Appendix F: Managing [Part 3]

Purpose: To show students how the detail of the numbers is critical and that early warning systems protect the consistent deployment of resources for success.

by Harold Geneen, with Alvin Moscow

Questions from Reading Selected Chapters

(Each student will be prepared to discuss the answers to each of the following questions in class.)


Chapter 7: The Cluttered---Desk Executive


1.      What does Geneen mean by momentum in meetings?


2.      What is the most important factor in an acquisition?


Chapter 8: Not Alcoholism---Egotism


What are the key concepts presented in this chapter?


Chapter 9: The Numbers


1.      Complete the following: “When I read ssets of numbers, either vertically or horizontally, I automatically translate them into meaningful __________ ________.”


2.      What causes Geneen to look behind the numbers?


3.      If the “numbers are not the business” what are they?


4.      Complete the following: “Once you start digging into the areas which the numbers represent, then you get into the _______ of your business.”


5.      Complete the following: “You don’t want to manage the ________; you don’t want to push sales or receivables from one quarter to another, for the ____ will always catch up with you.”


6.      Complete the following: “…the difference between well-managed companies and not-so-well-managed companies is the ____ __ ______ they pay to _______, the temperature chart of their business. How often are the numbers reported up the ____ __ ______? How _______ are those numbers? How much variation is tolerated between ______ _____ and _______ _______? How soon is attention directed to and action taken on ________ deemed significant? How deep does management dig for its answer?”


7.      Describe the “early warnings system” and “no surprises.”


8.      The quality of the numbers depends on who?


9.      Why is managing a company like “writing in the snow.”


10.  What happens when a manager finds gaps in the information that he needs?”


11.  Complete the following: “To sit back and wait for the _______ of the __________ to help us was unacceptable as a solution?”


12.  Describe the “one-two punch.”


13.  Why was debt important to Geneen?


14.  What happens to a business that runs out of money?


15.  The root to almost all problems is traced back to what?


16.  How does one gain “comprehension of the numbers?”


17.  Complete the following: “The truth is that the ________ of the numbers will make you free.”


18.  What does it mean to “read through the numbers?”


19.  Why did ITT grow faster and with more success than other companies?


Chapter 10: Acquisitions and Growth


1.      Why did ITT become a conglomerate?


2.      Why did ITT increase its base of earnings in the United States?


3.      When preparing for a discussion with the board about possible areas of expansion what was on the “one-sheet grid?”


4.      Why did Geneen recommend financial services?


5.      Why were pump companies a good concept?


6.      What did Geneen learn about mundane businesses?


7.      What was the rationale behind each company’s business that Geneen looked for?


8.      What did Geneen do with the management of the companies he acquired and what did he expect of the management that ran the companies acquired?


9.      How many companies were ITT acquiring in 1968?


10.  How did ITT pay for the companies they acquired?


11.  When they found companies they liked, what did they pay for them?


12.  Complete the following: “As the buyer, I had to be convinced that the future potential growth of that company made the price I was paying ____ for what I was getting.”


13.  What was meant by the previous quote?


14.  Complete the following: “The road you ___ ____ can be as important in your life as the one you ___ _____.”


15.  What was Geneen’s philosophy about conglomeration? Why was this counter to “Shoemaker, stick to your trade?”


16.  Complete the following: “Actually, we have found that the growth in sales of a product in ____ ________ increases at a much faster rate than the decline in products _________ of favor.”


17.  Complete the following: “At ITT, each company _______ was responsible for everything that happened, good or bad, within his own ______ _____.”


18.  Why was Geneen successful as the leader of a conglomerate?


Chapter 11: Entrepreneurial Spirit


1.      Complete the following: “By definition, an __________ is one who is in business for himself; he organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business enterprise.”


2.      Complete the following: “In truth, entrepreneurism is the _____ ___________ of the philosophy of large publicly owned corporations.”


3.      How many brilliant moves does a bright man have to make to be considered on the fast track?


4.      Are “big mistakes” the result of “big risks?”


5.      Complete the following: “It is just that the more successful a company becomes, the more ______ __ it has to be to satisfy its conservative investors.”


6.      What do executives do when star salesmen earn more than they do?


7.      How would you summarize Geneen’s view of the Entrepreneur?


Chapter 12: The Board of Directors


Summarize the concepts you learn from this chapter.


Chapter 13: On Caring: A Summing Up


Summarize the concepts you learn from this chapter.