Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Engine Running Rough? Open The Trunk.

Imagine this scenario: Your car has been running rough, not as smooth as it once was. You drop it off at garage and figure the experts will take care of it. Later you pick it up and on the way out you notice it is still running the same. You turn around and the experts inform you that it was running rough so they had to change the windshield wipers and replace the break light. A bit silly don't you think? Shouldn't these experts know to look at the engine?

However that is now what is going on at corporate America in companies all across the US. Executives having made bad decisions for years are now forced to take action and they do. They begin laying off folks who have given years to the company. Now the folks who are being laid off had little to do with creating the problem. They are the windshield wipers and break light. They play are part in the overall operation of the car, but simply not the cause of the problem.

In most companies the executives are still there. Sure a mid level manager may get the axe once in a while, usually for show, but the big boys, you know who they are in your company, are still there. It is like laying off a car salesman because he cannot sell a GM product. Is it really his fault? It may save some money in the short term but isn't the problem still there.

When do those at the top begin to pay? When does someone recognize that the engine, the very thing that drives the car, is the problem. When does the owner or CEO look at his team and say simply, "it's us. Not the workers, not the products, but us. The management team has failed the workers. We have let down those who have worked for us. It is our failure and we are sorry".

Of course you will never hear it. Management talks in a language all their own. They speak of shifting market demands, product life cycles, change of focus. They never say the product is not unique, is old, and customers are simply buying something better. No, you will not hear the owners or CEO's discuss business in honest terms. Then they would have to take a hard look at what really is causing the difficulty.

Like a car engine it can be complicated and sometimes difficult to fix. It is much easier changing the wiper and break light. Unfortunately in business, the wiper and break lights often have families.

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