In the 30 plus years I have spent as a management consultant, using only the training I received as a young man in the Hubbard Management System, I have stepped into a wide variety of companies of all shapes and sizes and in all parts of the world. And I continue to be amazed at how often I find things being done in an incorrect sequence. It is a very common illogic one finds even in the biggest of companies. Example: In one very large international software development company, I found that each year’s new version was (a) created by the development team, and then (b) given to the Marketing Division to market. One might not catch the out-sequence if one did not fully understand marketing and its role in an organization. Here is an excerpt from an article L. Ron Hubbard he wrote in 1979 called MORE ON MARKETING BASICS, where he specifically addresses the role of Marketing in product development:
“Marketing includes all actions from before the beginning of the production right on through to its use by the customer and its word-of-mouth promotion by the public. Your first step is you’ve got to have a product to market that will market. And you have to groom that product up so you can market it.
“From the first moment a product is conceived, much less produced, Marketing has to be in there with surveys to establish the design and use of the product, and it carries on through every stage to make sure that it will eventually sell and get good word-of-mouth promotion.”
So the development team created a new version of the company’s flagship product and only then did Marketing get involved. At that point it was discovered that the software interface was wrong by survey of consumers using it. They didn’t like it, considered that it wasn’t “user-friendly” (which is a guarantee of very poor word-of-mouth) and had a host of other objections. This meant of course that all forward progress was stalled as the product had to go back to Development for correction. This created a huge, screaming emergency as a release date had already been promoted. Nerves became frayed. Tempers flared. The overtime piled high and the cost of this new version began to tip the scales.
All of this could have been avoided IF Marketing had been in there with surveys to establish the design BEFORE the new version was built.
So, as a management consultant, I always pay attention to sequences. Like, the Sales Division must have prospects BEFORE it can sell anything, and that having prospects requires that intelligent promotion goes out to create a demand for the product BEFORE anyone can reach for it and become a prospect, and that promotion must be based on sound research and public surveys BEFORE the promotion is designed much less sent out, etc.
In my profession, I have to use a proper sequence of actions before I can effectively help a company handle its biggest problem(s). If a company is in a financial slump I know that I must get intelligent promotion happening BEFORE I address the administration of the company. If a company suffers an inadequate volume of business inflow, all the admin in the world will not solve it. I’ll discuss this later in much more detail in further articles.