The Business of the Business


I had a dream not a product of hallucinogenic drugs.  In the dream, I was the major stockholder of multi-trillion dollar corporation.  As they are apt to say her in wild and wonderful, it was a biggin’.  Typically, however, that is said about the catfish that got away.

The corporation had global reach and influence.  People across the world depended on it.  It was intertwined with countless other businesses and touched millions of people.  Being so large and influential, making the wrong moves could destabilize some countries.  It could conceivably wreck the global economy.  It could destroy many businesses that were dependent on our success and ruin lives of countless employees.

The obvious was that it was mismanaged by directionless leadership for several decades.  These were leaders who lacked focus on core competencies.  They were directionless expending time, energy, and resources in directions unrelated to success.  Because of that they could not get to the root causes of problems.  This lack of focus on things fundamentally important made them unable to thrive in the present or plan for the future.  The leadership was ideologically driven not principle driven causing much internal conflict.  They lacked vision. No one seemed to know where they were headed.  They were leading the organization without a roadmap or a defined destination.  The result was lost influence and trust.  Those who relied on us to lead and provide direction were beginning to look elsewhere.  Clearly we needed new leadership and renewed purpose.  A search for a new chief executive officer began.  There were a number of applicants for the job.  Some were obviously not capable of leading a large and complicated organization while others had potential.  Following a long and tedious process, the applicants were narrowed to two possible choices.

Each of them was allowed to present their vision for the organization to the shareholders – those having the most to gain through success and the most to lose through failure.  The shareholders voted for the vision that most appealed to them.  It was the vision that provided direction and directly addressed how to correct the organization’s most pressing problems.  The vision placed success of the organization and welfare of the shareholders first noting that success of the business benefitted all – shareholders and their stakeholders like other businesses even other countries.  It was a tried and true vision.  One entity seeking wealth always produces wealth for others.  Putting the age old and well defined purpose of the organization first and pursuing the principle driven vision was the greatest benefit for all.

Across this massive organization was a passel of Vice Presidents.  Their staffs were filled with many loyal career employees.  Many of these VP’s had their own future vision that did not support or lead to the CEO’s vision.  They were loyal to self, loyal to their perceived power base of career employees, loyal to influential groups who did not hold to the new vision of the corporation, and they were fiercely loyal to an ideology on which a corporation of such magnitude could never succeed.  Some of them took to referring to themselves as the resistance.  They were desirous of holding fast to failed ideology while resisting any change that could better the organization, benefit the shareholders, and point out for all their past failed approach.

The shareholders were growing more vocal each day that the organization failed to move toward the vision.  The CEO reminded all of the VP’s that the shareholders voted for a vision and that it was their job to map out an acceptable course to reach it.  Still it was becoming clear that too many of the VP’s were beholden to things other than the vision of the CEO and were intent on delaying any progress ultimately painting the CEO as a failure.  A major shareholder’s meeting was called.  Following the meeting each VP received a letter from them.  The letter declared that if they did not show major progress toward achieving the vision during the coming months, they would be replaced – unceremoniously drop-kicked through the goal posts of life.  The shareholders were not going to let this biggin’ get away.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry