Why Are There Snowblowers in Miami? by Steven D. Goldstein ISBN 9781626343238
Five out of five stars
The title was derived from an actual event. During the time that Goldstein was head of the credit card business for Sears, which was based in Chicago, the author was able to take a January trip to a conference in Miami. While there, he visited a local Sears store and discovered four snow blowers next to the lawnmowers. Given that there has never been a recorded measurable snowfall in Miami, Goldstein asked the natural question expressed in the title.
Upon investigation, Goldstein was told that the store gets sent snow blowers every winter season and they send them back in April. Further pursuit of the matter led him to being told that they were part of a national allocation system.
This is an excellent story that leads into the main premise of the book, which is, “Always be questioning tactics that are done because that is the way they have been done.” Several additional examples of such mindless policies were described. One of the most amusing involved key lime pie.
A company banquet was being held and the dessert, key lime pie, was just being served. One of the company planners suddenly realized that it was against company policy to serve key lime pie at their events so the wait staff had to rapidly gather up all the pies and provide an alternative. When the reason for this policy was examined, it turned out that former employee Judy B. hated key lime pie and forbade having it served. The amusing part was that Judy had left the company ten years earlier, yet the rule lived on.
Using these darkly amusing examples as a base, Goldstein describes a set of solid tactics that can be used to improve the performance of your business. The last section covers what is an essential requirement of modern businesses, which is to never get complacent and as a former executive of Sears, Goldstein understands this. Formerly the largest retail store in the country, Sears is now struggling to survive. He also uses the example of Blockbuster, the now defunct video rental store.
Packed with wisdom and humor, this is a business book that will simultaneously educate and entertain.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.