Clutter

Friday morning and it’s time to spring clean the home office.  The thrill of finding a manual to phone that I sent back R Orange two years ago is like that of junking an odd sock not worn for just as long.  Into the paper recycling bin it is tossed, to be reborn as another never to be read manual.   De-cluttering is a joy.  My wife thinks it clears the mind and opens one up to new opportunity.  If I am be able to reach my desk contorting my body navigating piles of paper, that usually suffices for me.  But when I steel myself for the annual clutter purge, the reward is oddly satisfying.
A friend of mine has de-cluttered his life to an extreme. When I used to visit his house, his dining room had become a storage area, such was the extent of his clutter.  Boxes of what not and CD’s were everywhere, during a messy divorce.  He now lives on a small boat. There is no room for clutter.  He showers and does the necessary in the marina’s facility.  All his bills are centralized.  With good heating, excellent broadband, nearby shopping and several lovely cars, it is not quite a spartan life, but the degree to which he has de-cluttered is remarkable.  Importantly, he is now much happier.
The same, I believe, can be applied to organizations.  They can de-clutter their customer relationships, getting rid of high cost to service, low growth potential accounts. At Lotus we had one highly diversified, large multinational customer who was demanding to the extreme. Every year they acquired scores of businesses and divested just as many. Though the revenue they provided was attractive, they took up an inordinate share of management and back office attention. Just for that client, processes had to be customized. Several times it crossed my mind that we should abandon the customer to Microsoft and focus on more profitable accounts.  In the end Microsoft did acquire the customer, and I would bet they eventually rued that win.  Now with the lion’s share of the enterprising messaging market -as well as the desktop and OS – markets , Microsoft has much greater leverage over that account, but I can’t believe the customer has lost its belligerence towards suppliers.  Google, if you recognize the account, you might want to say thanks but no thanks.  You don’t need customers that clutter.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Clutter

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