The Coach's Corner

Archive for October, 2019

The Business Roundtable Joins Owner-Operated Businesses

October 21st, 2019 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

The August 20, 2019, Wall Street Journal reported that the Business Roundtable, consisting of 188 of the largest corporations in the U.S. including GM and Ford, and led by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, has changed its statement of purpose. For decades, the Business Roundtable adopted the position Milton Friedman took in his 1970 article entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” — or, simply stated, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Yield Higher Profits for Shareholders.

Of the Business Roundtable’s 188 members — Mary Barra and Jim Hackett are part of the group — 181 CEOs endorsed the new proposal, which includes the following statements concerning the responsibilities of businesses:

  1. To deliver value to customers.
  2. To invest in our employees.
  3. To deal fairly and ethically with our suppliers.
  4. To support the communities in which we work.
  5. To generate long-term value for shareholders.

I believe these 181 large global corporations are catching up to the owner-operated companies I’ve worked with for the past five decades. I could provide so many examples of where they’ve already embraced these principles for years; here are just a few:

  1. I had a $10 million auto supplier client who solved a critical air bag problem for a Ford Motor Co. vehicle, avoiding an expensive delayed launch.
  2. There are many stories where owners have helped team members and their families. Recently, I experienced an owner who went above and beyond to console an associate whose young wife died in a tragic auto accident.
  3. Many owner-operated businesses are really good with their suppliers. Some pay them very timely — and, as a result, they  often receive priority treatment.
  4. With regard to community involvement, I retrieved excerpts from comments I made at a 2001 Plante Moran Manufacturing Practice presentation to our team:

“Who are our clients? They are men and women who risk their wealth every day to make stuff. Most of them work quietly behind the scenes, providing jobs and career opportunities for millions. They serve on not-for-profit and school boards, and on city councils. They seem to be the ones driving many charitable fundraisers in our communities.”

So, what’s my point? Simply stated, owner-operated companies have been holistic in their approach to business forever. I’m delighted that Jamie Dimon and the Business Roundtable have joined them.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

October 7th, 2019 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Part of our mission statement says: “Doescher Advisors was founded to help businesses increase profits and jobs …”

After enjoying a very rewarding career at Plante Moran and having the privilege of leading more than 30 global mission teams (and achieving Delta Airlines’ Diamond status by logging over 150,000 Frequent Flyer miles annually), I decided to spend my “next season” advising local business owners. As a free market advocate, I believed the best way to help the world was to help business owners create “great jobs,” especially for the less-skilled workforce. I know you’re thinking “That sounds pretty corny,” but it’s the truth — and, eight years later, I could tell you some great stories.

When I recently read The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, I was encouraged and motivated to continue in this line of work. As you probably know, Gallup is a 75-plus-year-old, highly regarded global polling organization. Clifton’s book supports my decision to combine my business and philanthropic activities into Doescher Advisors.

The following are some fascinating excerpts from his book, with a few editorial comments:

  1. “If you were to ask me, from all the world polling Gallup has done for more than 75 years, what would fix the world … I would say the immediate appearance of 1.8 billion jobs.” (Editorial comment: I know you’re reading this at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, but think about what he didn’t suggest — like peace, democracy, or the alleviation of world hunger.)
  2. Gallup also looks at underemployment, which is at nearly 20 percent. (Editorial comment: We also know that many people have dropped out of the workforce, resulting in a labor participation rate that’s 63 percent down from its peak at 67 percent.)
  3. Very few Americans are aware that small- and medium-sized businesses are responsible for most of the jobs in America.
  4. Don’t allow your local constituencies to look to Washington for support. Free money eventually makes you more dependent. (Editorial comment: I’ve observed this phenomenon all over the world.)
  5. All prosperous cities have a self-organized, unelected group of talented people influencing and guiding them — call them local tribal leaders. These leaders are loyal, highly successful, usually wealthy, respected, well-known people. (Editorial comment: In Detroit, I think of Dan Gilbert, and in Flint, Phil Hagerman.)
  6. Innovation itself doesn’t create sales. Entrepreneurship is the driving phenomenon within the city supercollider. (Editorial comment: In other words, sometimes the innovator can successfully commercialize their idea, but other times, the inventor needs help from someone who can build a business — Clifton calls this person an entrepreneur — around the idea. It takes both.)
  7. Entrepreneurs are the most valuable people in the world, at least as far as the pursuit of economic development, GDP growth, and job-creation.
  8. Approximately 20 percent of workers in the U.S. are actively disengaged. (Editorial comment: I find this statistic very sad, and I actively work with my clients to reduce this phenomenon.)
  9. According to Gallup economic estimates, nearly one in five U.S. managers are dangerously lousy. (Editorial comment: This is another area in which Doescher Advisors spends time assisting our clients.)

Because I work with so many businesses, I’m aware that many of you are struggling to fill openings due to the lack of qualified candidates. Please don’t give up. Hang in there; it’s important that you continue to grow. There are many initiatives to work on this problem, but I’ll save that for another blog.

For those of you who have trusted Doescher Advisors to partner with you, thank you. I promise we’ll continue to do our best!

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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