“’Bob’ wants to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic,” I said to Steve, my right hand man.
“What did Bob do?” Steve asked.
“Well, you know we missed our number for the quarter,” I said, referring to the company missing its financial goals for the quarter.
Steve nodded for me to continue.
“And he thinks that the problem is that marketing is supporting sales. So, he’s going to give pricing authority to sales because he believes that will solve the problem.”
“What do you think will happen,” Steve said.
I laughed and said, “We’re not going to win more business. All that’s going to happen is that we’ll hurt our gross margins. That’s going to cause us to miss our margin numbers and be hurt even more.”
It’s always the people, not the process.
“I think you’re right, but how can you be so sure?” Steve asked me.
“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “How good do you think our sales managers are?”
Steve sighed and said, “They’re mostly B’s and C’s (talent level) with the exception of John and Steve.”
“I agree,” I said, nodding my head. “So, why will giving mediocre people a different way of doing things solve anything? It won’t!
“But now we have to wait at least a quarter for Bob to recognize it.”
“Bob never admits he’s wrong,” Steve said.
“I know,” I said. “I know.”
Great teams develop great processes. Mediocre teams can’t implement anything.
“Do you want more proof that I’m right? Look at the ‘Michelin Man’ (the VP Engineering),” I said. “The guy’s changed his design review processes how many times now? And the results have continued to suck.”
“Garbage in. Garbage out,” Steve said. “His team just isn’t that good.”
“Exactly!” I said. “Until Bob fixes the people issues he has, nothing is going to change. We’re going to continue missing our numbers.”