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Did you know that many managers in America's largest corporations share many of the same traits which adults hound teenagers about? Well they do and I thought that many young people would enjoy hearing about it.

Inventors have a unique perspective about the management of many large corporations. Only one percent of independent inventors achieve commercial success. Contrary to popular belief, modern day inventors who are commercially successful spend five percent of their time inventing and the other 95 percent enforcing their patent rights.

Many successful American corporate inventors left large corporations because we were sick of short term goals, and the profit every quarter at any cost mentality that is the norm in many of today's corporations. Most inventors see this trend of management mentality as a cancer that is destroying the infrastructure of America's businesses.

Our corporate experience is one of the reasons for our commercial success as an inventor. The key to that success is our intimate understanding of what motivates many of today's upper managers. To understand our success you must see the managers in the same light as we do.

A CEO of an American subsidiary of a multinational corporation told me that paying me for taking and using my patents would lower his bonus and that litigation was funded from a separate pot. He suggested that I go ahead and sue them, that it would take at least three to four years for the case to be decided, and that he could change jobs if I prevailed. This CEO was more honest than most about his motives, but I am sure that many others use the same reasoning process.

Many corporate managers are basically like teenage boys. They have a strong urge to mark every tree in sight. They are excessively aggressive and they often let their egos interfere with good judgment. They are galled by the notion that an inventor would have the nerve to demand compensation for their creativity. These corporate managers immediately set out to teach the upstart inventor a lesson and almost always underestimate our abilities. Their attitude causes them to make major errors of judgment that ultimately cost their companies dearly.

The fact of the matter is that there are many similarities between teenagers and many of today's upper managers. They both frequently have a poorly developed sense of right and wrong and are often dishonest. They both allow excessive aggressiveness to get in the way of rational decisions. Both are impulsive. Both are motivated by short-term gains. Both feel they should not be held accountable for their actions. Both mask feelings of inadequacy with bluster. Both are prone to ignore problems hoping they will just go away.

After having parents and teachers nag you to be more responsible it is fun to see an adult receive similar criticism, isn't it? The difference between these managers and young people is that most young people will mature. It is sad when people do not become more responsible as they age. Not only for them, but for all the other people who suffer the consequences of poor choices.

So when you are really mad over being criticized remember that there is a difference between destructive criticism and constructive criticism.  Remember that your parents and teachers want to help you avoid turning into the type of person I have described here.

Ronald J. Riley


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