"Bad Economy" A 'Cop Out' For Bad Companies

While the economy has never been more challenging it can also serve, for some companies, as a “cop out” for why business is failing. It has been our experience, in working with numerous companies in virtually every industry sector, that those that have both planned for tough times and, in turn, empowered and rallied its people towards future success, are the ones that persevere most efficiently.

You’ve no doubt heard: “A company’s people are its greatest resource” and it is true. I know of a particular company whose high level managers pushed, a few years ago, for having more of its up and coming professionals get involved in networking and new business development, only to be rebuffed by top management. The reason? Ego and shortsightedness. The heads of this company felt they could develop business better than anyone else and did not want to put forth the resources—whether in time or dollars—to train or bring the next level of ‘rain maker’ along.

In time, payrolls increased, while, new significant business coming in did not. And, if you think those realities might have precipitated change, think again. Rather than correctly cultivating a next generation of business developer, a culture of intimidation and negative “motivation” continued—‘Bring in new business, or else.’ The end result? In just over two years, this company, through layoffs, pay freezes, pay cuts and attrition, has seen its staff and office square footage cut in half; its deflation in billables far worse. Economy? Yes. Bad business decisions? Absolutely.

It is a fate suffered by bad companies in times good and bad—if you don’t set your people up for success, they (and you) are destined to fail. That’s the true bottom line.