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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Business Models

When John McCain discovered that being honest about his lack of understanding of the economy wasn't exactly good for the bidness of running for President*, he found a spokesperson who could be a two-fer.
* gas prices, huh, I dunno...haven't filled up a gas tank in years....
* Cindy's platinum credit card $750K bill? I dunno...that's hers....
* how 'bout them property tax bills four years late in Californi-ayyyyyy on one of our eight or nine or...what is it this week? guess the little people forgot to pay 'em...not my problem....
* lobbyists "on leave" runnin' my campaign 'cause they can't see anything to gain if I win come November? Nah, even I'm not buyin' it, so it's a good thing my BFFs in the BBQ-media don't bother their pretty little blonde heads about it....
* Keating Five? old history
* McCain-Feingold? you don't actually expect me to follow my own campaign finance laws, now do you?
Without belaboring the point that Carly Fiorina was a pointed rejoinder to the still-in-play Hillary campaign, her other resume grabber was her tenure as CEO of HP... and with Carly out front talking economic issues, Ol' John didn't have to worry his own head about it. Some say that being fired and bought off with a golden parachute isn't the best resume builder, but hey, what's to stop the standard Republican business model of rewarding failure and destruction with promotion. It's worked out so well for the Bush Administration....

And since, so far, the only guy making the Obama-economa rounds is a wonkish nebbish who's on the teevee circuit while making all the message penetration of.... well, let's go with the wet pile of spaghetti noodles on concrete. Which is to say no message penetration at all....

So meet Tom Heuerman, consultant, former Secret Service agent, and former newspaper executive, who opines from time to time in the dead tree edition of the local Fargo paper...and is also available online. He had some thoughts in Sunday's paper, in light of a regional medical center's announced layoffs, on what makes successful, sustainable corporations. Thoughts that stuck with me ... and since this morning started off with reporting on yet another corporation, Siemans, and its humongo-layoff of nearly 17,000 of its global workforce, Heuerman's thoughtful analysis deserves broader consideration.

Layoffs ain't part of Heuerman's equation.
No organization ever downsized its way to long-term sustainability.
And he's not just shootin' off his own opinion:
Arie DeGeus, former coordinator of worldwide planning for Royal Dutch/Shell, wrote in “The Living Company”: “Companies die because their managers focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services and they forget that their organizations’ true nature is that of a community of humans.” Layoffs destroy trust, loyalty and the strong relationships essential for survival amid change.
Sustainable corporations, says Heuerman:
- Are fiscally conservative. In sustainable companies, profits are necessary to sustain the enterprise, but they are not sufficient; they are an outcome of leading engaged people. In long-lasting companies researched in the book “Built to Last,” an investment of $1 in those companies on Jan. 1, 1926, would have grown to $6,356 by 1994 – more than 15 times the general market – 15 times by putting the “community of humans” first.
How many times have we rewarded in all sorts of ways the corporate raiders and pirates and slashers and burners who have come in and cut expenses, laid-off workers, changed the fundamental function of the company in order to pump up the bottom line of the beak-dippers of Wall Street, leaving nothing but paper—too often worthless paper—in their wake as they moved on like Death Stars to swallow up yet another business.

The corporation vampires cannibalize... sucking the lifeblood out of their acquisitions and not looking back when they go. And government has too long stood on the sidelines, pocketing the K Street campaign contributions and deregulated and turned a blind eye to consolidations and acquisitions that have turned once-competitive free markets into virtual monopolies both horizontal and vertical, and too often subsidized with tax breaks that reward the worst behavior of these vampires.

So what's a person to do? John McCain would say, hey, look at me, I'm hirin' the same ol' same ol' buccaneers to keep on keepin' on with the legacy of Bush that, when it saw danger ahead—like in the energy sector—instead of looking for innovation and problem solving, just speeded up the freight train right over the cliff...grabbin' up the quick profiteering because guzzlin' more gas was good for.... ooops, not so much. The faster you go, the harder the crash.

Or, all of us can start listening a little more to the contrary voices. Like Heuerman and the resources he cites.

Or like the head of Zappos.com, profiled last night on Nightline. He gets what a corporation should be to be "successful." And it's not outsourcing, or "right sourcing" as Fiorina calls it.

It's rewriting what successful is. And profiteering and cannibalizing and corporate greed rapaciousness ain't anywhere on his measuring stick.

But his workers will be selling shoes...and have the jobs to buy them. A lesson we could all profit from...governments, too.


Richard Jennings said...

There are still many high paying jobs on employment sites. Here's a few from About.com's top 10 employment sites:


Some of those jobs are $200K and $300K jobs!

Cujo359 said...

Good grief, Prairie Sunshine, you get spam, too? It's omnipresent.

Anyway, I think that Carly Fiorina might be the worst thing that ever happened to HP. They sold off much of the high-tech stuff, went into the commodity PC and printer business, and made what has to be one of the craziest moves in a decade when they bought out Compaq and turned it into the discount portion of their laptop line.

And who made all sortsa bucks from that Compaq deal? I won't tell, but she works for John McCain now as an economic adviser.