Painful Contractions

pathHaving been rudely and most unduly challenged by someone in my profession this morning, I found my normally calm disposition was a bit fired up and likely so due to the dis-respect as well as badgering of the caller. I think back and remember times so very many years ago when business people conducted themselves in a more rigid and professional manner. I find myself at times attempting to be the standard bearer of the entente of sorts in how we conduct ourselves when working with colleagues as well as the general public. Most of us listen as well as understand, but there are a few who just don’t seem to get it. Having a morning like that put me a bit on edge until my humors finally settled down before I arrived at my open house.

One of the people who attended the open house is a gentleman who has worked in the business world likely as long as I have, but more in a corporate structure. We both shared thoughts with each other about how business practices have evolved these past twenty years–especially in the area of communication. He mentioned how there is much less phone as well as personal contact with customers; they seem to prefer communications and negotiations via e-mail. He was surprised to find it has also entered the field of real estate sales. I told him there are more times now when I don’t even see a seller and rarely if ever talk to them. All the necessary correspondence is done via e-mail and the overnight. We agreed it is all part of the contraction of services into smaller groups of people doing more. Where there were maybe ten sales people in the field, there are now maybe two.

With the globalization of our economy, we find the margins for profit becoming less and less due to the competitive edge many of the imported items have over our domestic products. We’ve all heard the worn out expression of companies becoming more lean and mean. Well with that idea, the remaining employees have a heavier workload creating diminished quality including a not so happy attitude about their jobs. Too many employers believe there is an endless stream of ready and willing men and women waiting to fill the position of an exiting employee. Believe me, I’ve seen the end result of “next” mentality of employers who loose one good employee and subsequently replaced by someone un-seasoned in the position. Revolving door companies don’t have a very good track record with the general public.

It was good to find an intelligent and hard working person who shares many of my core beliefs of how quality is diminished in a more hostile work environment. Happy employees are more concerned about quality rather than making the monthly numbers quota. Hopefully corporate America will come to the understanding that being lean and mean creates far too painful of contractions in our society.