In his latest book, “Car guys vs. bean counters: The battle for the soul of American Business,” and interview with Kai Ryssdal, Bob Lutz, a former vice chairman of General Motors reveals the biggest mistake that the American car companies make: they rely on numbers as the determinant of the companies’ profits and future growth. Unfortunately, Lutz states, the love for numbers is the virtue still instilled in students of business schools. The consequence of this is that the future leaders of the business world are taught to “skimp and see how much cost can we strip out before people actually protest“!
The interview is entitled “The U.S. car industry’s downfall: Putting numbers before design,” but I would argue that the unconditional love for numbers is not just car industry’s, not just business’s, but humanity’s downfall, which is relevant to minorities of all sorts, social norms, and stereotypes. This is because once the numbers determine the course of action, individual needs and desires are overlooked (and frankly, some business opportunities are lost). Numbers breed arrogance because the number-glorifying philosophy often boils down to this simple assumption, “If you are not in the majority, you are a loser, you are not like others, you choose not to fit in. It is not us, the number-lovers who have failed to include you.”
So, seven billion people or so out there, it is time for a paradigm shift or else, by chance, you may find yourself on the wrong side, in the minority!
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