Double Your Profits: In Six Months or Less (Anglais) Broché – 31 mars 1995
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One of the nations' foremost financial consultants shares 78 proven ways to cut costs dramatically, send productivity through the roof, and, in just six months, double profits.
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This is not a book for the timid. It is not a feel-good book, except for those who enjoy counting their money. It will make most readers feel uncomfortable, perhaps insecure. These are among the important reasons to read the book.
This book was required reading by Sanford Weill and Bob Lipp for all the senior managers of The Travelers Insurance Companies when they engineered the takeover of the ailing company in 1993. It created shock among many of the senior management of the old, established Travelers, but the book prescribed an exact remedy for turning the corporation into a highly profitable company, now a thriving part of CITICORP...one of the great financial corporations in America.
If the reader is a CEO or senior officer, this book is a guaranteed prescription for increasing profitability. If the reader is an employee, at almost any level, this book should be required reading for one's survival. If the reader is a vendor, a consultant, or from an association that provides a service to corporate America, the book should be required reading, because it imparts the knowledge of a real business culture that drives decision-making...and possibly will drive their future relationship with the company.
The book lacks concern for human resources, for many of the people who make up a company's workforce. They can quickly become a drain on profits. Loyalty, human compassion, sense of community, and many human skills are too easily forgotten or deemed insignificant to the bottom line. This is one of the great faults of the book, of its philosophy, and of its short-term prescription for profits. It is why it only deserves four stars, instead of five. It would deserve five stars or more if the author had enough insight to find value in loyalty, human skills (other than direct sales), and the importance of communities or governments (of people) in the ability of a corporation to provide valid and profitable services. In this area, it is deficient.
The book is very simple and easily read in one sitting. It should be required reading by anyone with a serious interest in business...or anyone who has an interest in an important modern business culture, for better or worse, but certainly for profit.
In today's highly competitive business environment, it is important to instill a culture of cost consciousness. In the author's opinion every cost is up for grabs and needs to be justified. There is waste in any organization such as too many layers of management, the amount of time spent in meetings, spending on offsite meetings, and unnecessary reports. However when it comes marketing, the author recommends outspending the competition in both good and bad times.
Some parts of the book will likely make readers uncomfortable including the lack of concern for many of the people who make up a company's workforce and certain suggestions for extracting concessions from suppliers. In the latter case some people will question the ethics of his approach. This book is certainly not "If Aristotle Ran General Motors." It is not about pleasing multiple stakeholder groups. It is a no nonsense book about improving the bottom line.
There is no doubt a company can improve the bottom line following the author's advice especially in the first few years. I would be interested in case studies of some of the author's client companies. What has been the longer term impact on their corporate culture, employee turnover and relations with suppliers? How have their top line and bottom line growth fared over time?
In reading this book I had to work to separate the message from the messenger. I was turned off a bit by the author's tone. It is interesting that the author left Kaiser Associates, Inc. in 2000 and set up his own firm which I believe is just a one person operation. I did some research and found an interesting quote from a May 28, 2007 interview with U.S. News and World Report.
"I ran one company [Kaiser, his consulting firm] for 18 years. The company did very, very well, but we hit a wall. If I knew then what I know now, I would still be there, and the company would be 20 times larger. I would come into the office and, by force of my person and bravado, try to move the company by myself. It worked until we had eight offices on five continents. If I had had more humility and been more principled in how I treated other people, I would have built an organization with depth. No CEO is good at everything, but when people perceive you are selfish and greedy, the holes remain exposed and don't get closed. When you have a strong character, people rally behind you in a way that plugs those holes."
Although the book dates from 1993 (I don't like much old business books), most principles are very interesting and totally applicable for today's market. The focus on cost reduction is clear, and can generate blunt results. I can clearly understand how inspiring this book were for some successful Brazilian companies in the past decade, specially the ones from GP group. Some of the tips such as giving away your own office (as a CEO) to bring cost down is a true example on how you can demonstrate to your crew how committed you are in order to maximize the company's result. Nice reading.