Creating Magic by Restoring the Quarterly Report… Dell
Michael Dell has basically tried to do to his company what many of us would like to do to ourselves. Take Dell back to the vibrancy of its youth without losing all of the lessons and experiences painstakingly built over the time of its life. Before going private, Dell had lost some of its focus; it had erred badly several times on consumer electronics initiatives; it was increasingly, uncomfortably driven more by hitting quarterly numbers set by Wall Street than addressing fundamental business issues and customer needs; it was saddled with internal practices like Forced Ranking which were crippling or even killing employee initiative.
Now that it is private, Dell has eliminated Forced Ranking and is now focused on NPS (Net Promoter Score) for measuring customer loyalty. As a result, it now appears like at least part of the Michael Dell Fountain of Youth program is working though the proof that the firm can drive innovation is still in the future.
By not having to reveal the financial details in quarterly reports, Dell’s critics and competitors gain greater relative voice. But I think the company could and probably should instead fill the gap with information that is far more interesting and provocative than detailed explanations on financial performance. In fact, as I consider this, perhaps public companies should also think about emphasizing more interesting topics, as well, given that they have a rather influential recurring captive audience of financial analysts and reports for their event.
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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review.