Two companies I have heard stories about I would refer to as shaky market leaders. Both are still going, but both are not places that I have a good feeling about longevity. Both are software companies in niche markets.
First one had a great owner and visionary, but his second level of management were not the best. They had all been with them from the beginning, so he was blinded to their deficiencies. The owner has since moved out of the “president” role and turned it over to one of the other managers.
The new president did a few morally questionable things. The worst one was when he tried to secretly take a separated employee’s wife to the Caribbean for a week. Can you imagine the morale of that employee and also the other people working with him when the employee is going through a separation with hopes that maybe things will get patched up, but the president uses the opening of the separation to swoop in.
I have heard long time employees of this company have been leaving. One was there roughly 19 years, traveled to most of the clients, and dedicated her life to ensuring the software works at the client. She was let go. That has got to send shock waves across the company that a will liked, dedicated person is no longer there.
In 2000, this company had hired a large number of employees for Y2K. After Y2K was over, they called mandatory meetings where they told the first group they are fired and the second group that the first group was gone. Finances can be tough on companies, but you wonder about planning.
They have also started losing long term, large clients. One of the largest is building their own software system now to replace their system.
The second one is still going great guns, but they are in a very fortunate market with less competition. They have had good people from the beginning, but they also have had questionable dealings.
I have heard a number of their managers have not been truthful. Over the years, many managers have been let go due to dishonesty with the ownership, but I question their logic on bringing these people in the first place.
One person in particular struck me. I came to Christianity late. Toyed with atheism, but then I woke up and realized what I had been overlooking all those years.
He was made a manager and put over a consulting office in another city. He was let go for not being truthful to the owners. He then went and became a pastor for a while. I just shook my head in disbelief.
Ownership has to know the bitter truth. They have to know why things are being done, and why things are not being done. Fortunately, this company had a cash cow that kept giving and made it over their numerous mistakes. I have heard many projects try to get off the ground only to burn and crash.
There was an evaluation on products where it did not matter the outcome, because they bought the product before evaluation was done. They invested heavily in the product, and they invested heavily to move away from the product.
Both of these companies are “successes”, but I would not say they are as successful as they could be. Great opportunities wasted from their initial successes from being market leaders.
Being successful in my mind encompasses doing things right. Treating your employees well. Making smart business moves. Honesty in all levels to grow the company even more. A rising tide lifts all boats including the employees that rely on these companies for their livelihood.