The wisdom of a fool won’t set you free

What is it about corporate America? The CEO of Bear Sterns, gone. (Said in my best Chris Berman voice) Citicorp’s CEO, gone. Starbucks, gone. Merrill Lynch, gone. Yet these guys will get hired by someone else, even though they didn’t do the job. I predict that Starbucks will experience an Apple-like transformation with the founder back at the helm. Still for the rest of them, they’ll bring in someone else with much pomp and circumstance and their first solution will be to cut jobs, restructure the organization and blah blah blah. I’m consistently amazed by the inability to differentiate someone who’s skills lie in self promotion from someone who can actually formulate and execute a business plan. I like to refer to the former as “empty suits”. And when I say “suit” it sounds like Billy in Entourage.

I’m reading one of the Rich Dad Poor Dad books right now and he’s talking about the importance of failing. Thomas Edison failed over a thousand times before he got the light bulb to work. (An idea that is now widely considered to have been stolen) I understand the logic behind taking your chances, possibly failing and learning from the experience, but I don’t know the wisdom of doing that when people’s lives are hanging in the balance. When you bring someone on to your organization, as a manager, you have a duty to do your best to build the business to be able to keep them employed. I don’t think corporate America understands that any more. People used to have one job for their entire life. Companies want loyalty, but how do you foster loyalty when the company is just as likely to shit can you because of a momentary pullback in business. I am appalled at all the money that was made by lender’s and title companies in the last 10 years, but when the market tightened up, no one had anything in the bank to ride it out. Are you kidding me? Managers, directors and officers have a duty to the shareholders, employees and customers to not fail.  I would submit that they have an additional duty to humanity to do right.  Throwing people away is not right.

James Donald is out of a job because he expanded the business too quickly. 800 Alliance Title Company employees and who knows how many National Alliance Title employees are out of work because John Harritt, Jerry Hauptman and Patty Hauptman expanded the business too quickly. They should have been building a solid base for the lean times. It’s not rocket science, it’s just business. They stole Escrow Officers from decent companies and decent jobs, just to can them a month later and hijack their book of business. That’s wrong.

What is it with mediocrity? I’ve seen more salesmen in management positions than I ever care to see again. And there will be more. John Harritt is a perfect example of self promotion to the point of incompetence. It’s a communications degree fergodsakes. Jocks and cheerleaders and pretty people who are stupid. And 2500 people lost their jobs over that. I’m with the kangaroo.