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Why business excellence is a constant struggle

  1. Tesco
    Francois Badenhorst

    Francois Badenhorst Deputy Editor Staff Member

    Posts: 91 Likes: 18
    5 |

    When a business is as fantastically successful as Tesco, you’d think they’ve got things down pat. But that illusion of competence was shattered in 2014 when it transpired that Tesco had made a terrific mess of its accounts.

    Back in the late summer of 2014, Tesco’s profits for the six months to the end of August were overstated by £250m. The mess, it turns out, wasn’t just incompetent, it was criminal: three former executives are now facing trial related to the scandal.

    Dave Lewis, the chief executive of Tesco, said earlier this year: “I want to apologise to all those affected. What happened is a huge source of regret to us all at Tesco, but we are a different business now.”

    It also raised a whole tide of ‘what the hell were they thinking?’ The question is akin to one The Byre asked on the forums recently: “Why are so many SMEs useless?” The thing is, it’s not just the little guy. All over the business world, stupidity and myopia have a way of creeping of in.

    Take Pish_Pash’s run-in with the small mom-and-pop delivery firm DHL. “They cancelled a direct debit I have in place (due to their bank details changing) and then I started getting letters of litigation (because the direct debit that they had in place had been cancelled by them!)

    “I called them up - they suck, in essence after a maze of transferring, I got asked to call back cos the direct debit team were all at lunch.”

    It sounds a lot like what The Byre experienced when he bought a car recently. In his first two calls to car dealerships he was told the salesman in question was with a customer, so he left a message.

    “Did Mr. So-and-So call back from Dealer One? No. Did Mr. So-and-So call back from Dealer Two? No.”

    So it’s seems, from the numerous available examples, that all manner of human endeavour are susceptible to malaise and ineptitude. What is to be done? Paul Norman has a theory: training. “Both specific training and on the job supervisory training,” he writes. “Companies need to insist on excellence. The sales manager at the first two businesses should be on the case of the non-returned calls, but I bet he/she does not even know about the lost opportunity.”

    The Byre has an even simpler set of prescriptions:

    “Rule 1 - Have a landline. Rule 2 - Answer the damn thing straight away (during working hours) always! Rule 3 - Make good on all promises. If you say that you will call back, do so and quickly! Rule 4 - Never explain why you could not do something you agreed to do. Just do it! Rule 5 - Things go wrong! Apologise and fix them, don't try to get out of your responsibilities. Rule 6 - Never take on jobs that you know you cannot complete properly.”

    In short, there’s no way to defeat laziness or incompetence. It’s a permanent rear-guard action against an always advancing insurgency. As per The Byre’s advice, excellence emanates from an ethos that is continuously cultivated.

     

    #0
  2. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 5,730 Likes: 2,267
    I bet that Byre's all just mouth-and-trousers! I bet if I phoned him up, all I'd get is an Answerfon, telling us that he is Suzy of Suzy's Massage Salon.
     
    Posted: Oct 3, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #2
  3. Awinner2

    Awinner2 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 78 Likes: 14
    Or that he is currently tied up at Suzy's Massage Salon !!!
     
    Posted: Oct 4, 2017 By: Awinner2 Member since: Aug 4, 2017
    #3
  4. Awinner2

    Awinner2 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 78 Likes: 14
    Until the trial is over, the "mess" was "allegedly criminal" not "criminal"
     
    Posted: Oct 4, 2017 By: Awinner2 Member since: Aug 4, 2017
    #4
  5. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 5,730 Likes: 2,267
    I bet his mouth is still flapping wide open!
     
    Posted: Oct 6, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #5
  6. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 8,033 Likes: 1,654
    But he told Suzy a great yarn whilst he was tied up
     
    Posted: Oct 9, 2017 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #6