We thought for this year’s Christmas a short metaphor / parable describing how a very prominent P.P.P./ (inter)-government agency in Europe has handled one of its most important business services for years now and by this has wasted billions of tax payer’s funds, might get you into the right spirit for donations to that help-industry.
Like every holiday season many of those agencies will appeal to you for donations during the next days. And this one – like many others of those so-called “humanitarian agencies” – will certainly tell everybody again that it soon will need more money to “fulfill its mission“.
Most of these agencies are doing fine but this one is certainly the black sheep. And as it seems many in that “industry” do know that but still the billions (of tax payer’s money) continue to be coming in. Those guys are not after “pocket money” so you will not find any letters from them in your mail box, they trade in billions, blow hundreds of millions on themselves and you have to pay if you want or not until your government puts their foot down and shows them who’s boss. So far only the U.S. has taken some action in the past – but so far even that looks too little too late.
But those things can change very quickly – often one telephone call from the right person is all what is needed.
The Parable of the Frogs who loved Trucks
Let’s assume for our little story you are the owner of a small company with a few hundred staff members. Almost your whole business depends on letters people send to you by mail and replies you pass back to them by mail as well.
Some consultants have in the past persuaded your management that it would be better to send someone every day to the post office with a company car to pick up the 200-300 letters your company receives and sends every month. The post office would deliver the letters for free to your offices but whatever reasoning was driving those decisions, some people for example like their newspapers ironed before they read them every morning, it only takes one of the office clerks about an hour every day and the company car is used for many other things besides this.
Over time the managers who have made your company successful in the past, have left the company and you wonder why certain things are now suddenly becoming so extremely expensive. With regards to the letter collection and handling that is – as said – absolutely essential for the success of the company, your new management team has devised a “brilliant” new strategy.
They will buy a fleet of 40-ton trucks – one for every month of the year – to “upgrade” the mail handling and make it flexible for future “challenges”. But briefly, just before they caught you at a weak moment to sign out their “great plan” something strange happened – another manager who was hired earlier to sort out some real pressing company issues demonstrates that having the post office deliver the few letters you receive every day works great and does not cost anything.
And he even took the “liberty” to remind everyone that you are not in the truck business, everybody who had to solve such a “problem” was able to do so within weeks or a few months even in that “industry” and that this is a preposterous abuse of money entrusted to the organization – tax money provided to help some of the poorest on this planet to survive. So the new management teams has the guy beaten up and escorted from the premises and to be sure that he does not show up in town again sets the local mafia on his back and through some friends in government they fiddle with his records and ruin him financially as well.
After having got rid of that manager and having their plan to buy those trucks signed out by your supervisor group who seemingly did not know what this was all about, the new management passes out message to all staff that from now own no letters will be collected and send anymore until the new trucks have arrived. And it of course takes the truck company years to deliver those trucks with the list of extras requested and continuously changing additions. Meanwhile a whole army of consultants is busy to find parking spaces, define procedures for how to best enter, turn the trucks on or off, how to best polish them etc. And human resources is very busy during that time as well because they have to hire the best truck drivers, mechanics and logistic managers money can buy. To assure that they will really get the best ones management allows them to pay up to four times what those people would earn otherwise, but surprisingly the best don’t show up. So they take what they can get or whoever they seem to be getting (and still pay them up to four times their normal salary).
In the meantime word gets out around the world to all the countries where you do business and have warehouses that management has ordered staff not to collect or send letters anymore for the foreseeable future and by that has also stopped to control what is happening in those countries. So all the local criminals start stealing goods from your warehouses, first only a few things, but later empty whole warehouses knowing that there is almost no possibility that someone would ever come after them.
These “incidents” have after some years become so obvious particularly also to others outside the company, that management “feels pressured” and decides that it might be best to hire an independent surveyor to send people to some/all of the warehouses around the world to find out if some of the company’s goods have “actually disappeared” from those warehouses as they are of course still not getting any mail delivered.
After some further years of delays, they appoint someone to do that job and he sends out people and not unsurprisingly from wherever they come back they bring message that lots of things are missing.
To “address” this situation and with the help of some consultants that normally sell trucks and office equipment management decides on a plan forward.
They will hire more people and buy more trucks!
To be “…on the safe side…” they believe buying one truck for every week of the year might be just right. This will of course take more time while no mail will be delivered to the offices and most likely the stealing will go on at least until then, but to be sure the management hires some consultants that normally sell trucks and consultants that normally sell office equipment to find out if it with the then more than 50 trucks would have enough trucks and the at least additional 30% of staff “required” directly or indirectly to handle the trucks would be the right number of staff and that the right office equipment would also be available. And they of course pay them a lot of money – much more money than the personal / by-hand delivery of the mail to the office would have cost for the next ten years to tell them – oh what a surprise – they are on the right track. And those consultants will happily assist them in the future if they would need more trucks, truck repairs, truck drivers or mechanics, truck management, truck magazines or similar things for office equipment. And big presents are handed around to all the truck lovers involved.
So with the truck buying business in full swing – more than 50% of all staff are now busy more or less directly linked to that truck business – management – to be on the safe side again – asks another truck consulting firm if they would have the right staff numbers “compared to their peers” when the next 40 trucks will have been delivered. And of course that truck consultancy firm also provides the expected and paid for answers. But even those guys – like almost everybody on this planet – know that you don’t need a truck left alone more than 50 extra-large trucks to pick up a few letters every day in walking distance from your office. So they advise management to keep that “truck business” as far as possible “under the hood“.
In the meantime – actually already shortly after the first 4 trucks had been delivered – management has been asked by their friends in government to at least for a few days every week not to send over 3 trucks at the same time to the post office around the corner as all traffic in the small town the company is located in gets to a complete standstill whenever those trucks show up all at the same time. Those are, let’s not forget, the biggest trucks allowed on the streets – each one alone capable of transporting more than dozens of millions of letters in one go. So from time to time – and management tries to hide that from whoever could ask questions – they send over the old clerk by car or even by foot to pick up the 5 to 10 letters arriving everyday or that need delivery as business had also flattened out (at best) after all those issues with the warehouses and so on.
Currently everyone is excited and is looking forward to the delivery of the next 40 trucks. And there is so much to be done, so much to manage and organize with all those new truck possibilities and many find little time besides that to actually read and answer the letters that now from time to time have started to come in again. And the thieves in the countries know that of course and they just continue stealing from the warehouses until someone stops them.
Now if this would be a fairy tale a prince with his shining armour would soon be seen killing a dragon, marry a princess, getting half of the kingdom and everybody would live happily ever after.
But this is unfortunately the real life and millions are dieing, are getting tortured, live in slavery or endure hunger because the thieves continue to raid the warehouses. So at best what we can tell you for now is first:
Don’t ask the frogs how to dry a swamp and under no circumstance let those creatures manage your business. Otherwise only they and thieves will continue to live happily ever after…
In the process of this “raid” far beyond 300 million USD of their massively inflated administrative budget has been wasted till today and most likely billions of U.S.$ have been disappearing unchecked in country – countries that often are best known for their terror financing, organized crime, money laundry, genocides, torture, mass rapes and child slavery or for just being straight plain criminal.
This is of course not their money – it’s yours, it’s your taxes – if it would be theirs every penny would still be there and accounted for! So who approves the financing of those people, who pays them up to ten times those kind of people would get paid in other jobs for “looking the other way”? IT IS YOUR GOVERNMENT!
In the meantime in Germany – one of the richest countries on this planet – ten thousands are queuing up for hot soup or food to feed their children. The German government claims there is no money left to better this situation. We do know a way to change this…