“I’m sorry but we can’t approve your loan.”
Clarke McRae Williams was stunned. He was just back from serving his country in World War II. Despite obstacles, Clarke Williams built a tiny bankrupt telephone company into America’s telecommunications giant CenturyLink® on one simple belief: If you treat others as you would like to be treated, you will soon have legions of loyal employees and customers who will build with you. Harvard, Wharton, Stanford and all business schools teach logistics but seldom leadership. This book identifies what this is, that while it takes charisma to get the right things, it takes courage to do the right things. Before you step into uncharted territory, let this roadmap show you how to arrive at a place better than you thought possible.
The Clarke Williams Story
Clarke Williams’ parents gave him Oak Ridge Telephone when he came home from World War II. Less of a gift than an albatross, the haphazard jumble of wires tacked to trees and fence posts served 75 customers and never made a profit.
Very few believed he could turn it around. The bank refused his first loan after his banker died just as new equipment arrived. He was too insignificant for underwriters and investors and too small to get even a small business loan. Backed into a corner, he prayed for an answer and within minutes a local farmer drove up offering to invest. Despite installing the second most advanced system in the state, Clarke Williams still had to climb poles in sun and sleet at all hours. He still worked second jobs to meet payroll and keep phones working. His family answered the switchboard in their living room.
Suffocating loan payments kept him awake at night and he learned to trust in the God of his youth by realizing the Bible was a roadmap. If he were to call himself Christian, he would be one with courage, especially the courage to put others first. The twist and turns of Century Telephone became a legendary string of miracles. That’s what this book is about: Miracles, second chances and roadmaps.
Does religious faith have a place in business? Is the expression "just business" a veiled excuse to win at all costs? Clarke Williams thought building a company and a legacy on sound spiritual principles was the only way. Against all odds this David in AT&T’s Goliath world today is CenturyLink®, the third largest telecom in the United States. Mr. Williams took the simple principle, Treat others as you would like to be treated, and turned it into a $20 billion success story. He proved the paradox that if you put the interests of others ahead of your own, you are rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Here and in Heaven.