Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Incompetence pays off

Far too often have I participated in management meetings of commercial companies, when I've been stunned by how many managers out there are earning humongous salaries, while sitting squarely in fabulous Peter's chairs. I believe this is the reason that, when business is slow, company management implements various degrees of rightsizing without the company actually experiencing any real performance challenges after the haircuts. On the contrary. I used to work for a company that fed half of the available headcount as company 'fat' so that each time quarters were missed a small percentage of the fat was burnt and numbers corrected. However, the whole process seems 'unfair' to good people who do their best and add value. Thoughts like "it's not bloody fair" crosses their mind. All I had to tell them is what a New Yorker colleague once told me, one with a rabbi wisdom: Never say "It's not fair". Who ever told you life is fair? Always tell them, "it's not good for the company".

Even so, if the top suckz there's not much you can do about it. Until the BOD, if there is one, decides to take care of the problem and sends C-level officers homewards. Unfortunately, in the US this is done far too often and in Europe almost never ever. You can even 'shag' the chairman's spouse and still stay in place. Especially then... They might put a contract on your head, but they will never shack you.

On a serious tone, maybe it is due to the reigning incompetence in companies that European Economy is up for grabs. Even at the level of sovereign countries. Because, those managing public administrations, on top of being managerially incompetent, are also (party) 'political'. Meaning, they are used to lying in their face, nepotist, live on kick-backs and quite often range from mildly corrupt to extremely corrupt.

How do you solve such a problem? A colleague mentioned recently to me, simply and honestly: Where there's a will there's a way, he said. First, there must be a will and compelling reasons to have a will. Like people in the streets really start beating the living sh*t out of their politicians for being so incompetent and corrupt. Already started in Greece. Happened in Rhodos (a crowd attacked authorities reps attending a parade), and the far North (Evros, an old man beating with his cane Ntolios*,  an ex-vice-secretary of Interior). These guys need to start running for their lives instead of thinking that will always get away with murder as they are used until now.

Once there's a will, like in Mario's Italy more or less, then you need action on both the short and the medium/long term. The obvious short term remedy is actual punishment (effective jail service and large fines to return misappropriated capital) of those guilty. This almost never happens in Greece, for instance, as many judges are often among those unfair fraude 'game' participants. The longer term solution is education reforms to start telling the youth a different role model story than is the case today, especially in the GIPSI countries, and also in some not yet inside the club of Euro desperados. Even so, it will take whole generations, if ever, before the system gets corrected.

The other way is of course the Plato Utopia way, but this is not sufficiently democratic and therefore politically incorrect. Let's wait for a Wall-e society then... in the year 2525!


* It was quite unfortunate that this happened to Ntolios, as he is one scarce example of political integrity in the current times in Greece, compared to his notorious peers and colleagues active today. This shouldn't have happened to him really, and, as it turns, he behaved as quite a gentleman handling the incident, as the footage showed on Youtube later on. On the other hand, there have been others, holding until over a year ago leadership positions in the local Administration (Prefecture), who were also beaten up in the streets, but they in particular deserved every bit of it. And more. The Mafia practices of one such character related to gambling, womanizing and extortion made him an ideal target for a gang payback attack. He's lucky he's still alive. This is the kind of functionaries the beloved PASOK party selected to lead the country for far too long. Socialists, my ass!

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