Monday, 25 May 2015

Dear Top Management, Don't Dazzle and Disappear.

I don't like top management. Even more so when its top management from the side of vendors or publishers. In a world where every company is chasing a bigger turnover and a slimmer bottom-line, the CEO/MD/Chairman is the de facto sales guy. Put him in a room and he will charm everyone. He will promise the moon and then...disappear.

Once I was part of the team that was working on a series of print assignments with one of the world's most subscribed and most respected print magazines. To our surprise, for one of our first meetings, the CEO himself was present. He was a sharp guy. He knew all the ins and outs of the business. He even made some really useful suggestions for someone who was not clued into our client's business. We charted out a plan of action. Got the client's buy-in and then got on with work.

After a month or so when it was time to deliver the final output, we found ourselves in a minefield. The team assigned was a little lackluster. They had the impressive ability to be oblivious to our every deadline. Their approach was half-assed. Their ideas, half-baked. The CEO was never in the picture after the first meeting. As things looked extremely FUBAR, our top biz guy lost his cool and gave the CEO an earful. The CEO assured him that he would 'personally' look into it. Needless to say, he didn't.

The final project left a bad aftertaste in everyone's mouth. It may have made it easier for the magazine and the CEO to meet their quarterly targets but it ensured a good half a dozen industry folks would be wary of him. In fact, it's going to earn him more bad word of mouth than he could ever anticipate. As we speak, I have a project for which his magazine would be a great fit. No points for guessing, he isn't going to get any more business from me or my team this decade.

All in all, the point I want to make is this instead of dazzle and disappear, it would be great if people would actually deliver. Any pragmatic business person can wheedle and turn in good numbers. A really good one knows that building a relationship, scaling it and growing with it is what actually turns businesses around. 
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