Why Giants Fall


NASDAQ in Times Square, New York City.


The news is littered with the potential demise of the icons of corporate America.  Citigroup, GM, and the like have fallen pray to the financial markets, economic uncertainty, the “recession”…. or have they? 

Here is the question I pose… Where is the accountability?  

These institutions have been around for decades getting fat, bloated and lazy.  They have a sense of entitlement that no other businesses in the world embrace.  Stock prices fall, liquidity is at a minimum and they fret that they will have to sell off a piece of their over sized pot of possessions to remain afloat.  (Hang on, let me get out my violin…) If I went to the government and asked to be saved because I made bad decisions, failed to take advantage of new markets and forgot to listen to my customers, I’d be laughed off the steps of the capitol!   OK – so I don’t employ thousands of workers, nor do I have a billion dollar budget, but in the big scheme of things, should really that matter?

I say let the giants fall!  If the directors of these corporations haven’t “gotten it” by now, my guess is, they never will.  Let the shift in the markets take place – isn’t that what free, open commerce is about?  What we are witnessing is nothing more then the natural attrition of business.  Those that maintain top place do so deservingly, by maintaining a standard of excellence to the public and behind closed doors.  Businesses that shut down, get bought out, eaten up or simply vanish are victims of their own short sightedness and by all rights should get out of the way so something or someone bigger and better can take their place. 

In free and open markets business have the ability to interact with each other without any involvement by the government; it is what our commerce system is based on.  This double edged sword also implies that businesses have the option to isolate themselves and fail without any involvement by the government.  No one in the right business mind should even consider asking to have their butts saved with our tax money.  Where is your sense of pride?

Isn’t it enough that I exercised my right as a consumer and bought a car and use my credit cards?  What makes you think I want my tax dollars used to buy your failing stock, giving you even more excuses to waste money and not be accountable to your stake holders, investors and most importantly your customers!

So – what’s the lesson in all this?  Pay attention!  Listen to your customers, see where the market is heading, look forward and be prepared to move with it.  Do not ever become so engrained in one way of doing things that you can’t change direction.  Businesses need to be mutable, evolving and transparent.  Those that are will rise to the top of their market; those that are not make front page news.

What are your thoughts?

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