That Pile of Stuff

I've just been handed this very large pile of stuff and I have been told to make sense of it quickly so it can bring profits to the corporation. It's an incredibly diverse pile of stuff, and I am grasping for any organizing principle so I can get started working through it. I need to get my hands around the shape of this elephant so I can come up with a plan for how to guide it towards profitability.

Along comes several management consulting firms and they each have ideas on how to put order to this pile of stuff. I'll go with the one who seems to have organized stuff the most, but I'm at arms-length+ from their past experience and really don't know if they're the best. All I need is a nod from corporate that this consulting firm will be okay.

Obviously I'm tempted to merely split the pile of stuff into smaller piles and to let someone else worry about their slice of the pile. I'll merely play a coordinating role to make sure that all the slices fit together when these delegates have done their job. Never mind that we'll merely be taking bad practices writ large and copying them across each of the slices.

In the end we discover that the reason we got this pile of stuff was not because anyone wanted it. It merely came with the valuable trinket that the corporation really wanted. Our mandate to find profitability was really a mandate to see if the corporation could extract even greater value from its purchase of the trinket. We find that when the really tough decisions need to be made, the room quickly empties. We also find that failure is an option. If we can't quickly find value in this pile of stuff, then the corporation would rather opt for a hasty disposal at minimal cost for the hazardous materials. After all, it was merely frosting on the cake, and the cake tastes quite good without the frosting.

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