Two physicians are not a paradox.
I would like to point out some interesting pardoxes.
From reading my Blog, you know I consult to businesses. In my years of working with hundreds of companies, I’ve discovered some disturbing patterns. These are my 4 paradoxes of business.
Paradox #1. The businesses that could most benefit from some outside thought won’t accept it. The successful businesses are the ones always looking for ways to improve.
There was a local pizza restaurant in our little remote area that looked to me to be struggling to stay open. They made a pretty good pizza but the place was never busy. I could see a hundred opportunities for improvement. They had virtually no competition. I offered to work for them at no charge. I wanted to see them make it. They declined my offer. 6 months later the business folded. Too bad, it could have been a very profitable business.
Paradox #2. I’ve provided business training for over 20 years. Those who need it most, benefit the least. For example, the employees in need of Excel training will pick up a few new tips in class but won’t make the effort to change the way they do things. There is always someone in the basic Excel class who I would consider a “power user”. That person will pay attention, ask questions and come away with lots of new ways to approach his work.
Paradox #3. The businesses that have tight budgets will waste money on stupid things rather than basic, inexpensive things to improve business. I know of businesses that are hemmorrhaging red ink yet employ more “Vice Presidents” than customer service people. These are the businesses that lay off $30,000 employees in service related jobs but keep $250,000 VPs who have never had an original thought. The CEO will spend their last dime trying to save the company. Look for new phone systems, expensive copiers and Blackberrys at companies on the verge of collapse. They always fail. It doesn’t take much of a phone system to actually speak with a customer.
Paradox #4. Cut, cut and then cut some more. That’s the way to grow! The business that tries to cut it’s way to growth will fail. A business can prune, certainly. But if the focus is entirely on cost reduction instead of growth, the business will shrink until it dies. The CEO that thinks he must cut expenses first and then grow the business will kill the company. The first goal must always be sales and margins. It is possible to trim expenses at the same time, but that plan will fail if the prevailing emphasis is on cutting expenses. As sales and margins improve, fixed costs shrink as a percentage of sales. Isn’t that business 101? What the hell are all these MBAs doing? Better get out of that “lean” mode and start thinking about growing sales. Supply Chain Management and Process Control mean nothing if sales fall and margins drop.
If your business is in a paradox, get a business doc.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog