Model of the Failed Corporation
Imagine a corporation
that is very large; indeed, has many thousands of managers and employees,
and what is more, more than a billion customers. The corporation
has prospered for 2000 years with the business model it had developed
and which and been rigorously maintained by a succession of over 200
presidents and many more board members. The customers have been satisfied
and in no way found the business wanting in the way of customer service
and business policy.
A new president is elected — and without
any compelling warrant or reason decides to change the business model
dramatically. The managers and the employees are told — despite any
evidence — that the business is wanting and could prosper more, even
though it is at the apex of any competing businesses by several magnitudes
of order. Business had been good, the customers happy, and the employees
as well, but he and a handful of likeminded board members wished
to change not only the model, but the erstwhile admired architecture
of its thousands of stores throughout the world, as well as dramatically
simplifying the interiors to more accord with its less successful competitors
— and what is more, totally changed the business language itself — so
that these formerly unifying features were to be discarded in favor
of disunity. Once again, it must be emphasized, there was no compelling
reason to make such drastic changes to a remarkably successful corporation.
The model is changed according these new principles
that differ greatly from the former.
Decline Hailed as Growth
Within a few years, this once monolithic business,
viewed as a paradigm of success in its area of competence, then loses
tens of thousands of employees and managers and — most importantly —
the customer base, once in the area of 75% repeat business became 40%,
and in a few more years less than 25%.
Remarkably, the new president — and his successors
— hail the change as a success, despite metrics in every area that
show it in decline — almost in receivership! The stores close by
the thousands, or are consolidated in an effort to stop the hemorrhaging
Then, in the middle of this disastrous downward
spiral, the corporation is hit, in successive years, with over $3
Billion dollars of loss in the way of lawsuits due to negligent hiring
practices involving employees’ misconduct of the most vile sort and
the incessant litigation that followed. To pay for their negligence
— or rather, to pay the lawyers and the victims for the negligence of
the managers — the corporation must sell off large portions of its portfolio
and close many, many of its stores. The customers are fewer and fewer,
and what is more, there are no invested employees to be had as
a result of the scandal. The schools of management must, of course,
close also, for there are no more candidates for the positions which
themselves are fewer and fewer.
Despite all this, the Chairman (in the case of
the Catholic Church, Pope Francis) and the
Board (bishops and cardinals) are determined more than ever — not
to return to the successful and prosperous method of the last 2000 years
— but to continue in its new business model which
is crumbling daily with still further departures from the past, and
is itself becoming increasingly arthritic — together with its remaining
What do you see in all this? What is your assessment
of its management and its future as a viable business? The question,
of course, is rhetorical, except for a doctrinaire few who maintain
that — despite all appearances and metrics — it is actually prospering
in its manifest decline.
This is a vignette of the state of the “modern”
Catholic Church subsequent to Vatican II. It is the state of the
Church today. And many increasingly wonder if it is the same Church
at all — given the changes that followed — and still follow —
that ill-fated Council that effectively defected from the Faith and
went the way of the world.
Their parents and grandparents tell them of something
which once was unspeakably beautiful — and manifestly holy. They pray
it will be again.
So do we.
Boston Catholic Journal
December 23, 2017
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