Why Companies Fail

I don't keep up on primetime TV shows in real time; instead I record them then watch a bunch in order when I get a couple spare hours in the evenings before bed. One of the shows I watch is The Apprentice, including this season's Celebrity Apprentice.

I just got caught up on the last two episodes, and if the Gene-Simmons-being-fired doesn't epitomize corporate America, I don't know what does. And that's not good. Here we have this season's top talent, bringing new good ideas for his clients, and he gets fired.

Now, I understand Trump's rationale. That doesn't mean I agree with it. I could pontificate for hours, but let me try to be succinct.

No wonder Kodak is struggling. I know its not fair to judge an entire leadership on just two execs; however, I also have enough experience to know that at the exec level there is a certain culture and likemindedness. Their judgement of the best display for the show came down to "well Hydra used the work 'ink' which is what we asked them to do." No thinking outside the box here. "It's a Kodak World - Welcome", although a better idea, lost. Wow.

But this is what is rewarded in the business world - do what is asked of you, not what's best for the customer or the company. It's what kills innovation, creativity... and ultimately your brand.

And don't get me started on a company that thinks they can win the photo space by having cheaper ink. I can't believe that was allowed outside a brainstorming session. Talk about desperation from a company. Would love to see their data on consumer insights that backed that notion. I wonder if they've even seen the data that more and more people are having others print their photos due to the convenience and cost.

I know not all companies are like this. I have some friends at Google and one cool thing I hear about Google is that "the best ideas win." Must be a great culture to work in :)

Now, on to Trump. I understand that the two other team members brought into the board room with Gene were not responsible for losing. But is that what decisions should be based on? Shouldn't they be based on who gives you the best chance to win moving forward? Sure Gene showed a poor choice in judgement but does that override his other talents? That's like the Seahawks dumping Matt Hasselbeck instead of the backup QBs because "well the backups didn't cause Seattle to lose!"

Trump could have shown his leadership capabilities and kept Gene and fired one of the weaker team members. Would have improved his talent pool. Apparently that is not the goal. Amazing.

No wonder Dilbert is so popular.

What if the best ideas, the best execution, and the best people, won at your company?

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