The art of competing...


It's funny, but I actually think Dilbert is in the wrong on this one. No business ever has exactly the right products or expertise at first, but good businesses find or develop the knowledge needed to create the products that meet changing market demands. In fact the purpose of a good business is to simply stay in business and this is how they do it. The fact that the manager just handed the proposal to anyone who was walking by would almost indicate that he knows they don't have that capability off hand, but also knows his organization in general will be able to produce, and anyone can help start the process.

Short of outright fraud, this is what businesses do just about every day and is accepted as literally business as usual. The customer in this case has bids out to several companies - all who are stretching their capabilities as much as they can to win the business - and in reverse, the customer may in fact be promising to pay amounts they can't afford if their sales don't go as planned. The successful businesses navigate this mine-field and try to avoid making deals with other companies who might implode and take their partners down with them.

And at every company, there's techies bitching about not having the right products and expertise offhand, and managers and sales guys pushing them to figure it out. The biggest problem with many corporations is the disconnect between the people getting products out the door, and the money generated by those products. Dilbert has forgotten that they're in business - his salary is going to come from the deal that proposal will generate. It's so easy for the cubicle crowd to forget that their efforts eventually turn into money somewhere along the line. In fact, when Larry Ellison re-took the reigns at Oracle a few years ago, the first thing he did was start talking to employees and ask them, "what do you do to help the bottom line here?" and if he didn't like the answer he gave them a very short time to figure it out or find a new job.

Christ, a post where I'm praising Ellison and the manager from Dilbert? That disturbs me, in so many ways... :-)


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