Scare your employees, stop whining and get back to work
That’s the remarkable anti-recession recipe of George Cloutier*, interviewed recently in the New York Times business section. Cloutier advises small and midsize businesses and is the author of a book with the equally provocative title Profits aren’t everything; they’re the Only Thing. ‘Small businesses usually get into trouble because they don’t implement strong financial reporting’, is his experience. ‘They neglect the basics: profit and loss statements and their cash flow. If you want to be profitable, you also have to forget about being likable’, is Cloutier’s opinion. For him, the concept that if you love your employees, they’ll perform well is on the edge of insanity…
This consultant believes in control and fear. In his own company he monitors everything daily: sales, new clients, bank balances, presence of employees. No excuses accepted. ‘You have to treat your people with respect, but you also need to get things done as asked.’ Fear is the best motivator to get things done, he states. If an employee doesn’t deliver, George in turn threatens not to deliver either and he says, ‘Perhaps I have no time to sign your check this week’.
Cloutier also recommends business owners do not pay vendors on time. ‘Stretching your payables is an interest-free loan to your business.’ And if his vendor doesn’t accept this? ‘Tell me and I’ll find somebody else!’ he yells.
Is Cloutier a no-nonsense voice, a tyrant, or a typical representative of a certain business culture?
*George Cloutier, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, founded American Management Services in 1986. The firm specializes in financial turnarounds and profit development for small and mid-sized companies across the nation.