Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

The insanity of “shareholder value”

I’ve been saying this for years. Many times those with “MBAs” have told me I’m wrong. Yet, deep down, I knew something was remiss. Something was just absolutely, 100% wrong. Why? Because it made no sense to have a company focus on guessing what their balance sheet was going to look like a year from now when every person I know would not be able to hit a personal target within 1% if they tried. Life just has too many variables. And the total focus on guessing is detrimental, as I’ve personally experienced in certain large firms where senior executives run around “managing expectations” as opposed to pleasing the customer. The irony is that there’s this insane hire/fire mentality that goes with it, removing talent and thus impacting long-term viability. It’s simply maddening.

One of the things I liked about Steve Jobs was his total disregard for Wall Street. He focused on pleasing his customers and proved that an insane focus on the consumer was all that really mattered. The pity is that so few have comprehended this fact even while they try to “replicate” Jobs’ success.

I’m hoping well abandon the “dumbest idea in the world”, as Welch puts it. It’s time. In fact, it’s past due for CEOs and others in senior management to focus on the needs of their customers. The hijacking of corporate America by Wall Street needs to end so that the very fabric of the West — the middle class — isn’t utterly destroyed.

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December 2011
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