Can you hear him? Listen. He’s coming. It’s Tarzan swinging through the trees with his clarion call of ahee…and he’s landing right here at the Jungle Association of Entrepreneurs Annual Conference.
As he strides up to the podium he is bare-chested and dressed in his standard, fashion-forward loin cloth. He is shadowed by his squealing sidekick, Cheetah (the monkey).
There’s a round of welcoming applause and a stir of anticipation in the crowd. Tarzan waves to the crowd and says in somewhat halting English:
“I’m pleased to be with you today and share with you my Tarzan Theory of Business Management. Jane is usually with me to assist with the audio visuals but she had to attend a parent-teacher conference for “Boy,” so we’ll have to do this without her.
“The `T’ in Tarzan is for TARGET. Your target has to be focused tight, sharply defined, clear expectations of your mission, your goals, your organization, your marketing plan, your strategies, priorities and especially your customers.
“This is the planning part of the management triangle. It must, of course, be in writing. If it’s not written down, it’s just dreaming and impossible to review or change.
“Before we leave the `T’ in targeting, you have to decide whether you are a luxury, specialty or a commodity (discount) provider. Whether you’re offering products or a service, you need to define yourself. Are you Saks Fifth Avenue or K-Mart? Are you Neiman Marcus or Walmart?
“Now the `A’ in Tarzan is for ATTITUDE. You have to be upbeat, optimistic, positive and persuasive; that will be infectious for your employees and your customers. You must be the cheerleader who works on the premise that the best way to predict the future, is to create it.
“Moving on to the `R’ in Tarzan is for RESOURCES. The best resources in the world is to gather strong disciples (employees) who are believers, as well as a supportive troop of advisors in law, accounting, HR and other consultants. These are your palace guards.
“Another resource area is continuing knowledge. This is easily available in trade magazines and industry associations, as well as community colleges and public libraries.
“Next on the Tarzan ladder is `Z,’ which stands for ZEAL. The magic part of zeal is making it happen—unending energy and full faith in the mission. All this is the flow of energy that will carry you, your employees and your customers to your goals.
“In this day and age, zeal is not enough. Just a few years ago it was predicted that by the beginning of the 21st century less than half the workforce would be holding full-time jobs. It is definitely happening. Full-timers will be the new minority.
“We’ve all seen people who stay busy—who even work hard—without adding any real value. They make the mistake of thinking effort or longevity should earn them a paycheck. You can respect them for trying, but you can’t justify the cost of keeping them on board.
“You’ll be better off if you think in terms of being paid for performance—for the value you add—rather than for your tenure, good intentions, or activity level. Prove your worth to the organization. Make a difference.
“The `A’ in Tarzan is for ACTION. Get it done. The founding CEO of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, said, “Without my partner I’d have dreamed 250 stores and gotten 20 opened. The world has enough dreamers. Most people mistakenly believe ideas are the valuable commodity. The only real payoff goes to people who can put ideas into action.
“The `N’ in Tarzan is to NEGOTIATE. Negotiate everything about your business. Explore all the available options. Don’t talk price—ask questions, lots of them. Remember, no deal is final. Don’t win too big and know when to walk away and come back stronger. Always look for stepping stones. Never leap from one place to another without looking for some intermediate steps. The Tarzan Theory of Business Management in essence says, “Never let go of one rope until you have a firm grip on the next one.
“So let’s summarize and add a few points to remember.
“Point 1: The factory of the future will have only two employees—a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog; the dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. Sound farfetched? The first practical industrial robot was introduced in the 60s. By 1982, there were about 32,000 robots being used in the U.S. Today, there are over 25-30 million.
“Point 2: More companies go out of business because their prices are too low.
“Point 3: It costs 5x more to attract a new customer than get more business from an old customer.
“Sure, experience may count, but maybe not. It depends on whether that experience makes you worth more today or whether it may have lost all or most of its value because the world has changed and continues to change so rapidly.
“And that, my friends, is my theory of management. I hope it helps you build your jungle empire.”
The Jungle Entrepreneurs rose as one to give Tarzan a rousing cheer of appreciation for his management insight.
With the cheers ringing in his ear, Tarzan took off into the trees with Cheetah on the way to meet Jane and Boy.