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One of the things I do as a consultant is to provide experience to inexperienced professionals. Generally, these are people who don’t have a lot of years in business or a lot of years in the particular business in which they now find themselves. In a few words, I’m the grown-up.
While that notion is kind of scary to many of the folks who know me well, there really is not any substitute for experience or the contacts and context that experience brings. I don’t believe that this sort of experience is a prerequisite to success but I do believe that it can help make success a little easier to come by. It’s my job to pull the fire alarm when I smell smoke and to make sure that controls are put in place to help my clients run their businesses when I’m not there.
The reason I bring this up is that I know there must have been grown-ups around in the financial sector over the last decade but I’m not quite sure why they remained silent. I know our system of government has checks and balances, or at least it did 8 years ago when Congress deregulated everything in the financial world but apparently they failed. What we have now is everyone saying just what Larry did, above – “I didn’t do nuthin'”
If you saw this evening’s episode of 60 Minutes, you have a pretty good idea that someone did, indeed, do something and that something was to be sure that all the grown-ups were put to bed. No sense having any around when you’re going to have a wild party that trashes the house.
Except now the party is over and we’re all having to live there.
This isn’t a call for massive re-regulation nor a statement of pessimism. It’s simply a plea to think of Moe or whomever it is that should be watching, even if it’s your own common sense, as you do business. And if you have trouble hearing that voice, give me a call.