Early in my career, I received the warning – Beware of people who claim to manufacture antiques. From that day, I’ve always kept in the forefront of my mind that there are no “new ways” to make money. Sure, there are new ideas, inspirations and versions, but, at the end of the day, you make money by creating value and managing the cost side of your business well.
I realize that when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail – and in my case the nail is value creation. But, I think it’s important that we don’t lose site of the underlying cause for the financial crisis (it is a crisis, right?) that we are now in.
Too many companies have simply failed to create value – and the financial services industry is top among the failure list (the last real product they created was the credit card).
With today’s news about the government’s bailout of the banking industry, there are new calls to save us from ourselves. New forms of regulation are being called for – a restructuring of the fundamental capitalism paradigm. I don’t disagree that some things need to change (the way executives are rewarded for destroying businesses is at the top of my list). While I don’t know what the solution is, I clearly know what the solution isn’t.
We cannot solve our problems with top-down solutions. You cannot regulate value creation.
I’d like to leave with a couple of thoughts for those of us who want to get back to focusing on growth and value creation (and are concerned because of what we keep reading):
- We’ve been here before.
- What makes America’s version of capitalism the best is that we allow major displacements to occur – we allow our Lehman’s to fail. While innocent people do get hurt, the fact is that when you try to limit the negative impacts too much, you fail to achieve equilibrium. Just look at how Japan failed to allow their institutions to fail and you’ll see the danger.
If you are a fast growth executive just keep two things in mind and you’ll be fine:
- Create value
- Manage your business well.