The medium is still the message. The product is not everything. What is conveyed by telephone, emails, letters, websites, sales people, a receptionist’s greeting? The grumpy signals transmitted by contacts through which a buyer does business speak volumes.
Change or get changed. Back in the ‘80s, Japanese companies working closely with their government’s bureaucrats seemed to make unstoppable advances. There were books, articles, pamphlets and courses telling us what to do. Since the mid-90s, there has been non-stop decline. The problem was in the links between manufacturers, the financial sector and government, which were regarded as strengths. The stock market was riven with corruption, banks made imprudent loans – they were too close to say no. The consequential difficulties were compounded by built-in weaknesses: inflexible labour markets and a structure of power which left little room for entrepreneurs. However, shintoist capitalism is getting its act together and introducing some openness. Note the lessons.
..... or go bust. Downsizing is a dreadful word and a troubling symbol of continuous change and relentless competition. It emphasises a future that is not only difficult to predict but essentially unknowable. The primary cause of downsizing is acknowledged rarely: companies have more employees than they need or can afford to pay. A vast majority of managers are not callous scrooges shouting ‘good riddance’ as they shove loyal workers through the door. Generally, they are responding to a reality which demands they become more productive.
It’s all a bit odd. Small businesses are told daily they play the primary part in rebuilding UK’s economy and assuring growth. Leaders of the major political parties confirm this certainty and the government’s ministers devise plans to retain their contribution and enthusiasm. Our Establishment honours entrepreneurs. They receive a significant proportion of awards and titles. BUT, formal behaviour shows we do not trust them. For example, there is an almost universal objection to the idea of privatising any of the National Health Service. Maybe, we ought to consider actions of the admired Scandinavians? The approach entails a pragmatic judgement on public services. So long as they work, it does not matter who provides them.
Sounds familiar. ‘Insanity : doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ Albert Einstein.
And. ‘How many crimes committed merely because their authors could not endure being wrong!.’ Albert Camus (1913-60), French philosopher in ‘The Fall’.