Old, Fat, White Guys

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Look, nothing against old, fat white guys, some of them are my best friends. But when it comes to running the American sales arm of a company, let’s just say it’s best to diversify.

You need not travel far to see the has beens and has nots of America’s Big Three that ended up at Kia, Hyundai, Suzuki, Daewoo, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, etc. For the American that go the job, it was their chance at the next Honda or Toyota. For the guys that hired them, it was “experienced” labor willing to settle for a crap salary or too washed up to find another job. Come on, you know that guy. He’s pushin’ 50, shows up on time, talks the talk, kisses tremendous ass and does just enough right so he doesn’t lose his job… again.

What kills me about this guy, is he often has a critical roll within the company such as distribution, marketing or sales. He knows how to tweak the data or blame the vendor so he never looks bad to upper (foreign) management. A tangled web of beaurocratic righteousness leftover from a tail fin era. The mediocrity of his old style thinking robs the company of innovation and stagnates growth. Strong talent will never replace him because the pay grade isn’t there. And the good people that joined the company for experience end up leaving with no mentors to look up to or career path to good money.

These companies, and you know who you are, need to wise up. Start hiring quality people that will guide your company in the right direction and break off a piece of your budget to pay for them! Provide careers paths for the young, hard working and smart talent you conveniently ignore. Finally, remember what comes around goes around. Forums, blogs and word of mouth can be a bitch.