When the guys at the auto shop told me that the wheels on my car were a few degrees out of alignment, I wasn’t certain I wanted to spend $150 to fix such a seemingly minor problem. When they told me that this slight deviation could add up to bigger expenses such as higher fuel expenses and more frequent tire changes, I approved the repair. It just made sense.
European leaders and company CEOs can learn from this automotive basic: things run more efficiently when every wheel – or person – is moving in the same direction.
Currently, the politicians charged with solving Europe’s financial crisis are acting as chaotically as a semi-trailer truck with all of its wheels out of alignment. The 17 countries that use the euro as their currency have no common objectives, values or governments.
Warren Buffett says the euro system has a “fundamental fatal flaw,” because it lacks a common fiscal policy. “It can’t survive with the present rules,” Buffet said on “In the Loop With Betty Liu. The question is, he says, “Can 17 countries get together in a way to essentially re-do something?” He disagrees with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who told Bloomberg News he sees progress in the effort to resolve Europe’s growing debt crisis.
Buffet Knows Best
I support Dimon for a lot of reasons, including his handling of JP Morgan’s trading loss, but I side with Buffett on the European financial crisis. The reason Europe’s financial crisis differs from the financial meltdown the United States experienced in 2008 is that the people responsible for resolving the U.S. crisis pulled together. They shared common values and objectives, both political and economical, and the Federal Reserve had the power to “print” money when needed.
The resolution of Europe’s financial demands what Tony Robbins calls “taking massive action,” but the action must head in the same direction – it must be aligned.
My expertise is with companies, not governments, and I know from experience that a company’s leadership will never achieve desired results without alignment between all of the company parts – owners, senior management, marketing, operations, finance and other “wheels.”
Wheels Affect Deals
If a management team wants to make acquisitions but doesn’t have financial support from company owners, they may risk money, time and reputation chasing a strategy they can’t execute. (They can’t close a deal without the money to back it up.) Similarly, a great sales team cannot succeed without efficient company operations. If the company can’t deliver what the sales team promised to clients, it will lose clients despite the sales team’s best efforts.
The first step to achieve your goals is to develop a clear – and shared – vision of where your company is headed as well as a detailed strategic plan to get there. For more insight on the importance of evaluating your current circumstances and goals, read my blog, “Mickey Mouse Ears or Rare Beers?”
Every company encounters bumps, large and small, on its path to success. If you want to get over or around those bumps, don’t start driving when each of your wheels points in a different direction. Make sure they’re all aligned. It just makes sense.