Growth and profits mask a variety of problems. They hide business inefficiencies and the money suck of corporate adminis-trivia. They also conceal unproductive staff.
But most of all growth and profits obscure the extreme value subtracting forces of bloated management teams. During good times it is unclear what these smug fellows do. During bad times it is lucidly clear that most of them ain’t worth a darn.
When the profits inevitably recede, the senior executives, with their silly 24 point project reviews and cumbersome project execution requirements, appear lost. They’re left exposed, with their pants down, and without a clue in the world as to what business it is they’re actually in. What the heck have they been doing all this time?
Where does the money come from? How is it spent? Over time, and in the absence of a watchful eye, the rising tide of growth gradually submerses the answers to these questions.
Then, when the answers are needed most, it is too late. While management was busy developing mindless risk management protocols and clumsy 9 step work flow approval processes the answers had drowned. But instead of drowning under the rising tide of growth, they’d sunk below a hemorrhaging sea of red ink.