The Owner Knows Best
Here is another global truth; people are different. No, they really are… I know you are thinking with all the
sarcasm you can muster,…really!… are people different? What’s funny is that we know it consciously but
we deny it in every other sense. You see, if people are truly different then it follows that certain things
If people are different… then… we are not all the same.
If we are not all the same… then… we have different strengths and weaknesses.
If we have different strengths and weakens… then… it does not make sense that as a sum total of our
strengths and weaknesses that we all equal.
At least not in our abilities and not as people either. Which is not to say that everyone does not have
there day. Remember a broken clock is right at least twice a day. It is also not to say that everyone will
get their day, some just don’t. Some sit and watch as their one and only opportunity to have a day goes
right on by.
I believe that everyone has gifts, and everyone has a part to play. Some are heroes and some are villains
and some are court gestures while others are just scenery. The brutal truth is that we are not all equal
and depending on the situation some of us are not even valuable. There are people that are more
capable then others, smarter, more worthy. Now in the real world they don’t always get paid more or get to
lead but the idea that everyone is equal, with equal worth or value, and everyone deserves to have there
opinion heard is ridiculous.
Encapsulating your thoughts within the shelter of the phrase “my opinion” does not and should not raise
stupidity on par with intelligent thought. For some reason we have gotten to the point where someone can
say they believe the moon is made of soft green cheese and we have to accept it because it is their belief.
Now we don’t really accept that the moon is made of soft green cheese just because they said they believe
it is but what we do accept is that they get to say it and that they are OK for believing it as a matter of
opinion. This should sound a little bit silly but…No; the moon is not made of soft green cheese. There are
verifiable facts at play and I know outside of CSI we don’t accept the concept of facts any more. I was
raised with an understanding of the laws of science but we don’t even have those anymore. The term law
was too restricting. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that everything must be based on facts or that
facts can’t be misleading. What I am saying is that comparing facts with belief and opinion is like
comparing apples with hair conditioner. In order for discourse to be intelligent we can not allow belief and
opinion to be put on par with facts where verifiable information exists. If you do then someone can say, “In
my opinion, we ought to grant total health care to everyone in the world for free.” and their statement
becomes irrefutable because it is their opinion.
An opinion is a feeling and we don’t want to hurt others feelings. The truth is that opinions are like butts
everyone has one and they all stink. When are we going to get past this whole nice stuff and face reality
some people’s opinions are better then others. Some people are better then others. There are some who
can rule and others deserve, hell they desire, to be ruled. I believe in democracy but why do we keep
trying to force people who want and are more capable of being controlled into a position where they have
to decide things that they don’t have the ability to understand. (Note-Because evil power hungry people
who can’t get control and have no moral compass use the stupid people in a democracy)
In a company there are those who make decisions and those who do the work. This is not to say that the
ones who make they decision really know what they are doing or that the ones who do the work might not
make a better decision. I don’t know where I am going with this ramble. I just keep thinking about a guy I
ran into once…. during a particular unpleasant state of mind. I was both unhappy with my job and
appalled by the stupidity of the people in charge of the company we both worked for. I was a project
manager. A white collar executive type working in my own air condition office. The whole company
depended on my software to do their job and make money. He was a lead BBQ assembler. We where
coming to the end of the BBQ assembly season and we would soon be laying off a couple hundred
employees many of which had no idea of the impending cuts. By we, I meant the company, for those who
know they are safe and have information and get to make decisions tend to refer to the place where they
work as us or we.
He had come into the headquarters to turn in some paper work about his team to the HR department. He
had been attempting to get some information about they pending lay offs (couldn’t face the term firings)
from the HR manager who of course knew but was not going to say. Her loyalties and sense of propriety
would not let her slip out a bit of information. Though it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to her or the
company but could mean everything to the guys about to get the axe. At the bottom rung a few days
notice could mean the difference between paying the bills on time next week or having the lights turned off.
I had walked up to see the HR manager and over heard their conversation. I could tell the subject by the
leads nervous manner and the HR managers look of piousness. I joined the conversation and immediately
confirmed that we were going to lay people of and it was likely to happen in about three weeks. The HR
manger looked pissed. I couldn’t be sure though if it was because I had released the information or that I
had known about it and at that time she still didn’t. With that secret out of hiding, the conversation moved
into who was doing well and had money or not. The lead said he wished he could run his own company.
I said, “Why don’t you start your own? How hard is it to do, what you do?”
He said, “I don’t know how to run a business.”
I said, “What business? What you do is the business. You’re the one who has the relationship with the
retailers. You’re the one who knows the assemblers and you’re the one who manages the teams.”
With this I thought the HR manager was going to explode.
She said, “There is more to it then that.”
I said, “No there’s not.”
She said, “There is more to it then that. You just don’t know about it.” Trying to be smug and show that
she had information that I didn’t. (To her, there had to be more to it. Her whole existence was based on
dealing with the complexities of running a business and dealing with employees. If it was that simple then
there would be no need for her.)
I said, “No, there’s not any more to it. I wrote the software that runs this company. I have access to the
every piece of data in the company, including HR.” I said with a verbal jab.
I said to the lead, “All you have to do is go talk to the vendor and say next time you guys want to do this
call me and I’ll bring my guys in and do it for ten percent less. Then you go and talk to the guys on your
tem and tell them you’ll pay then fifty cents more per BBQ and you will be in business. It just that simple.”
He responded, “It could not be that easy. There was accounting and laws and rules and stuff and the
sales and marketing and it must cost a lot of money.”
It was sad hearing him make excuses for being mediocre.
He said, “The owners know more and better then I do.”
I said, “What? Why do you think that?”
He said, “Because they’re the owners. If they didn’t then they wouldn’t be the owners. They wouldn’t have
all this and they wouldn’t be the ones who make the decisions.”
I was stunned by the stupidity of these words but not surprised. The truth is that the owners didn’t have
any special hold on decision making. Most owners especially of smaller to mid sized companies got there
for no reasons that have anything to do with their efforts, knowledge, or abilities. Most of the time it has
been time and place and or circumstance. Now if you ask them be assured that you will hear it otherwise.
How smart they are, how they are self made, and how they had a great idea and tremendous effort. Know
that ninety-five percent of the time it is self aggrandizing crap and the remaining five percent it was
because they screwed someone else over to get it.
People are not equal but it has yet to be determined if you are better or worse then anyone. Only you can
prove that and only time will tell. So in everything you do start off with the idea that you are as good, as
smart and as capable as anyone and let the results prove the truth of it one way or another.
The Lesson to Learn:
If you let yourself believe that others are somehow better then you or that you are not as capable then you
are not going to be. Except reality and be both knowledgeable and objective about your strengths and
weaknesses but don’t give up before you even start. The only way to really loose is to give up. And
remember you can also learn, train, and improve.
The Brutal Truth:
You determine by your own thoughts and actions whether you are better then the next guy or not.