I had lunch today with a friend who formerly worked for a client of ours. They are no longer a client for a number of reasons, one of which is that everyone with whom we used to work there--including this woman, a senior exec who knew us well and was one of our many corporate champions--are all gone.
We were "turned over" to others in the company who had no interest or incentive to nurture the relationship. In fact, after the "turnover," I was unable to engage anyone senior in a discussion of what they wanted the remaining term of our relationship to look like. In fact, despite our continuing to perform our activities as set forth in our agreement with the client, they were simply no longer available to discuss anything. So we ran out the term, submitted our final report and heard nothing.
This was a client whose execs had shared with us many times their deep satisfaction with our work and there flight in hearing from their own clients how much the valued the opportunity to tak part in our programs.
So I was eager to learn from my friend what had gone wrong. "The whole place has gone wrong," she said. "Conversations internally have stopped as well. Virtually no one talks to anyone else. All new ideas are squashed early on...and their are no counter suggestions. Quite simply, they are no longer communicating, with each other and with their customers. Everyone I know has a resume floating around...it's over."
Wow! Really? Is that possible when there had been such positive energy about the company as recently as two years ago? It takes a long time to build a great corporation. And a short time to kill it.
The place to start if you want an institution to die is to stop all conversation. They appear to have won that.
Companies that falter are ripe targets for a buyout. But what about Congress? Who can take them over. Who can initiate the kind of interactive exchange needed if anything is to get done?