Archive for the ‘Day-to-Day Operations’ Category

You Can Always Tell A Harvard Man…

November 9, 2006

when you see him, but you can’t tell him much.

This saying came to mind this morning while thinking about the hundreds of different business marketing consulting projects I have considered.

Unfortunately, the saying is true particularly when the Harvard man is also the owner of the business.

Why would a Harvard graduate ask me to discuss his business plans?

For the same reason most every other business owner who has ever contacted me did, to get a “second” opinion.

An opinion, a diagnosis not free of bias but one free from theirs.

Every small to medium size business owner prospect or client I have spent time with has had the same problem.

To get to where they are, they had to surround themselves with people they trusted. Those people in turn grow comfortable and content with their having “made it” to their organizations inner circle.

All is warm and fuzzy when times are good.

With their having “made it” the members of the inner circle sign up for hefty mortgages, buy expensive cars and enroll their children in private schools.

What follows next isn’t pretty but happens quite predictably within varying degrees of time.

The business encounters some form of disruption from outside the team’s control shaking their trust.

The team functions well managing the day-to-day operations when the sailing is smooth, but has difficulty responding to any unexpected swells that may rock their otherwise smooth sailing ship.

Why?

Contempt.

A distrust in all knowledge and experience other than their own.

Why not? The owner and his inner circle have seen it all before.

Those waves heaving over the bow will surely subside.

The owner silently tells himself, “My team and I can handle this like we handled everything prior.”

There is only one problem.

Change aka risk…

Innovation by definition means doing something new and different.

The inner circle who once clawed and scratched their way to the table is no longer interested in taking a risk on something new and different.

When the subject is broached the owner hears,
“Us, do something different?” “Are you kidding?”
“We have houses to protect and families to support!”

Regardless of whether a single member of the team ever graduated from Harvard or not, the team has caught the same bug.

The Closemindedness Bug.

Now we all suffer from this to varying degrees, but business executives should be the last to catch it if ever.

If you or your team have been infected with the Closemindedness Bug seek professional help before your market hospitalizes you.


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