CHAPTER 7

If You Are Setting a Bar, It Is Already Too Low

When I was hired to be the CFO at Longview Fibre, the company had just been purchased by a private-equity firm. It was the end of 2007, and the need to make progress was readily apparent, given the low level of earnings based on the revenue stream. The people who had worked there for years knew things needed to change, but not how much.

We rolled out a financial target to more than double EBITDA. But most of the people—even those in the management ranks—had never seen the financial results of the business. We initiated a catchphrase to go along with the target to make it easy to remember, and we discussed the goal frequently across the organization.

As a leadership team, we knew there ...

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