Pilliod speaker addresses ‘Why Businesses Fail’

Nicole King

If you drink one Starbucks coffee a day, you will have spent $6,000 by the time you graduate.

Greg Hackett presented the statistic and many more during the third speech in the Charles J. Pilliod Lecture Series last night in the Kent State Ballroom. The speech was entitled “Why Businesses Fail”.

Hackett, an alumnus of Kent State’s College of Business Administration, was the founder of the Hackett Group, the world’s foremost benchmarking firm. His firm was established in 1992, and he sold it in 1997. Recently, he has been conducting research by analyzing thousands of companies over the past four decades and examining trends that affect company success or failure.

Hackett uncovered the following statistics.

“Eighty percent of the world’s companies are stagnant or in decline,” he said. “The average company only makes a 4.3 percent profit, and 20 percent of all companies don’t make a dime.”

Hackett’s speech covered four key reasons why companies fail: They miss external changes and tolerate inflexible culture, there is too much good management, and they are employing a mid-20th century process.

“Business schools are turning out 113,000 MBA degrees a year,” Hackett said. “Companies need individuals who are more unique and willing to step out of the box.”

Hackett said special interest groups are a force to be reckoned with. Interest groups are damaging brand value and affecting profits. Pressure groups have a sophisticated understanding of the media, which is built in bias.

“Exxon has taken recent criticism in the media from special interest groups, even though they are only at a 9.7 percent profit, which is not that great,” he said.

Hackett asked the audience if they ever watched the TV show “The Apprentice.” Many people raised their hands.

“Trump casinos are below the profit line,” Hackett said. “Why would anyone want to be mentored by him? I think we should fire Trump.”

Many companies such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy are on a profit rollercoaster. One minute their profits are up, and the next they are plummeting. Hackett said companies will survive by adapting to external forces, seeing trends early and organizing to innovate.

“By the time you are my age, Microsoft, Google, Abercrombie and Starbucks will be gone,” Hackett said. “Your job is to find the new companies, and make them sustainable.”

A couple of students said they enjoyed Hackett’s speech.

“He engaged and incorporated the audience into his presentation,” said Alexis D’Agostino, graduate student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. ” I thought that the speech was good overall.”

Abby Hoag, freshman marketing major, thought the speech was helpful.

“I am a marketing major, and the speech made me think about a lot of facts,” Hoag said. “Many of the statistics he presented were shocking to me.”

For more information about the Pilliod Lecture Series, call (330) 672-1227 or visit http://business.kent.edu/goodyear.

Contact College of business and administration reporter Nicole King at [email protected].