Tell Me Where It DOESN’T Hurt


You get to be a certain age and at least one of your friends ends up with a pinched nerve. Often, though, they “feel” the pain somewhere far removed from the nerve that’s injured. Pain that seems to be centered in the leg is really due to a nerve in the back. Tingling in the fingers is actually coming from the neck.

Business challenges can be very similar.

Frequently, a client or colleague will be challenged by what seems to be a problem, but is really a symptom of something else. While the pain appears in one area of the company, the source is in another department, or with another group of people. Much time and dollars will be wasted in efforts to treat the symptoms, but not the disease.

A few of the problems that are often merely symptoms:

  • Sales people complain that they are hobbled by a lack of good collateral materials that help them sell their story, but the real issue is a mismatch between the company’s value proposition and the customers being targeted. (Seriously, who ever lost a sale because they didn’t have a slick brochure?)
  • The company loses three competitive sales pitches in a row, and each of the targets says the winning bidder offered the lowest price. Management undertakes a cost-cutting effort, but the “lower price” explanation was just a smokescreen offered up as a way to avoid addressing bigger issues. (Outside of a handful of sealed-bid situations, what buyer wouldn’t give his preferred vendor a chance to match competitors’ offers?)
  • The product development team is focused on continuous improvement, but newer and better products aren’t gaining traction. The company hires new salespeople to accelerate market penetration, but the real issue is that this company’s customers are absolutely not leading-edge buyers. (If customers don’t want to pay for more bells and whistles, and complexity, why would we bake those features into our costs?)
  • Employee turnover increases as one staffer after another jumps ship for higher pay, or so it seems. In fact, higher pay is a norm when people change jobs voluntarily, but the real cause of the turnover is a toxic working environment, not pay scales. (As quality of life issues become increasingly important to employees, especially millennials, are dollars really the right tool to address turnover?)

When the roof is leaking, we can’t stop water from pooling on the floor until we patch the leak. When the print head on the copier is jammed, we can’t get better prints by buying a different brand of toner. In many situations, the source of a problem is obvious and the solution suggests itself quite clearly. With more complex or fundamental issues, though, the apparent problem might actually be a symptom of something else, somewhere else.

Tell me where it DOESN’T hurt, and we just might be able to find the cure.


Quadrant Five taps the full potential of strategic customer relationships to build both today’s profitability and tomorrow’s enterprise value. We make the critical connection between internal financial drivers and the value perceptions of A-List customers, generating returns for clients who must:

  • Identify the shortest path to stronger profitability.
  • Build enterprise value in advance of a liquidity event.
  • Develop a strategic plan that can be implemented successfully.
  • Perform customer/market due diligence on an acquisition target.
  • Accelerate profitable integration of a merged business.
  • Protect against customer turnover or lost sales.
  • Recoup the cash that is wasted on unprofitable marketing/sales initiatives.

To learn more, please contact Michael Rosenbaum ( or visit our website (