Lee Iacocca: Finance Analysts Versus Sales/Marketing People

According to Iacocca, if you have only financial analysts (bean counters) in your company then you tend to have a defensive, conservative and pessimistic organization. Sales and marketing people are more aggressive, speculative and optimistic; they are always pushing to go forward regardless of the macro-context of the company. A good company will have natural balance between the two. If the bean counters are too weak then the company will go bankrupt. Conversely, in the 1970s, Ford needed to have wild-eyed dreamers as the company was dying in the market place. Some so-called bean counters would cross the divide like Robert McNamara who helped develop the Falcon (one of the first compact cars selling over 417,00 units in the first year). Unfortunately, the Falcon was simply a vehicle to help people get from A to B, and it was not a major seller for long but it is worth mentioning as a case where someone crossed the divide between theses two groups. Robert McNamara was a true visionary and quoted a truth in 1967 to which many managers can agree that “Management is the gate through which social and economic and political change, indeed change in every direction, is diffused through society.”

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

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