Contrarian Management

Contrarian Management

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Smith, Martin R. AMACOM, 1992
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IN THIS SUMMARY

In America’s capital-starved economy, high-tech industries will do no better than low-tech ones. In fact, low-tech businesses that supply staples for everyday living, whether the economy is prosperous or austere, will always succeed. Job hunting is more than a numbers game in which the more resumés sent out, the more successful the job candidate. It is a marketing skill that all must learn to master in today’s competitive market. The best jobs to have during hard times are those in a highly technical or cost-cutting capacity, or in a salaried capacity with a governmental agency. The safest jobs are not in line management or in corporate staff. Do not pay attention to anything the gurus are trying to sell (either through books or seminars) regarding so-called sophisticated techniques for getting job interviews. The most effective approach the job candidate can take is to never appear anxious and to show the manager what he or she can contribute to operations. The candidate who has obtained a job offer is in a powerful position. This is the time to seek one’s own counsel rather than the advice from books on negotiating an employment package written by college professors. A crisis does not necessarily bring out the best in managers. When a company is threatened, many just stick their heads in the sand until the crisis blows over. An extension of the Titanic Phenomenon is that in hard times management’s performance drops while its error rate rises. Autocratic bosses are not disappearing but will always be around. That is because some of the meanest executives are the most effective. At least 80 percent of all problems that businesses face are directly attributable to bad management practices and nothing else. Most CEOs do not have great visions of the future. Those who have the vision to create new industries or innovative processes are extremely rare.