Gregg Siegel
Business Communications Copywriter

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DuPont Textile Fibers: Ben Franklin Hosts Year-end Success Stories

(After division director Paul Gillease's speech, singers come on stage and perform the Vanguard song. Vanguard song ends, and singers exit. The stage is empty and silent for several seconds. Finally, Franklin enters stage left. He is holding a quill pen and busily writing upon a parchment scroll. He is, as he enters, evidently unaware of the presence of the audience.)

"Early to sleep and early to get up," no, no, that's not it. Hmmm. "Early to rest, early to wake." Hmmm. Not quite right. How about, "early to bed, early to rise! " (He scribbles hastily, steps back and looks at his work.) I like it! No wait, it needs more. "Early to bed and early to rise...(pause) makes a man... " (pause) What does it make a man? Tired. No. No. That's no good. Able to get to the office before Paul Gillease. No, that doesn't rhyme. It has to rhyme. I--(notices audience). Oh, hello. You know, I thought I heard music, but I believed it to be my friend, Tom Jefferson. He's always fiddling around on that violin of his.

(He pulls out his pocket watch) My, you're here right on time, too. Good for you! You know what Poor Richard said-- "time lost is never again found."

I, good people, am Benjamin Franklin (bows), and I am honored to be here, and at your service. You know, word of your achievements has spread like wildfire throughout all the colonies. Why, just the other day, my friend Betsy Ross was telling me about the fine textile fibers you folks produce. What are those products again?

(Audience reaction. Ben picks out the names and calls them out.)

ORLON. DACRON. LYCRA, nylon. Yes, those were some of them. Goody Ross mentioned others as well. And she also tells me that you good people have a "vision"--a set of goals that you strive to meet.

Setting goals for yourself is truly the key to success, for "if one does not look before, he will find himself behind."

I set goals for myself throughout my life. I remember once, when but a young man, I set a particular goal for myself, one to which I planned to dedicate several weeks of intensive labor and effort. I awoke one fine morning and conceived the bold and arduous project of (pause) arriving at complete moral perfection. I would live without committing any fault at any time. Well, as you can well imagine, I soon found that I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined! While my care was employed in guarding against one fault, I often found myself committing another!

But if you want to hear more about that story, I suggest you read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The author's name escapes me at the moment, but from what I hear, he is a fine and gifted scribe indeed!

Let us now return to your goals, which are much more realizable than mine was. They are three, I am told, and they are: to be perceived by the market as the best fiber supplier, to be recognized within the Company as a business of high value, and to be able to attract highly energized, innovative and professional people.

And to better accomplish this vision, these goals, you have adopted a set of operating principles and strategies. I have had the opportunity to review them, and I believe that following these guidelines is vital as you strive to meet your three major goals. "It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright," and living your principles and relying upon your strategies will fill you up with that stuff of which success is made.

I have been invited here today to describe these principles and strategies to you. (Pulls out long scroll, and lets it roll down.) One principle is "We recognize no boundaries to our organization; customers, suppliers and other Du Ponters are part of us and we seek partnerships with them. We will use our resources and skills and those of others when required to meet objectives."

(Ben re-rolls scroll, and looks thoughtful.) I can tell you much about this principle. It means that---no wait a minute. "There is no sermon better than a good example," and that's what I shall give to you--a good example. Several in fact. Examples of people in your division, people, perhaps, in this very room who have taken the steps towards reaching the textile division vision by living its principles and strategies on a day-to-day basis!

You know, I want to see this too! (He steps down into the audience and approaches an empty chair next to a young woman. He bows deeply before her.) Pardon me miss, may I have the honor and privilege of sitting beside you?

(As he sits, the lights dim, the screen comes down and the first module of success stories begin. The last of the three stories concerns Johnson & Johnson's SERENITY(R), a female incontinence pad produced using Du Pont fibers technology. As part of the module, John Molter will be leading a demonstration in which each audience member will test the pad's absorbency by pouring water on one. Thus, when Franklin returns to the stage to introduce the first short break of the morning, each member of the audience will be holding a wet incontinence pad in his or her hand.)

Well, we were going to stop the show for about ten minutes, and provide a break to answer the call of nature, but it looks like all of you are already well taken care of.

(Audience reaction)

No, just a jest, just a jest. Let us all take a short break (He pulls out stop watch.) And be back here in 15 minutes, which will be (time.) Please be prompt, for "time is the stuff of which life is made." Also, Mr. Gillease has informed me that if we don't begin the next segment promptly, there will be another (looks at hand) demonstration. You'll see trash cans near the exits-- please dispose of your pads in these cans only. I will see all you good people shortly!

(Next segment begins with singers/dancers performing 2nd verse of song. Franklin, who has been in the same seat in the audience, stands up, claps along, dances a little, and otherwise shows his enthusiasm for the performance. He does not take the stage until dancers finish and exit. When he does take the stage, he is a little out of breath.)

Ah, staying active is the secret of staying young. I'll bet I don't look like a man of nearly 300 years, do I? My young friend (looks to woman in audience) sitting beside me tells me that I don't look a day over 212! It is said that "one cannot be both friend and flatterer," but "every rule doth hath its exceptions." We can discuss that later, my dear. (Looks back to whole audience and shrugs.) "Diligence is the mother of good luck."

My friends, there is time for "leisure" and time for industry, and now is time for the latter. The Textile division has been blessed with many, many talented, innovative, and resourceful people--people who have broken barriers! People who have taken risks! People who have expanded their roles, and developed personally and professionally in the process! And since "well done is better than well said," I will stop saying and let you watch what these fine people are doing! Bob, let's roll that tape! (Starts to trot off stage front.) I hope nobody took my seat!

(Next set of 5 stories begin. The third one concerns High Trek ORLON, a yarn combining the best characteristics of DACRON fiberfill, wool and ORLON staple for use in rugged, high quality sweaters. This segment is run by a magician. If appropriate to the act, Ben, now wearing a High Trek ORLON sweater over his colonial garb, could act as "volunteer from the audience," and work with the magician.)

(The last story concerns "super secretaries" who have expanded their roles in the organization to obtain a better perspective on the business, accelerating their personal growth and increasing their value to the division. After this video segment concludes, Ben returns to the stage.)

My secretary, too, was one of these "super secretaries" of which we can all be proud. But I didn't realize it at first, because I, sad to say ,was too, well, too thickheaded to listen to her. But an embarrassing incident at the French court made me realize the truth of my own maxims "they that will not be counseled cannot be helped," and "if you will not hear reason, it will surely rap your knuckles!"

As many of you may know, I had the honor of serving as American minister to France when I was but 70 years of age, shortly after the colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Many of you may not know, however, that then, as now, I have a, shall we say, minimal knowledge of the French language. This "language barrier" didn't stop me from being very popular with the charming French people, however. Especially the lovely ladies of the French court!

Any way, it was back in 1776, and I found myself a guest of honor at the Literary Society of Paris. I really didn't understand what the speakers were saying, but I soon concocted a clever plan! I kept my eye on an especially attractive young countess, and I took my cue from her--every time she clapped, I clapped. The louder she clapped, the louder I clapped. The longer she clapped, the longer I clapped!

The evening was going splendidly except for one thing--my secretary kept nudging me with her elbow every time I looked over at the young woman who was giving me my clapping cues. This occurred several times, and finally, exasperated at her rude attempts to stifle my listening--and viewing pleasure, I sent her to wait outside until the meeting was finished.

After the gathering was over, I went to her and asked her what the problem had been. "Mr. Franklin," she said, "I was only trying to save you from embarrassment."

"So, you think that I'm too old for the countess," I said, completely misunderstanding the situation.

"No, sir," she said. "That's not the case at all. It was your clapping. You always applauded, and louder than anyone else, when they praised you!"

"The used key remains bright." Or, more apropos to this unfortunate anecdote, a good secretary is worth her weight in gold, but a good secretary allowed to serve to the best of her abilities is absolutely priceless!

(Pulls out pocket watch.) I see it is fast approaching the noon hour, and almost time to introduce our final speaker of the morning. You know, every man must serve a master. I served under the great general, and later great president George Washington. Your leader, Paul Gillease, also serves a great general-- Tony Cardinal. And Mr. Cardinal is here with us this morning. Please welcome the vice president of the Fibers department, Anthony J. Cardinal.

(Ben shakes Cardinal's hand, and quickly returns to his seat. He returns to the stage after Cardinal's speech is finished.)

My friends, I haven't been this excited since my kite struck electricity! You are a great group of people. And you have the strategies and principles in place to help you reach heights never before reached! Take risks! Think innovatively! Work together as a strong team! Take every opportunity to develop your skills! Look at things from the customer's point of view! Be open to new ideas! Constantly strive for improvement! Get involved! Great, great advice, as is this from Poor Richard's Almanac--"keep thy shop well, and thy shop will keep thee!"

Now, I--(he is distracted by music, and the singers/dancers once more take the stage. This time, Ben joins them in a big finale, dancing and singing in his own inimitable style. After the song, all leave the stage except Ben.)

Whew! Anybody hungry?

(Audience reaction)

Good! We have a great buffet lunch set up for us in the room next door (points to his left.) The tables are marked, and we'll all be sitting in teams. Why? Well, "a word to the wise is enough." Besides, it's a surprise--a particularly "sweet" one--and you need to be sitting with your teammates to fully enjoy it.

But keep in mind that you must be back here at 1:00 sharp, so "cut thee of all unnecessary actions," and remember, "eat not to dullness, temperance in all things." In other words, stuffeth thy face, but be back here at 1:00! I'll see you inside!

(During lunch, Ben will conduct a prize drawing, which will work as follows: There will be 17 boxes set up, one for each of the 16 teams and one larger, extra box. Each of the first 16 boxes will contain a card with the name of each member of that team. One by one, Ben will call each team's name and pick one winning name from each team's box. That winner will win accommodations that night in a hotel "fantasy suite." There are twenty suites available, so to give away the four remaining, Ben will pour the non-winning names from the 16 team boxes into the big box, and ceremoniously choose four more winners.)

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Gregg Siegel

Business Communications Copywriter

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