Friday, April 18, 2008

Warning: Bottom-Line Management May be Hazardous to Your Health

If you were to ask a room full of top American business executives to describe their management styles, most would probably say they were “bottom-line oriented” – as if that were a good thing.

But financial statements are nothing more than static markers that become obsolete the moment they are printed; and trying to run a company by them is akin to barreling down the highway in a Buick with your head out the window looking back at where you’ve been. Neither will get you to where you want to go.

So how did we arrive at this lowly estate? In a nutshell: It was expedient. If the multi-billion dollar patent medicine industry has taught us anything, it is that it is much easier to treat the symptom than to cure the cold. Feeling sluggish? Take a pill. Sluggish earnings? Take a layoff. At least cold medicine comes with a warning label.

Check out the side effects of these everyday corporate cures:

l LAYOFFS – May cause elevated stress levels on remaining staff leading to increased absenteeism and loss of productivity. Customer service may suffer due to increased workload, leading to possible loss of revenue. Extremely habit-forming. May lead to death if used in large doses.

l SALES BLITZES – Initial euphoria followed by despair as top producers find themselves penalized for their own productivity as they struggle to top the incentive-inflated successes of prior periods. Customer service may suffer due to temporary swelling of work in progress. May cause feelings of inadequacy. Use in moderation.

As Dr. McCoy used to say on Star Trek: “Barbaric!”

Progressive physicians have come to advocate a more holistic approach to medicine: The prevention of disease through “wellness,” a multi-disciplinary approach aligning body, mind and spirit through a healthy lifestyle. And the diagnosis of physical harm through the use of powerful non-invasive tools, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Studies have shown this to be the most effective model for long-term, sustainable health and growth.

It’s about time for progressive companies to do the same. I work with companies to a help them achieve both of these goals by measuring the alignment of their systems – organizational culture, strengths and weaknesses – and the physical health of their processes – capacity, performance, communications and training.

Let's face it; there's only so much you can cut out but there's an unlimited increase in profits that comes from tapping into your employees' creativity. Creative discretionary effort is the answer to spiraling costs. Managing intangible assets gets you where you're going.

So quit covering up your corporate colds with the same old ineffective remedies. Unlock your company's potential. Align body, mind and spirit. And bask in the long-term sustainable profitability that only a truly healthy organization can provide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This makes total sense. My company makes all the mistakes you talk about.