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Business consulting, limo’s and church. November 9, 2009

Posted by bernardrosauer in Customer, Human Capital, Process.
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As odd as this may sound, the economic correction that is taking place gives me faith that, in the long run, smart businesses that provide real value to customers will be the one’s that prevail.   It will take a lot of discipline, but then I suppose all good things do.   A lot of people get hurt when business leaders lose discipline.

Speaking of discipline, I was walking down midtown Manhattan the other night and experienced something really interesting.  After passing through the lights and the glamour, the high heals, mini (really mini) skirts, jewelery, nightclubs, the Bentley’s and Mercedes’ and yes all those lights, I took to a side street off the modern path and came upon a church where I saw that the doors were open and the lights were on.  I like old churches and so I went in to find that a Roman catholic mass was taking place with maybe 150 people sitting in the pews.  I decided to stay.

For the most part, it was clear that the people in this church were very sad.  Lots of emotionless faces.  Lots of people in need.  Many had fallen on tough, tough times and some even appeared to be homeless.  Still, as the offering basket passed, people gave what they could.   The church was extremely depressing to me, but I kept thinking that it was probably the most uplifting place any of those other folks could have been.   Two extremes, five blocks apart, one fueled by excess, the other by emptiness.     

Business problems are a lot like social problems.  I share the belief that business leaders have responsibilities that include, but also go well beyond, the year-end balance sheet.   Businesses are made up of people and every product or service ultimately depends on individual consumers – people.    If the ‘state of the people’ isn’t healthy neither will business be so.  It all works together.   So running a business the right way takes discipline.  

OK. OK. OK.  Off the soapbox.  If you don’t like people who draw parallels between business and other types of systems – you’re in the wrong place for sure!   This blog is about three simple things:  customers (those who consume) , employees (those who provide) and all the processes  that happen between the two. 

After spending 20 years in commercial and personal insurance I can say that I have seen the inner workings of lots of businesses.  Some understood risk, others didn’t.   Too few knew about their biggest risk: the risk of losing a customer and how they actually fueled or increased that risk by having a focus on customers, employees and processes that lacked discipline.

Do you have an example of a disciplined company or organization to share?  Feel free to comment!

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