Da Bears

Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

 

1985 Bears holding up Buddy Ryan

It’s Fall. It’s Football. It’s another Bears’ “Season On the Stink”. (Now who could have predicted that?)
As of today they are 1-4, but for all intents and purposes they are freefalling into the abyss pretty
quickly.

One of my coworkers is a huge Bears fan, bless his little heart. Unfortunately for him, Bill and Bob
Swerski, and millions of others, 1985 was a pretty long time ago. Excruciatingly long.

So where am I going with this, other than to open an old wound? In my work with small companies
across the state, I see too many who have peaked, some back in ’85 or even before, who are for all
intents and purposes “holding on”. Many of them talk about the glory days of great revenues and high
margins on their products and services.

They’ll say “now we work off the same top line, but our costs have doubled and margins are so tight.
We have to do more with less. Competition and input costs are killing us. We continue to get squeezed,
and squeezed, and squeezed.”

Yikes. Sounds like the current talent level – or lack thereof- for Da Bears.
If you’re not innovating, if you’re not constantly improving, you’re going to get squeezed. That is just a
fact of life. The Packers, The Lion, and The Vikes……well, at least the Packers are coming for you. They’ll
steal your employees (Think Brett Favre here), they’ll undercut your pricing, steal your designs and
products, and eventually, your lunch.

Sometimes you can get it back through an acquisition – think Jay Cutler here – and can ride that train to
some mild success. You start to think, “Alright, we’re back. We’re Da Bears again baby!! But
eventually, without systems and processes to sustain the edge, you slide back to “the squeeze” and the
next Shane Matthews era.

The point of all this? Look at those who have demonstrated long-term success. The Patriots, the Tide,
the 90’s era Yankees. Wooden’s Bruins. They all had systems and processes in spades (and maybe a
little SpyGate and DeflateGate for good measure).

How do you create that within your own firm? How do you ensure that once Favre is on the downhill
slide that you have Rodgers ready to come on board?