Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 28NOV11

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

Forbes.com had a interesting piece written by Steve Denning called “Peggy Noonan on Steve Jobs and Why Big Companies Die.”  Here is an excerpt:

There is an arresting moment in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs in which Jobs speaks at length about his philosophy of business. He’s at the end of his life and is summing things up. His mission, he says, was plain: to “build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.”

Then he turned to the rise and fall of various businesses. He has a theory about “why decline happens” at great companies: “The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues.” So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company’s daily life. They “turn off.”

IBM [IBM] and Xerox [XRX], Jobs said, faltered in precisely this way. The salesmen who led the companies were smart and eloquent, but “they didn’t know anything about the product.” In the end this can doom a great company, because what consumers want is good products.

Is Steve on to something? Is he describing the cause of “big company syndrome?”  Is this what keeps big companies from thriving?

Thought for the week:

“High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton, founder of WalMart

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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One Response to Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 28NOV11

  1. Sounds like the typical silo-ed thinking so prevalent in many big (and medium-sized) companies…the sales folks don’t understand the marketing folks …the marketing folks undervalue the product development/design folks…the engineers feel completely out of the loop…and on it goes.

    This really goes back to culture, doesn’t it? I heard this saying once, “A fish rots from the head.” If there’s something rotten in the proverbial state of Denmark, then you have to look to the leaders who are perpetuating it.

    What’s ironic (if Jobs is indeed right) is that the very people you’d expect to “know” the product would be the salespeople selling it. But when it’s all about the money — how much you can make and focusing only on that without necessarily being an evangelist for the products (or services) you’re selling — then I can see how it would all go down the pan.

    If only people in large companies learned to play nicely with one another. And love what they do more 🙂

    One way to do that — see my case study on Beryl here: http://drlizalexander.com/2011/11/the-write-way-to-engage-employees/ – is to have a cross-functional group write a book together. Certainly a fun and value-creating way to promote greater understanding and appreciation around what other people do in a business!

    Like

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