Working to Our Strengths

Over the long weekend, I sat down to watch the Baz Luhrmann biographical drama film, Elvis.

The movie was great even though there are some things in the movie which are fiction.  It isn’t a documentary, although, it did provide some food for thought.

Elvis Presley was, while he was alive, and, still is in death, a commodity or product.  Many people have made a lot of money from the Elvis phenomenon.  The first person to recognise this was his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Love him or loath him, Parker was the initial orchestrator of bringing Elvis to the masses.  Yet, the film would also have us believe, Parker lost touch with what would sell and Elvis began to take control of that himself.  What stood out for me about Colonel Parker, was that he had placed all his eggs in one basket.  Elvis was his meal ticket.  Parker didn’t appear to have any other clients he was managing.  A dangerous game to play when you rely on all of your income to come from one source.  Parker surely wouldn’t have planned for Elvis to pass so young.

The movie also has a scene where Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father, advises Elvis Colonel Parker is suing them for over $8m for monies owed to him.  They would be ‘broke’ and would have to sell Graceland.  They saw no way out and this meant Elvis had to stay with Colonel Parker as his manager and do as he was told.  The movie intimated, Vernon was Elvis’ business manager, a role he had no experience or skills for.  Elvis and Vernon, presumably, would also not have had the knowledge they could have fought the Colonel.

But that is Hollywood.

In real life though, it is not unusual for businesses to have all their eggs in one basket.  One major client providing business income.  All it takes is one too many wrong steps in performance, or one change in management, and that income can disappear.

In real life also, it isn’t uncommon to have people in positions where they are not working to their strengths especially in a stretched labour market.  This can definitely impact on the subject in the paragraph above.

How much risk is your business carrying?  How diverse is your income stream?  Are your Employees set up for success?  Unless you have a once in a lifetime phenomenon like Elvis Presley, it may be something you want to address.

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