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Best and Brightest?

The past two years have been very interesting with regard to who I now speak to at the various large corporations I do business with.  Increasingly I find that the former very talented staff I have worked with for years are no longer at their respective places of employment, and have been replaced by people who seemingly don’t know anything about anything.  

Over the past 24 years I have been fortunate to work with many extremely creative and imaginative people, who by no fault of their own, no longer fit the new corporate mold.  So these folks, who took creativity to new heights for the corporations they worked for, have been put out on the street by pencil-pushers and bureaucrats, the masters of the corporate game. This is disturbing on so many fronts, it’s hard to know where to start, maybe starting with the general decline of the workplace atmosphere at one of these companies would be a good place to begin. A large food service company I deal with (that’s about all the identifying I can do without sticking a knife in my own business), once was the paragon of their industry, a leader, an innovator, a portent of the future for their sector.  When I went to meetings there it was a buzzing bee hive of activity, even during the last two recessions.  Business got done, with good natured tolerant people in an environment that was much more about action and actions than meetings and chit chat. Now that very same company is a tar pit of inactivity, with meeting rooms chock full all day long, every day.  My contacts of the last twenty years are all not there any longer, and worse yet they have not been replaced.  They have simply been downsized.  The funny thing is, that while these talented people, who had been trained within the company for many years have been axed, the very same company has gone on a hiring spree in departments like: Inter-company communications, and Human Resources?!  What is going on here? I’ll tell you what has happened…while good and talented people were busy at work building a business and a marketplace, a whole sub-structure of people were busy in the background making themselves, and their positions, into seemingly indispensable aspects of their companies.  They did this through the formation of bureaucratic systems which they themselves control, and through conspiratorial relationships within their respective organizations.  You know who is most threatening to a person who does nothing?  The person who actually does something.  Dilbert, in real life.  The most disgusting piece of this whole story is: How could large corporations justify this type of activity from a purely business standpoint?  These former employees were in fact the best and the brightest, and sure they may have been getting paid more than some kid right out of college, but to simply overlook the amount of experience these people have, just to satisfy short term quarterly profit goals is an OBSCENITY.  And in the long term, the company would have been much better off with these doers, rather than the mud-bathers who wallow about in their cubes, because at least the doers know how to get things done, THEY’VE DONE IT BEFORE!!  Corporate America seems to never know what’s right for them, even after this book has been written for them before.  Do you remember the cars of the 1970’s?  Beautifully grotesque vehicles formulated by committee for a public judged to be too stupid to know any better. We as a people need to let the new corporate America know, we want the best and the brightest where they should be, running things, the right way.Posted on June 21, 2010

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