14 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (14)


Learning Diplomacy 

Haldeman: All of the departments were managed by Mr. Turton's old cronies 
and buddies, and each man had a little empire. They just didn't 
think anything about this young whippersnapper who was coming 
around. I had to sit for an hour in the mill superintendent's 
office, waiting for him to receive me and then sit back and say, 
"What do you want to know?" I remembered Machiavelli's book and 
the rule that the new prince always decimates the other princes 
and puts his own people in. So I had to start, bit by bit, to 
assume management. I was the general superintendent, and these 
fellows had to report to me. It took an awful lot of diplomacy. 

Swent: Had you had any formal training in management? 

Haldeman: In those days management was not what you call management 
today.. . Harvard Business School and management classes in 
universities. No, I learned engineering, mining, geology, and 
metallurgy, period. I never had a course in management, much 
less a course in politics, an area I will get into. 

Swent: Had management even been mentioned as something that you would 
need to be aware of? 

Haldeman: In the fifties, Harvard Business School suddenly became 
important in all of the business world. Prior to that, 
businesses were run by old-time managers. It was only in the 
forties and the fifties there was a sudden awareness of 
industrial engineering and the likes that became a tool of 
management . Then came all of these management training schools . 
This all started about the time I was stepping out of the mine 
and into management with absolutely no background in it. Nobody 
else did in the company. [laughter] 

Swent: You were so isolated up there, you probably weren't aware of the 
domestic politics either. 

Haldeman: No, absolutely not. I was isolated in the mine, with American 
town sites, American management, and 1 wasn't aware of any 
politics going on. 

View of Sewell from below 
(click for larger image)
General Manager Franklin D. Turton 

Haldeman: About this time Mr. Turton passed away. He died at Coya, the 
town where the management office was. Mr. Michaelson had to go 
to Santiago to take the head job. Turton never wanted to. 
Stannard tried to get Turton to go to Santiago, and he built a 
building there with an apartment in it. But Turton had a 
beautiful house in Coya with a big garden and fruit trees. He 
was out at the mine, and he said, "I'll go to Santiago over my 
dead body," and that's exactly how he went. He died of a heart 
attack while he was out in the garden, propping up his fruit 
trees after a windstorm. 

Turton was a character and a wonderful man. He built up 
the company. We used to have nail factories and made our own 
stationery and form books and everything, because you had to be 
independent to do it. Sometimes it took eighteen days by boat 
to get instructions down from the United States. You can't run 
a company that way. Sometimes the telephone didn't work; . 
sometimes the manager had so many problems that he didn't answer 
the telephone. [laughs] There wasn't any fax or anything like 
that. Those were different days. We even made our own coffins. 
You had to be self-contained. 

Area map showing Sewell   (click for larger image)

Index to Haldeman Interview

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