Droughts, floods and targets in business

Posted on May 8, 2012

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You might wonder what the current drought/monsoon has to do with the recession. (For those not in the UK, large parts of the country are suffering drought conditions but the same places have barely seen a day without rain, much of it heavy, in the past six weeks.)

To the learned eye the answer is this – not much.

But the last few weeks have made me think of a classic dilemma faced by struggling companies.

When the drought warning came, we were told by the government and various media that we hadn’t had enough rainfall for some time. We might remember a mild and largely dry winter but the problem goes back at least 18 months. We were to grin and bear a summer without hosepipes and the like.

What we weren’t told was what it would take for the drought to be over. Think about that for a second.

The answer isn’t simply “rain”. Or “water”. Or – why not – “an iceberg towed from the north pole”. (This has been suggested in bygone ages, I kid you not, though not usually in relation to Surrey.)

Now consider a business where results just haven’t been good enough. That characterises plenty in the land over the last few years. Times have been tough and many a boss/manager/team has been told to improve.

And some do better. But if you’re not told the goal, you’ll never get there.

You can achieve the sales equivalent of an inch of rain a day for 40 days – but you’ll never get out of your economic dry spell.

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

Need to know about events? Buy Tony’s e-book, Everything In Moderation: How to chair, moderate and otherwise lead events, from Amazon.co.uk.

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