History in the Making

Many of youMost of you…  Unless you are so clueless about what’s going on in the modern world that you think polyester is the next big trend in clothing, and that the BeeGees are a great new band (and have you seen that new movie with the boy from Welcome Back Cotter – I tell you, he is going to be a star!) you have almost certainly heard of “GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins.  Liberals, Conservatives, good business people and bad, all have read this book.

But some of you may not know that he has written a brief history of recent LCMS history.  It’s called “How the Mighty Fall… and why some companies never give in.” I am reading it now, and it is uncanny.  I don’t have time to quot everything that relates to the good ship Missoura’ (which would be about 80% of the book), but here is a brief snippet :

One final manifestation of denial deserves special attention : obsessive reorganization.   By 1961 Scott Paper had built the most successful paper-based consumer products franchise in the world…  Then P&G… Kimberly-Clark and Georgia Pacific persistently encroached on Scott’s markets…  From 1960 to 1971, Scott’s share of the paper-based consumer business fell from nearly half the market to a third.  Then in 1971, P&G went national with its Charmin toilet tissue- a direct assault on one of Scott’s most important product lines.

And how did Scott respond?

By reorganizing.

The book is an easy read, and not too expensive.  But to listen to the descriptions of other companies, and see in it much of the foolishness of our own, you get an idea of what needs to be done to fix it.  Or consider these signs of early trouble :

Unsustainable quest for growth, confusing big with great.

Bureaucracy subverts discipline.

Does that sound familiar?  If not, let me know what synod you are a member of, because I have some questions for you…

Anyway, to summarize, “Great book.  Can’t wait to find out how it ends.”

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One Response to “History in the Making”

  1. Dennis Voss Says:

    Linc,
    Very interesting. Many years ago, I heard a story about a corporate exec, or maybe he was a Military Officer, who was let go. When his replacement arrived the outgoing man handed three envelopes to the new guy with instructions not to open them until it was time.
    As time went on there were still difficulties so the new manager opened the first envelope. The message read “blame your predecessor.” So he did (does that sound like the POTUS?)
    Things improved for a bit, and then started heading south. So he opened the second envelope – “Reorganize.” was the message. So he did (who does that remind you of).
    Things improved for a bit, and then started down the water slide again. So he opened the third envelope – “Prepare three envelopes.”

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