Through good and bad economic times, as new technologies are continuously made available, as new management fads come and go, and regardless of pressures brought to bear on management by shareholders and directors, customers and employees — the validity of the fundamentals of business do not change. Since the introduction of machine-driven accounting over a hundred years ago, most business owners and managers who have not been specifically trained to understand the basics of automated information processing have generally viewed such data processing as mysterious.
First hand observations over many years cause us to conclude that we who lead businesses, like those who have led nations,
continue ignoring the admonition to their peril: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Thus, every so often we seem prone to sing the same tunes all over again, just filling in what we believe are different verses. There is perhaps no better example of this recurring theme than the romance-like infatuation of American business with technology. We embrace the continuously changing flow of computer tools and techniques and dance with them as new partners in our zeal to improve our bottom lines. But, as surely as too much familiarity with most things we experience can breed contempt, playing the same music over and over again — without proper regard for the necessary balance between the machines and their human counterparts — has not produced the levels of satisfaction we envisioned, or promised ourselves. As a result, we are repeatedly paying more to dance more often, but enjoying it less as the expectations that were raised by the glowing promises of each new generation of technologies too frequently leave us disappointed with the outcomes.

Though the characters in the scenarios described in this writing are fictitious, they expose the reader to a wide range of business practices in differing environments that include but also supersede reliance on technologies. In addition, they present a series of same tunes circumstances that illustrate what often happens to individuals and their companies when management fails to practice proper respect for the fundamentals of business.

At a minimum, we hope to stimulate discussions and examinations by our readers of circumstances in their organizations that are similar to those illustrated here. Experience with other readers of previous editions of this writing suggests that those who trace through the journey presented here will likely find circumstances and events that are too eerily and personally familiar. To the extent these situations and their consequences for the personalities described here are applicable to you and your organizations, we hope such reflections might prompt remedial or preventive measures that benefit all concerned.

Finally, we hope readers will post comments about the content of this writing as well as descriptions of circumstances and results associated with their own experiences. Should you want to engage in discussions on these or other subjects with the author and/or other readers, please use this site for that purpose as well. Thanks for reading and please continue…

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