NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The health care summit, or whatever that kabuki theater event last week was called, yielded a very interesting sound bite for anyone who could stand to make it to the last act. The president said he was moving forward with his health care plan, and if we the people didn't like it, well, "that's what elections are for." Wow. As an entrepreneur and business owner, I was absolutely shocked. But then again, nothing coming out of Washington these days shocks me. Two words: Charlie Rangel. I will give the president credit for being honest at least. And that's where any credit ends. Let's analyze this mindset as if he were CEO of a company he usually blasts his populist rage cannon at. The CEO of FedWrex orders a couple of his top lieutenants to completely overhaul 17% of the market he serves. The lieutenants dutifully press ahead, crafting a plan (in secret of course) and eventually springing the plan on all of the sales reps. The sales reps go out into the field and are met with a barrage of negative feedback. Customers don't want this product. It's extremely unpopular. It'll cost them more money. Why are you tinkering with this when I'm happy with my current service, the customers ask. Don't you have other pressing issues to deal with? And so on ... The reps report back to the CEO that the new product will be a failure, and the customers want FedWrex to start again or to not do anything at all. The feedback is overwhelmingly negative, even with a friendly marketing department working 24/7 to tout the benefits of this plan. The CEO, confident he knows what his customers want more than they do, orders the massive overhaul anyway and tells the sales reps it's their job to sell it no matter what. "The customers in your territory may leave you, and you may lose your job, but it's good for the company," he says. Our CEO, still feeling heat with his unpopular new product, invites some of the naysayers in his company to a high-level meeting and listens to some of the negative feedback, or he pretends to. At the conclusion of the meeting he summarizes by saying he's going to press forward regardless, and if the shareholders have a problem with it, well, "that's what shareholder votes are for."
Now you're an educated person, I assume, mainly because you're reading my column. Would you invest in this company? If a customer, would you continue to patronize this company or would you go to a competitor? If you were a current shareholder, would you want this CEO at the helm? Enough with the "master of the obvious" questions. The answer is of course not. It continues to amaze me (I'm lying, it doesn't) that people who have not spent one day in the private sector, who have never had to worry about making payroll and who are career politicians, continue to press forward without a clue as to what "we the people want." Their sanctimonious attitude of "we know better than you" would last in the business world about as long as the health care summit. The company would be out of business in short order. Unfortunately, we live in a country where this company has a monopoly and many shareholders chose not to vote. The CEO knows this and exploits it. Firing line: Shoving an unpopular product down customers' throats while spending ridiculous amounts of capital (multiples more than current revenue) on unprofitable programs, and virtually ignoring a hostile enemy that is attempting to destroy the company is a recipe for a failed corporation. I'm short FedWrex. Now if I could only make money doing so. Oh wait, I'm sure the CEO would yell at me when I did. --Written by Matthew Buckley in Chicago.