Magazine article Business Credit

Corporate Intellectual Inbreeding Hurts Profit in the Box Thinking Driven by Habit & Fear

Magazine article Business Credit

Corporate Intellectual Inbreeding Hurts Profit in the Box Thinking Driven by Habit & Fear

Article excerpt

A sales vice president of an international company had referred me to his region's CFO. He encouraged me to contact this woman and explain the scope of my consulting services. After leaving three messages over a two week period, I got a call from the regional A/R Manager, the CFO's subordinate. I started to explain the services I provide when the man cut me off. "We just had a very prestigious firm do an evaluation of our business functions; and with the exception of a few minor items, they validated our processes", he said.

On hearing the word "validation" the picture that comes to my mind is finding the right guy to stamp your parking ticket. To pay a consultant to come in and pat you on the back, and tell you you're doing a good job-never.

Keeping my thoughts to myself, I said to him, "That's great, it's always a good idea for a company to have an outsider come in and take a fresh look at things." I then asked how I could participate in providing them with their next evaluation. "Oh no, we're having the same firm back again", he said. After a few more minutes of conversation, it was clear to me that I was wasting my time. You see, I learned from him that his boss formerly worked at the firm they had used, and that she was not interested in working with any other consulting firm.

When everyone making decisions went to the same school, has had similar experiences, and perceives things the same way, you're not going to get a lot of new ideas, solutions or improvements. In fact, this kind of corporate inbreeding will limit the intellectual gene pool resulting in more of the same thinking.

No matter how smart a manager or management team is, there's no way they know it all. Sometimes the true value of having an outsider review how things are done is that they ask dumb questions. Hiring a consultant who knows how you do things limits the potential payback.

People who put in long hours day after day, year after year, doing the same work, form habits. Some habits aren't bad, however, once we form a habit, like driving a car, we don't think about it-we just do it. It becomes easier and easier to do the same things the same way, over and over again. …

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