Following up on yesterday’s response to Arcadia University’s president, further thoughts clarify why the reaction was so quick and deeply disturbing.
Back when employed in the real world, the profession was equipment leasing and financing sales. Hard work, experience, and considerable good fortune permitted employment by three of the industry’s most gifted entrepreneurs. These brilliant individuals significantly helped create, build and sustain an incredible marketplace. For myself, first came Saul Steinberg at computer leasing forerunner, Leasco. Then Harvey Granat, builder of two remarkable enterprises, Granite Equipment Leasing Corp. and Sussex Leasing Corp., while Paul Gass created and developed an entire industry segment at Eaton Financial Corporation: Small-ticket Leasing.
According to the 2019 Equipment Leasing & Finance Industry Horizon Report, “Total equipment and software investment continued to grow in 2018, with nominal investment expanding by 5.9% to $1.8 trillion. Based on the results of the Foundation’s end-user survey and analysis by Keybridge, approximately 50% of this investment (and 55% of private sector investment) was financed, resulting in an industry sizing estimate of about $900 billion.”
While the marketplace has become huge over time, competition within has as well. Competitive intensity now -and from inception- could be unquestionably referred to as fierce. As one holding personal sales production combined with sales management positions in that marketplace, eventually reaching the top of that ladder, the Arcadia president’s capitulation letter struck me personally.
As texted to a friend, reading the Arcadia presidents plans for supporting minorities, a flashback occurred about competition faced in the real world. Imagine telling industry builders Saul Steinberg, Harvey Granat, or Paul Gass that business was being lost because prospects were personally prejudiced. Would any of them have said, “We’re going to invest in prospective customer sensitivity training, Mike, we don’t want your feelings hurt. Until people are willing to recognize you for what you are as a person, we’ll enroll you in sales-loss support groups, and if that’s not enough, we’ll demand that customers respect you at all times regardless.” Or would they have fired my tail on the spot and found someone else to get the rent paid?
Don’t get me wrong here. As individuals these three are humane, upstanding, caring and generous as could ever be imagined. At the same time, however, business takes place in a very, very real world. Sustenance, growth and development costs are huge. That means the need for continued advancement and success isn’t arbitrary, negotiable or simply desirable, its unequivocally mandatory. Sink or swim, no if’s, no ands, no buts, no stories. Grandiose rhetoric doesn’t pay bills; productive skills, focused effort and closed deals do that.
That’s why specific education predicated on formulating copouts and alibis, as promoted by Arcadia’s president, not only rubs across the grain, it relights competitive fires.
That’s it for today folks.