Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Time to Sack Up - Eterna Can Be Saved

In the city of Grenchen, on the train line from Biel/Bienne to Basel, there is a once mighty watch manufacturer that now lies (mostly) dormant.  A beautiful factory and administration building that evokes memories of Willy Wonka's factory.  An owner with enough money to (if they wanted to) not just save the company, but truly resurrect it.  But just like that fictitious confectioner, the building is a shell of its former self.  It would seem that nobody goes in, and nobody comes out.

And for some of us hard-core Eterna fans?  This is frustrating.  In fairness, a very solid sales network has been created by some very talented people who are out there, every day, preaching the gospel of Eterna and the KonTiki.  So a lot of the pieces are already in place.

So a few simple suggestions -

1.  Eliminate everything on the menu except the KonTiki.  Focus on three different versions with the same "guts".  In essence, a single version with three different "flavors".  As any parent will tell you, you never ask a kid what flavor of ice cream they want.  You will be there all day.  Simply ask them - "Do you want ice cream?  Great, we have chocolate, vanilla or strawberry."

Do this for one to two years.  Simply put?  You are guaranteed to sell a lot of this model, and take that time to revamp and slowly introduce new collections.

2.  Find a real turn-around specialist.  Look beyond the hucksters and the confidence men that you have been turning to.  Sorry, I have to call this one like I see it.  The people making the hiring decisions when it comes to the top spot at Eterna keep making some flawed choices.  And once again, I refer to Moneyball:

 “Managers tend to pick a strategy that is the least likely to fail, rather then to pick a strategy that is most efficient," Said Palmer." The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move.”
Michael Lewis,
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

How many CEOs and "interim" leaders do you need to go through before you maybe look in a different direction?  Stop worrying about making a potentially embarrassing decision, because guess what?  That ship has sailed!  You've made enough bad hiring decisions to last the next ten years.

But there is one guy out there, one person out there uniquely qualified to fix Eterna.  Note that I DID NOT say fix Corum and Eterna.  Let's focus on one problem at a time ; )

There is one person out there who could objectively identify the troubles at Eterna, offer honest analysis without being fearful of keeping everyone happy, and would leave his ego out of the equation.  He is perhaps the most influential person in the Swiss watch industry that you've never heard of, and he and a few of his long-term teammates could not only get their hands around this situation, but chart a course to the sea of success.

Citichamp, if you're reading this and you're ready to sack up and try to right the good-ship Eterna?  Drop me a line!  I won't even charge you a finder's fee ; ) 

3.  COMMUNICATE!  Silence, in this particular situation?  Not golden.  Stop waiting for the press and fans to come to you - go to them.

1 comment:

  1. I like the way you think. The Kontiki line has always been there (at least since 1958) while all others have come and gone and returned and gone and returned again, and so on. I do quite like some of the new Kontikis, especially the Bronze, and also the long-lived Four Hands. But at the same time I think the 1948 has a right to live, as it is a very nice modern interpretation of the classic Eterna model.
    As for Eterna's survival - I really hope they get their sh!t together soon, as I have already heard enough worrying news (more than just rumours) about the state of affairs in Grenchen.