Having prided ourselves on applying the engineering philosophy to creating a highly successful CCCCbusiness model to assist clients, perhaps it is time to explain what this engineering approach to running a business is all about.
1. What is an Engineer?
As stated recently by George Comrie, the 2016 President of Professional Engineers of Ontario
(Canada), the public-at-large, for the most part, are unaware of the critical role that engineering plays in
everyone’s day-to-day lives, and how engineers are safeguarding and protecting the public’s interest.
At the core of engineering is the disciplined approach to define problems and requirements
properly, to assess risks, and mitigate against failure. The undergraduate engineering student is taught to
think about the consequence of getting it wrong with clear examples of past disasters. Engineering students are being conditioned to take personal responsibility for their work and its consequences. That early engineering conditioning includes the thought that if we, engineers don’t protect public safety, or the
environment, who will? The engineer is led to understand that you cannot replace professional ethical
behavior with systems of checks and balances, codes and standards, and third-party inspections. So the
desire and responsibility for correctness is inculcated at the very start of the student’s learning. Most
complaints about engineers deal not with incompetence, but rather with professional misconduct – the
ethical issue. Engineers go about their business of creating bridges, skyscrapers, tunnels, massive ships,
sophisticated software, and so on, usually without fanfare or hoopla.
2. What is a Business?
A business is the fulfillment of the dream of a creative person. Such an individual will think along
the lines of: “What this world really needs is a better …” and “I can probably become rich doing this…”
The business dream for most remains only a dream just as most actors do not make it to the Hollywood
screen even though their dreams never die. With the liberation of the human society came the freedom for
anyone to create a business, which led to something called competition. For the business-minded
individual, competition offered the freedom to jump into the game at any time. For the consumer, it
offered a wider range of choices. However, competition makes it inordinately difficult for the business
person to succeed because it carries a threshold of performance attached to it, the narrow margin called
profit, which year after year has been only 5% of sales for the 500 largest businesses in the world. Over the
long term, the only real money available to build the business is this 5%. Those companies unable to
achieve the 5% profit on a consistent basis, fall by the wayside. It is a tight game and only the most adroit
3. How do Engineering Principles and Business Operations Mix?
To play the business game adroitly means evading avoidable dangers; but what are they? With the
freedom to jump into a new business anytime, amateurs can get into this finely honed game, unaware of the dangers. Universities, our bastions of knowledge, saw the opportunity to educate entrepreneurs on how to run a business, based, often, on clever, well-meaning, professors putting together a set of observations from the sidelines, wrapping it around a framework sometimes called an MBA. Unfortunately, reality was something else. Now 20 years into the business education game, we at CCCC are still discovering reality. Fortunately, it has been the engineering discipline that has allowed us to meld the business model along the lines of engineering precision and care, and, thus, fulfill the quest for provable results. The CCCC results speak for themselves. Our greatest vindication has come with former MBA graduates sitting in our PMBA lectures, saying “Wow” at the session’s conclusion. Here’s how we see engineering melding with business:\
Getting it Right: When first analyzing how a business operates, CCCC spent 4 years taking the engineering thinking through the business process, that is, the “disciplined approach to solving problems, to assess risks, and mitigate against failure;” and “to think about the consequence of getting it wrong.” The result has been a 7-step, three-year remedial process for clients that works every time for every type of enterprise. The CCCC record is zero failures since CCCC began.
The Guarantee: Almost every contract CCCC issued was on a fixed-price basis, a condition which we live
by. CCCC, in its nearly 20-year history, has never billed extra payment to clients, even if CCCC ran into
difficulties with a project. That is, CCCC “takes personal responsibility for its work and its consequences.”
The numerous unscheduled phone calls, emails and visits to clients are considered part of the fixed contract.
Your Money Back: As well, every CCCC monthly invoice reminds clients, that the client has the unilateral
option to cancel the contract without cause at any time, without penalty. This fits the quote that “if we,
engineers don’t protect the public, who will?”
Performance Measurement: The philosophy of the CCCC Team-of-Two performance measurement system, the weekly assessment of thumbs up or thumbs down for each employee, harks back to “you cannot replace professional ethical behavior with systems of checks and balances, codes and standards, third-party inspections”. That simple thumbs up or thumbs down approach assesses hundreds if not thousands of performance parameters (both obvious and hidden) in an instant.
Sharing the Information:Following “the desire and responsibility for correctness” makes the CCCC
business process not only accurate, but fully repeatable. To emphasize that point with the public, CCCC
provides information that exceeds normal requirements and expectations. Included are a complete set of 12 books that outlines every step of the process. Because the books are available to the public in printed form or online, any competitor could steal the CCCC secret sauce and go at it on their own. But, for CCCC, that is a secondary consideration. Available information includes five thousand pages of documentation
provided during Practical MBA training or going through the CCCC process, as well as a website full of
answers with no financial conditions attached. The CCCC monthly newsletter, the one you are reading now
being the 156th version, is totally unrestricted and available to anyone who wants it. Strangers are invited to correspond with, or ask questions of, Bill at no charge.
Conservative Approach: Following the mantra of “without fanfare and hoopla” CCCC builds on its history
of solving over two thousand business clients’ problems having had a clear 100% success rate (zero failure) arriving at those problem solutions. (If problems were hamburgers, perhaps we would be counting them more precisely.) Success is not an achievement for CCCC, but merely an expectation of the engineering
This newsletter’s purpose has been to outline the underlying engineering philosophy on which theCCCC business advisory program was built. CCCC, after nearly two decades, has an influence listened to globally with agents in U.S., Mexico, Germany, Russia, and the Ukraine serving clients there as well as
customers in India, South Africa, the Caribbean, and Austria.
Thanks for reading this far,