witnessed this firsthand on certain occasions. So, as stated above, I rarely give advice … even when asked to do so.

However, in spite of the risk that what I’m about to do will create, I’m going to do it anyway. Because sometimes I just can’t help myself. So here are three pieces of advice that I am strongly suggesting you follow, and I don’t care if you give me any credit for them or not.

ONE: Bet every dime you can muster on the Chicago Cubs to go all the way this year. That’s right … all the way. I have never made this prediction before, but I am herein telling you that this is it … the big one. Even ‘Koziac,’ the Polish accountant, is picking the Cubs this year. He’s selling his award- winning collection of babushkas … the ones Great Grandma Koziac brought over from the old country…and betting it all on the Cubs. And Koziac has never been wrong. He only bets on sure things. Yes, I know the Cubs have broken many a heart in years gone by, but not this time. This is THE YEAR.

TWO: As soon as you get off work today (and don’t try to fool me … I know you’re reading this at the office on company time) walk, run or drive to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy of Dave Barry’s newest bestseller, “Hitting Below The Beltway.” Everything you need to know about how America got to be the country it has gotten to be is in there. Also, you’ll learn how our government really works and why we will never really be able to fix it. There are also some unbelievable (but totally true) stories about Miami politicians that will knock your socks off. I picked this book up during some recent travels and read it on a plane trip back into Chicago. I was actually laughing out loud on the plane and got more than a few stares from fellow travelers. 

THREE: Before you leave the office today, find out if you are a member of the Independent Glass Association (IGA) and if you are not, contact them (909/659-5972) and join immediately. If you are an independent glass shop or a supplier to them, this could be the best investment for YOUR future that you’ll ever make. These guys are working hard to make a difference in an industry that really needs to be different than what it is today. I’ve been around a long time … 31 years in the industry to be exact … and I’ve seen firsthand what has happened to us, and it’s a shame. We need to change and we need to do it quickly. And I have become convinced that the only way to effect that change is through a common, united voice. There really is strength in numbers and until we become one strong voice, our industry will continue on in its stumblebum fashion. Will the IGA succeed in its programs and efforts to effect change? We had better all hope so … and in my 31 years, I can tell you honestly that it has the best shot of anyone or any organization that I have seen. Its efforts on the auto glass side of the business have started to reap real benefits for IGA members and non-members. And one of its goals in the year ahead is to become more proactive in the flat glass side of the business where misinformation and confusion abound. So call ‘em … give them your support. I did. Then … go place that bet and buy that book! 

LHILL Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago.    lyle@glass.com