Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Business of Mismanagement: a Hypothetical Examination

Let's play pretend.


You attended a prestigious university where you received a Bachelor of Science in engineering.

You used your knowledge and business acumen to climb the corporate ladder.

You proved to be a smart businessman, eventually becoming a Vice President, then Senior Vice President.

After 20 years, you earned the top job.  Congratulations on your Presidency!


You sell your company for hundreds of millions of dollars.  Woo hoo!

Having successfully navigated the intricate dealings of an acquisition, you remain on board with the new company, a feat that many do not accomplish.

You continue to lead the company, again becoming President.

Your company is worth $1 billion dollars.  You are a leader in your industry.  Hot damn!


You are a philanthropist.  You believe in giving back.  You join the Board of Directors of a small non-profit organization.

You notice that the money spent is greater than the money received; it continues year over year. Heck, that's not sustainable.

You are a shrewd businessman who doubled the value of his company, yet you do nothing to reverse this trajectory.

You're the leader of the pack board.  It's your time to shine: you know how to build businesses and reap a profit!  Alas, you refuse.

You alienate your fellow board members.  30% of them resign.


Bad decisions, year over year over year.  You, a leader in business, sit idly by.

Or worse.


You do not discuss financial constraints.  You do not listen to others' viewpoints.  You do not follow industry best practices.  You do not hold accountable the individual(s) responsible for the paucity of resources.  You do not ensure that each Line of Business is headed by the right person with the right qualifications.

You spend money on consultants who do not report their findings.  You encourage poor decisions by your Finance Team: decisions that cost the organization a significant percentage of its dwindling revenue.  You ignore market research.  You do not improve marketing campaigns.  You do not change your product.


You announce the dissolution of the non-profit organization.

You say that it's the fault of the customer base.

Nothing to be done.  You've tried everything.  It's over.  Too bad.


You are a brilliant businessman who grew a for-profit company into an industry leader.

And then proceeded to destroy a leading non-profit organization.

Were you careless?  Incompetent?  Indifferent?  Ill-disposed?

You were not--you are not--a man of vision, intellect, or sensibility.

You are the villain in this farce you call leadership.

You are the antihero.

An enfant terrible.

A libertine.

A wretch.

You are Paul G. Rice.