SME Logo
The Squeeze: A Novel Approach to Business Sustainability Image

The Squeeze: A Novel Approach to Business Sustainability

Author(s)/Editor(s): Gary A Langenwalter
Published By:

Pages in Print Edition: 368PP
Soft Cover

Published: 01/01/2007
Product ID:

SME Members: $ 21.00
Non members: $ 25.00


The Squeeze is a novel that relates the fight for survival of a small family-owned, Midwest manufacturer. Barely breaking even, Brookings Manufacturing is feeling the "squeeze" even after five years of Lean implementation — from its competitors whose prices are 25% less, from employees with trust issues, from the bank who questions the company's ability to pay back loans, and from the EPA who is citing the company for violations. Its new CEO, Adam Brookings, finds himself at a crossroads — sell the barely profitable business and leave the fate of his lifetime friends/co-workers to chance, move 200 manufacturing jobs overseas and substantially affect the local community, or try something new — and quick! But what?

The company turns itself around by implementing "sustainability." Sustainability goes beyond Lean, which only looks at the financial bottom line, to include two additional bottom lines — social and environmental — in decision making at all levels of an organization. Sustainability embraces the three Rs — respect, relationship, and responsibility. It is about respect for each other, respect for our earth, and respect for future generations. It is about relationships with one other, and relationship with future generations. It is thinking of ourselves as stewards, in a long line of stewards. And it is about being committed to helping customers, suppliers, and employees grow and succeed.

When Brookings begins using the Triple Bottom Line to make decisions, employees, customers, suppliers, and even its bank stand up and take notice. The success of sustainability lies in its linking of personal values to ethical business practices. Improvement efforts are given new momentum and people have greater enthusiasm since they are empowered to make decisions that will directly benefit their children and the community. Everyone knows what's in it for them if their employer, family, and community make decisions that make the world "sustainable" for business, the human race, and generations to come.


"A novel is a clever way to get learning across . . . thoroughly enjoyable for me. I can only hope that it will have an impact and open a few minds about the power of sustainability. I think CEOs, executives from smaller companies, and especially plant managers will find this a great read. I like the step by step processes that are laid out in the story, as well as the references. One of the themes I like is the one about honestly communicating where the company is--there is usually too strong a tendency to focus on communicating only good news and keeping quiet on the negative."

— An environmental, health, and safety professional at a Fortune 100 company

"The Squeeze brings sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line to life in a human drama involving love, intrigue, and community. You get a great understanding of sustainability while enjoying a good read--I highly recommend it."

— Bill Bradbury, Oregon Secretary of State, Chair, Oregon Sustainability Board

"For me, it was a real page turner. I found myself rooting for Adam and Kelly and everyone who was part of the Brookings family. The human element of sustainability was driven home and that got me thinking more than anything. How empowering is it for a CEO or leader to feel and watch a transformation like this? It was an enjoyable read and I think it will call people to action. You have a real winner here."

— An environmental professional with the government

"Gary, you have a winner here. Your portrayal is a realistic business picture that everyone is facing today, as I could really relate and felt I was Adam. I think your book will exceed 'The Goal' in interest."

— Jim Warren, president and owner, Sunset Manufacturing Company