Late Summer 2008 Interview with ‘The Business Doctor’

LATE SUMMER 2008 INTERVIEW with the Business Doctor

 

Interviewer:
Several of us have been reading the libraries, articles and interviews on your website that you have just opened up to the public at no cost.

We really like those videos of you discussing “What Business Development Is All About In Today’s Business World”.

After some discussions among us here, we had several questions.

We would like to get some clarifications and added information, if you would be willing to share more knowledge.
Reply:
No problem.

I would be happy to share knowledge and my experiences with you.
Interviewer:
After reviewing the videos on the website on business development and knowing that companies and organizations often are seeking staff for marketing and business development positions, we are a little confused.
Reply:
I think you need to give me a little more information.

What exactly are you confused about or what are your questions?
Interviewer:
Well, we are confused about three things.

The first thing is about how most companies or organizations that we know that have marketing, sales and business development staff.

As an organization none have all of the skills that you talk about in your videos and in your libraries.

Many have a few of the skills that you promote as being important but not much more.

A few are doing some of the things that you promote as important but no one is doing all of the things that you say are critical for business development.

The second thing is about the many people we know that are marketing, sales and business development staff.

When reviewing their personal background of skill sets and actual job activities, most do not have many of the skills and expertise nor doing the things that your videos talk about.

The third thing is about common job ads that we see in the newspapers and on internet job sites that list business development and marketing management positions but include words like; “coordinator”,  “in training” and “entry level”.

Such words connected to business development and market management positions just do not seem to make sense.

Such words seem to imply anyone can do business development and marketing and that extensive skills, education, training and experience are not even needed.
Reply
First, congratulations on noticing all of these things.

I bet you and your associates are questioning how can this be and this does not make any sense.
Interviewer
Exactly
Reply
I can assure you that extensive skills, education, continual training and extensive experience are needed to do an effective job in business development, marketing and growing a business.

Many companies and organizations are doing a lousy job with business development and marketing and wonder why they are struggling to grow the business or stay profitable.

In these competitive world market times, if an organization is not growing they are declining.

There is no such thing as remaining status quo with all of the technology advances and new competition emerging worldwide.

As to why organizations and companies put out jobs ads for business development and marketing management staff and attach to the job title “in training”, “entry level” “ccordinator” and other words inferring junior level skills and junior level experience if any at all; it is often a combination of four things; Low pay, Sheer ignorance, “The Rule of Ten” or the job title is misleading and the actual job position may be different.

Heck, I saw an ad just last week for a Marketing Consultant Entry Level.

Would you want to work with a consultant that is entry level lacking skills, knowledge and experience?

I can also assure you that there are successful companies and organizations that are growing and staying profitable that have highly skilled marketing and business development staff and management staff that are actually educated, well trained and have extensive experience.

These people are not low paid and are appreciated by their organization for contributing to the business growth.

Such progressive and successful organizations have things in place and monitored by HR Human Resources to make sure that “The Rule of Ten” does not invade their organization in any way and at any level.

They have progressive business attitudes and striving to stay on the leading edge of everything.

Often, their business reviews at all levels and in all departments are on the constant lookout for ‘Business Psychosis”.

The subjects of “Business Psychosis” is discussed in my article on “The Psychology of Business Development” and the “Rule of Ten” is discussed in a separate library that is also on my website.

As to those organizations that are attempting to grow and stay profitable with business development and marketing staff lacing appropriate skill levels that are actually needed to do an effective job; well, I believe that most of these types of organizations are either struggling a lot or they are nowhere near their actual market potential and sales revenue potential.

Such organizations are ripe for failure or for a competitor to come along and purchase them at a low price.
Interviewer:
We will have to go back to the “Rule of Ten” and “The Psychology of Business Development” libraries.

I do remember reading them a while ago.

We will re-read them so that we can actually apply them and gain a better understanding.
Response:
As you will read, “The Rule of Ten” talks about how individuals have a natural tendency to hire staff below them at lower skill levels and lower education than them selves.

This unfortunately is a personal defense mechanism

This causes a spiraling down effect especially when management level staff leave the organization and are replaced internally by individuals at lower levels with lowers with less skills, less education and less training.

Over the last few years though, many organizations and companies are making significant progress to avoid this.

Many are putting processes in place to assure that the most qualified individuals with higher education, skills and experience, are put into management and leadership positions whether internally or from externally.

I would venture to say that most of the larger companies and organizations have these progressive processes in place, a fair portion of the mid size companies and organizations do.

 
Some of the smaller size organizations are now looking to follow.

The pressures from worldwide business competition and the need to grow business and profits are driving this.

I think we can also say the same for “Business Psychosis”.

“Business Psychosis” is doing the same thing that is not effective nor producing positive results, over and over again, expecting some day better results to happen.

With more progressive organizations, monthly and quarterly meetings have the leadership regularly asking the following questions;

“What are we doing here that is not producing positive results and what are the things that are producing positive results?”

‘Of those things producing positive results, why are they being successful?”

“Of those things not producing positive results, what are we doing to improve the situations?”

“What things should we be doing and what are we doing to start implementing them and when?”

These questions are straight forward, direct and very progressive.

If your company business meetings do not include these fundamental questions, it may be an indication of a struggling business with lack of skills.
Interviewer:
This is actually good news and a great advancement in business.
Reply:
Yes, it is.

You need to keep in mind that when looking at all businesses or number of businesses; small businesses make up the largest number, second in number are the mid size businesses and the least number are large size businesses.

In today’s fast business world, companies of all sizes are being bought out, merged, some are declining, some growing significantly, some are new and some going out of business.

Many companies and organizations are finding outsourcing of services and capabilities being more effective and a possible cost savings

This adds some very interesting dynamics.
Interviewer:
This appears to be some good business advancement but with some ‘chaos’.

With businesses changing and affecting staffing and employment plus outsourcing, the possibility of job loss is increasing.

We hear some real bad stories about this, almost everyday.

Sure some individuals with not enough skills may be transitioned and adjusted accordingly but some individuals with good skills can lose their jobs.

What do you think about this ‘chaos’?
Reply:
I think you are correct about your comment on ‘chaos’ being part of today’s business world to some extent.

This is a rather deep and complex subject.
Interviewer:
Can you make some comments on this or give us some information about this ‘chaos’, job loss and people transitioning in their jobs and careers?
Reply:
Sure I can but I am no expert in this area.

I do have some ideas and observations in this area that I can share with you.
Interviewer:
You sound like you have some feelings about this area and you may be trying to be politically correct with your information and comments.
Reply:
Yes, I am.

I often meet people that are floor sales people in retail stores that after speaking with them I find that they were once in very responsible management positions with companies but are struggling to find job positions of equal.

I hear the same for some of the individuals in tollbooths giving out change.

Personally, I question if this is because they are not willing to move and relocate to another geographic area where there are more jobs

Or

that job loss in their area of expertise is so great that there are fewer jobs available

Or

if they are part of “The Rule of Ten” and their skill level was not as good as it was needed to be and they were transitioned out due to organizations needing improvement in this area.

I do not know but I just wonder about it.

I have read some studies indicating job changes are far more frequent today than ever before.

With some of these studies, in my area of marketing, business development, business strategy, sales management and sales; I have read about sales staff changing job positions as often as every one to two years, marketing people and management level people changing jobs every two to fours years.

Staying with the company or organization for a long time or for ones entire career life seems something of the past and a rare thing in today’s fast changing business world.

People having to change jobs often, lose jobs, be without a job for long periods of time, having to take on a lower paying job just to have an income, restart a career in a new field, go back to school for a new career, change their life style significantly due to lack of income, sell their home due to lack of a job or lack of adequate income, and relocate entire an family for jobs, certainly adds up to ‘chaos’.

I know these things put a lot of stress on individuals and their families.

As to the details of these things and how people are adjusting, I think you need to discuss this with some psychologists and sociologists.

 

You may even speak with some recruiters since they have hands on experience in working with people out of a job and looking for positions.

 

I have heard that management level people may take as long as 22 to 36 months to find another management level job and there is a high possiblity of the compensation level of being lower.

 

During this long period of time, their personal life is a real struggle and marriages are being stressed.

 

A couple recruiters shared some very interesting and concerning information.

 

They mentioned that they are helping out of work management level individuals get another management position by coordinating these individuals to invest their life savings and take second mortgages out on their homes, into various businesses or purchase a franchise.

 

By personally investing all of their money, they are guaranteed any management level position that they want.

 

These recruiters or business brokers have an extensive list of businesses looking for seed money and a list of all of the franchise opportunities.

 

The recruiters and business brokers are making their commissions on these transactions.

 

I asked them about the percentage of success on such investments working out for these individuals, the recruiters comment that it is mixed.

 

A few achieve success, some will need far more time to see if success will be achieved and others are struggling terribly and may lose all of their money.

 
Interviewer:
Have these changing and fast moving business times affected you, personally?
Reply:
Well now, you have really put me in the corner on this one.

I am advocate of sharing knowledge, being honest, being open and helping others when appropriate.

Yes, I do have some personal things in this ‘chaos’ realm of things.

Besides seeing some personal friends and acquaintances being affected by all of this, I also have to some extent been affected but I think I am more fortunate than many others.
Interviewer:
Please share some of your personal experiences and personal thoughts about all of this.

 

Reply:
Again, I feel that I am very fortunate compared to others.

Without becoming a ‘catharsis” ( a psychology term for releasing all types of thoughts, feelings and emotions that have been pent up or held back ) I will share some things with you, even though they may be personal and ‘hit home” so to say.

My father worked for the same company his entire job life.

After the military, he moved from the nearby rural country to the bigger city of Chicago thinking that there are far more jobs and more job security there.

He was hired by the Western Electric Company in the Chicago area right out of the military service back in the mid 1940’s.

He started on the assembly line with only a high school education and just worked hard.

He continually volunteered to lead several of the company sponsored employee events and clubs, and constantly volunteered for any overtime work available.

He was a simple hard working hourly worker trying to raise a family with a wife and four children.

As a small child, I remember him being laid off and how difficult it was to pay bills and buy food for the family.

I remember going to the grocery store with my father and mother and them commenting on how they wanted to by us children Popsicles, ice cream or chocolate bars but there just was not enough money available to do so.

I remember my mother darning the holes in the tips of my sox and sewing patches onto the worn out knees of my pants, commenting on how there was just enough money to buy new clothes.

My father went to a barber and hair cutting trade school in Chicago to learn how to cut hair part time so he could earn extra money to support the family.

I remember him coming home from standing for several hours in a barbershop cutting hair to earn some extra money.

The first thing he did when he got home was to soak his foot and ankle in a dish of water with Epsom Salt to reduce the swelling and pain.

I remember him cutting hair part time in our basement when the barbershop did not have work for him.

He was always trying to find a way to earn money to support the family and put food on the table.

Having an ankle injury from the military, he had problems standing on his feet too long cutting hair.

During military training maneuvers, he got injured with some metal shrapnel from a live tank shell hitting a tree nearby.  He got hit in his ankle from the ricochet.

I remember my father saying that when he got injured that it hurt real bad and it smelled like a hamburger cooking.

I guess the metal shrapnel that hit him in the ankle was real hot.

After several operations, he got discharged, came to Chicago to work at Western Electric, got married and raised a family.

You probably have heard of this specific Western Electric Company location from your business studies.

This was the well-known Hawthorn Plant where all of the famous social and work studies were done and are written up in business books.

The Hawthorn Studies is what they were called.

Anyway, when he was laid off, times were real tough but he made enough small wages from barbering part time to buy food for the family and keep the house.

He would get recalled to work from the temporary layoffs.

The layoffs could be days, weeks or several months.

Over some time he got promoted to assembly line supervisor and received some small hourly wage increases.

He worked there for 32 years.

Eventually Western Electric’s business changed and technology changed.

The plant was old and being phase out.

Newer plants in other areas were planned.

Layoffs again started and the company instituted what my father referred to as
‘the bumping system’.

This is where, as job positions were eliminated and decreased, layoffs happened.

The people at lower level jobs and having less time with the company were laid off first.

As positions at all levels and in all departments were eliminated, people with seniority and the higher-level jobs could keep a job by selecting a lower level job of their liking.

This stimulated a ‘bumping” where the person at that lower level job would then need to select a job at a lower level job ‘bumping’ that person and so on downward until the last person in line has no job.

My father informed me that part of this ‘bumping system’ was a requirement that to keep your job even though you were ‘bumped’ down to a lower level job, you had to train the person taking your old job.

This ‘bumping’ could continue with each person several times just to keep some type of job.

My father was ‘bumped’ several times until he was working with gloves on in their cable area testing cables.

For the last few years he was there, I remember him coming home after work worried about having a job and personally upset about being ‘bumped” again and now having to train the person who was taking his job.

I knew this bothered him personally a lot and he spoke about it frequently.

He took it to heart.

He ended up with a heart attack and barely survived.

The doctor indicated his job worries and stress certainly contributed to it.

Stress is tough on everyone, no matter how well people may seem to handle it or cope with it.

Anyway, after the heart attack, he learned that he could retire with full benefits or return to work.

The risk of returning to work was that if he found that he was not physically able to do the work and forced to retire under that situation, he then would only be eligible for partial retirement benefits.

Well, he retired.

The company sent him a thank you letter for his years of service.

He also received a wall clock with a picture on it of the famous corner of the building that had engineering offices in it that was called ‘the watch tower’ because of the large outside clock on it facing the busy intersection.

Oh, by the way; this ‘watch tower’ part of the building was a well-known land mark with pictures of it in books.

When the plant was torn down, the town allowed the tearing down of the ‘watch tower’, only to find out later from public outcry that this part of the building should have been saved for historical purposes.

Over the years following, he had more heart attacks that eventually lead to his passing on and dieing.

I remember my father commenting about me changing jobs and willingness to relocate myself along with my wife and children, to advance my career at a fast pace and gain valuable experience.

He always thought that people should be able to stay with a company for life, advance from within that company and have job security.

When the television news was on talking about company closings, mergers, moving off shore or to other states, downsizing and layoffs; He always showed his emotions and commented how he was so sad to see all of this.

Often, I heard him asking about what needs to be done to prevent all of this and to make things better.

Major manufacturing companies nearby his home that employed many people from the surrounding neighborhoods, closed.

Areas that were busy with people coming and going to work now lay empty and dead.

Many square miles of companies and manufacturing buildings got abandoned with the windows broken.

Now they have been torn down and are just large empty land with debris blowing on them.

He would often comment on how sad this was to see especially being so near a major a major city like Chicago where he thought business would always flourish and there would always be jobs and job security.

As I got older, I proceeded with my own career.

Many of my early career positions were short due to company mergers, downsizing, company re-organizations, company products and services being at end of life cycle causing low sales and a lack of new products and new services available to keep business growth steady.

Back in the 1980’s, and early 1990’s, as I completed my advanced education and trainings and obtained better experience; I personally encountered companies and individuals that fit ‘The Rule of Ten”.

I survived these times and in the 1990’s started insisting on job contracts and special agreements with a full and open understanding that in the fast changing Business World, no job position and no business situation is static with a guarantee.

I promoted myself and my expertise as contracted expertise with special written agreements that had a clear understanding of what I would accomplish in what time frame and that the business organization or myself can terminate the business relationship at any time.

Most states now have ‘at will’ laws that say this anyway.

I set expectations formally with time lines with a full understanding that after that time, continuing the business relationship was to the discretion of either of us.

My thoughts and feelings are simple.

Who is fooling whom?

Let’s be honest and speak the actual truth about the fast changing business environment.

– I cannot force an organization to be totally honest right upfront on day one about their business situation, successes as well as failures, lost opportunities as well as miss-handled opportunities, quality, competition, cost competitiveness, where there products and services are in the life cycle, account stability and account development, what skills thier staff have, are they able to keep the highest level of skilled individuals and all of the other important information in knowing if management and leadership have been good stewards of the organization  ( I usually figure this out after about 6 months of working with them )

– I cannot force a business organization to keep their products and services current and on the front edge of market demand and emerging markets

– I cannot force an organization to plan for product and service obsolescence and be developing new products and services that meet emerging markets needs

– I cannot force an organization to aggressively market to all market segments and potential markets and with a fully integrated marketing plan

– I cannot force them to have the most effective marketing communications to effectively market with

– I cannot force them to strive for the highest quality at a competitive price

– I cannot force them to have the highest integrity with their customers and their employees

– I cannot force them to have good business strategy and planning to assure business growth and adapt to fast changing markets and business demands

– I cannot force them to invest an adequate part of their profit revenue back into the organization to support growth needs

– I cannot force them to recognize emerging competition and stay ahead of them

– I cannot force them to understand the importance of continually establishing new customers and in new market segments

– I cannot force them to understand the importance of growing their customer relationships and doing more business with each to become a stronger partner with them

– I cannot force them to attract, find, hire and retain top talent and skills for all positions in the organization and do so with aggressive compensation, employee recognition and how they treat employees

– I cannot force them to work as a team on all levels and in every way

– I cannot force them to understand that if the organization is allowed to decline that at some time, they would be lacking profits or even be in the negative at a critical time when substantial money, time and effort would be needed to re-build the organization and produce business growth

What I can do is advise an organization on most of this and more, from a team approach and being a senior member and being a major contributor in every way possible.

I do so from a level with extensive education, trainings, knowledge and experience.

I work diligently to keep my skills and knowledge level high so I do not have to feel only average or less than anyone, no matter of their career level, status or financial wealth.

I now speak up on these fundamental things.

Some of my older business acquaintances who lost their job positions due to company mergers, company relocating overseas and company downsizing; had difficult times adjusting and finding other positions.

Others had no problems adjusting and moving on with the career successfully.

Some retired early.

Some struggled to find a job position and was forced into lower job positions that lead into multiple jobs since these positions turnover pretty quick.

Some went into depressions and some died of early heart attacks.

 

Some had to sell their homes and relocate to get lower paying positions.

 

Some went back to school for training in a new occupation and after completing it entered into a new career.

So, do I understand how job security and being happy on the job affects people?

I believe that I do?
Interviewer:
I think that sharing this information will be of value and appreciated by most.

There is even some interesting history in what you have shared here.

You briefly spoke about how you are personally driven to keep your education, training and skills at high levels and current; considerably more than most.

You mentioned how you have had an aggressive career with multiple advancing positions and actually physically relocating yourself and family, to do so.

You also mentioned, that your father often asked about what has to be done to make things better regarding jobs flourishing more and better job security.

I have two questions for you.

First question:

Based on your father’s comments and questions, do you have any thoughts about what needs to happen or needs to be done to get jobs to flourish and improve job security for more people?

Second question:

Since you have extensive education, business knowledge and have had multiple job positions to give you the extensive experience; has this worked for you or against you in as you call it “the business world”?
Reply:
Well, regarding my father’s comments and questions about what needs to get done or needs to happen to make jobs flourish and become more stable, I do have some comments and thoughts.

Some time ago, I had a university business professor who commented that he believed that having large numbers of our county’s manufacturing business base leave and go offshore will hurt the economy and cripple employment.

He believed only a manufacturing based economy will help the economy flourish and a service based economy with the lower paying wages cannot sustain the economy nor family living costs.

I have a tendency to see some wisdom in this thought.

I also had a university business professor a long time ago who commented about how businesses and workers need to share a progressive mindset that everyone needs to be continually in training and school updating knowledge and skills.

This applies to everyone and not just a few.

This will help businesses keep a competitive edge in “the business world”.

I have a tendency to see some wisdom in this thought, as well.

I had another university business professor who commented about the importance of all businesses aggressively seeking out producing the highest quality products and services at the most cost efficient way and at competitive pricing worldwide, not just comparing to competition locally here in this country.

He went on to comment how all products and services have a life cycle where demand for such products and services will diminish significantly and end at some time.

There is a tremendous need to continuously develop new products, services and technologies to keep ahead of market needs and changes.

Any business not doing so is doomed for failure.
He went on to comment that being in a free democratic and capitalistic society where companies are aggressively managed based on a strong profit and loss accounting statement, that government will not step in to make companies improve and stay competitive worldwide.

Only the pressures of international free trade and the global market will force this to happen.

He hoped that companies and businesses would wise up to this challenge before the economy got hurt significantly.

I have a tendency to see some wisdom in this thought as well.

I had another university business professor who commented about how protecting the environment and utilizing technology to do so, is a worldwide concern and not just any one country.

Applying environmental laws and regulations in this country only and not having them worldwide would only encourage manufacturing here to move elsewhere.

He went on to mention that making profit in a free capitalistic society some times, might lack environmental morals and ethics.

I think this university business professor has a point.

Much of his comments and warnings may have been proven correct.
Interviewer:
This is all very interesting and you make it fairy easy to understand.

Yes, I think you have done a good job staying politically correct.

You have answered the first question.

If you would be so kind, please answer the second question about your devotion and passion to continuing education, training and gaining significant experience.

How have your efforts been received by what you refer to as “the business world”
Reply:
Again, I need to handle this question in a politically sensitive way.

You probably would not accept me just saying that some companies, some executives, and other individuals admire this in me and find this highly desirable stimulating them to want to work with me as soon as possible while some do not quite feel the same.

Your next comment or question could be asking if “The Rule of Ten” and “Business Psychosis” are more common in business than I have indicated.

What I can definitely say is that most admire me for my passion and devotion to get extensive education, trainings and continually keep updating knowledge and skills.

Being a ‘lifetime learner” is admired by most.

Most have mixed comments on my aggressive career with multiple positions with both regular full time positions and contract situations with special agreements.

All agree that this definitely contributes to extensive experience, knowledge and great skills.

Often though, individuals question if the aggressive multiple positions in my career and the high level of education and continual training is the only way to get extensive skills, knowledge and experience.

Many are not motivated to put out the time, effort and money to do so themselves.

This does seem to intimidate some people because most do not have the same attitudes as I do on these matters.

When confronted on this, I always ask them to share with me any better way that may know of that would accomplish the higher levels of knowledge, skills and experience than the ways that I have used.

They normally comment that they cannot think of any other ways.

Have I answered your question but do so in a politically sensitive way?
Interviewer:
Since you are hinting there are many who are not comfortable with higher education, continual training and multiple positions that gives you tremendous experience well beyond the norm or average, doesn’t this anger and frustrate you?

Doesn’t this indicate that ‘The Rule of Ten” and “Business Psychosis” is a little more common than what you indicate?

Doesn’t this indicate that maybe worldwide competitive pressures on businesses need to continue increasing to stimulate needed improvements and advance business attitudes?

Isn’t this an example of comments from one of your university business professors that you mentioned?

You know the one that I am referring to, don’t you?

It was the university business professor that mentioned something about fearing businesses needing high pressures from international trade and worldwide competition to force improvement.

He went on to comment that he feared that businesses might not wise up fast enough to avoid the economy from getting seriously hurt.

I cannot imagine that you would insinuate that these professors are extremists without good judgment.
Reply:
I have the highest regard for these university business professors and find them to be intelligent, extremely knowledgeable, insightful, well informed and under utilized in many ways.

If only more businesses and companies would partner with the university business professors to assist in growing businesses and meeting worldwide challenges and competition.

I think so many wonderful things would be accomplished.

So many of today’s businesses struggles would be overcome and resolved.
Interviewer:
Aren’t your background, knowledge and expertise an example of how actual business experience, higher education and continual training can come together to be effective?
Reply:
Yes, I think one can make this point and use it as a decent example.

As you know, one of my skills with experience is ‘change management’ and ‘turn around management”.

The issue that you seem to be pushing seems to fall within this realm but on a larger scale.

Our business culture is changing for the better and I see it.

There are examples of positive change regularly.

Business attitudes may not be advancing as fast as some of us would like to see it proceed but it is advancing.

What is certain is:
–    knowledge advances
–    technology advances
–    products and services advance
–    competition advance
–    needs change
–    market demand change

The one thing that is constant is change.

Anyone or any business dragging their feet or resisting, will be left behind.

Hopefully, in my small way and with my small amount of efforts, I can be a positive influencer in advancing the business culture.
Interviewer:
I think I understand your point of view.

I have a lot of empathy for your efforts and challenges with some business attitudes of others that may need progressing.

See, I too can be politically sensitive, as you would say.
Reply:
Hopefully you got the information that you were looking for yourself and your associates.
Interviewer:

I think I got more information than what I was originally looking for.

I want to thank you for opening up and sharing some information that was on the personal side.

Others will appreciate you sharing the information as well.

We will meet again

Thanks

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