It is interesting that nobody seems to be asking questions about the validity of business organizations as environments for “professional development” when they see that no superior qualities are needed to run them:
- People without experience who may never even pass the first stages of the recruiting process at multinational corporations launch businesses that scale to over $1 billion in revenues within 5 years, learning everything on the go;
- Multi-generational family businesses where roles are not rewarded based on merit can nevertheless thrive; of course this doesn’t mean that the family members are not good or they don’t learn and develop.
- Petty criminals (using their position to commit crimes against man-made or natural laws (!) purely for money) or “morally flexible” management can maintain the success of top brands. Insider trading, the recent FIFA scandal comes easily to mind, as well as some of the premium charities, the privatization of natural resources or privatization in general and many more.
- We should also not forget that many success stories are simply based on being in the right place at the right time. One good example is the mobile network business in emerging markets in the 2000s: one private equity player put it this way: a monkey can run a mobile business; and this was to a large degree true: numbers governed everything and everybody knew the numbers: how many players for how many inhabitants, how many customers may be expected from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd player, what technology needed to be implemented, how much a license was worth, everything. Nobody even expected the players to change market positions: if you were #3 nobody expected you to beat the #2 player. People promoted their friends, drinking buddies, lovers; we even saw a CEO promoting his wife to the COO role: and they did succeed bringing in the KPIs!